I met writer Kelly Sue Milano and artist Lisa K Weber at this years Fan Fest sponsored by Phoenix Comic Con. They were nestled in a remote corner of the Arizona Cardinals Stadium in Glendale Arizona, the headquarters for this years event. Their booth was tricked out with framed images of the characters from HEX 11, hanging on a bright backdrop that was exquisitely decorated with shimmering scarves (a focal point in issue #1)…clever marketing. My wife and I were greeted by the books producer/editor/hype woman Lynly Forrest. She was amazing to us and wasted no time telling us what they had created.
In the world of Hex11, humans have just discovered they are capable of Magic. As society moves from the Digital Age into this new Magic Age, the powers that be within the deepest reaches of the government are concealing what they know, seeing an opportunity to assert a new level of control. Those who practice Magic without registration become fugitives of the law and are displaced to The Hex, a borough on the outskirts of Pyrian.
Hex11 follows one young woman, Elanor, as she navigates her life in The Hex and her studies apprenticing Vera, the Hex’s most powerful witch. She is eager to learn all she can in order to help those who flood into The Hex looking for refuge. When an ordinary errand finds her in the midst of a magical firefight, she realizes her powers are much stronger than she thought – and that Magic may not be as novel as they once imagined…
Like a cross between Neo Tokyo and that dystopian Los Angeles from Blade Runner, HEX 11 establishes itself as a Neo-Medeval read. Our leads are strong women, not unlike those you might’ve read about in history books or books of yore.
They have power, which gives them all the edge they need in this ever changing and fantastic landscape. Their spells resembles circuit boards, but with strange symbols embedded throughout, an obvious testament to the time this is taking place. A time when technology and witchcraft are one.
In this issue, Eleanor (our lead), is the new Alice in Wonderland, minus the naivety. She’s a promising heroine/student with a spirit of adventure as she circumvents some of HEX’s more seedier and wondrous alleys in search of a scarf for her teacher (Vera Wyck). Vera is clearly powerful, but is prone to foolery at her students expense. It’s a clever trope, the wise sage with a sense of humor. Yoda, Mr. Miyagi, Pai Mei, are all examples of this, but guess what? All of the aforementioned worked like gangbusters!
Is it too early to tell if this will work for HEX 11? Yes, but I love where their relationship is headed.
It’s on this quest for the scarf that she stumbles upon an exchange that she wasn’t meant to see. Booth, one of the HEX’s black market dealers, is approached by Osrick, a demon from The Verge (a dreamlike dimension between the living world and Oblivion) for an item known as “The Matter”. Eleanor recognizes the demon as someone who may have been involved in the disappearance/death of her sister Clara (now an angry spirit roaming The Verge and hellbent on revenge) and steps in to help.
Let’s just say some spectacular magic ensues.
Without giving away everything this 24 page issue has to offer, I will say HEX11 #1 is a wonderful take on the fantasy genre. It’s characters are solid, the art work is beautiful and full of life and the writing is complete and filled with unique arches and interesting turns.
It’s very refreshing to see the ladies stepping up and not being relegated to writing or drawing for male- driven mainstream comics. Lord knows we have plenty of them already.
The HEX 11 world is honest and free of misogyny and fake female power and is further proof that women have what it takes to write a marketable and positive comic book!
More info on HEX11: