Time travel, alien invasion, celestial bureaucracy – no, I’m not talking about Syfy’s weekend lineup. I’m talking about two fantastic titles created by Nate Wunderman, of Wunderman Comics! Everyone that reads this blog knows that I have a love for indie labels, and newcomers to the comic book industry, and this time, I have a review for two comics and a short interview with the creator, himself!
One of the first things I noticed about Wunderman Comics when I checked out the website (because I like to get a little background on the creators before I read a comic) is that they have a strong focus not only on their own work, but the work of other creators as well. If you have a comic that you’ve created, they would love to see it! They partner with other companies and individuals “to bring comics into the digital world” and with just a few moments of browsing around their site, it’s evident that this label is going to do some great things!
The first comic I read was Time Corps, and a lover of all things time travel, this was right up my alley of interests. What was really intriguing to me was that this isn’t your typical time travel story at all, and that the more you read, the more layers to every character is discovered. When you start to read Time Corps, you’ll get to jump right into the story, where you follow the stories of Peter, who is trying to alter timelines to save the woman he loves, and the agents that were pulled from various points in time assigned to stop him before he damages the delicate fixed points in time.
I’ve always felt strongly about the fine line between hero and villain, where the villain isn’t necessarily a bad person, they are just fueled by their own agendas, which in turn tend to be selfish in nature. This theme was really present, as not everyone can be a hero, but the villain isn’t going to always be a villain. If you’re at all a history buff, this comic also has something for you, as the agents that are pulled to the agency before their untimely deaths are from all over the world and all through time, with my personal favorite being Paulina Popova (which would make a fun cosplay option too)!
I also read Earth Invasion and was hooked immediately! Alien invasions have been portrayed in film and literature and this was the first time I’d seen something completely original and different. They were not little green men, or tall silent gray figures, but insects that had nothing but hatred for mammals – especially humans. These advanced aliens, the Kazoops, are not here to peacefully live with humans, they landed to take over, and to survive, humans have to work with not only each other, but with animals as well! What I really found interesting was that it wasn’t a linear story at all, much like Time Corps, there’s a lot going on and a lot of fun to read.
Aside from these cosplay-inspiring comics, is the incredible artwork. Just looking at these pages and reading the dialogue is sheer proof that those that poured their talent into these comics did so out of love for the industry. Time Corps and Earth Invasion aren’t rushed or forced, and the stories take the reader through time and space on a fun ride through entertaining layered characters and well thought out historical and mythical locations.
When getting to know Nate Wunderman, the creative mind and CCO (Chief Comic Officer) of Wunderman Comics, I got to ask a few questions about his inspiration behind the amazing work he represents. Check out his responses below:
CC: I read in your bio that you grew up loving comics. When did you realize that it was more than a hobby, and something you wanted to do as a career?
NW: Even though my drawing ‘abilities’ were not the best by a long shot, I still had a chair in my high school’s AP art class because my art was narrative (my first character [who’s name eludes me] was a super shark appointed by Poseidon to protect the ocean). It was something I wanted to do since I was kid whom devoured both American & European comics, then Manga as a teenager. For my Anthropology praxis project in my college senior year, I produced an early digital comic using Comics Works instead of a term paper. The opportunity to do my own comics came with the digital revolution.
CC: What inspired the concepts behind Time Corps and Earth Invasion? Have you always had a love for science fiction?
I grew up in a house that loved Star Trek. Sci-fi is one of my fave genres without question.
The inspiration for Earth Invasion was germinated by my Anthropology course work at the University of Southern California (Fight On!) where the department’s instructors loved focused in on the Yanomami of the Amazon. One of the problems the Yanomami face is machine gun attacks by bootleg loggers. My thought was this, ‘What would occur if this happened to the Earth writ large?’ Other sci-fi with alien attacks / invasions stories have it as a clash of civilizations. Considering how far away we are from truly traversing outer space, it is almost arrogant to assume our world using carbon based energy is worth the attention of a civilization capable of interstellar travel. Criminals, on the other hand, have no problem exploiting those whom are technologically inferior, and there is no reason to believe that is confined to humans.
Time Corps is a metaphysical musing based on the series’ main question, ‘What happens if you’re not good enough for heaven or bad enough for Hell?’ It also entails a concept from Chinese mythology, the idea of a Celestial Bureaucracy. Where it deviates is that the construction of the Time / Space Continuum was not a perfect one, and it is the harried bureaucracy’s mission to maintain the status quo as best they can. The structure of the story allows for the exploration of a large scope of history while being grounded in this time.
CC: What has been the hardest part of creating your own comics, and what advise could you give to someone hoping to do the same?
The hardest part is going from an initial idea to an initial public release, especially if you’re learning as you’re going along. The best thing one can have is persistence: keep grinding away at it. An open mind to constructive criticism from those qualified to give it is also good.
CC: In Time Corps, we get to see characters from several points in history, were you already a big history fan, or did you do additional research for certain characters’ origins?
History was one of my better subjects in high school, and is an area of interest of mine to this day.
CC: With Earth Invasion, as the Kazoops are not very fond of mammals, what was your inspiration behind creating an alien race that were insects?
NW: Insects are the most successful species on this planet: they have the longest tenure and can survive in more environments (including the inside of oil tankers) than humans. Considering their superior powers of adaptation, it is not out the realm of possibility that they would emerge as the superior species of the galaxy. Evolution is a competition between species, and mammals are the most serious opponent insects have ever encountered. It is only natural the more evolved ones would look down upon their most serious competitors in days past. Insects are also just plain creepy.
CC: Where would you like to see Wunderman Comics in the future? Any big projects you’re working on?
NW: Producing more high quality comics that I can be proud of and that connect with the audience in a profound manner. We have a project in the works I can not go into great detail about, but it will be fun.
CC: Just for fun, because I always ask, if you could become any fictional character (whether in comics, tv, or film), who would you choose to be and why?
NW: That’s a bit of tough one, but the winner by a mustache hair is Asterix. He gets by mostly on his wits, but still gets to beat up baddies while enjoying his life.
Time Corps and Earth Invasion are available through Wunderman Comic’s website (click here for the website), as well as ways to contact Nate with your comic! You can also read these awesome comics though the following platforms:
Follow Wunderman Comics on Twitter (click here for Twitter) to stay up to date on everything upcoming!