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Comic of the month Sloane Feature Image

Comic of the MonthMarch 18, 2022

Comic of the Month: The Nagarjuna by Sloane Hong

Comic of the month Sloane Feature Image

A sneak peek at the comic artist’s new science-fiction thriller, featuring a brilliant local astronomer who may just have made contact with aliens.

Spinoff creative director Toby Morris writes:

Sloane Hong’s comics look and feel like no one else’s, which is just about the highest praise you can give a comic. I clearly remember the first time I saw them – the fluid, clear style, the eye for composition, the thoughtful, cleverly crafted writing, the impeccable use of timing – and feeling that instant pang of “I must know who made this'” Well, now I know: Sloane Hong is a trans, Korean-tauiwi illustrator, comic artist and tattooer, and the creator of some New Zealand’s most compelling new comics. Today we’re presenting a slice of a new story they’re working on, so here’s Sloane with a few words of explanation.

“For years, an electromagnetic cacophony had eclipsed a massive section of the stars, making every observatory and space programme south of the equator obsolete. Anyone and everyone with any kind of interest in the cosmos migrated north as a result, but Valerie Hak stayed to study the phenomenon at the only operating observatory left in the southern hemisphere. With help of Ilya Shao, a charming cryptolinguist, they decipher the signal to discover that it’s a language; someone or something was trying to make contact. But with no way to respond from Earth their research amounted to little more than a hypothesis. Frustrated, Val and Ilya decide to leave their lives behind and join the crew on board The Nagarjuna, determined to find its source and see their work through; to know that it was all worth it.

This featured piece isn’t so much a narrative as much as it was an experiment to test some visual/narrative techniques unique to comics. It acts as a teaser/trailer for The Nagarjuna; a science-fiction horror/thriller comic I’m currently developing, inspired by movies like Titane (2021), Possessor (2020), Sunshine (2007), and more. It’ll make its debut at the Shortbox Comics Fair in October alongside another comic from Aotearoa’s very own Hana Chatani and over 100 comic artists from around the world. But until then, you can check out some of my other work on my website or support my work through my Patreon.


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