Mat Johnson + Steve Lieber explore family secrets + time travel in ‘Backflash’

The new graphic novel will debut from Dark Horse’s Berger Books imprint this fall.

Mat Johnson, writer of Incognegro and its sequel, Incognegro: Renaissance, is working with Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen artist Steve Lieber on a new graphic novel that offers “a delightfully strange and fresh take on time travel.” Backflash, which will be published by Dark Horse Comics’ Berger Books imprint, is scheduled to come out this fall.

They’re joined by colorist Lee Loughridge and letterer Clem Robins on the project, which is being edited by Karen Berger. She previously worked with Johnson when she was at Vertigo on the first Incognegro book, as well as Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story, Right State and a Hellblazer special. She also edited the five-issue Incognegro: Renaissance since coming to Dark Horse.

According to the news release, Backflash tells the story of Devin whose life is “spiraling out of control, until he discovers the impossible: with a random touch of an article of family memorabilia, he can travel back in time, mentally reliving the best moments of his past while escaping his problems of the present.” But it comes with consequences, as he discovers a family secret he was never supposed to find out.

“I’ve been Steve Lieber’s number one fan since reading The Superior Foes of Spider-Man,” Johnson said. “Not only are his illustrations gorgeous, but their mix of humor and heart are totally unique in the comics landscape. It was a bucket-list dream to team up with Steve, and even more special to do so on such a personal project, inspired as it is by the recent loss of my mom. Having the project benefit from the editing of the legendary Karen Berger made it all even more magical.”

Lieber’s work is always a joy to see, whether it’s on Superior Foes, Jimmy Olsen or Whiteout.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Mat’s work since Pym and Incognegro, and it’s been a tremendous privilege to work with him on Backflash,” Lieber said. “Every moment of this story is full of humor and pathos and true-to-life observation.”

The graphic novel will begin arriving in stores on Nov. 12.  

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