Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on July 19, 2010 - 06:00
Breathers by Justin Madson is a series of self-published comics that I first found out about at SPX. It's up to Issue #5 now and it remains an intriguing premise with some great characters and story arcs. (There are actually six books as there is an Issue #0) From what I can tell jumping around the web, it's criminal how few mentions of it there are, considering how good it is. Some of that is simply due to its minimal presence on the web (which it would be well suited to as each book's chapters are episodic in nature) but it's also just another reminder that simply producing good work isn't always enough to connect with a big audience.
The world of Breathers is one where a virus has rendered the air unfit for humans to breathe without the assistance of a breather -- a mask to filter out the virus. The world is fairly well-adapted to this new status quo when the story starts although people do remember the world before. Madson does a nice job of thinking through the implications of this situation, but this is not a hard core science fiction type story; it seems more interested in its characters and is even prone to bits of magical realism.