The weather might be sub-arctic up in the Great White North, but Canadian writer Blake Northcott (All New Fathom, Vampirella Halloween Special) is warming our hearts with an adventurous one-shot from Aspen Comics titled Fathom: Spinning Our Fate, and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look inside.
This rising star just completed her crowdfunded fantasy novel, The North Valley Grimoire, and now turns her attention back to the late Michael Turner's Aspen Matthews, the watery heroine who made her Image Comics debut back in 1998.
Founded in 2003 by Turner as a secure home for Fathom, Aspen Comics is releasing a trio of Elseworlds-like one-shots under the banner of Aspen Visions, spotlighting three of its brightest characters, Executive Assistant Iris, Fathom, and Soulfire. This is the second in the trio of "What If?" tales, following last month's Executive Assistant Iris: The Midst of Chaos, which was also penned by Northcott. Her Soulfire: The Heart of Eternity is due out in March.
The indie publisher is co-owned by one of the founders of Marvel Studios, David Maisel, and SB Projects music manager Scooter Braun. The pair have launched Mythos Studios as a creative platform to develop and adapt both animated and live-action projects for all of Aspen Comics' properties, starting with Fathom and Soulfire.
This new Fathom alt-universe offering by Northcott showcases impressive art by Michael Sta. Maria with variant cover by Micah Gunnell, and unspools a fascinating Victorian Age tale of exactly where Executive Assistant Iris first encounters Fathom's striking heroine, Aspen Matthews, in Merry Olde England.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Northcott about returning to the character since 2017's All New Michael Turner's Fathom, her favorite aspects of Aspen, and why this popular marine biologist with the aquatic heritage still swims circles around other comic book heroines.
What can Fathom fans anticipate with this period-set storyline?
Blake Northcott: It's Aspen like you've never seen her before, living in a world that she can't quite understand or fully connect to. Whether you're a longtime supporter or are just getting on the Fathom bandwagon right now, it's a perfect book to jump into, because it's a self-contained story.
And of course it's an Aspen title, so we have all the action, adventure, and fun that readers have come to expect from our books.
Why does this character endure and allow for time-shifted reimaginings like Aspen Visions?
BN: I hate to use the term "strong female protagonist," because those have been in comics since day one, and they've been extremely common since the '80s, but Aspen Matthews definitely fits that description. She's intelligent, resourceful, powerful, beautiful -- she's the whole package.
How does Michael Sta. Maria's art embrace the style and tone of your story?
BN: His attention to detail is amazing, everything from the backdrops to the costume design. Michael brought Victorian England to life so effortlessly, and the book looks absolutely gorgeous.
What keeps Aspen fresh for you and lures you back into her realm?
BN: Aspen Matthews is timeless, and we have Michael Turner to thank for that, but ultimately it's the current creative team. The editors at Aspen realize it's important to constantly make progress and challenge both ourselves and the readers. As a writer it's very exciting to be a part of.
They've put a lot of trust in me to maintain that delicate balance: to keep moving forward creatively with established characters, but at the same time retain everything readers have loved about Aspen for the last 20 years.
Take the plunge into our exclusive six-page peek at Aspen Comics' Fathom: Spinning Our Fate #1 in the gallery below, then tell us if you'll follow Miss Matthews back in time when this intriguing one-off arrives on Feb. 6.