Tongues

In the remotest reaches of Central Asia a minor god is chained to a mountainside. Tongues follows his friendship with the eagle who comes everyday to eat his liver, a young girl on an errand of murder and a young man with a teddy bear strapped to his back lost in a wilderness and heading to a crossroads.  

Set in a version of modern Central Asia, Tongues is a retelling of the Greek myth of Prometheus. It follows the captive god’s friendship with the eagle who carries out his daily sentence of torture, and chronicles his pursuit of revenge on the god that has imprisoned him. Prometheus’ story is entwined with that of an East African orphan on an errand of murder, and a young man with a teddy bear strapped to his back, wandering aimlessly into catastrophe (a character readers may recognize from Nilsen’s Dogs and Water). The story is set against the backdrop of tensions between rival groups in an oil-rich wilderness.

Tongues is loosely based on a trilogy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, of which two plays are lost and only dimly reconstructed by historians. Key to the story of Tongues is Prometheus’ role as creator and protector of humanity. In flashbacks and in Prometheus’ conversations with the eagle and others, the book will touch on humanity’s deep evolutionary past and its complicated prospects for a future. Tongues is both adventure story and meditation on human nature in our present fraught historical moment.

Tongues will be serialized in large-format full-color comics and self-published over the next few years by the artist himself, making it his most ambitious work to date. Issue one is available to order now.

Upon the series’ completion collected editions will be published in the U.S. by Pantheon Books and in the U.K. by Jonathan Cape.

I love the hell out of this book...what puts the story together and makes it all work is the artwork, not just the line work and character designs, but the layouts and the overall design of the pages. The panels are never just squares, but rather trapezoids and other geometrical shapes that I don’t care to force myself to remember because I read comics in class instead of learning math. 5/5
— Dustin Cabeal, Comic Bastards
We live in a fallen world, but perhaps we can take some comfort in the knowledge that that’s nothing new. Millennia ago, Aeschylus wrote of humanity’s inherent fallibility and venality, and today, the brilliant Anders Nilsen is bringing us a rendition of three of the Greek tragedian’s tales in one utterly gorgeous comic.
— Abraham Riesman, Vulture