The dangers and pitfalls of becoming an astronaut and working in the dangerous environment of outer space and beyond take center stage in AfterShock Comics’ upcoming sci-fi thriller.
Called “Astronaut Down,” this ambitious new space series arrives June 1. It’s written by James Patrick (“The Kaiju Score”, “Campisi: The Dragon Incident”) and injected with intense illustrations by artist Rubine (“Search for Hu”), colorist Valentina Briški (“Éden”) and lyricist Carlos M. Flail (“Dark Red: Where the Roads Lead”).
The story chronicles the adventures of Douglas Spitzer, a young astronaut trainee who is being instructed and prepared for a mysterious mission into the abyss of alternate realities on a futile mission to rescue Earth from a calamity that has our planet on the brink of extinction.
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This wild effort puts Spitzer to the test of a lifetime where everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Your skills and inner conflicts will be challenged as a submerged truth emerges to put everything on the line.
Patrick explained that “Astronaut Down” is about an astronaut’s core beliefs and humanity. The series was inspired by the aesthetics of the 2020 independent science fiction film “Possessor” directed by Brandon Cronenberg.
“‘Astronaut Down’ is looking through the lens of NASA’s space program, but when it comes to traveling to alternate worlds,” Patrick told Space.com. “We see the training, the launch, the failure of other missions. It examines the theory of an astronaut. The philosophy of one. What it takes to be that kind of person. The sacrifice, the duty, and the mindset. And then we challenge these things when it comes to one of the characters.
“The term ‘astronaut’ is used symbolically in this,” Patrick said. “An astronaut is a space explorer, but it has come to have a more general meaning, so it’s the same term that refers to explorers from other realities.”
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“Astronaut Down” is hopeful, but also slightly dark, and that tone goes well with the dark material.
It’s “bleak about the physical state the world is in and the states of mind that are at odds about what to do about it,” Patrick said. “And that kind of mirrors what astronauts go through, having to be optimistic and adventurous in the midst of terrifying and dangerous circumstances. And there’s a sci-fi horror twist in the book to embellish that.
“Rubin’s line of work is so clean and perfect for science fiction,” said Patrick. “The collaboration was wonderful for this story. And Valentina Briški’s colors sent it all home. I’m very lucky to work with this team. I hope to be lucky enough to work with both of them again at some point.”
AfterShock Comics’ “Astronaut Down #1” will be released June 1, with a regular cover by Rubine and an incentive variant by Andy Clarke with colorist José Villarrubia.
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