Travis and Charley have just met. It’s Charley’s last night in town, and Travis can’t let her leave without getting her to go on a date. In a future where real people are rapidly being supplanted by lifelike androids, sometimes one shot is all you get. Intelligence may be artificial, but the emotion is real in a futuristic romance from the writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and the cartoonist behind Between Gears.
Abandoned by their creators, scattered groups of robots search for purpose in the factory-cities of their desolate world.
Though the robots differ dramatically in function and design, they share essential traits.
Drawing power from the common grid, they never suffer scarcity.
And the concept of violence is absent from their world.
What new ways of being might such creatures create?
Alethia is a science-fiction comic. Each chapter is a complete story with beginning, middle, and end. But each is also part of the larger story.
Love in Panels note:
Alethia is available in both English and Chinese.
The creator says there are lesbian romance subplots in a couple of the chapters, so feel free to read descriptions on ComiXology if that's what you're after.
From JONATHAN LUNA (THE SWORD, GIRLS, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter, Ruined) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids, but after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot and takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. Can they survive the consequences?
Available as 3 volumes, 15 issues, or 1 complete Deluxe Edition.
A guest review from Matt (that's Love In Panels's tech-wizard):
ALEX + ADA is a single single science-fiction romance that spans three volumes. It takes place in a world that you can see in the not-too-distant future, which makes the conflicts seem more real and plausible. Instead of iPhones, we have a network that can be implanted directly into your brain; some people love it, but some older people prefer the more personal touch of a video call to relatives. Just like today, but advanced so that I'm one of the old people.
The male protagonist, Alex, is somewhat heartbroken, slogging through life in an office job. His well-meaning grandmother decides to send him a lifelike robotic Tanaka corporation companion, Ada. He's immediately put off by the idea, and with good reason. A few years back, there was a robot that achieved sentience and went on a killing spree. It's not the killing spree that frightens Alex - it's the fact that this creature, who must obey his every command, might be sentient, and completely unable to grant consent. The treatment of women is definitely a prominent thread through the entire series.
Alex decides not to return the unit - something he considers to be a moment of weakness. He starts to frequent internet forums where people discuss how to "unlock" the sentience within a Tanaka robot. When Ada wakes up, neither Alex, nor the world, are ready for what happens next.
The first volume is a story of emotional exploration and confrontation of bigotry. Lifelike robots fall into the concept of the "Uncanny Valley," and make some people extremely uncomfortable. They're all tattooed so that they can't be mistaken for a "real" person. The second volume deals with the social strain of someone trying to pretend to be something they're not - Alex and Ada have broken the law by unlocking her sentience, and Ada has a huge struggle ahead of her as an illegal entity. This volume is much more centered on her than on the romance. The final volume is much faster paced than the prior two, and relatively violent (compared to the rest of the series). This should not be mistaken for rushing the ending (as many comics do) - it feels well-planned and is the end of a steady accelerative curve. Their illegal actions have real world consequences, and the ending was definitely not what I expected, but gives a really great perspective.
It's a very delicate romance that blooms between Alex and Ada, as they didn't meet in the best of circumstances. One partner has trouble treating the other as anything but a child; the other has difficulty with the brand new emotions she's capable of. Somehow, with a lot of reliance on their mutual friends, they're able to work through. The ending is satisfying and heartwarming.
The artwork is very straightforward, and simple enough to convert the messages. It's a very sanitized future, which fits in well with so many of the themes. There's a similarity between the sanitization of AI and the meticulous nature of streets, offices, houses. The robots aren't the only AI creatures, and the remaining AI force keeps everything well-groomed, and you can feel it. This also leaves the facial features of many of the characters feeling a little bland, but it's made up for in body language.
Overall, I can definitely recommend this to fans of science fiction, romance, or both!
In both sci-fi and fantasy and comics there is a long history of allegorical and implied queerness—using the trappings of genre to code characters and themes as queer while keeping them superficially straight enough to not make waves, or queering them in ways tied to their general otherness (like gender-flexible shapeshifters or gay aliens from single-sex species). Queer representation is better now than it was in even the recent past, but we want more. We want to see people like us as heroes—slaying dragons, piloting spaceships, getting into trouble, and saving the day—without having to read their queerness from between the lines. We want to see beautifully crafted stories in the mediums and genres we love, that reflect and celebrate our own experiences of gender and sexuality. So we’ve decided to do it ourselves. We’re assembling, crowdfunding, and publishing an anthology of the comics we want to read: science fiction and fantasy exploring and showcasing queer characters, themes, and relationships, from a broad spectrum of world-class creators. Beyond is a black-and-white comic anthology of 18 original science fiction and fantasy comics. The first volume was successfully crowdfunded through Kickstarter and completed in 2015, and the second volume: post-apocalypse and urban fantasy edition is taking shape in 2016. -Sfé Monster, Editor
(Volume 2 reached funding today, 5/11/17!)
An alien crashes on Earth with a mighty bang. He's alone on this strange planet, unable to communicate or ask for help. If only there was someone who could help him understand this new planet..!
The SS Odysseus was a long term, long distance research vessel tasked with finding alien life. Technically, the mission succeeded when, 20ish years into the mission, the astronauts– Kay Chalabi, Latoya Monroe, and Nike Marmaledov– were woken from cryosleep and were immediately kidnapped by aliens.
Before they could be sold off to the highest bidder (or eaten) the crew were rescued by the Argo; a sentient-ish ship with a motley crew.
The crew: Fuzz, the foul mouthed Furby-looking engineer, Tachs, the four-armed HR rep, Dr. Worm, a doctor who is also a worm, Charli, the teaching robot with calculated control over her emotions, Vee, last dude in the universe with a tragic backstory, and finally Captain Samira Doshi; morally ambiguous space pirate captain with a heart of gold and indisputable leader of the ship.
Now they all travel from place to place, trying to solve the mysteries of the universe: why are we here? Is there common ground between species? Why was humanity wiped out? And can you make bonds with people who don’t have your past– just your present?
Contact High is a landscape format, one-shot sci-fi comic about a society where human touch has been outlawed, and one man's fight for meaningful connection in that world. This work is entirely for charity: 50% of sales go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and 50% of sales to Lambda Legal.
Naran didn’t know what to do but continue forward, despite being constantly in over his head. After meeting a lone scavenger on his latest job, things wouldn’t be the same. The two found themselves drawn to each other despite the masks they each wore….
FELL SWOOP is an exclusive comic to StArt Faire magazine, an online, monthly digital magazine released at startfaire.com. It is released in ten page installations at the beginning of each month.
30 years after an alien invasion reshaped the face of the American west, the throes of high school are as challenging as ever!
Varsity baseball slacker Quin and his long-time crush, troubled teen Damien, share a dangerous secret from their childhood. When Damien’s return from abroad shakes things up between Quin and his punk rocker partner, the boys end up in the middle of a series of alien outbreaks that attract the attention of their school’s meddling rookie Empath -- a professional superhero attuned to the aliens’ separate physical reality. Quin just wants to help Damien and do right by his friends, but between keeping their secret safe and thwarting Dr.L’s prying eye, he’s suddenly got a lot more on his plate than homeruns.
Full-Spectrum Therapy is a plot-based science fiction comic featuring queer, non-binary and gender-non-conforming main characters.
Read the webcomic! (Store link, too.)
Trigger Elliot is a bounty hunter who travels around the galaxy with his not-so-fully-licensed-and-technically-illegal-hunting-partner Vahn Gavotte. They're lousy at what they do and often resort to petty tactics just to get a bounty, this is their life.
Their home planet, June7, is a world rebuilding itself from an inexplicable catastrophic phenomenon that destroyed 75% of the planet's surface. It has been 5 years since the destruction of June7 and the planet now thrives on the transient and growing population of bounty hunters. Trigger and Vahn's routine changes when an ambiguous bounty surfaces; an alleged bounty hunter killer named the 'ghost' with frightening abilities and an unknown motive. When Trigger's past catches up with him, there begins a strain on his and Vahn's hunting dynamic, forcing them to become further involved in chasing the elusive and unpredictable ghost.