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Oni Tours the Atomic City
By Brian Jacks


In April 2003, a year after the release of ATOMIC CITY TALES, VOL. I: GO POWER!, Oni Press has announced the second volume of Jay Stephens’ influential and innovative superhero comic book. ATOMIC CITY TALES, VOL 2: DOC PHANTOM collects the three-issue miniseries originally published by Kitchen Sink. This staple of alternative comics looks at the fleeting feelings of fame, and an insecure hero who can’t get past the fact he wasn’t invited to the party of Atomic City’s lead supervillain. This will be the first time these comics will have appeared under one cover.

“Jay was deconstructing the superhero before it was the new millennium rage it’s become today,” said Oni Press editor-in-chief Jamie S. Rich. “And he did it without the sort of teary-eyed nostalgia or willful pretentiousness that mars some of the more current work. ATOMIC CITY is like all of Jay’s work—it’s shot through with whimsy and brought to life with a joyous sense of unbridled imagination. It was 100% unique when it first came out, and it continues to stand on its own over six years later.”

“ATOMIC CITY TALES definitely represented a certain time for me, as far as creating art is concerned,” Stephens said. “I approached it with the attitude that anything was possible and I let my brain run wild. In some way, it’s like me redoing all the comics I loved as a kid, but in a way that made more sense to me as an adult cartoonist. It still holds up as my most uninhibited work.”

“Jay Stephens is a really underrated cartoonist,” Oni publisher Joe Nozemack commented. “He has an amazing sense of line, and in ATOMIC CITY TALES, he uses gray tones to create an amazing sense of depth. Jay could draw anything and make it look cool.”

Article continued below advertisement

As an added bonus, the book will contain the short story “The Stiff” by Stephens with inking by X-STATIX artist Mike Allred. “‘The Stiff’ actually dates back to my days as editor on DARK HORSE PRESENTS,” said Rich. “Jay brought this story to me, and said he wanted our pal Doc Allred to finish it up for him. It’s a wry take on the detective genre, featuring a hard-faced gumshoe who also happens to be a superhero. I loved it, and it’s fun to be bringing it back out.”

In addition to this bonus, Stephens will be providing a new afterword for the book as well as some sketch pages.

ATOMIC CITY TALES, VOL 2: DOC PHANTOM is scheduled to ship on April 16, 2002. It is a standard comics-sized book with 96 pages of black-and-white story and art, and retails for 12.95 with the ISBN 1-929998-27-9. Due to graphic language, it is recommended for mature readers.

ATOMIC CITY TALES, VOL. I: GO POWER! is still available and can be ordered using the Diamond Star Code STAR15591 or the ISBN 1-929998-26-0.


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