Lazarus Sourcebook Collection: Digital release available


The details that help create the comic book, Lazarus.

The digital release of the compiled Lazarus Sourcebooks is now available. Image Comics does a comics day, and Wednesday was that day. Which is great if you need to suck down some new eye candy. (They also dropped a new issue of Saga, a review of which will be up soon.)

Lazarus is a richly-imagined world, in case you didn’t know. It’s packed full of details that make it the fleshed-out, immersive experience it is becoming famous for. So many details, in fact, that the creators Greg Rucka and Mike Lark have created three special issues. They are not comics. They are text-based informational documents containing a multitude of facts about an individual Family existing in the Lazarverse (I think I made that word up but I’m gonna keep running with it.)

Now they have been collected for the first time, available to you consumers with new and updated factoids.

What are the Families of Lazarus?

In this new world, everything is run by 16 Families. Everything. Almost seventy years from now. Because 67 years ago, from the current storyline, the world gave up, and fought the Dissolution War. Capitalism took over in a crazy way. As a result, there are now less than twenty Families running things.

It’s notable that “42 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the global population“, not that long ago, so this isn’t a crazy stretch. They are tech giants. Weapons manufacturers. Oil and steel magnates. Real estate oligarchs. You should think Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Oprah, Putin..maybe a little more extreme, or less, depending on your perspective. Anyways, they run things now. As a result, things are messed up.

Image Comics

The Waste

Most of humanity has been reduced to a brutal, Spartan existence. They are called Waste, in Carlyle Territory. That is what is happening there, while in other territories, they are called nonpersons, in other places, other things.

Thought of in the lowest terms, if at all, in Lazarus these people are left to struggle through a bleak life with no help. Obviously, lots of them turn to crime to support themselves, although many live the lives of ranchers or simple laborers.

Occasionally, in Carlyle Territory, an event called The Lift happens, which allows Waste to come try out for a chance to move up into Serfdom.

Serfs: Privileged Servants

Serfs, much like the ancient feudalism of yesteryear, still work for the Family. They the doctors, the sandwich artists, the lawyers. They work for Family Carlyle. Not all the families have this sort of benevolence. In Hock Territory you are either a Citizen, a Nonperson, or a Prisoner. Seems like that stinks.

What is the Sourcebook?

Each Sourcebook contains thirty or so pages of excruciatingly detailed text illuminating various aspects of each of the three Families doings, history, military might, etc.

What is of particular note to me are the advertisements and “artifacts” created by Eric Trautmann, who did some Flash Gordon and Vampirella. He has created credit card ads, tv promos, government notices, all types of innocuous little details that you honestly wouldn’t think of; each of them helps bring a sense of depth and realism unlike many other comics out there today.

The Three Sourcebooks

Carlyle was the first Family to have a Sourcebook released.  It details their territories, commerce, crime, technology, science, and military details. Furthermore, it also discusses The Lift and The Post, which is like an all-encompassing internet calendar bill pay station thingie. Once again extremely well thought out concepts at play here, to be able to construct an operative government system based off real-life stuff. Thus far in the comic, Carlyle has seemed like maybe the best place to be, but we’ve only been shown so much of the world.

Hock: Carlyle’s neighbor to the east, claiming east America, runs his regime thru fear, violence, and copious drugs, provided free from the state. Dissent is cause for a lengthy imprisonment, if not more. Nonpersons are forced to work to death. Therefore much of the land sits ruined and unused. The Hock Sourcebook covers these same sections. Finally, Hock and Carlyle are the two last living people who were at the creation of this new existence. So you know there is some good enmity there.

Vassalovka: its the largest, and therefore the hardest to control, of all the Families, in terms of geographical landmass. Multiple lesser families, called Avtoritet, or “Authority”, do the smaller runnings of the territories under Vassalovka control. They’re big on family over there, and the Russian crime syndicates morphed into something new, something familiar. Once again, similar sections detail various aspects of the Family, including a vicious Lazarus known as The Zmey.

Image Comics

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Why buy this instead of three separate issues

This collection contains new, updated information about the individual Families, revising data that had previously been in existence. The miniseries X+66 covers some new ground that needed to be added, so the author edited some stuff. In addition, there are out and out new sections of material, new artifacts, and hints about the coming future. There might be some God Rods in effect, who knows. All in all, well worth the money to collect the three into one.