'World Reader' Offers Sci-Fi Spectacle From a Dying Universe

The new series from AfterShock Comics launches in April.
Juan Doe/AfterShock Comics
The new series from AfterShock Comics launches in April.

In space, no one can hear you scream… but one woman will listen to your ghost stories afterward.

World Reader, the latest series to be announced from fast-growing indie publisher AfterShock Comics, puts a new spin on existential sci-fi as Jimmy Kimmel Live! writer Jeff Loveness — who's previously written the recent Groot series for Marvel — reveals the mystery of a dying universe.

"When [editor in chief] Mike Marts and AfterShock offered me my first creator-owned series, I tried to pitch the biggest idea I could think of," Loveness said in a statement from the publisher. "I've always loved big, existential sci-fi that takes a swing at the Universe. Films like [Andrei] Tarkovsky's Solaris and 2001, mixed with modern ones like Contact and Arrival and Ray Bradbury sci-fi were huge huge influences on this story."

The series, which launches in April, follows Sarah, an astronaut traveling in space as she goes from one dead planet to another, trying to discover just what is behind the seeming death of the universe. But she's not making the trip alone — she's accompanied by a crew growing increasingly disillusioned in her mission, and pursued by Death itself, eager to stop her before she learns too much.

"AfterShock gave me the freedom to combine spirituality, sci-fi, and horror with Cosmogony and Apocalypse narratives in every issue," Loveness explained. "We've got a psychic astronaut traveling to dead worlds, talking to space ghosts and trying to figure out what's killing life across the Universe.... Should have something fun and weird for everybody."

Working with Loveness on the series is Juan Doe, who's previously worked with AfterShock on the Brian Azzarello-written American Monster. Doe said that the new series is "very different from my work on American Monster and I've always wanted to do a story that takes place in outer space," adding that it "brings to the forefront the questions humans have had from the beginning of civilization, the questions of origins and why we were created and it is very much an operatic space thriller with some nice twists and turns."

The first issue of World Reader will be released digitally and in comic book stores April 19.

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