Love stories between humans and computers are as old as the concept of A.I. itself. Some are great (Her, Blade Runner). Some are terrible (Transcendence, Simone). Some make me feel like crying into my keyboard before they’ve even been released (Chappie). But though the space may be crowded, you’ve probably never seen one quite like Alex + Ada.
While tales about androids trend toward dystopian hell-scales or apocalyptic scenarios, Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna's comic is set in a world much like our own. The big exception—that androids have become sentient—is certainly an issue, but it's not the literal end of the world as we know it. "I think with the quiet tone we wanted to set, we needed a quiet world," says Vaughn, who writes the series. "There are plenty of problems. There are a lot of tragedies. But it's a functioning society. There is a lot of joy in it too."
Luna is most famous for his collaborations with his brother Joshua on comics like Girls and The Sword, which have a similarly flat look and feel. But with Alex + Ada, his soft colors and simple lines have found their most appropriate vehicle yet. Because Alex + Ada's minimalist world is uncannily similar to our own, Luna and Vaughn are free to focus on the titular character's relationship. But though their love may be unconventional, it's more uncannily human than other fictional romances between two biological people.
I caught up with the two creators to talk Luna's evolving art, Vaughn's first foray into comics, and the similarities—or lack thereof—between other android-centric stories.
Nathan Reese is a News Editor at Complex. He tweets here. The latest copy of Alex + Ada is on shelves today.