Everything can change in an instant — your day, your world, even yourself. This simple yet profound concept seems to lie at the heart of writer Richard Starkings’ upcoming March one-shot “Man and Elephantman,” which, as one of the triptych covers apparently indicates, centers around the hybrid stars of Image Comics’ “Elephantmen” ongoing series mysteriously transforming from animal to man.
“I guess so,” teased Starkings when asked about the details of the over-sized issue. “I really cannot say more than that.”
For those wondering who or what the Elephantmen are, the backstory of the ongoing series involves the tragic tale of man and animal hybrids created by the MAPPO Corporation — who then brainwashed and stripped the resulting creatures of their free will in order to make them into soldiers, mercenaries and killers. After their liberation and rehabilitation following a violent and bloody confrontation with U.N. forces, the remaining Elephantmen spend their days desperately trying to fit into a world where most humans look at them with disdain, disgust and distrust.
The “Elephantmen” ongoing focuses on three specific hybrids — the hippo-mixed Hip Flask, the elephant Ebony and the rhino-based Obadiah Horn — and the human allies in their lives, including the Information Agency’s Vanity Case, sexy Skycab driver Miki and Horn’s wife Sahara. The upcoming single-issue “Man and Elephantman” serves as both the start of a new arc for the title and as a “jumping-on point” story that catches readers up on the world and the characters. More than that, however, Starkings considers the special to be penciler Axel Medellin’s “first proper issue on the book” as well as a visual treat for both old readers and new arrivals.
“Even though he’s been with us now for five issues, it feels like a new departure, and Axel deserves a #1 issue — his work is just so beautiful,” said the writer. “Over the course of the last five issues, Axel’s illustration process has evolved considerably, and readers will see it in full effect on the special. Axel is a consummate artist and isn’t afraid to tackle anything I throw at him. He’s helped expand the world of the Elephantmen with a confidence and skill that constantly astonishes me.”