I’m interested in reading anything that artist/writer J.H. Williams III is a part of.
In my mind, he’s one of the all-time storytelling greats, constantly pushing the visual envelop of the medium we all love so much, discovering new and refreshing ways to explore narratives while remaining reverent and humble to the styles we grew up with.
Team Williams III up with longtime writing partner, W. Haden Blackman, and I’m there in a heartbeat.
Although my attention to Williams III work goes back to the wonderful Promethea he created with Alan Moore and carried over to Seven Soldiers of Victory and Batman alongside Grant Morrison, it was his Batwoman run with Blackman, nearly a decade ago, that solidified the pair as creators that must be paid attention to.
On the Batwoman title, they honed their storytelling chops, both in words and image. Here they were, embracing an LGBTQ+ character that none were familiar with, center stage in her own title, in a world where most readers wanted the same old Dark Knight Detective. It was a losing proposition. But over the course of nearly two years, Williams III and Blackman made Batwoman, Kate Kane, family, and showed readers everywhere that the character was both deserving of a solo series and a strong and proud voice for the marginalized in society. Their interpretation of Batwoman gave rise to the character’s pop culture appeal and success in more mainstream media, as seen on television’s Arrow as well as her own weekly program.
Today, however, sees the long awaited and eagerly anticipated launch of Williams III and Blackman’s forever gestating new series, Echolands!
Echolands goes back to the childhood of Williams III, when he first imagined the main protagonist, Hope Redhood, and her fascinating adventures and exploits.
But good ideas are funny things. Sometimes those eggs take a long time to hatch, and they grow and evolve over that process.
Other projects and business endeavours may have gotten in the way from time to time, but alongside Blackman, who has helped to energize, direct and write Echolands, fans finally get to see what the series is all about.
And it’s about a lot!
Echolands owes as much to childhood parables and nursery rhymes as it does to fantasy and science fiction. It’s reminiscent of the crazily disparate, but always unified, world-building of the highly regarded comic book series Saga, with the action and romp of beloved, but somewhat niche, 80’s titles like Six From Sirius, Dreadstar, Atari Force and Omega Men.
In Echolands, we meet reckless thief, Hope Redhood, who unknowingly holds the key to her world’s past and future. She’s on the run from an authoritarian wizard and his deadly daughter who want nothing more than to take what Hope has.
It’s a meaningful metaphor and, as the tagline states, The story of Earth’s last war starts with Hope’s sticky fingers…
Again, J.H. Williams III pushes the boundaries of visual storytelling as Echolands is published in landscape format. The fantastically drawn and painted art falls on intricately designed pages and thoughtfully placed panels that are experienced by readers like tight crevices of fascination across wide open vistas, teaming with characters and creatures new and familiar.
Echolands is fresh and exciting and a marvel to behold. More than anything, the first issue promises fun!
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up Echolands #1 – and shout out loud how great it is again and again and again!