J. Michael Straczynski to Launch Superhero Tragedy 'Moths'

Michael Choi/AWA
The 'Babylon 5' writer will spin the new comic book series out of his AWA series 'The Resistance' this summer.

The shared universe of independent publisher Artists, Writers & Artisans is set to expand this summer, as J. Michael Straczynski creates a six-issue spin-off to The Resistance, the series where a virus has left millions dead, with survivors receiving superpowers as they recover. Unlike the epic, political scope of the primary title, however, Moths will tell a far more intimate story altogether.

“Where The Resistance books are about the big picture, Moths — set within that same shared universe — is the intimate and personal story of a young woman who survived the virus and came out the other side changed,” writer Straczynski explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “But unlike other Reborns, who came into their powers as soon as they recovered, Emily Kai is in a unique category known as Moths. Their powers are latent and unknown until they choose to activate them. At that moment, the powers awaken and a clock begins ticking, because once a Moth activates their powers, they have only six months to live.”

“Simply put, you burn bright, but extinguish,” added AWA chief creative officer Axel Alonso. “While The Resistance and The Resistance: Uprising were huge, world-building stories that spanned the globe, Moths tells the intimate story of a young woman who embraces her power and her power and the consequences that come with that, perfectly realized by J. Michael Straczynski and artist Mike Choi, who is turning in career-defining work.”

“I love the escapism that heavily-stylized artwork can bring to a book, but that's definitely not what I was looking for at all,” Choi said of his work on the series. “I wanted to paint a book that was very much grounded in realism so that while the idea of ‘superpowers’ felt extraordinary, the characters' reactions to them were very ordinary. The characters in Moths are people who should reflect us and our experiences so that we can relate to them as much as possible, so how they're depicted and described are geared specifically towards that goal. To paint everything as realistically, and therefore relateably, as possible."

“As much as I love playing with the big toys comics provides, at the end of the day I'm a character guy and my work lives or dies on the page consistent with how well the artist can render those emotions,” Straczynski — who has worked on The Amazing Spider-Man for Marvel, and Superman and Wonder Woman for DC — said. “Mike has done a stellar, astonishing job with Moths. It may be one of the most beautiful books I've ever been involved with, full of emotion and terrific visual storytelling. "

Moths launches digitally and in comic book stores June. Look below for a preview of artwork from the first issue, including the main cover by Choi and the variant cover by Kaare Andrews.