'The Last Space Race' Explores the Final Frontier Anew (Exclusive)

The new AfterShock Comics title will appeal to fans of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, says writer Peter Calloway.
Alex Shibao/AfterShock Comics

The truth, as the saying goes, is out there — but it’s far farther, and far stranger, than might be expected. Or, at least, that’s the concept behind The Last Space Race, a new comic book series from AfterShock Comics, created by Peter Calloway and Alex Shibao, launching this October.

Calloway, who’s written for FX’s Legion and Freeform’s Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, told The Hollywood Reporter that the series spins out of some unanswered questions from beyond the stars.

“A massive object – the size of Manhattan – enters the solar system. It isn't a threat; [it's] going to harmlessly sail in and out of near orbit of Saturn. But then the mysteries begin to pile up,” he explained. “Its trajectory isn't affected by Saturn. Its infrared signature is brighter than it should be. When Hubble is turned toward it to get a high-resolution picture, the truth comes out – it is a massive alien spaceship. But, oddly, it's not responding to any hails. Who built it? Why is it here? What does it want? And perhaps most importantly: How many technological secrets can be learned by the first ones that get there?”

He continued, “I’m excited for this book to come out because I'm a science nerd. I believe humans are — at our core — explorers. Whether that's in art, history, entertainment or in science, the best possible versions of ourselves are asking questions and trying to dig deeper, learn more. There is no place more unexplored or more important to our long-term survival than space. And yet, as a country, we seem to have given up.

“Well, that's not entirely true. While the U.S. government has given up — see: the end of space shuttle missions — there are several people who haven’t: Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos. Richard Branson. It's private citizens that have taken over the quest for space exploration. And The Last Space Race reflects that: They are ones who are racing to get there. If, of course, they ever do.”

Last Space Race is the first title the writer has worked on with AfterShock, and he’s thankful for the publisher. “It’s a place willing to take a chance and give stories the freedom to be what they want to be,” he said. “That’s all because of Mike [Marts, editor-in-chief] and Lee [Kramer, president]. They aren’t afraid to try something or explore an idea. I hope to work with them as long as they’ll have me!”

The series, drawn by Justice Inc.: The Avenger and Independence Day artist Shibao, is something that will appeal to those who love “Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Stanley Kubrick,” according to Calloway, as well as those who “think the exploration of space is really an exploration of ourselves… because the mystery that unfolds — and the secrets within the spaceship — will change the course of humanity.”

The first issue, which also sports Natalia Marques’ colors and letters by Marshall Dillon, features covers by Shibao and Marques (above), and Juan Doe (below), and will be released digitally and in comic book stores Oct. 9. Read on for an exclusive preview.