“…Grabs you from the first and keeps going…(Colleen Doran) does it with aplomb, with soul and with a sense of joy…”
“The New York Times” best selling author of Sandman, Neverwhere, American Gods, MirrorMask
A Distant Soil has all the right elements to be a YA SF/F phenomenon (with an enormous adult crossover audience) if comics were read as widely as prose— an unsuspecting teenage girl with a destiny and the fate of multiple worlds on her shoulders, beautiful people with superhuman abilities, a strong supporting cast of people you can root for (and—let’s be honest—ship), gorgeous costumes that beg to be cosplayed— but unlike the books that glut the YA market today, Colleen Doran did it 25 years ago and broke rules that hadn’t even been set down yet.
“An elegantly drawn, complex cast of characters crowd through her pages and fill her multidimensional story with a complex weave of emotion and wonder.”
The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Edition
St. Martin’s Press
World Fantasy award-winning author/artist of Sandman and Stardust
“Doran’s artwork puts the title into an elite group of black and whites that exercise the full potential that the format has to offer…intricately detailed…clean backgrounds, innovative layouts…merit attention for their beauty. The writing compliments the artwork well. Despite intricate plots and a looming bout with a time/dimension travel story line, this series is quite accessible…the comic is thoroughly enjoyable and a far cry from the mainstream for readers seeking something new.”
Midwest Book Review
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A Distant Soil is considered a classic of graphic novel art and has been profiled in books, magazines and documentaries. It is listed in The 101 Best Graphic Novels by Stephen Weiner, and is a perennial in American libraries. It’s themes and style predate the now common manga influence in American art, and it’s epic scope, a story of more than 1,000 pages, was almost unprecedented when first published.
Colleen Doran began working on her epic when she was twelve-years-old, publishing excerpts in science fiction fanzines while in high school, and then through a series of small press publishers. She was a core member of the self publishing movement, before being invited by Eric Larsen to take the book to Image Comics in 1996. It is now a part of the Shadowline book imprint at Image Comics.
Rich characterization, complex, intense plot threads, and passionate romance are the hallmarks of this critically acclaimed series, a story that has taken creator Colleen Doran more than a decade to tell. Over 40 comics are now in publication, many of which went through multiple printings, and the trade paperback editions are also in multiple printings. The series has also seen print in Spanish and Italian language editions, and to date has sold some 700,000 copies.
Two digitally restored editions of the graphic novel series are now in print. Volume 3-5 are in production.
Jason and Liana are the children of Aeren, a fugitive from the planet Ovanan, a world of powerful, beautiful and ageless psionics. Both children possess extraordinary powers. Jason, only 17 years old, is a disruptor, capable of short circuiting the energy systems in machines as well as in living beings. Liana, 15 years old, is the most powerful form of psionic in the known universe: she is an Avatar, a being who can draw on the life force of all the Ovanan people and wield that force as a weapon. Avatars are the religious leaders and protectors of Ovanan, but only one Avatar can exist at a time, and as long as Liana lives, she is a threat to Ovanan which has sent its massive warship the Siovansin to assassinate her.
Rieken, the leader of the Ovanan Resistance movement, and his bodyguard D’mer have also come to Earth in human guise to save her. They gather a brave team of human men and women to travel to the Siovansin to destroy the Hierarchy, the center of Ovanan’s corrupt government. Antonio Minetti, a policeman; Brent Donewitz, a teen gang member; Serezha Kirov, a Russian dissident; Corrine Brenegar, a clothing designer; Dunstan Achenlock, a magician whose powers are real; Christopher D’Errico, a medical student; Reynaldo Cabrera, a homeless boy; Bast, an Ovanan living in exile on Earth; and the legendary Sir Galahad from the other-dimensional world of Avalon, all join forces to protect Liana and Earth. Reserved Rieken, however, has a terrible secret he is hiding from his champions, a secret that will test the loyalties of his followers, and challenge everything they believe and, ultimately, the fate of the world will rest on the slender shoulders of the fledgling Avatar Liana. Warring factions within the Resistance threaten everything Rieken fights for and threaten the future of Earth and Ovanan alike.
A Distant Soil was self published under the Aria Press banner beginning in 1991, and then moved to Image Comics with issue #15 in 1996.