• Matt Ligeti

AFTER THE GOLD RUSH, ISSUES #1-4


Writer: Miles Greb Art: Isaac La Russa & Elli Puukangas Publisher: Self-published


This review covers the first 4 issues. We don't have insight yet whether the current arc will end after issue #5 or 6, or if it's less arc-based and more of a serial style. But I'll make sure to update this review once we have that information.

WHAT IS IT?

An intellectual, sci-fi adventure meant to celebrate science and the scientific method and question faith-based belief systems, like religion, astrology, witchcraft (but also those who fear it without logical reason), and more.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

In the not-too-terribly-distant future, a young woman named Scout crash lands on Earth and finds it much more wild than she expected.

She ventures out for food and supplies, studying her surroundings as she goes. On her way, she meets different people who live in the area. Each person seems to represent a different non-scientific belief, and most of them view Scout's technology and scientific mind as a threat.

Scout doesn't do much to help her cause. She tries to have conversations with them, but doesn't seem to be able to find a common ground. They're speaking the same language, but her words are strange to them, and neither Scout nor these people seem to be able to bend enough to think from the other's point of view. The science and education where Scout comes from is so different than what's offered on Earth.

A lot of these issues go this way, with Scout venturing forth to study Earth, happening upon a person, who's a symbol of a faith-based system of beliefs, there's some danger or confusion, and Scout moves on, trying to find out more about her ancestral home and why it's nowhere near as technologically advanced as she thought it would be. She also needs to find a way to leave Earth, eventually.

So, what will Scout discover? Why is the Earth so backwards and why have the planet's people abandoned science? And will Scout ever be able to leave this strange, old world?

WHAT WORKS?

  • Miles Greb's writing in this title is truly fascinating

  • The story flows like an atheist's parable, which is a really new experience for both a comic and media in general, since it's rare we get to see anything that's overtly atheist and science-based -- it could be a new method of storytelling, or at least a new twist on an old method

  • It balances adventure and the scientific method in a way that keeps forward progress while still making time for Scout to stop and fight faith with science

  • Greb's vision for the sci-fi genre is unique

  • He loves sci-fi, but feels like it's often too negative and focused on warning us against scientific advances

  • He thinks the genre should focus less about warning and more about goals and the positive aspects of science

  • I love Greb's concept of a story-obsessed society

  • It feels like you could explore this so much more and build some really interesting stories from it

  • Jamie Me gets to have some fun with lettering in this title, embracing sci-fi computer language, old-timey literature-style exposition and plenty of sound effects

  • La Russa's art for the first 3 issues is angular and sketchy, which helps to highlight the chaos and wildness of the Earth that Scout sees

  • As mentioned below, I didn't mind when the art shifts in issue #4 -- the smoothness of Puukangas' clean line art and Hankonen's refreshing colors brings a brightness

  • Me's vibrant sound effect work also fits better with the tone of Puukangas' are than La Russa's more aggressive, dangerous take on Earth

  • Color in indie comics is uncommon, but the color in these, especially when Hankonen takes over, is truly a delight

  • The backmatter is really enjoyable in these issues

  • Excerpts from the webcomic help fill in Scout's life before present-day and show us more of her motivations

  • Scientist highlights feel fun in a back-of-a-trading-card sort of way

  • Peer review section invites discussion

WHAT DOESN'T WORK?

  • My personal opinion is that the science and atheism aspects can feel a little preachy and reductive of faith-based beliefs, but that could be a characteristic of the storytelling style

  • It feels like Scout travels, meets a symbol of something faith-based, shows it how science is superior, moves on, and repeats the whole process over again (which is why I mentioned it feels more like a scientific parable)

  • However, if you go into it expecting this parable-like tone, it might make for a fun and different comic book experience

  • Deeply religious people may feel insulted and defensive toward this comic, so it may be preaching more to the people who share Greb's beliefs than to those who might think differently

  • I didn't get that Scout was the last scientist until I read the website, but that might become clearer later on

  • The back cover offers a pretty convoluted explanation of the story, but Greb's website definitely simplifies it

  • The art team and aesthetic does shift dramatically at issue #4 (but I actually really liked it​)

  • ​The panel layout of earlier issues can feel like it's trying to cram too much into each panel and page, which can sometimes make it unclear what's going on (especially with the sketchier style) and taking you out of the moment -- this is resolved in issue #4

  • Also, I wonder if the comic will explain the significance of "After The Gold Rush" as the title, or if it's up to us to decide on its meaning


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

If you're an atheist fan of science and sci-fi, or religious but open-minded to a high-brow adventure story in that vein, there's nothing else like After The Gold Rush. And if you're interested in new and unusual ways of telling stories, you'll definitely want to pick this one up.

WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Puc, The Artist by Miles Greb & Garrett Richert

  • Preacher, Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon

  • Fantastic Four, Vol.1 by Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham

If you like the art:

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Miles Greb – Writer

  • New Face: He’s been writing awhile, and he’s still breaking into the comics industry

  • He’s a writer, folk singer, atheist and science advocate who likes his stories to have an optimistic tone

  • Influenced by Sagan, Tolkien and Sakaguchi

Isaac La Russa – Illustrator

  • Does the art for issues #1-3

  • Owns 2 ungrateful cats

  • Keeps to himself, mostly

Elli Puukangas – Illustrator

  • Takes over the art on issue #4

  • Loves rats, horses and "all things Victorian"

  • Outlander: Lives in the United Kingdom

Michael Shepard – Colorist

  • No longer works in comics

Mikael Hankonen – Colorist

  • Outlander: Hails from Finland

  • Also studied cinema and video games

Jamie Me – Letterer

  • Dream Team: Also worked with Miles Greb on Puc, The Artist

  • Outlander: Lives in the United Kingdom

  • Multitalented: Has also written a few successfully crowdfunded comics

HOW DO I BUY IT?

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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Miles Greb Productions characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Miles Greb Productions or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

#Indie #SciFi #Selfpublished #MidweekMadness #Greb #LaRussa #Shepard #Puukangas #Hankonen #Me #NewFace #Outlander #DreamTeam #Multitalented #AfterTheGoldRush

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©2018 by Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti.