|"La Muse" #1, page 1|
In today's entertainment, it seems we can't get enough of aliens…and fragging them with the Hammer of Dawn, or going postal with Master Chief. Video games, television and most novels seem to warn us of the dangers that extraterrestrial visitors present to us. Even comic books from Marvel and DC warn us of the danger - in "Annihilation" our cosmic heroes must protect the universe from an evil alien threat, while in "52," Earth's heroes have been confronted with swarms of not-so-nice ETs. So, we at CBR News have to ask: when did aliens get so mean and not fun?
Big Head Press and writer Adi Tantimedh ("JLA: Age Of Wonder") have decided to buck the trend, serializing their new sci-fi/humor series "La Muse" online, starting January 29th . CBR News caught up with Tantimedh to learn about why he chose the genre, the unusual publication format and just what "La Muse" is all about.
|"La Muse" #1, page 2|
"Of course, our heroine's campaign to save the world doesn't sit well with the governments and big businesses who benefit from the world being the way it is, so she becomes a threat that needs to be eliminated."
Since "La Muse" deals with the politics of life, it should come as no surprise that the series will feature a diverse cast of characters. From the alien heroines to their entourage, expect to see a little bit of everything in "La Muse," Tantimedh explained, adding that "sparks will fly" when the characters are all thrown together. "The two main characters are Susan and Libby la Muse, a pair of sisters in their twenties with very different personalities and approaches to life. Suffice to say, they're like oil and water, but being family, they're joined at the hip, especially when they're the only offspring of a pair of aliens from another universe who had decided to live as humans on Earth as an experiment until they got bored and departed, leaving the two sisters to find their own way as adults in the world. Libby has chosen to live as a human, while Susan happily embraces the abilities her alien heritage gives her.
|"La Muse" #1, page 3|
"Susan is a total rebel and a political activist who's been campaigning for the environment, human rights, women's rights and an end to poverty and Third World debt. She's also quite impulsive, egotistical and hedonistic. She's an idealist who's losing patience with all the corruption and exploitation, and decides to use her abilities to bring about the change that governments and corporations are slow to affect.
"Of course, Susan's coming out turns Libby's world upside-down, especially when her boss orders her to sign Susan as a client.
|"La Muse" #1, page 4|
"Another prominent character is Jack Venkow, a grizzled and ruthless spymaster who has been tasked with taking down Susan. His mission is to find out exactly who and what she is, where her abilities come from, and destroy her, both figuratively and literally. He needs to destroy her public image so that she doesn't become a martyr for leftists, and he also needs to find a way to kill her because she's a clear and present danger to America and the world.
"Then there are the various characters who orbit around Susan and Libby, like Susan's various lovers, Libby's A-list clients, and people like Todd Bergerson, a filmmaker and wannabe player who's responsible for Susan's fame, since he videotaped her foiling a suicide bomber and the tape got aired around the world. He's now resentful that Susan has become famous while he remains a struggling artist. And Naomi Pinney, a journalist and gossip writer who hates Susan and wants to bring her down."
|"La Muse' #1, page 5|
"In order for Science Fiction comics to succeed, they have to be as compelling to read as superhero comics. People have to want to read them. They have to show us things we won't find in other books. And they have to hit you in the gut more than just the brain.
|"La Muse" #1, page 6|
And while "La Muse" may be solidly in the realm of sci-fi, Tantimedh has rooted his story in a realistic world designed to resemble the world we live in as close as possible, in a fictional way naturally. "It's a world where not everything is black and white, dominated by the media, market forces and an obsession with fame and celebrity, of brand names and money. It should be recognizable as the world you see outside your window or when you turn on the TV, if on the hyperreal side. That's the only way the story can work."
From the preview pages seen with this article, it seems that "La Muse" has a bit of everything in it - politics, philosophical debate, action and suspense, to name a few. Tantimedh explained, "All those elements are certainly present in the book, but it's primarily a Comedy. That's the umbrella I want to bring it all under, because I'm tired of all stories with big ideas and issues that come across as terribly earnest and joyless. Good comedy and satire are things I find missing from a lot of the US comics out there right now."
|"La Muse" #1, page 7|
"'La Muse' questions the notion of the hero. I want the reader to decide whether what Susan does is really such a good thing. In the eyes of certain people, she's the most terrifying thing on Earth, and they might have a point. It also looks at the behind-the-scenes making of a celebrity or heroic figure and the difference the image has to the reality. There are always things about the so-called hero that are kept secret from the public."
|"La Muse" #1, page 8
"Otherwise, readers will be able to spot references, veiled or otherwise, to loads of real events since 2001, namely a War on Terror world, starvation in Africa... anyone who's watched the news, opened a newspaper or entertainment magazine or listened to a talkshow or podcast will recognize the world in the book."
|"La Muse" #1, page 9|
"Serializing on the web means we don't have to worry about that at all. You stand a chance of getting more readers than most floppies, and it can make people aware of the project for when the complete story is published as a physical great novel once the story is complete."
Illustrating "La Muse" is Hugo Petrus, a new name to many, but someone who Tantimedh believes will make a big impact with this project. "I found Hugo via Alex de Campi (writer of 'Smoke', 'Kat & Mouse' and 'Agent Boo') after they worked together on a story for Dark Horse. Alex put me in touch with his agent, and we discussed which project Hugo would be best for. Apart from drawing beautiful women, Hugo has a great ability to show the characters' personalities through their body language and facial expressions, not to mention a sense of humour that meshes with mine. He has a great sense of the absurd."
"La Muse" will begin web publication January 29 th on the Big Head Press Web site.
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