Here at io9, we’re massive fans of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ fantastic RPG-horror series Die—an incredible, grippingly subversive tale of tabletop fantasies that was, in fact, so good at homaging the tabletop experience it just straight up became a pretty great one of those eventually, too. But now, Hans and Gillen are back, for a very different story… but one that’s just as fascinating to look at.

“After we finished Die, we knew we wanted to do something completely different. Rather than a sprawling ongoing, do something smaller, intimate, self-contained, and really pure,” Gillen told io9 in a statement over email. “So, in the middle of the covid lockdowns, I was left alone with my cats, staring at them, and staring at me, and thinking about the miracle of relationships between beings of completely different kinds of intelligences, and the wonder of the jump across that gap. The image of the feral girl in the devastation and the giants came quickly after that, and we were away.”

Image: Stephanie Hans/Image Comics

That image became We Called Them Giants, a new standalone original graphic novel that reunites Gillen and Hans at Image Comics, alongside letterer Clayton Cowles. Following a young girl named Lori, the comic sees her wake up one day to find the world suddenly a lot more empty than it should be—and with all that remains of humanity scraping for survival and fighting among itself. And that’s even before horrifying, beautiful creatures suddenly enter the picture, and Lori’s life is transformed all over again.

“People will fall in love and have their hearts broken—the full Hans/Gillen experience,” Gillen continued. “Despite the post-apocalypse setting the story has an almost weird-fable kind of vibe, and ends up basically as a conversation between The Walking Dead and The Iron Giant. Basically, We Called Them Giants is the story of communication across a chasm at the end of the world. Folks have seen what Stephanie does on a month-by-month rush on an ongoing comic. Here, it’s a thrill to see her luxuriate—creating this single long story, and being able to shape the whole thing into a poignant, romantic, devastating single canvas.”

“As an Artist, it is always a joy to work on new challenges, especially when it is with such a great Writer. Kieron wrote an emotional story in which he let me go wild on designs,” Hans added in her own statement. “It’s a new, beautiful end of the world tale, a little bit epic, a bit nostalgic and a bit contemplative. It’s nothing like we did before. In all the best ways.”

We Called Them Giants is set to hit shelves November 12—click through to see just a few more teases of Hans’ gorgeous, painterly artwork from inside the book.

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