Anders Nilsen has been a mainstay of the indie comics world for a while, gaining huge acclaim with Big Questions, a massive rumination on the meaning of life seen via a flock of birds. The books won multiple awards and topped the Publishers Weekly Comic Critics Poll for 2011.
Since Big question, Nilsen, has mostly ben working in oddball formats, including a leporello based on greek myth ,notebooks and coloring books. But now, he’s back to comics with Tongues, a retelling of the Greek Myth of Prometheus based on the works of Greek playwright Aeschylus. Tongues will be serialized by Nilsen himself as a series of full color comics, and then collected by Pantheon in the US and Jonathan Cape in the UK.
The first issue is available for preorder now, with a pubdate of August 1. This is Nilsen’s first prolonged comics work since Big Questions, and in am email he noted, he’s having fun and remembering how hard it can be.
And here’s more details and a two page preview. This is stunning work.
Set in a version of modern Central Asia, Tongues is a retelling of the Greek myth of Prometheus. It follows the captive god’s friendship with the eagle who carries out his daily sentance of torture, and chronicles his pursuit of revenge on the god that has imprisoned him. Prometheus’ story is entwined with that of an East African orphan on an errand of murder, and a young man with a teddy bear strapped to his back, wandering aimlessly into catastrophe (a character readers may recognize from Nilsen’s Dogs and Water). The story is set against the backdrop of tensions between rival groups in an oil-rich wilderness.
Tongues is loosely based on a trilogy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, of which two plays are lost and only dimly reconstructed by historians. Key to the story of Tongues is Prometheus’ role as creator and protector of humanity. In flashbacks and in Prometheus’ conversations with the eagle and others the book will touch on humanity’s deep evolutionary past and its complicated prospects for a future. Tongues is both adventure story and meditation on human nature in our present fraught historical moment.