Image Comics Reinvents the Mermaid in Aquarius: The Book of Mer

Afua Richardson will be writing and drawing the upcoming quarterly series called Aquarius: The Book of Mer, which reinvents mermaid mythology. Part of an ongoing series, the recently crowdfunded title will be published by Image Comics starting this May.

Some of Richardson’s most notable works include the Eisner award-winning series Black Panther: World of Wakanda. She created the covers as well as contributed interior art for a short story within the first issue. Richardson also worked on illustrations that appeared in the first season of HBO’s Lovecraft County, which includes numerous references to H.P. Lovecraft’s work. This is not the first time Richardson has worked on a title at Image. She previously did covers and interior art on their partner company Top Cow’s 2008 Pilot Season winner and Glyph-nominated Genius. Richardson has also done variants for Image’s Black Magick, DC’s WildStorm, and Marvel’s Captain Marvel, X-Men ’92, Captain America, and the Mighty Avengers, as well as Totally Awesome Hulk.

In the official Image Comics announcement, more information was unveiled about Richardson’s upcoming comic book series Aquarius: The Book of Mer. This modern exploration of mermaid myths takes place in 1983 Harlem and the dreams haunting Astara, which feature monsters and merfolk along with her Ancestors. The description hints at a sacrifice that she’ll have to make in order to be free. It will be interesting to see if the series will have any Lovecraftian horrors reminiscent of Richardson’s other work. The main cover will be by series writer and artist Richardson while the variant cover will be crafted by David Mack (Kabuki).

In her interview with ComicBook.com, Richardson explained that “I like to look into the origins of things and find what is knowable of our history philosophy, and metaphors that may represent natural phenomena,” adding, “When looking into the origins of mermaids there seemed to be such a vast culture stretching everywhere I looked. Each land having a flood myth with common themes of half-human half aquatic beings that pulled on the strings of nature and the emotions of humans. Where did it come from? What were their names and characteristics? It’s so easy to find what separates us these days. Leave it up to legend to reveal the rivers of our mythologies share a common img of inspiration.” 

Aquarius: The Book of Mer performed very well on Kickstarter, hitting almost $50,000, which seems to be a running theme with recent Image Comics titles releasing on the platform, such as when Nocterra raised over $200,000. A unique quality about the Aquarius series is that it will be accompanied by music created by Richardson for each issue.

Richardson’s work is just another wonderful example of breaking down gender stereotypes associated with the comic book industry, a topic she discussed on the Lovecraft Country Season 1 Blu Ray. For those looking to order the first issue at their comic book store, the two available covers for the first issue of Aquarius: The Book of Mer will be available on May 19, 2021.

Source: Image Comics

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