Cast out into the void of space by her race of fanatics, Lightstep is the grand opera about a woman who meets a radio pirate to solve a mystery of a 1930s radio program that predicts the future. Originally launched as a successful 2017 Kickstarter, the science opera comic has yet to be discovered by American audiences.
Featuring the stunning art of Miloš Slakovic, Lightstep was written by Slakovic, Mirko Topalski, and Ivan Brankovic. Dark Horse Comics is partnering with Eipix Entertainment to bring it to a wider audience, with the first issue hitting comic shops November 21. SYFY WIRE has the exclusive preview of the first six pages of Lightstep #1.
The debut of Lightstep not only tells the story of who January Lee is, but informs the reader of this greater story of her planet's story, the history of the radical Primogenitor monarchy, and January's exile.
In this preview, we see January experience some seizures, and given that she comes from a long bloodline, they should not be passed off as character quirk.
"At first her seizures were a part of her bloodline," Lightstep artist Miloš Slakovic explained to SYFY WIRE. "They are considered a true blessing by her people, a proof of genetic similarity to the Primogenitor. On the other hand, they are also a sign of their decadence, their need to be as similar to the divine example as possible, both in mind and body. Well, you can imagine what havoc would such genetic puritanism wreak on their DNA. Therefore, they are plagued by hereditary problems and deficiencies. Still, January's visions show to be more than that. They show elements of genuine insight.
"Also, there is a deeper reason, that she is yet unaware of, but revealing it at this time would be a bit of a spoiler."
At the end of the Issue 1, some extreme circumstances will force January out of the only world she knows into the greater unknown abyss of the universe. That's where her journey ultimately begins, but that doesn't necessarily mean she has left her world forever. She'll be motivated to find a way to return.
"Her people have only one aspiration in life, which is to follow the path of the Primogenitor and be as close to his example, which they deem divine, as possible," Slakovic revealed. "Those who fail to do so, like January, have few prospects left, and all are very grim. But January is not the only member of the Lee family affected by her refusal to conform."
"As you will see, a major part of January's motivation is to save her brother Kalud, the one she was supposed to ritually execute in the deranged reenactment of the Primogenitor’s life. She knows that whatever her people systematically do to outcasts like him, it will not be pleasant at all."
January will eventually encounter one of the other main protagonists in Lightstep, a radio pirate known as Jazzman.
"He is a sort of a tragic character on a personal quest, guided by a voice from the past, from the Earth of old, our Earth," previewed Slakovic. "January will join him, at first as a means to an end to save her brother, but little will she realize that his quest is closely tied to her own destiny. The other main character, yet to be introduced, is Templo, a singularity priest and a person of great contradiction."
Slakovic also created unique technologies that will feel fresh to the most ardent science fiction literature fans.
"Time travel, as well as different variations on time dilatation, are very well-known concepts to all sci-fi fans," Lightstep co-writer Toplaski said. "A good fairly recent example is the movie Interstellar. However, to create a whole universe based on time passing at different speeds on different planets depending on your social status, and using the 'speed of time,' so to speak, as a social differentiator is something I have not come across before.
"In our universe the more powerful you are, the slower your time passes relative to everybody else, meaning that other people, nations, planets, become just specks in your vast lifetime."
If the story sounds like just the tip of the iceberg, it's because it is. There is a big narrative adventure video game called Lightstep Chronicles that's been in production for over three years and will echo Miloš' artwork. Watch the trailer below and in the coming months on the video game's website will be a novel written by Brankovic, originally offered to their Kickstarter backers. Both the novel and game tell different stories set within the Lightstep universe.
The great effort put forth by Slakovic, Topalski, and Brankovic to create a new world for science fiction fans to explore is impressive. You can get the first taste of this world below and see the first full issue on stands November 21.