Who Is Jonathan Hickman and Why Should You Care?
If you read comics and haven’t been living under a rock then you know who Jonathan Hickman is. I want to give everyone else a reason to know Mr. Hickman and why they should be buying his comics.
First of all, he is one of the best writers out there today. Second of all, when allowed, his art and art direction is some of the most unique art I have seen. Seen on the right is a page of his art from his first Image Comics’ book The Nightly News. His art defies traditional comic panels and he does what he wants, which makes for an amazingly fun and unique read. This was the first book i read by him and i was hooked from beginning to end. The Nightly News is described as follows- “As an act of violence spirals out of control to encompass the entirety of the news media, a cult has emerged from the errors and retractions that have ruined careers, marriages and even lives. Under direction from his cult master, The Hand leads an army of followers committed to revolution, willing to die for their cause.” This book seriously changed my reading habits and made me consider more independent writers and I am better for it.
Pax Romana was Mr. Hickman’s second book and he upped the ante with this one. Time Travel, the Vatican, murder, and mystery, what more could one ask for? How about Ancient Rome? Yeah we have that too. This book just kept him moving up the ranks of amazing talent. Yet again he chose to write and illustrate this amazing read. “In 2045, as Islam has overrun Europe and the West openly shuns monotheism, the Vatican funded, CERN Laboratories ‘discover’ that time travel is possible. The Pope orders the creation of a private army, and led by a few handpicked Cardinals and the finest graduates of selected war colleges, they travel back in time to 312AD – the reign of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine. Upon arrival, conflicting agendas, ideological differences, and personal greed see grand plans unravel. Pax Romana is the tale of 5,000 men sent on an impossible mission to change the past and save the future.”
Next up was Transhuman. This was my least favorite of his work but was a very interesting view of how society may be heading. Jonathan Hickman was joined by JM Ringuet on art and they present a mockumentary about the future, where genetically engineered humans are created by rival companies in an attempt to corner the market under the guise of bettering the world. This book just goes to show us all how corporations are taking over everything and keep merging until very few left. Is this where we are headed? Will we see genetically engineered humans to go with the food we shove in our mouths?
Red Mass for Mars is definitely for Sci Fi junkies out there. Although this was a 4 issue mini series, it should have gone on longer. It felt a bit rushed but overall was a good read. “In a world that has survived every catastrophe imaginable, a new threat from the beyond stars looks to be the end of all humanity. Red Mass For Mars tells the story of the last days of Earth and the one man who could have saved us all – but didn’t.”
Next up was The Red Wing.This time Jonathan Hickman was joined by the up and coming Nick Pitarra to create this 4 issue mini series. This book has also been collected in a nice graphic novel to go with your other Hickman books. Hickman loves his time travel as we get world class fighter pilots and the drama that comes with. “To stay alive in the future, the best fighter pilots in the world not only have to perfect their skills and master their aircraft, they also have to know how to travel through time!” Another brilliant book out of this man’s mind. It is only a matter of time before one of his books gets turned into a movie, a television series, or a saturday morning cartoon…ok maybe not that last one.
By the time he had completed those books Mr. Hickman has gathered the attention of Marvel Comics and he was hired to come in and write new projects for them. Our first view into his Marvel creativity did not start with the Avengers franchise, which he is owning right now, and not with The Fantastic Four, which he revived to a new level, but with The Secret Warriors with Nick Fury. This was an epic 28 issue run that told a very detailed story of spies, espionage, and used many children of Marvel villains under the leadership of the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury. Excellent read, but we will not go into anymore detail of his ongoing Marvel works, but they are all amazing! Buy them all!
Recently we have been graced with 3 ongoing series by Hickman at Image Comics, all the while he is writing The Avengers, The New Avengers, and the blockbuster company wide crossover Infinity (coming soon). The man is a work horse, and somehow his works do not suffer.
Collaborating with his artist from Red Mass for Mars, the bring us the world of Secret. This is another spy book about corporate espionage. This was the first book Image Comics sold with no real explanation of what the book was about. They wanted to see if his name was enough to bring people in. Well it did for me and boy was it worth it, for the 2 issues that came out. Unfortunately Secret is majorly delayed because the artist is very very slow, but very detailed. Eventually they will wrap this up.
So while we wait for more issues of Secret to come out, there are two books we can read on a monthly basis. The first one is one of the best books on the market right now. The Manhattan Projects. He re-teams with Red Wing’s Nick Pitarra for an amazing book set in an alternate timeline history at the end of World War II in which the Manhattan Project was a front for other more esoteric Science Fiction ideas.
This book is based in our real history with the main characters being Albert Einstein, Joseph Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, Harry Truman, a Franklin Roosevelt A.I. Robot, and many more. I cannot sit by and by and not push this book onto anyone who is not reading this already. The only problem is you have no choice but to read this in graphic novel form as the issues are long gone or will cost you a good amount for a first print.
Finally we have come to Hickman’s newest latest and greatest. The creative team of Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Marvel Comics’ FF with Hickman) gives us another alternate timeline that tells what would have happened if the south won the Civil War. We learn how the country continues and eventually broke up the United States into the Seven Nations of America.
This is part western, part sci fi, and part 4 horsemen of the apocalpyse! So far four issues have hit the market and it keeps getting better every month. Good luck finding issue 1 in first print for a good price anymore since everything Hickman not only sells out but is in high demand. This book is begging to be made into a big budget sci fi movie.
All in all I have had hours of reading enjoyment from Jonathan Hickman and he will be releasing a few new books before years end. The most controversial and most searched for will be out this September from a small independent company called Avatar Press and is called God is Dead. “When the gods of old begin to reappear on earth and claim the domain of man for their own, the world is thrown into a state of utter anarchy. Now Horus walks the streets of Egypt, Zeus has taken over the Sistine Chapel, and Odin is coordinating the dissection of the earth among the returned deities. Mankind held sway over the world for thousands of years and their hubris over that time has made them powerful but when faced with the divine, can mortal weapons put an end to the second coming of the gods?
The preview alone has me hooked and I will be there. Will you?