Among the Chosen (ATC) is a planned seven book graphic novel cycle written, modeled, rendered, penciled, inked, shaded and lettered by Daniel H. ATC is — superficially — the story of the seven magicians who, at some point in the distant past, all but destroyed the human race. At least that is what the about page indicates. So far the story has detailed a small skirmish in the larger cold war between the Mega-Corp Heirotus and its paramilitary nemesis, the Templar. That's ATC "proper" — the color pages, The Dualist and Transitional Voices. Dead City Radio, the black and white bits, seem to be about a disaffected, sometimes delusional, college student attending an unnamed art school in 1997.
Updates are more irregular than anything this side of Dresden Codak. Of course, this is because the author never tried to keep a schedule until May of 2013, and has acknowledged that the effort required for the creation of CG assets means that the odds of a regular update schedule are unlikely at best. When he does update, he may post one to several dozen pages. In addition, the author has a habit of going back and revising his work. The Dualist, for instance, has been through two major revisions. The authors reasons for this are many and varied - and fairly well documented.
The comic is very cryptic, often assuming the Viewers Are Geniuses because it's all in the liner notes. The military jargon, complex backstory and work in progress nature of the piece make understanding ATC akin to assembling a puzzle, but that's half the fun. The art work is very polished and the integration of 2D and 3D assets is well done.
If you want to get into ATC you'll probably want to read the short prequel Observer Effect, it's followed by Dead City Radio set in 1997, followed by The Dualist set in 2002, and Transitional Voices. Info on the cast and a glossary are available as well.
Oh and much of this may be NSFW due to occasional nudity and foul language.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Abusive Precursors: the Overseers, aliens that kidnapped ancient humans to use as slaves.
- All There in the Manual: There are extensive liner notes about the art and universe at the bottom of each page. As well as the FAQs and cast pages, some of which are a little hard to get to.
- Another Dimension: Planets can have layers of 3D spaces on top of eachother. Earth has around three alternate-earths that can be phased to and from, each with different human inhabitants.
- Author Appeal: The author may have a fixation with boobage and pregnancy.
- The Battlestar: The Sabrosa.
- Bio-Augmentation: Xand, the Addicaines, and Tantek in one form or another.
- Cool Starship: The Sabrosa.
- Cyborg: Tantek, and Xand
- Drugs Are Good: Hardcore stimulants are used often and explicitly. It is implied that the Addicaine commanders have the option of using heavy duty combat drugs to bring their troops up to battle ready status.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Requires gifted human navigators making contact with a "jump net" or highly sophisticated equipment (the Biomagnetic Transfer System, or BTS).
- Gender Bender: Towards the very end of The Dualist, Thad (a guy) ends up with his mind inside the body of Val (a gal), and it looks to be permanent.
- Grey and Gray Morality: The Templar may be A Lighter Shade of Grey but not much about the larger conflict has been shown yet.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Earth is in the middle of a sinkhole that makes FTL navigation extremely difficult - being in the middle of a Hazard To Navigation, the rest of the galaxy is unaware of Earth.
- Except it's really not so insignificant, as it's the origin point of the human species. Metahumanity in the larger universe is the distant cousin of Earth-humanity, after having been sucked off-planet some thirty thousand years ago by Neglectful Precursors and dumped on a variety of planets. They may have genetic engineering and FTL travel, but they're known as the "Human Diaspora" for a reason. This is probably incredibly interesting and important news, but it's being kept under wraps from both Earth-humanity and metahumanity - by whom, and for what reasons, is currently unknown.
- Little Bit Beastly / Furry Comic: Some of the characters are human/bovine or human/goat hybrids. The author handwaves this as "metahumanity" and has at times argued that if characters such as Grij and Shannon are "furries," then Spock is a rabbit and Worf is a lobster.
- Magi Babble: Goes with the Magitek.
- Magitek: Science and magic are heavily integrated. For instance, FTL relies on "ambient energy" and much of the plot revolves around attempts to harness the power of supernatural beings for scientific study.
- Mega-Corp: Heirotus.
- Mental Picture Projector: Used on Val at Bethlehem Medical Centre.
- Mind Screw: Often, especially in Dead City Radio (arguably the entire point of Dead City Radio).
- Most Common Super Power: Most of the female characters. Especially Raven, Val, and Xand.
- Nuke 'em: General Grij orders a nuclear strike on Bethlehem Medical Centre to "clean up" evidence of the Heirotus expedition.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Negative Biomagnetic Entities (NBE)
- Psychic Nosebleed: Victims of psychic attacks suffer bleeding from nose, eyes, and ears.
- Psychic Powers: All over the place and a major part of the plot.
- Readings Are Off the Scale: One instance caused the computer analyzing the data to have a stroke.
- Reincarnation: One of the Crazy-Prepared paramilitary forces even has protocols for if an agent somehow remembers working with them in a previous life. This actually happens once and is implied to happen more.
- Restraining Bolt: Implied that the Addicaines have these (Addicaine N-6, specifically, is heavily medicated as a means of suppressing his telekinetic abilities).
- Revision: The author sometimes revisits and does a new edition of a comic. Historically, this has been used as a justification for ret-conning CG elements, rewriting the story (but not the plot), and reformatting to improve pacing. The biggest revision took place over 2008-2009, in which The Dualist was completely rewritten and reformatted from 3:4 to 6:9.
- Secret Project Refugee Family: Jonathan West's companions include an Addicaine, a disgraced Marine, and a cyborg with amnesia.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Characters often go from highly technical mil-speak to vagina jokes and back in the same sentence.
- Subspace Ansible: The Quantum Analogue Relay (QAR). One-of-a-kind prototype, carried by the Sabrosa, which is itself a one-of-a-kind prototype.
- Super-Deformed: Used when characters are under the influence or very startled, mainly in the first half of The Dualist. Use of this technique has been phased out due to persistent (and well-reasoned) criticism from the author's (at the time) roommates.
- Super Soldier: The Addicaines.
- Transhuman: Most of the cast.
- Transplanted Humans: How humans ended up all over the universe.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: And how. The mil-speak, the Techno Babble and the tendency to mention important information exactly once all contributes to this.
- Wetware CPU: Carbon computers like IKON and Storm are carried by female transhuman hosts in a form of artificial pregnancy.