I love science fiction and I’ve always found that comics are one of the best mediums for telling an stand up science fiction story. So I’m pretty willing to read just any science fiction comic. Some, though, really stick out and for me Pariah was one of those stories. Pariah is easily one of my favorite comics coming out from Dark Horse right now. The twelve book series is releasing it’s second volume tomorrow and so this is the perfect jumping on point for new readers.
Pariah follows a group of genetically altered kids who have been framed as terrorists. With people distrustful of their intentions and superiority, they find themselves essentially banished to an old, orbital space station to fend for themselves. The characters are well developed, the story is well paced, and the artwork looks phenomenal. it’s not surprising. The book has a pretty incredible pedigree. The creative team includes creator Aron Warner (the Acadamy Award winning producer of Shrek), writer Philip Gelatt, and Eisner nominated artist Brett Weldele. When you put three guys this awesome together you’ve got to imagine they’re going to create something great and believe me – they did.
If you haven’t checked it out yet I highly recommend that you hop over to your local comic book store or grab a digital copy from the Dark Horse website. If you’re not sure yet, you can actually check out a free sneak peak over at the Pariah website.
I had the opportunity sit down with Aron Warner for a bit this past July at San Diego Comic Con.
This was actually a pretty huge moment for me not only because I loved the series but because it was actually my first ever interview at SDCC. But, honestly, I could not have asked for a cooler guy to interview. Aron Warner was great and it’s always inspiring to talk with someone who is super passionate about the project they’ve been working on.
Most of Warner’s career has been spent in Hollywood working as a producer so he liked the idea of doing something different. One of the nice things about comics, he believes, is that they give you a tangible final product. You’ve got a story you can hold in your hands, read over again and again, and really take the time to appreciate. And we both agreed that Dark Horse did a fantastic job of taking this story to print.
But the really great thing about working on Pariah for Warner was the freedom. So often as a producer he’s been working with large groups to try and bring together someone else’s vision. Pariah on the other hand was a “direct line to [their] soul.” Every creative choice was made by their three-man team. They had complete control and they got to use the influences they wanted to use and direct their characters and plot wherever their story took them.
In creating Pariah, they drew a lot on their own childhood experiences and part of what the book portrays is the struggle of growing up. The diverse cast of characters is primarily made up of teenagers suddenly thrust into circumstances and situations not of their own making. While most of us are not genetically manipulated wonder kids, that transition into adulthood – especially as the sort of odd man out – is something a lot of people can relate to when reading the book.
As a life long fan of science fiction – the Outer Limits being an all time favorite growing up – Warner wanted to blend that coming of age feeling with the endless possibilities offered not just by science fiction but science itself. He liked the idea of exploring that line between what we know and what we can discover. And those two major themes show in the storytelling.
I figured that pulling together all these ideas and getting everyone on the same page must have been a bit of a trial.
However, despite the fact that Warner and the rest of the team had pretty busy schedules and worked on a number of other projects while they were developing Pariah, he said they had the absolute easiest time of it. They came together very naturally and the project itself became something of a labor of love for all of them. Warner and Gelatt knew one another socially before they decided to collaborate and sort of happened across Weldele during Comic Con at his booth. Initially, Warner said, Weldele “thought we were pretty weird.” And after working with them probably still thought they were weird.
But as far as I’m concerned, though, if books like Pariah are what come from blending weird and talent then I’m all for it.
They’ve put together a phenomenal book and it’s easily one of the best science fiction stories being published right now.
The second volume of Pariah comes out tomorrow – September 3rd, 2014. I’ve gotten a hold of an early copy of it and if you enjoyed the first volume you’re going to love this one.