YA Comic 'Topside' Brings Adventure and End of the World (Exclusive Preview)

Topside - Harry Bogosian Graphic Universe Publicity -H 2019
Courtesy of Harry Bogosian/Graphic Universe
The new graphic novel focuses on a teen trying to fix a grave mistake.

When faced with the end of the world — and knowing that it's your fault — what is the appropriate response? For Jo, the lead in the new YA graphic novel Topside, the answer is obvious: Do whatever is possible to fix the problem, even if it means dealing with bounty hunters, giant beasts and putting yourself at risk the entire time.

The project, released next week, reunites the creators of webcomic StarHammer, J.N. Monk and Harry Bogosian, and The Hollywood Reporter has an early look at the project.

"After working with Harry Bogosian on our comic StarHammer, I knew I had to work with him on another project," writer Monk tells The Hollywood Reporter about the project. "Harry has a way of depicting things that are weird and over-the-top in a way that just fit with the story's aims. I wanted to combine elements of sci-fi, fantasy, Western and environmentalist fable to tell Jo's tale."

But what is Jo's tale? Turns out, it has to do with the planetary technician fixing one small mistake that she made — well, in that it's literally world-threatening, perhaps "small" isn't the right word to use.

"Jo makes a mistake that damages a vital component to one of her planet's core systems," Monk explains. "Her mistake is just the straw that broke the camel's back, but she blames herself and makes it her own responsibility to fix it no matter what. Even if that means going to the planet's unruly surface and falling in with bounty hunters and wanted criminals."

"J.N. Monk's characters are always a blend of the extremely down-to-earth as well as the fantastical," Bogosian says when talking about what attracted him to the project. "Jo for instance, the main character, is an overworked and overstressed young teen. She is also an engineer who has the responsibility of keeping an underground society operating properly and will shoulder endless responsibilities if it means a job gets done. Karina is a hardworking and sweet bounty hunter who prefers summer dresses, and she's also a shark in a robotic exosuit."

Adds Bogosian: "When designing any of the characters, I want a good amount of their personality to shine through and for them to be able to convey the fullest range of emotions and thoughts I can scribble onto a page!"

The graphic novel has already won praise from a number of fans, including Annihilation author Jeff VanderMeer, who described it as "an intriguing mix of adventure and wonder and the mundane, both quietly epic and very personal [with] wonderful art."

Topside will be released Oct. 1 by Graphic Universe. Until then, enjoy the exclusive preview below.