NEW YORK, NY (April 30, 2020)—The fourth book in the enchanting graphic novel series 5 Worlds will see its heroes travel to Salassandra, a desert planet, to continue their mission of lighting ancient beacons to restore environmental harmony to an overheating galaxy. As with the previous three volumes The Sand Dancer, The Cobalt Prince, and The Red Maze, each book introduces a new ecosystem and inhabitants that expand the collective mythology behind 5 Worlds. In The Amber Anthem, Oona Lee will not only have to light a new beacon through elaborate dances that command mystical sands, but convince a crowd of 10,000 to join her in singing the titular anthem.
“The 5 Worlds team has been constructing a dense fiction of planets and beliefs since the 2017 release of The Sand Warrior, and we’re seeing seeds we planted three years ago bloom in The Amber Anthem,” co-writer Mark Siegel explains. “From the history of the beacons to the mysterious Felid gods who built them, this book offers a parade of surprises from both the villains opposing Oona, Jax, and An Tzu, as well as a few from within.”
A timely theme for an election year in the United States, the villains sow confusion and mistrust through the people of Salassandra, preventing the public from aiding Oona and her peers in their integral mission. As the trio nears their goal, the sinister being known as the Mimic possesses the corporate overseer Stan Moon, working in tandem with other corrupt officials to bend perception against Oona.
“Though our fiction embraces the fantastic, our five worlds are not immune to the same problems we face on Earth today. These past four years have witnessed an onslaught of bad actors and propaganda,” Mark Siegel says. “New foe Peet Bowl and an unexpected voice from the past use those same weapons of ambiguity against our heroes.”
Artistically, Mark Siegel, who also serves as 5 Worlds‘ creative lead, drew inspiration from the visionary coaching of Jean Giraud, who Siegel came to know as a teenager in Paris. Giraud—commonly known by his nom de plume Mœbius—created some of the most internationally beloved sci-fi works of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
The 5 Worlds art team works in tandem for the final, glowing visuals; Siegel begins the process by providing layouts followed by Matt Rockefeller, Xanthe Bouma, and Boya Sun all contributing pencils. Rockefeller completes the final pass on the line work as Bouma establishes the key color palette, with Bouma and Sun collaborating on the final coloring. The creative team delights in the same mystical visual language Siegel learned from Giraud, from Bouma’s dreamy pastel color schemes to Sun’s startling ships and machines, and Rockefeller’s flowing deserts.
“We all adore the vivid imagery of European science fiction, and have worked to not only weave an unforgettable story that spans an entire universe, but to solidify those stellar geographies and their sweeping histories with line and color,” Seigel says. “With this volume, we’ve hopefully created a truly memorable oasis of a world in Salassandra.”
Print copies of 5 Worlds: The Amber Anthem will be available on 5/12/2020.
Mark Siegel has written and illustrated several award-winning and bestselling picture books and graphic novels. He is also the founder and editorial director of First Second Books. He lives with his family in New York. Find Mark at marksiegelbooks.com and the 5 Worlds team on Twitter at @5WorldsTeam.
Alexis Siegel is a writer and translator who has translated a number of bestselling graphic novels, including Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat and Pénélope Bagieu’s Exquisite Corpse into English and Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese into French.
Xanthe Bouma is an illustrator based in Los Angeles. Her work includes picture books, such as Little Sid, fashion illustration, and comics. Follow Xanthe on Tumblr at @yumbles and on Twitter at @xoxobouma.
Matt Rockefeller is an illustrator and comic artist from Tucson, Arizona. Currently living in Portland, Oregon. His work includes book covers, animation, and picture books such as Train, Rocket, and Pop! Follow him on Tumblr at @mrockefeller and on Twitter at @mcrockefeller.
Boya Sun is an illustrator and coauthor of the graphic novel Chasma Knights. Originally from China, Boya now lives in Los Angeles. Follow Boya on Tumblr at @boyasun and on Twitter at @boyaboyasun.