Surface Tension #1, the first issue in a 5 part sci-fi/horror/adventure mini-series created by Jay Gunn and published by Titan Comics, debuts today and there are 4 major reasons I love it:
4) THE TITLE!
The title “Surface Tension” is perfect because it cleverly, succinctly, and accurately describes the story in two-folds. First, there is literally tension on the surface of the British channel island of Breith as the townsfolk strain to rebuild and survive after a strange “sea-sickness” causes the majority of the world’s population to make a zombie-esque mecca into the ocean. Things get stranger when a year later two people return from the ocean, with teal skin and no memory of what has happened. This turn of events leads to confusion on the island, as the townspeople try to figure out what is happening.
Second, in its most basic definition, the scientific term “surface tension” is described as an effect where the surface of a liquid is strong. Going further, it is a “property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force.” Did you ever do the experiment where you put drops of water on a penny, expecting to see water splash about, only to find it forms a bubble or “skin” of water on good ol’ Honest Abe’s face? Surface tension! It seems the title is also hinting at the strength and power of the mystery in the sea, and the way it which it has changed the people who are returning from its watery depths.
3) THE SUSPENSE!
Issue #1 is filled with quandaries that left me scratching my head and anxiously turning the page looking for answers: What caused the sea-sickness? Why are people returning now? Is this deliverance? Should they be quarantined? These are the questions our characters begin asking one another, and it’s completely in line with what the reader is pondering also. Additionally, the first issue ends with a major cliff-hanger, and it looks like things are about to get more dangerous for the people of Breith. I can not wait to see what happens next!
2) THE CHARACTERS!
I am a young 20-something blessed to be living in a diverse, metropolitan city where I have friends of all walks of life: varying age groups, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. However, rarely is that kind of diversity present in literature. In graphic novels, it’s nearly non-existent. (I will save that rant for another day.) However, Gunn does an excellent job of capturing layered and diverse characters, without relying on stereotypes or clichés.
I am particularly pleased that two of the main characters in the first issue are women. First we have Mary: a former nurse, quasi-new-age meditating hippie, and caring problem-solver whose instinct is to help others in her community. Then we have Megumi, a former biologist and environmentalist who has experienced horror and loss, and is one of the first people to return from the sea. The women are different ages and ethnicities, but their commitment to figuring out what it going on unites them, and the two clearly care for one another and rely on each other. Gunn has hinted that Mary and Megumi’s ideologies are different, and that may create conflict between the two later. However, for now, their interaction is real and genuine.
Side note: I also love that while there is nudity in the novel (like when Megumi’s nude body emerges from the ocean), the women are not overtly sexualized. Marvel and DC definitely have a thing or two to learn from Gunn on how to appropriately draw women!
1) THE AUTHOR!
In February, GeekGirl World had the opportunity to chat with writer and author Jay Gunn about his life, his work, and zombies (naturally). We were all completely enchanted by his eloquent and thoughtful responses, and I remember very vividly thinking, “If his writing and art are anything like his interview, Surface Tension will be amazing.” I am so glad to report that the first issue was just as beautiful (both in text and in art) as I hoped it would be. I will continue to follow Gunn’s work on his Facebook page, and look forward to reading the rest of the series via Titan Comics. Surface Tension #1 debuts today, and I urge you all to support Gunn’s work by purchasing a copy.
SURFACE TENSION #1
WRITER/ARTIST: Jay Gunn
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
ISSUES IN SERIES: 1 (OF 5)
RELEASE DATE: May 27