cover image Tales from Beyond Science

Tales from Beyond Science

Rian Hughes, Mark Millar, Alan McKenzie, and John Smith. Image, $16.99 (88p) ISBN 978-1-60706-471-8

Twenty years ago, Hughes illustrated eight bizarre short stories in English comics magazine 2000AD written alternately by Millar (The Ultimates; Wanted), McKenzie (Doctor Who), and Smith (Judge Dredd). Those stories are collected here, along with new fake retro comic covers and advertisements by Hughes. The visual creativity on display is impressive. The covers, especially, suggest immense worlds and possibilities behind them, and the compositions, gorgeously colored, suck the reader in. When it comes to the stories themselves, the eight-pagers feature a simplified, elegant style that makes them feel timeless, although certain details—the sharp shoulders, high-contrast design—speak to their age. The tales are narrated by Hilary Tremayne, a British civil servant type with pipe and armchair, and feature conspiracy theories, a musician whose songs control minds, speaking with the dead, fantastic creatures, missing time—all favorite topics beloved of fans of the weird and mysterious, vignettes of how weird things might really be. The chapters are mere presentations of ideas, premises instead of stories, but those who enjoy wacky “what ifs” will enjoy these well-illustrated momentary dips into weirdness. (Mar.)