SDCC 2016 ‘Colt the Outlander’ and the Aradio Brothers: Never just a Bounty Hunter

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome to an alternative post-apocalyptic future, the struggle of daily living on the mining wastelands of Neb-6, where the only thing you can be certain of is that there is absolutely nothing certain in these brave new worlds.

Colt the Outlander, the fast-paced adventure series of rogue bounty hunter Colt and his deadly lady companions Jenna and Brem, as seen in the pages of the world’s premiere illustrated sci-fi-fantasy magazine Heavy Metal, comes to us in written-story format from a leading sci-fi author, Kevin J. Anderson!

Colt the Outlander has been around in some form or fashion, both story and art, since around 1995, first featured in Heavy Metal in the 2001 fall issue and many times since then, crossing over with other well-known properties like Rifts, Colt has an ever-growing and very loyal fan-base.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the creators of Colt at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the Aradio brothers, Dominic and RC, and Dante Pacella at their booth. Excerpts from the new Colt story series by Kevin J. Anderson were being touted at the booth, and even as I stood there and watched, fans of Colt from Heavy Metal came and went, eagerly anticipating their favorite gritty Colt in a brand new series.

Dominic was kind enough to explain the series to me more in depth, talking about planetary fallout and ancient technologies brought back for new and unique uses, with far-spanning deserts and wastelands, bounty hunters and assassins, Colt and his badass female companions have their daily struggle to just survive cut out for them. Dominic laughingly confided that his sources of inspiration come from everywhere, from the long-running writings of horror laureate Stephen King, to the binge-watching of the show Supernatural with his kids. The boisterous Aradio brother delightedly explained that Kevin J. Anderson himself had expressed interest in writing the novella adaptations of the Colt series, and that Aradio himself was a huge fan of Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns series and, of course, his Dune adaptations. “There are very few similarities between Dune and Colt, so it was kind of a challenge, but Kevin Anderson can write the hell out of nearly anything sci-fi.”

The comfort that understanding, in any medium, can bring, is often astounding in its effectiveness. More than once, I saw fans who were military members approach the booth and thank the Aradio Brothers and Pacella for their realistic, accurate, and totally empathetic portrayal of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in those who serve in the military, or have served previously, inside the ongoing Colt the Outlander  storyline. Dominic proudly informed me that, “A whole bunch of our Colt fans are servicemen and women,” and the women especially love their strong portrayal of lady bounty hunters Jenna and Brem, who accompany Colt on his scavenging and hunting rounds.

Now, the story of Colt and his pals and their heartaches and adventures, are brought to printed life by the same author who dared to take on a partnership to make more Dune stories, Kevin J. Anderson. Aradio Brothers Studios has ambitions to make Colt a multimedia platform featuring visual entertainment, video games (I see shades of Borderlands, that would be cool), comics and of course, books. To keep up with Colt the Outlander updates and maybe even find a copy of the new novella to purchase, go to the Colt Facebook page here.

 

‘Ajin Demi-Human’: Just Die, Already

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome to the not-too-distant future, where immortal beings known as Ajin are real, and the whole world knows about them. See, some time ago there was a conflagration between two warring nations and one lone guy was sent in; he proceeded to take out every last child soldier, soak up a ton of damage, and still absolutely refused to lie down and just die already. This was, somehow, the world’s introduction to Ajin, and, though the guy was scooped up by some black-ops military group, we just know had to come from America, the proverbial cat is now out of the bag and the world now treats Ajin collectively about as well as they do mutants from the X-Men world.

None of that really matters much to Kei Nagai, he has his own concerns about getting into medical school and studies and such. The knowledge of Ajin is now part of the school curriculum, as are wanted posters encouraging anyone knowing the whereabouts of Ajin to turn them in, but hey, Kei never thought it would happen to him. He and school pals are joshing with each other after school, not paying attention, and next thing you know, Kei’s been run over by a freaking truck. And I mean run over, complete with the bloody streak all the way across the intersection, the mangled body, and the horrified driver. The poor driver, Kei’s friends, and all bystanders get to be even more horrified when that dead body begins to twitch, then rises, complete with the gut-wrenching sounds of bones snapping back into place; and everyone realizes: Oh shit, Kei’s an Ajin.

Why is Kei on the run from virtually everyone? The government prides itself on rounding up Ajin, purportedly for their own safety, but none of the mundanes really know what happens to Ajin after they go to the facilities. How much damage can an Ajin take? Can they actually be killed? Do they have extra powers? The shadowy men behind the scenes who do eventually capture Kei seem to take sadistic delight in attempting to answer these questions using poor Kei’s disbelieving person. These scenes in particular, as the black hat government doctors (if you can still call them that after watching this) attempt to see just how much pain Kei can endure before he dies and rises yet again, are particularly brutal and worth a blanch or three.

The man in the hat, also known as Sato, claims he wants to help Kei but of course has his own agenda, once it’s readily revealed that Sato is an Ajin too. Sato seems to have gone quite insane from his own torture at the hands of the same government men who experiment on Kei, but he’s also learned a great deal from it, and uses such tricks to take out scores of bad guys against him all on his lonesome. Sato is determined, with some help, to be the leader of the Ajin revolution against all those who would try and stop him, and indeed, his methods of unexpected strategy are worthy of Light Yagami in Death Note. Of course, him being completely bugshit nuts in the bargain helps make it fun, like riding the very top of a skyscraper as it crashes onto another building, laughing hysterically.

The style of animation is very different, so much more realistic than you find in many anime these days. The subject matter, dealing with torture and repeated death as it does, is far from meant for the kidlings, I don’t recommend ages 12 or under watch Ajin. The plot is somewhat similar to the popular anime Tokyo Ghoul, even down to the torture, but character reactions and far-reaching plots are rather different and take some unexpected twists. For a Netflix-exclusive anime, the show is still subtitled rather than dubbed, and this made me happy. Rumor says Ajin Demi-Human will get a season two in October 2016!

You can watch Kei and Sato die over and over in Ajin Demi-Human on Netflix right now!

XXX

https://youtu.be/y0k65jIq7bU