Why should you be reading The Autumnlands? For one, the art is gorgeous. I’ve got copies of the new Darth Vader comics, Ms. Marvel, Rat Queens, Saga, The Walking Dead sitting on my bookshelf. Only Saga has artwork that even comes close to that in The Autumnlands. It’s detailed, beautifully drawn, wildly inventive, and richly colored. Nobody draws animals like Dewey. In addition to the normal panels, the issues are interspersed with two-page spreads more evocative of paintings (more on those in a bit).
Why am I talking about The Autumnlands here? What if I told you that it is billed as “Game of Thrones meets Kamandi”? Wait, wait! We’re all adults here, right? (Right? I had better watch my language.) We know what this is. It’s marketing. Busiek himself points to Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories as a major influence. But you can’t sell it as The Dying Earth meets Kamandi, because “many of the potential readers would respond to ‘Jack Vance’ with ‘Huh? Who?’” Well, for now. Give Jeffro a couple more years. Busiek points to Conan, too, if you’re not sold yet.
I might have pointed to Schuyler Hernstrom. It was Hernstrom’s The Gift of the Ob-Men that really sold me on pulp. The Autumnlands has so much of what I loved about The Gift of the Ob-Men. The mix of science fiction and fantasy, the sense that it takes place both “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” and in our own distant future. As I described Volume 1, “it’s old school, pulpy stuff: walking, talking animals, magic, floating cities and airships, walking chairs, gigantic winged insects as mounts, and a time-traveler from the past with scifi implants.”