Jonathan Hickman’s work at Marvel Comics has been nothing short of stunning. From his re-imaging of the Fantastic Four to the thrilling espionage of Secret Warriors or the non-stop stun-a-minute experience that is S.H.I.E.L.D…. but that’s only naming his recent superhero work.
Before his move to Marvel, Hickman had already been recognized as a talented storyteller with the Nightly News, which grabbed the attention of the comic book critics and fans alike. His strong scripts and lush graphic design made Nightly News a major success, but he had more. He followed up that success with similarly brilliant works Transhuman, Red Mass for Mars and most recently the Red Wing (which is flying off the shelves if you’ll excuse the pun).
In October, Hickman will release the first in a series of four graphic novellas called PLUS with ‘Feel Better Now.’
“‘Feel Better Now’ is the story of a bunch of psychiatrists who, out of boredom, decide to begin tinkering with their patients, and what starts as immature pranks and harmless fun very quickly turns into some pretty hard-core, bleak — but hilarious — deviant behavior,” Hickman told CBR. “In fact, their conduct becomes codified to the point where they develop ‘rules of the game’ for scorekeeping and deciding who wins and who loses.”
It takes a specific kind of person to start messing around with your patients’ mental well-being, but Hickman explained that the psychiatrists are just part of a large L.A.-based group the PLUS! novellas will explore.
“These psychiatrists are operating as a subdivision within the greater community of apathetic Los Angelesprofessionals — they all have banded together to, kind of, collectively pass judgment on the society that they are part of,” Hickman said. “For example: Defense attorneys who compete to see who can get their criminal clients the longest and most severe sentences, plastic surgeons who use water for botox — you get the idea.”
As a creator, Hickman is enjoying his return to Image Comics, noting that that’s truly where it all began for him as a professional creator.
“It’s great,” Hickman said. “There isn’t a single book that I’ve done over the past four years that Image isn’t directly or indirectly responsible for — they were the first company to publish my work, and I remain unbelievably grateful and appreciative of that. I’m ecstatic to be at Image right now. Lot of good books with the big ‘i’ on them lately!”
Hickman also enjoyed getting back to the drawing board, noting that while “Feel Better Now” won’t look exactly like his past works, it will include a few of his artistic trademarks.
“I think ‘Nightly News’ looks a lot different than ‘Pax Romana,’ and I think ‘Feel Better Now’ will look much different than either one of those other works,” Hickman said. “Of course, I have my sacred cows so, you know, I’ll use the color blue a lot. There could be some circles.”
“‘Feel Better Now’ will be 40 pages of content for $3.99,” Hickman emphasized. “That’s about as good a price-to-page ratio that you’re going to find in this business right now. And, certainly, if you’re a fan of my other work, or have even been waiting to give some of my stuff a try, this offers not only a good slice of what I’m about as creator, but also is a ‘done-in-one,’ pain-free format. Hopefully everyone will give it a try, as I’m certainly proud of how it’s coming together.”