As outlined in our previous post on this topic, I’ve found myself drawn back into the mesmerizing world of science fiction horror comics. It’s a genre that effortlessly merges the limitless possibilities of science fiction with the spine-chilling allure of horror, a fusion that compels us to confront the unknown and question our place in the universe.
In this expansive arena of imagination, I’ve been revisiting three further standout series that have left footprints on the gray matter of my mind: “Black Science,” “Paper Girls,” and “Outer Darkness.” Each of these series, while rooted in the same genre, offers a unique flavor of narrative and artistic brilliance that pushes the boundaries of what horror comics can achieve.
“Black Science” whisks us on a madcap journey through the multiverse, presenting a mesmerizing blend of high-concept science fiction and deep-rooted human drama. “Paper Girls” elegantly interweaves a nostalgic homage to the 80s with a thrilling time-travel narrative that’s as emotionally resonant as it is visually breathtaking. Meanwhile, “Outer Darkness” casts us into the chilling depths of space, where the horrors are as much supernatural as they are human.
The Longbox of Darkness will dive deeper into these remarkable series in this post. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the sci-fi horror subgenre or a curious newcomer seeking a gateway into the world of science-fiction horror comics, strap yourself in and prepare for a voyage into the heart of true darkness.
“Black Science” is an electrifying journey through the cosmos, a provocative exploration of the multiverse that expands the very concept of what a science fiction comic can be. Created by prolific writer Rick Remender and brought to life with the vibrant artistry of Matteo Scalera and Dean White, this series is an adrenaline-fueled, eye-popping spectacle that never forgets the human heart beating at its center.
The central premise of “Black Science” revolves around the Anarchist League of Scientists, led by the rebellious, genius, yet flawed protagonist, Grant McKay. They’ve developed the Pillar, a device capable of jumping between alternate realities. In a classic case of the best-laid plans going awry, the Pillar malfunctions, sending McKay, his team, and his family bouncing uncontrollably through myriad dimensions.
The narrative is richly layered and evocative, paying homage to classic pulp science fiction while innovating at every turn. McKay’s attempts to correct his mistakes and save his family give the story a strong emotional core, grounding the more fantastical elements in a relatable struggle. As they leap between realities – each more surreal and dangerous than the last – we see the costs of McKay’s hubris and the repercussions of meddling with the natural order.
The world-building in “Black Science” is spectacular, with Scalera and White bringing each new dimension to vivid, dizzying life. From a world ruled by technologically advanced Native Americans to a society built on the back of giant turtles, the environments are endlessly inventive and strikingly rendered. The creativity on display is a testament to the unfettered possibilities of the science fiction genre and the storytelling power of comics.
Remender’s writing shines in its handling of complex themes. He ponders upon questions like the nature of scientific progress, the ethics of tampering with alternate realities, and the complexities of personal responsibility. At the same time, he provides a thrilling narrative that’s action-packed and fraught with suspense, creating a balancing act between thought-provoking contemplation and pulp adventure.
“Black Science” is a fascinating, complex, and deeply human saga that blends the wonder of science fiction with the harsh realities of life. Its exploration of parallel universes serves not only as an avenue for breathtaking visual spectacle but also as a metaphor for the paths not taken and the consequences of our actions. As such, it’s not just a journey through the multiverse but also a journey into the human soul.
Every panel of this series pulses with energy, creativity, and heart. It’s a testament to the immense power and potential of comic books as a medium for storytelling. For those who love their science fiction packed with action, emotion, and thought-provoking themes, “Black Science” is an essential read.
In a comic book universe where high-octane thrills meet intimate coming-of-age narratives, “Paper Girls” holds a unique and esteemed place. Created by award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan and brought to life by Cliff Chiang’s stellar artwork, “Paper Girls” is a daring and visually stunning amalgamation of 80s nostalgia, time travel, and friendship.
The series unfolds in the sleepy town of Stony Stream, Ohio, in the pre-dawn hours after Halloween in 1988. We are introduced to four twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls: Erin, Mac, KJ, and Tiffany. These ordinary suburban tweens are abruptly catapulted into extraordinary circumstances when they stumble upon a machine that triggers a bizarre series of events, revealing a world that’s much bigger—and more complicated—than their quiet hometown.
Time travel is a central theme in “Paper Girls,” and Vaughan employs it with a refreshing twist. As the girls leap back and forth from prehistoric eras to dystopian futures, the narrative skillfully balances the enormous scale of its sci-fi concepts with the deeply personal experiences of its young protagonists. These aren’t seasoned time travelers, but regular kids plunged headfirst into the unknown, their reactions lending a raw, genuine emotional edge to their fantastic journey.
