A pocket-sized sci-fi graphic novel is coming our way from Image Comics this July – Mawrth Valliis, by EPHK. This 128-page Martian-language original graphic novel will arrive in comic shops July 21 and bookshops July 27.

The plot of the book is as follows:

“During a skirmish with an opposing Martian faction, a fighter pilot disobeys orders to pursue a fleeing foe. Guided by her determination and curiosity, she is led into a dangerous chase through Mars’s forbidden valley where she will be confronted with the red planet’s darkest of secrets.”

EPHK is elusive artist Electric Pick. Not much can be gleaned about them but their Instagram profile describes them as a ‘Doodler/Comic Artist/Publisher/Honourable correspondent’, and currently based in Berlin. They have also been making and selling books for about a decade from three different countries. At a glance at their blog, they may also be a tattoo artist. EPHK currently has a Patreon “dedicated to the process and creation of my Magda Gamma sci-fi adult graphic novel series and all of my NSFW comics and artwork.” Curiouser and curiouser.

Mawrth Valliis was originally a Kickstarter project that ran in November last year. It had an €8000 (about $9500) funding goal, and made €11,334 — 140% of its target.

On the Kickstarter page, EPHK described how the comic came about:

“I’m not gonna lie… It’s a bit trippy. This project is… let’s call it “conceptual” and born from many very different influences hitting me at a very specific time. It is very different from what I usually do but it was so much fun to make and I am so damn proud of how it came out.

It all came together when my new found love for the format of 70’s Mexican Historietas (smaller size/few panels per page) merged with my desire to make a very classic 70s style sci-fi short story. It contains a lot of the things that I always want to do in comics but that never really fit with other stories I am working on.

I also, for the first time, decided to render everything digitally (in my own very analogue way). I usually hand paint my pages and this was a big change for me (I really thought it would be faster… I was very wrong). And what was initially supposed to be a month long, 32 page short project eventually mutated into a 5 month, 128 page brick. And the result is 100% awesome guaranteed!”

And if you don’t have a Martian translator to hand, don’t worry –

“it is paced as a silent comic so if you don’t read Martian you won’t actually be missing anything.”

The preview pages are definitely intriguing, one must admit. Look for the book in stores in July.