Arriving on April Fools' Day and packed with a profound proclivity for wondrous weirdness, an upcoming fantasy series from Image Comics titled The Ludocrats will venture into some surreal territory with its demented delights — and SYFY WIRE has an expanded preview of the premiere issue.
This wacky new offering presented by the innovative Portland-based publisher subverts the standard catalog of classic fantasy tropes and injects the refreshing material with a "The Wizard of Oz on Acid" sort of surreal odyssey.
It's all abundantly laced with savage wit by writers Kieron Gillen (Star Wars: Darth Vader, DIE) and Jim Rossignol (You Are Being Hunted), then accented with effervescent artwork courtesy of Jeff Stokely (The Spire).
Exactly who are the Ludocrats? Well, they're obviously the aristocrats of ludicrous, a calamitous collision of the ornamented fantasy layers found in Dune and an R-rated version of the cult French comics Asterix & Obelix. Meet Baron Otto Von Subertan and Professor Hades Zero-K, two unlikely heroes destined to save us all, so accept it and simply have a nice day.
Gillen considers this gonzo-weird 5-issue series to be an epic explosion of glitter and slugs, all artfully arranged and infused with utter nonsense and a serious lack of sensibility.
"It's a weird fantasy book that Jim Rossignol and myself have been thinking about for the best part of two decades," Gillen tells SYFY WIRE. "Normally that means a hyper-ornate serious story designed to make you have a furrowed brow. Ludocrats isn't that. It's more a joke we've enjoyed telling each other when in the pub. The world's most elaborate running joke, admittedly, and one we are glad we get to share.
"Of course, it didn't really come into existence until it was visualised -- for all Jim and my background play, infinitely more came when we let loose Jeff on the pages. It's explicitly a book where we encourage Jeff to make up a room full of weirdos, and then we do an annotation in the back to tell (and amuse) the reader who they are."
"It's got a big silly heart," he explains further. "I mean, at the prosaic level, it's a weird fantasy adventure where our aristocrats of the ludicrous ('Ludocrats') are trying to stop the forces of boring ... but it's not the sort of book which the word 'prosaic' should ever be applied to.
"Another thing -- most weird fantasy books have a tendency to read as a little bit alienating. As in, whether its creators mean it or not, readers can be a little alienated from it. Ludocrats is us doing a comedy adventure which is glorious weird, while having it run on Bonhomie, Otto sliding his arm around you and laughing as he brings you into his world, and likely buys you a drink and/or a new fortress. In short: we want to delight you and horrify you simultaneously."
Now go berserk in our three-page peek at Image Comics' The Ludocrats #1 in the gallery below, then tell us if this type of absurdist saga might hit your sweet spot when it finally drops on April Fools' Day!