Comics have never been bigger: With Marvel TV shows, DC movies, and indie adaptations growing by the day, comic books have never been more prominent in pop culture. This every two weeks Verge column recommends comedy series new and old, whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer.
With most of the mainstream comics today leaning more towards sci-fi superheroes, Boom Studios Coda is a perfect gateway for those who prefer swords and wizardry – set in a magical post-apocalypse with some of the best comedy art around.
What is it? Coda is a 12-song fantasy comic set in a desolate apocalypse after a gigantic magical war between the forces of good and evil that cost the world most of its magic. To think Mad Max: Fury Road if it happened after the last fight in Lord of the Rings, with magical power in place of water as the scarce resource everyone is fighting for.
Coda is as much a story of a husband and wife figuring out their complicated marriage as an overwhelming fantasy epic. The story centers on a bard, Hum, who travels with his mutated pentacorn (a five-horned unicorn), the Nag, as he tries to save his wife from the threat of the remaining Urks (Coda‘s version of orcs).
Despite the initial premise, as in real life, things aren’t as clear-cut as Hum would like them to be: His wife, Serka, isn’t a damsel in distress, and Hum’s perspective on their relationship says nothing close to the whole story. Hum’s journey quickly gets out of hand. Despite his reluctance to get involved (he often reminds others that he’s retired), his quest becomes tied to the fate of what’s left of the world.
Adding everything is absolute magnificent artwork. Coda loves gigantic, jam-packed spreads full of detail, depicting the world of Hum and Serka with soft colors, harsh lines and neon-soaked highlights. Story aside, it’s worth seeing for the art alone.
Whose is it? Coda was written by Simon Spurrier, who also worked on Star Wars: Doctor Aphra and a variety of Marvel comics (most recent Away from X, a fantastic take on the Krakoan X-Men’s era of immortality which just came out). The artwork is by Matias Bergara, a frequent collaborator of Spurrier, with colors by Michael Doig.
Where can I read it? All 12 songs from Coda are available on the digital comic platform Comixology. The series has also ended collected in three paperbacks for those who prefer their comics in physical form.