Artistically, “Paper Girls” is a visual feast. Chiang’s line work, paired with Matt Wilson’s vibrant and atmospheric colors, makes every panel pop. The pastel color palette and bold artwork work hand in hand to create a visual style that harkens back to the 80s while still feeling fresh and innovative. The visual language is as much a character in the series as the girls themselves.
However, where “Paper Girls” truly shines is in its characters. Vaughan’s gift for writing authentic, relatable characters is fully displayed here. Each girl is distinct and fully realized, with their individual personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Their camaraderie forms the story’s backbone, lending the high-concept sci-fi narrative a grounded and deeply human heart. They are, at their core, regular girls facing the quintessential struggles of growing up, their experiences magnified through the lens of their time-traveling misadventure.
“Paper Girls” is a riveting series that successfully merges the wonder of science fiction with a nostalgic love letter to the 80s, all while exploring the complexities of adolescence. It’s a celebration of girlhood, friendship, and the tumultuous journey of growing up. With every time jump and temporal twist, “Paper Girls” proves that no matter how strange things get, the bonds of friendship can help us navigate even the most bizarre circumstances.
Through the noise of time warps and alien creatures, the story’s heart remains clear and poignant—the growing pains of four young girls. “Paper Girls” is a remarkable achievement, a testament to the power of storytelling that transcends time and space, delivering an adventure that’s as emotionally resonant as it is visually breathtaking.
In the thrilling intersection of science fiction and horror, you’ll find the comic book series “Outer Darkness.” Dreamed into existence by the minds of John Layman and Afu Chan, “Outer Darkness” amalgamates space exploration with the supernatural, crafting a chilling narrative that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.
“Outer Darkness” takes us on an intriguing, terror-filled journey aboard the starship Charon. Its captain, Joshua Rigg, is a troubled man haunted by a tragic past and a relentless duty to confront the horrors of space. The narrative kicks into gear when Rigg is assigned to helm the Charon, a ship that, much to the reader’s delight and characters’ dismay, is as haunted as space is vast.
What distinguishes “Outer Darkness” from the pack is its unique marriage of genre elements. It isn’t merely set in space with a dash of the supernatural; the comic’s universe is one where technology and mysticism coexist. Spaceships are powered by captive gods, exorcists in the ranks are as commonplace as engineers, and the perils of deep space are as likely to be demonic entities as they are black holes.
Afu Chan’s artwork is instrumental in bringing this terrifying universe to life. His illustrations are richly detailed and equally adept at rendering otherworldly terrors and nuanced human expressions. His vibrant colorwork emphasizes the juxtaposition of the cold, technological world of the spaceship against the chaotic, colorful manifestations of the supernatural.
John Layman’s writing shines as he constructs a complex protagonist in Joshua Rigg. Despite his stern exterior and seemingly uncaring attitude, we catch glimpses of a deeply scarred individual who carries the world’s weight on his shoulders. The supporting cast is as diverse as it is engaging, each with its own secrets and fears, contributing to the dynamic and suspenseful storyline.
“Outer Darkness” also excels in its narrative pacing. The horror elements perfectly balance the ongoing character development and plot progression. It isn’t a relentless onslaught of horror but a carefully crafted escalation of tension and terror. Each issue adds another layer to the mystery, slowly revealing the true nature of the outer darkness and the personal demons that Rigg must face.
In the vast expanse of sci-fi horror, “Outer Darkness” carves its unique niche. It blends cosmic terror and space opera, bound together by human vulnerability and resilience. It’s not just a tale about battling external threats; it’s a journey of inner struggle, exploring how far one can go when pushed by duty and haunted by the past.
These series have proven that the science fiction genre can be a playground for horrifying imaginings. By marrying elements of speculative fiction with psychological horror, these comics invite us to confront the unknown, embrace the terror of the abyss, and ultimately question the nature of our very reality.
As we close this post, I encourage you to delve into these realms for yourself – or, if you’re a veteran, to revisit them with fresh eyes. The worlds of “Black Science,” “Paper Girls,” and “Outer Darkness” are vast and rich, and their secrets plentiful.
Thanks for reading, horror fiends and friends. Keep your eyes peeled for Part III of Horrors in Science, which should be available soon. Until then, keep it creepy, and don’t bother screaming when menaced by these alien terrors. After all, we’re in space, and, well, you know the rest.
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