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Halt and Catch Fire creator looks for humanity in the darkness of space with The Blue Flame

The Blue Flame #1
(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell (Vault Comics))

The enormity of outer space has a way of making anything (and anyone) feel small in comparison. In a way, that's the story of the upcoming superhero/sci-fi comic book series The Blue Flame.

After showing us the humanity and heartbeat behind circuit boards and data packets in the cult-favorite TV series Halt and Catch Fire, writer/creator Christopher Cantwell is taking his ultra-personal approach to what is presumably cold and alien in this new creator-owned series with artist Adam Gorham.

"The Blue Flame is a cosmic hero. The Blue Flame is a DIY vigilante that fights crime on the streets of Milwaukee. The Blue Flame is a blue-collar HVAC repairman named Sam Brausam," reads Vault Comics' description of the first issue. "In the wake of a horrific tragedy, the boundaries of the Blue Flame's identity blur even further. Now, before a universal trial, the Blue Flame must prove that humanity is worth saving. But in order to do that, Sam Brausam has to save himself. Can he?"

This Brazil-esque take on the outer-space superhero genre is assisted by colorist Kurt Michael Russell and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Here's a preview of the team's first issue of Blue Flame:

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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))

The Blue Flame #1 preview

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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))
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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))
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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))
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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))
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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))
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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham/Kurt Michael Russell/Hassan Otsamane-Elhaou (Vault Comics))

"Contrary to what Adam's incredible cosmic art might suggest, the concept of Blue Flame was actually born out of a real feeling of helplessness," Cantwell tells Newsarama. "So far the 21st century has provided some truly intense and infinitely complex tragedy that I believe challenges the very idea of what it means to be human, let alone superhuman. 

"Personally - in the face of so much compounding unprecedented anxiety and strife - I've recently been in full retreat mode culturally as an adult. I have found myself dreaming of farther and farther away places, and escaping into the more and more fantastical, if just for some way to stay sane. That's because the truth remains that we are all struggling in a very difficult contemporary reality with all sorts of seemingly insurmountable problems that don't seem to be easily solved by anything."

Cantwell took that idea and contrasted it with the superhero comic books which helped him find some "solace" when he was a child - creating a story that takes away that "solace" from a noble hero.

"Some might see this as just another 'superhero deconstruction' book, but to me, it's really an allegory for what we are all feeling as people right now," the writer continues. "The epic-seeming battles within our souls, the painful struggles with our persistent mundane flaws and shortcomings, and a real existential dread around the survival of the human race itself."

Here's a look at the primary cover by Gorham, along with a variant by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel paying tribute to the famous Rocketeer cover by the late Dave Stevens.

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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Adam Gorham (Vault Comics))

The Blue Flame #1 covers

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The Blue Flame #1

(Image credit: Nathan Gooden/Tim Daniel (Vault Comics))

The Blue Flame #1 goes on sale on May 26.

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Newsarama Senior Editor Chris Arrant has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table.