I met Ian Ally-Seals at both New York Comic Con and Rhode Island Comic Con. He is the editor-in-chief and creative force behind Rare Earth Comics. In addition to webcomics, their flag ship print comic is Doctor Atlantis.
This is odd, fun comic takes place in the 18th century, when the world has yet to be completely explored. While it may appear to be steampunk, it is more accurately, according to Ian, “Verneian’. Jules Verne wrote science fiction in the 19th century before well before Hugo Gernsback coined that term in 1929. Verne’s science fiction, being a product of his time, looks a heck of lot like today’s steampunk. In fact, steampunk is merely reimagining science fiction through the eyes of the 19th century married to the marvels of the 21st.
This is what Ian and company are trying to accomplish with Doctor Atlantis. When we first meet the good doctor he has just rescued what appears to be a south seas inhabitant, who was adrift at sea, from becoming a meal for an oversized crab. The Doctor, Julius Fowler, takes the boy to a wondrous ship which Verne would have been proud of.
After they defeat the crab creatures, the Doctor takes the boy to his home island, which has been overrun by slavers. With wit, technology, bravery and style the Doctor rescues and loads them aboard his ship.
Volume Two provides the Doctor’s back story as we meet the evil Captain Cumberland. Cumberland led an expedition from England with two ships on a voyage of discovery. However, his concept of the voyage differed greatly from the Doctor’s. Cumberland is a vile bigot who tortures the people he meets and burns their villages when they don’t to submit to the crown. The fact they they don’t understand what he is asking is irrelevant as it is “not my problem that they only speak savage.”
Unfortunately, Cumberland has now caught up to the Doctor and his new friends. And a battle for the ship ensues.
This is fun cross between 19th-century romantic adventures, pulp adventures and, of course, Doctor Who.
The art is black-and-white, and it does work. While the penciling is somewhat raw, it lends itself to the feeling that this comic is a relic from an earlier period, which no doubt was the idea. However, I think the comic would benefit from a Hal Foster or Gray Morrow type of style.
Fans of Verne and Steampunk will find this an enjoyable and light read. I am looking forward to getting my hands on Volume 3.