This May, Oni Press is pleased to publish The Coldest City, the new graphic novel from New York Times-bestselling author Antony Johnston (Wasteland, Marvel’s Daredevil) and veteran artist Sam Hart (Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur, Robin Hood: Outlaw’s Pride). The 176-page, black-and-white hardcover details fictional events in Germany at the tail end of the Cold War. As the Berlin Wall falls and the world turns toward a new, open future, the old rules of the spy game must be honored one last time if all the players are to get out alive.
British secret agent Lorraine Broughton is an experienced MI6 officer whose assignments have taken her all over the world, but never to Berlin — making her an ideal candidate to infiltrate the city amidst the chaos right before the fall of the Iron Curtain. A fellow officer has been killed in West Berlin, while carrying a list containing the names of every covert officer, from every intelligence agency, operating within the city. This sensitive data is now missing, and MI6 doesn’t know who to trust. They hope an outsider like Broughton can find it before the killer can put it to use. With society changing and old secrets threatening to come out, this may be a taller order than she bargained for.
Antony Johnston has long been one of comics’ most versatile writers. He has tackled horror and sci-fi (Dead Space), westerns (The Long Haul), teen adventure (the Alex Rider graphic novels), and is best-known for his Alan Moore adaptations at Avatar Press and Wasteland, the ongoing post-apocalyptic series he writes for Oni Press. Johnston previously ventured into spy fiction when he wrote the third Queen & Country: Declassified series, making him the only outside writer ever authorized to work on Greg Rucka’s long-running comics and prose property. Now he’s creating a new world of intrigue and danger, breathing life into the classic style of espionage fiction practiced by authors like John Le Carré, Len Deighton and Ian Mackintosh.
Of his work on The Coldest City, Johnston explained: “I like working with shadows and mystery, whether it’s a horror story and there are literal monsters in the dark, or something grounded in real life where those monsters are people. Espionage is all about working with secrets and deciphering the unknown. In The Coldest City, the threat may be real, or it may not even exist at all. Finding the list is like chasing a phantom.”
Joining Johnston on The Coldest City is talented artist Sam Hart. “Sam has a stark, realistic style that is grounded yet mysterious,” Johnston enthused. “His use of blacks, negative space, and his sense of character all create a symmetry between the internal and external threats. The dangers that lurk around every corner and the dangers within all those involved are one and the same under his penmanship.”
The Coldest City is the first in a planned line of spy thrillers from Johnston, but the latest in a long line of prestigious graphic novels from Oni Press. “We have a tradition with espionage thrillers like Queen & Country,” publisher Joe Nozemack said, “as well as historical fiction. Books like Union Station and Petrograd have taken a genre approach to well-known stories that detail a particular moment in time, and The Coldest City is Antony’s take on material of similar intrigue.”
The Coldest City debuts in May 2012, just in time for the summer convention season. The black-and-white graphic novel will be printed as a hardcover and retail for $19.99. A website for The Coldest City, with more information and sample scenes from the book, can be found at www.thecoldestcity.com.