By Zack Kaplan & Giovanni Timpano

Writer Zack Kaplan makes his comic book debut with the newest Top Cow series Eclipse. Set sometime in the near future, Eclipse depicts a world threatened by the sun’s increasing strength.That’s a big understatement, by the way. There’s a terrific mix of science and “what if?” possibilities that create an intensity, which transcends the storyline to become the tone for the series overall. As far as issue #1 goes, this is a great book with a really original spin on traditional sci-fi. Kaplan fully utilizes the genre too, casting a solar engineer as the – perhaps unexpected – hero. It’s a great move that really sells the authenticity of the book’s premise. A solar engineer protagonist in a book where the sun is destroying the planet! It’s totally original and makes so much sense, though the character himself is perhaps not the most likely candidate for heroism, which is bound to make for intriguing plot developments. Kaplan knows what he’s doing here, and you can look past the fact that it’s his first comic book because he’s got the pacing down pat. From panel to panel and from page to page the comic reads like a great comic should.

Partnering with Kaplan is the accomplished Giovanni Timpano who’s work can be seen on high-end properties such as The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, The Shadow and G.I. Joe. As writer and artist match ups go, these two seem made for one another. Kaplan writes a rock solid story with plenty of action while getting readers used to this world. Timpano executes one dynamic page after another and together they demonstrate what life is like when society is forced to go strictly nocturnal. The artwork is done in fine, detail holding lines that are practically delicate except that they help exemplify the light’s newfound danger. Timpano’s characters and structures have weight, though, despite being drawn in consistently thin strokes. The art here is a highly appropriate choice and it’s fun to watch Timpano venture out from behind such well-known titles and into completely new territory. It’s likely going to be as refreshing an experience for the reader as it is for the man himself. It would be unfair to say Timpano does the heavy lifting here, even though his experience in this medium is way more extensive than Kaplan’s, obviously. Fact is they collaborate well together and it’s impossible to tell where one leaves off and the other picks up. Certain aspects feel new and pleasantly unfamiliar, while the rest of the book feels spot on. They’re both having fun making this series and it’s more than apparent as of issue #1.

Eclipse is more than just a sci-fi book, it’s a murder mystery, but things are getting out of hand quick. After all, Earth has become a frighteningly dangerous place to live. As one might imagine, the slightest bit of trouble on top of the already volatile situation would immediately become more than society could handle. However, intentionally causing chaos in the most chaotic situation imaginable would be cause for genuine panic. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, but make no mistake this new series is already worthy of praise.

If you want to learn more about the creators, their process and what inspired their work on Eclipse then be sure to check out our recent interview with the guys as the prepare for what is sure to be a warm reception this September.

Eclipse #1 will be released September 7th from Top Cow.

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About The Author Matthew Strackbein

Matt Strackbein was born and raised in Maryland but has called Colorado home for the last 17 years where he lives happily in Longmont with his wife. He began reading comic books at the age of seven after discovering a silver age stash in his grandparents’ attic. Comic books inspired Matt to start drawing, which lead to a successful career as a commercial artist. He has worked in the apparel industry for many years as a production artist and designer. His accomplishments include designing backcountry skiwear for world-class athletes as well as downhill ski race suit designs for the 2014 Winter Olympics for the United States and Canadian national ski teams. Matt currently works as a freelance textile-print designer, but still dedicates time to his first love – comics. With over 200 letters to the editor published, Matt is a known letterhack. He self-publishes autobiographical comics about his struggles to break into the industry, which finally paid off when Dark Horse asked him to produce 2-page back up stories in recent issues of B.P.R.D. Besides his own comics, Matt collaborates on independent books as a colorist and letterer. He also teaches the art of making comics to students of all ages.