Image Comics is traveling to Mars this summer in an original comic titled The Weatherman from writer Jody LeHeup and artist Nathan Fox, and we've got a sneak peek at four exclusive pages ahead of the title's highly anticipated release!
Set 700 years in the future, the comic finds humanity colonized on a terraformed Mars after a devastating terrorist attack nearly wiped out all life on Earth, rendering the planet uninhabitable. The central character is Nathan Bright, Mars' most popular meteorologist, who resides in the Martian city of Redd Bay, Arcadia. He's got a girlfriend and a golden retriever named Sadie, and believes he has the best job in the world. Indeed, the people of Mars love him for his unconventional weather forecasts.
However, he finds his life starting to fall apart when he's accused of perpetrating the aforementioned attack. Worst part is, the rock-'n'-roll-loving, noodle-bowl-eating meteorologist can't immediately prove his innocence, because there's a giant chunk of his memory missing.
Take a look at the following four pages, which were provided exclusively to SYFY WIRE by none other than Mr. LeHeup himself.
Fox added that the comic will also broach some existential topics, like one's faith in humanity, noting that "within this crazy action-packed adventure there are a lot of questions... The Weatherman couldn’t be more relevant."
The writer describes the comic as an extremely personal project for himself (and Fox), as it allowed him to "deal with a great loss in my past and my feelings of responsibility about that loss." Inspired by properties like Cowboy Bebop and Space Dandy, LeHeup says the idea for Weatherman goes back even before he was an editor for Marvel and Valiant comics.
"I was writing, and one of the stories I was trying to figure out at the time was a crime fiction short about a weatherman that lived a kind of double life. All smiles and finger-guns while on camera but in his private life was suffering because of bad decisions he’d made," LeHeup says. "When I returned to writing after editing for however long, my mind was just exploding with ideas I wanted to explore. So when I came back to the weatherman concept, the character quickly evolved into something else entirely. A small crime fiction story turned into a huge, wide-screen, science fiction adventure."
On the hunt for Nathan is Agent Amanda Cross, a woman who "obviously believes Nathan did it," LeHeup explains, but who "finds herself cut off from her government resources and tasked with protecting Nathan while the two of them search for answers. So you have these two people that hate each other that have to rely on each other to stay alive. And that’s just the beginning. Things get real crazy once we start filling in the blanks."
As for the art style, Fox says he's been developing The Weatherman with LeHeup for several years now. Such a long gestation period allowed them to make sure things worked out just right, and helped shape the final product. "Once Nathan and Amanda’s relationship came into focus on the page, everything else — the storytelling, world-building, supporting cast, etc. — clicked into place. Jody’s scripts are an artist’s dream to work on," Fox tells us. "As far as the drawing style itself, it’s really just springing up from the above and all the crazy insane fun stuff we ever wanted to see, and didn’t want to see, drawn for a story like this."
Joining the duo for their space adventure were colorist Dave Stewart, designer Tom Muller, letterer Steve Wands, editor Sebastian Girner (and LeHeup's co-creator on Shirtless Bear-Fighter), and variant cover artist Marcos Martin.
You can pre-order the comic, which goes on sale June 13. In the meantime, head to the gallery below to see four more pages from the first issue, originally released by Entertainment Weekly, but with recently revised colors.