Hellblazer writer Jamie Delano has a new four-issue miniseries, titled Narcopolis, coming from Avatar Press in February. Delano, a British writer who came to prominence with numerous other U.K. creators like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman in the late 1980s, is best known for his work on Hellblazer, a solo DC/Vertigo title starring the Moore-created SwampThing character, John Constantine.

He follows several other high-profile Vertigo writers who have published creator-owned titles through Avatar due to the publisher’s lack of content restrictions, including two other former Hellblazer writers, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis, and even Alan Moore himself.

Delano's new series takes place in the eponymous Narcopolis, a near-future island metropolis under the thumb of a totalitarian government. “As a Necropolis is a city of the dead, Narcopolis is a city of somnambulists, its citizens dazed by recreational narcotics and apathy,” said Delano of the corrupt city-state, which controls its citizens by plying them with drugs and brainwashing them with a deep fear of the foreign and unknown.

The series protagonist, Citizen Gray Neighbour, is an unremarkable everyman until he has a sudden revelation: he actually is a sleeper agent now activated to destroy the oppressive regime. The noble—or possibly delusional—munitions worker then begins scheming to undermine the institutions of Narcopolis with psychic terrorist attacks, even as he starts a dangerous affair with the female security agent investigating him.

Despite parallels with novels like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984, Delano denies any direct connections with the books and said that the themes of the series have independent allegorical roots in both historical and modern-day events.

“As a writer I pillage reality, processing elements—political or social trends, specific significant events, fashions of thought or action—for the raw material to fuel the drama of the stories I write,” said Delano. “The exploitation of democratic apathy through the manipulation of fear to reinforce state control of a population is an enduring political reality of particularly significant currency.

The idea for Narcopolis originally came about after the cancellation of Delano’s last series, DC's Outlaw Nation, when he received an offer from William Christensen at Avatar.

“I felt that it might be a good time for me to diversify—move a little away from the mainstream, both in terms of outlets for my work and its nature,” said Delano. He began developing the concept for an allegorical sci-fi/horror story that became Narcopolis, something that gave him “free rein to have fun.”

Jeremy Rock will provide the art for the series, with coloring by Greg Waller, and each issue will be priced at $3.99.

Delano also has another miniseries in the works at Avatar, a pirate horror story called Rawbone and a Hellblazer graphic novel, Pandemonium, due from Vertigo in spring 2008. He is also currently working with a producer to bring his Vertigo series 2020 Visions to television.