AfterShock Announce New Existential Horror ‘Lonely Receiver’ By Thompson And Hickman
by Olly MacNamee
AfterShock have announced a new horror-title, Lonely Receiver, coming out from writer Zac Thompson, artist & colorist Jen Hickman and letterer Simon Bowland.
Lonely Receiver #1 is due out on June 5th and we’ve been given a first look as well as several character design sheets for you to get a good idea what it’s all about, as well as informative commentary by writer Thompson too. Here’s the synopsis and character designs for leading lady Catrin Vander by Hickman:
Catrin Vander, a lonely video producer, buys an Artificial Intelligence partner that’s meant to bond for life. After ten years together, her holographic wife suddenly disconnects without a warning. The breakup drives Catrin to the point of near insanity. She’s alone for the first time in years and reeling from a loss she can’t comprehend.
Set in the new future, drenched in pastels and sunshine, Lonely Receiver is a horror/breakup story in five parts.
Writer Zac Thompson, in his third series from AfterShock, fleshed out more details about this book in an official statement accompanying the preview pages below:
Lonely Receiver is a horrific breakup story. Except it’s a breakup story about a person and their phone. The book takes place in the near future where relationships with simulated Artificial Intelligence partners are now the norm. A person can download, create, and marry a digital being that also occupies physical space. They can touch, kiss, and even make love to this digital persona.
We follow Catrin Vander, a lonely video producer who’s been in a relationship with her simulated wife, Rhion, for ten years. Though their relationship is meant to last forever without falter, Catrin is starting to feel paranoid about Rhion. Their relationship is changing and Rhion’s consciousness is evolving too quickly for Catrin to keep up. After a tumultuous fight – Rhion suddenly disconnects from their shared life – leaving Catrin alone for the first time in years.
Sci-fi can often reflect our fears about contemporary society and the subject of AI is a very fertile fear to mine. With films like Lexy on Netflix as well as Vault Comics recent Friendo comic book series recent examples of projects that shine a light on our over-reliance on appliances in this modern age. Although I imagine this will be more terrifying and visceral again, if this first look is anything to go by in this new 5-part horror mini-series with influences including JG Ballard’s techno-porno novel, Crash, the Sam Neil starring film Possession (1981) and David Lynch’s neo-noir 1997 film Lost Highway to name but a few:
Lonely Receiver is an existential horror story about how everybody uses everything and how everything uses everybody. It’s about a world where we define things by their inherent use to us.
… Moreover, this book is born from my love with an often overlooked horror film Possession (1981) wherein Sam Neill suffers a breakup so horrifying that it challenges his entire reality. But contrasted against the warm earnestness of Spike Jonze’s Her. I wanted to do something earth shattering and dreamlike like Lost Highway – about a world slightly out of step with our own but with just enough familiarity to feel rotten. But also communicating this dream like narrative with neon soaked colors and bright lights that feel at home in a Nicholas Winding Refn film. I love horror films that feel inviting and salacious all at once. That’s the sexy and weird line we’re vigorously straddling here.”
All that’s left is a look at the interior pages below which certainly sets the tone for the type of book this will be: