The end of the world was just the beginning for AfterShock Comics’ new series Orphan Age, which explores a world two decades after all adults died as the result of a mysterious global event, leaving children to rebuild society.
Written by Moth & Whisper author Ted Anderson with art by Marvel Girl and Alpha: Big Time’s Nuno Plati, the series is described by the writer as a “post-apocalyptic Western.”
“Those children have since grown up and survived and tried to rebuild in the ruins of a society that they barely remember,” Anderson tells The Hollywood Reporter, describing the series as “an adventure road trip story built around a question: what kind of world would our children build, if we weren’t there to help them? What would it look like if the chain of civilization and society was suddenly broken? What if the next generation didn’t have the previous generation to rely on?”
He explains further, “I’ve always loved stories with post-apocalyptic settings, and I wanted to create a world that took that apocalypse seriously, that looked at the societies and groups that would spring up in its wake. Survival in these types of worlds isn’t always about materials — the food you can scavenge, the shelter you build — it’s also about the people you work with, the networks you form, the tribes you create. Maybe you can shoot a gun, and maybe you’re ruthless enough to kill, but you’re not going to survive the first winter unless you’ve got a place to live and other people to help you. In a world where society basically died in a single day, what kinds of new societies will appear?”
The idea behind the series has been something Anderson had been working on for more than a decade.
“It stemmed from me reading and watching other post-apocalyptic works and wondering: what are the long-term challenges these worlds would face? How would you go about not just surviving, but thriving?” he says. “I think a lot of works with a post-apocalyptic setting devolve into a kind of power fantasy: in a world where there are no rules, you can be as badass as you want and show off all your cool skills and kill your enemies indiscriminately! But that’s not how a society perpetuates its own existence. Power fantasies are fun for a while, but in reality, keeping a community alive is a much harder task. So Orphan Age is, on one level, a story about communities: how people come together, how they define themselves, and how they resolve their conflicts.”
If the series is successful, Anderson has a long-term map for the concept — “I don’t know if I can say how long I’ve planned it for, but there’s several major arcs,” he teases — following the initial story arc, which he described as a road trip of sorts. “There’s going to be action, tragedy, thrills, drama, romance, gunplay and standoffs and quiet nights under the stars,” he promises. “It’s going to be a hell of a ride, and I can’t wait to bring everyone along.”
Orphan Age launches digitally and in comic book stores April 10. Below, previews of Plati’s art from the first issue, as well as his cover for the issue. Juan Doe’s variant cover for the issue is shown above.