Reading Comics With…Adrian Tchaikovsky

I’m always trying to get more people into reading comics for the first time but it can be a struggle as some regard it as just one genre (superheroes) and not a medium. Some people don’t know about the variety of stories being told and the different ways to tell a story that are unique to the medium. I regularly review comics and talk about them often on my podcast, but my opinion only carries so much weight.

Last year I contacted several fantasy authors to lend a hand by talking about their experiences with comic books, how they into reading comics and what they are currently enjoying at present. This week Tor.com will be running those short interviews.

Today features Adrian Tchaikovsky, the author of the epic fantasy series Shadows of the Apt. Book 6, The Sea Watch has just come out from Tor Books in the U.K. and book 5, The Scarab Path is scheduled for release in the U.S. from Pyr Books in April of this year.

Stephen Aryan: When did you first get into reading comics?

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Very late on, at university. I grew up in a rural area without much supply, and every comic on the stands just seemed to be some random slice of action between characters I didn’t know. Only when I had some buying power of my own and a decent local comics shop did any of it start to make sense.

What comics are you currently reading?

I’m following the Mignola trail of Hellboy and B.P.R.D. which seem to pop up fairly regularly, and The Goon as well. I tend to go for the collections rather than individual comics, mostly because loose comics fall off bookshelves far too easily.

I’ve also been catching up on Paul Cornell’s Captain Britain/MI13 stuff, which is fantastic reading. I’m not usually a huge fan of either of the two big comics powerhouses, Marvel or DC, but I’ve liked Captain Britain ever since Alan Moore’s “Jaspers’ Warp” series—I remember a friend at school showing me the phenomenal battle scene between the Cybiote and the Special Executive, and I was hooked—and Cornell has done some really neat things with the character and Marvel’s U.K. Other recent discoveries: Ignition City and Next Wave, a pair of absolute gems. Finally, and to my utter shame, I have only just read Gaiman’s Sandman, although to my credit I did basically burn through ten volumes in two weeks.

What is your favourite comic at the moment and why?

I tend to go back to certain Alan Moore titles again and again—the Captain Britain scene mentioned above, the big battle at the police station in book 2 of Top 10—Moore has a capacity for involving you with the lives of his characters (even minor ones) than then leads to tremendously emotive moments when they’re up against it. Watchmen is probably too obvious a choice, but it’s a perfectly balanced comic book experience.

Are there any new comics that you are particularly looking forward to?

Dearly awaiting the League of Extraordinary Gentleman sequel to 1910, and also a third Umbrella Academy collection, and perhaps a new Mouse Guard as well.


Stephen Aryan is a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction and fantasy. He co-hosts the Comic Book Outsiders podcast and writes fantasy and comic book reviews at Walker of Worlds.

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