Come rain or shine, disaster is on the horizon for local weatherman Nathan Bright.
In the upcoming Image Comics series The Weatherman, writerJody LeHeup teams up with artist Nathan Fox and colorist Dave Stewart on a story of a weatherman who finds himself accused of killing half the planet.
(No, he's not Thanos).
With the series scheduled to debut June 13, LeHeup spoke with Newsarama about The Weatherman and gives his own personal forecast of what's to come for Nathan Bright.
Newsarama: Jody, we're 700 years into the future, on Mars no less, can you set the stage for humanity at this point in time in The Weatherman?
Jody LeHeup: Right, well as you mentioned, The Weatherman takes place far in the future after Earth’s population has been wiped out by the worst terrorist attack in history. What’s left of humanity is now living on terraformed Mars which is like a kind of sister planet to Earth. And all those people are overcome with grief, pissed off because the assholes that did it are still out there, and they’re terrified that another attack is imminent. So there’s a lot of impending doom that permeates Martian society at the start of our story.
Nrama: So, what can you can tell us about Nathan Bright, the titular weatherman?
LeHeup: Nathan’s a local celebrity weatherman and an all around fun-loving guy. He’s into classic cars and noodle bars, his dating life is on the upswing, and he has - at least in his mind - the best job in the world. As a weatherman, Nathan has a very unusual style. It’s more of a variety show than a forecast but as long as he’s putting smiles on the faces of commuters her’s alright with that.
Nathan’s doing his thing and living the good life when all of a sudden out of nowhere he’s accused of masterminding the attack on Earth. Nathan of course is like, “That’s completely crazy. Have you met me? I have a golden retriever.” The problem though is that Nathan’s missing time. There’s a giant gap in his memory and he can’t actually say if he did it or not.
So Nathan’s forced to go on the run, totally ill-equipped for life as the most wanted man in the galaxy. The whole solar system wants to put a bullet in his head and he’s never even seen a gun before. In spite of all that though, Nathan has to go on a journey to find out what really happened and the key to stopping a second mass attack.
On the way he’s joined by Amanda Cross. She’s the government intelligence operative assigned to building evidence against Nathan. She hates him with every fiber of her being but due to story events she and Nathan find themselves handcuffed together (metaphorically speaking) as they battle their way to the truth. So there’s a fire and ice dynamic at play throughout most of the series.
Nrama: Who are Paradigm because there's this brief mention of them actually buying weather? What's their relation to the world at large?
LeHeup:We liked the idea that because Mars has been terraformed, that humanity has managed to control the weather somewhat. So corporations like Paradigm could actually purchase a sunny day for their company picnic. As for their relation to the world at large, you’ll have to wait and see. I will say though that in terms of parties that want to see Nathan Bright dead, we’re really emptying out the cupboard and escalating things way past eleven. It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
Nrama: You got to work with Nathan Fox here and what was the collaboration process like?
LeHeup:Yeah, “got to” is definitely the term I’d use. I’m the luckiest comics writer alive. Nathan is a dream to work with. Not only is he a master comic artist and illustrator, but he’s an outstanding collaborator in all the other ways people don’t talk about enough. Nathan’s the kind of artist that rolls up sleeves and digs into the story and characters and world in ways that most artists don’t. He’s a sponge for information and is always eager to workshop and find the better way. He makes us both look like geniuses. I couldn’t be more grateful to have him as a co-creator.
Nrama: What makes his style mesh so well to the story?
LeHeup: Too many to name, really. It’s his world building, his acting and the way he handles emotional moments. It’s the dynamism of his action and the drama of his compositions. It’s his stylized draftsmanship. It’s the sheer electricity of it all. The viciousness. Nathan’s art grabs you by the throat which is perfect for a story like this.
Nrama: On top of that, you have Dave Stewart on colors, did you give any direction to how you wanted the world to look?
LeHeup: Yeah, what can I say about Dave that hasn’t been said before? Dave is a coloring legend and for good reason. That’s a real thing. Dave’s the kind of guy you point at something and let him go to work because you know what you’re going to get back is going to be amazing. That said the coloring still has to serve the story at the end of the day so we’ve had some pieces of direction for him here and there. Mostly having to with getting the world right and balancing things out in terms of overall tone. And he’s been great about all of that.
The rest of our team is doing (inter)stellar work as well. Tom Muller’s killing it with his outside-the-box designs, letterer Steve Wands never fails to impress with his font expertise, and editor Sebastian Girner is keeping all of us hard-to-wrangle creators in line.
Nrama: Sci-fi is coming back in a big way over at Image, how do you feel like Team Weatherman can set this book apart?
LeHeup: We’re not really worried about what other books are doing to be honest. There’s never been a comic like this one before either from a story or art standpoint so we’re going to stand out by just being ourselves. Science fiction takes many, many forms. There’s room for all of it. But we know what’s coming and The Weatherman is going to be the most talked about issue on the stands come June.