Astonishing Times: Rise of the Kokin Begins

Spinning Out of the Pages of Astonishing Times Comes

Astonishing Times: Rise of the Kokin

Written by Frank J. Barbiere and Arris Quinones with Art by Ruairí Coleman

The Series Begins Digitally from Comixology Originals January 23, 2024


January 16, 2024—New York, NY— Spinning out of the pages of the smash hit series Astonishing Times, comes Rise of the Kokin from award-winning writer Frank J. Barbiere and Arris Quinones, host of YouTube’s Variant Comics channel. Featuring kinetic art by Ruairí Coleman, colors by Andrew Cramer, and letters by Taylor Esposito, the team returns to the world of Astonishing Times to craft a story that examines the role of superheroes in the 21st century. Astonishing Times: Rise of the Kokin #1 arrives January 23, 2024, from Comixology Originals, Amazon’s exclusive digital content line.

“I’m excited to come back to the world of Astonishing Times after the huge success of our first arc and focus on that volume’s breakout character, Kokin,” says artist Ruairí Coleman. “Being that Kokin is such a complicated individual, it was only fitting that we gave him an equally complex origin story and I feel that the tale we’ve woven in Rise of the Kokin will really resonate with fans of character-driven superhero adventures. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s chock full of Cyberpunk action and intrigue!”

Astonishing Times: Rise of the Kokin is a new 5-issue comic series that focuses on the life of one of reporter Noah Sans’ most revered heroes, the mysterious cybernetic samurai, Kokin. Spanning Kokin’s life, from his early years as the young son of a prominent military man, to the powerful warrior he becomes, as seen in the pages of Astonishing Times. All will be revealed—from who trained him, where he comes from, and what he fights for!

“I am beyond stoked to be able to tell the origin story of Kokin,” says co-writer Arris Quinones. “Being able to hone in, and really focus on one of my favorite characters that we created is a dream come true. He was definitely a fan favorite the first time around so I’m excited for fans to finally learn the origin and mythos of him. I hope to keep creating more stories for Kokin and characters in the Astonishing Times universe for a long time.”


“I’m thrilled about getting this amazing team back together to do more great work for Comixology Originals,” says co-writer Frank J. Barbiere. “We’ve taken everything up a notch. Getting to tell the story of the mysterious and exciting Kokin is just the cherry on top. Any fan of action, cyberpunk, and superheroes is going to find a lot to love in this series as we continue to build out the world of Astonishing Times!”

Astonishing Times Vol 1 is available in print from Dark Horse Books and digitally at


About the Creators:

Frank Barbiere is a former English teacher and graduate of Rutgers University and the Graduate School for Education. He broke into the comics industry with the creator-owned hit Five Ghosts (Image Comics) and has since worked for every major publisher in the U.S., while having a global presence in France (Glenat Comics), Italy (Cosmo Editoriale), and Spain (Norma Comics). His body of work includes notable runs on Avengers World and Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. at Marvel Comics, as well as the creator-owned series Black Market and Broken World (BOOM! Studios), The Revisionist (Aftershock Comics), Violent Love (Image Comics), and The White Suits (Dark Horse Comics). In 2017 Frank began working as a narrative designer in the videogame industry, working on titles such as Destiny 2 and Darksiders Genesis. He currently works at Airship Syndicate, a video game studio founded by comics legend Joe Madureira. Follow him @atlasincognita

Arris Quinones is the host and co-creator of Variant Comics, a YouTube channel known as the grandfather of comic channels with over 2 million subscribers and 6 million monthly views. He became passionate about comics when he was eight years old. Ever since then, he has immersed himself in his love for comics on a daily basis, over time becoming a knowledge base for all things comics. He now spreads his love and knowledge for comics on a weekly basis to millions of people as one of the most influential faces in the medium. Follow him on Instagram: @arrisq, TikTok: @arris_quinones, Twitter/X: @arris_quinones

Ruairí Coleman has been busy since working on the first volume of Astonishing Times, drawing Captain Marvel, Hellcat and Edge of Spider-Verse at Marvel Comics, as well as Superman: Son of Kal-El at DC Comics, and A Haunting On Mars (his second creator-owned project) at Scout Comics. Rise of the Kokin sees Ruairí expand his role within the Astonishing Times creative team, helping to develop the story of Kokin’s origin alongside Frank and Arris. Follow him @ruairicoleman

About Comixology Originals:

Amazon’s Comixology Originals exclusive digital content line is available at no additional cost for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and Comixology Unlimited, and for purchase at Prime Reading offers all Amazon Prime members a rotating selection of more than 3,000 digital books, magazines, comics, and more – all at no additional cost to their Prime membership. Kindle Unlimited gives customers access to more than 4 million digital titles, including thousands of audio books and comics, plus current magazines for just $11.99 a month with a free trial period at Comixology Unlimited offers over 45,000 comics, graphic novels and manga for just $5.99 a month with a free trial at


Praise for Astonishing Times

“Compelling setup, terrific artwork & it hits 2 of my sweet spots: superheroes & journalism! Welcome, Noah Sanz!” –New York Times reporter George Gustines

Astonishing Times is one of those special books that comes along every few years to breathe new life into the superhero genre. Barbiere, Quinones and Coleman are reinventing tropes and re-imagining archetypes to make something groundbreakingly new, and of this moment.”   

—Scott Snyder (Batman, Nocterra)

Astonishing Times is exactly the kind of comic I love. It is both a love letter to and a deconstruction of superhero comics. Gorgeous art, great characters, badass action, and killer mystery make this a must read for anyone who has ever cared about capes and masks.”

—Matthew Rosenberg (Joker: A Puzzlebox, Uncanny X-Men, Four Kids Walk into a Bank)

Astonishing Times is a delight to read as it warms against cynicism, illuminates the future, and feeds the soul all through a cape crime story with clear eyes, full hearts.”

—Ryan K Lindsay (Eternal, Everfrost)

Astonishing Times blends a profound love for the superhero genre with a sharp, savvy twist that will keep readers tapped into the world Barbiere, Quinones, Coleman and co. have crafted a fun ride that’s well worth your time.”

—Alex Segura (Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, Secret Identity, The Black Ghost)

“Astonishing Times is a love letter not just to super-heroes, but to super-hero fans, as well. It’s affectionate without being pandering, with killer twists and turns and some really fluid, expressive art.”

—Jay Faerber (Copperhead, CW’s Supergirl)

Astonishing Times is a unique spin on the established superhero fable. In part an ode to the classical superhero legacy story but with a contemporary twist. Barbiere and Quinones write a sharp and relatable story, with wonderful art by Coleman, who manages to hit just the right balance of modern superhero aesthetic, aided by wonderful moody colouring by Affe. The whole team delivers an interesting mystery that plays with well loved genres.”

—Declan Shalvey (Immortal Hulk: Flatline, Time Before Time)

“Few superhero comics get something that’s genuinely heartfelt while also grounding it in a lived in world that has people beneath the mask.”

—Kieron Gillen (The Wicked and the Divine, Journey Into Mystery, Die, Eternals)

Astonishing Times is the kind of comic that reminds you exactly why we love superheroes. Yet it’s more than just a love letter to capes and cowls–with one hell of a mystery added in–it’s a testament to the entire medium. Barbiere, Quinones, Coleman and company have created something really special.”

—Michael Moreci (Wasted Space, Barbaric)

Astonishing Times infuses classic superheroes with a blindingly modern take on journalism, content consumption, and the business of hope. Now, in a world with a social media attention span, it’s not just enough for superheroes to protect us, inspire us, and empower us — they have to make it more interesting than the latest hashtag.”

—Steve Orlando (Supergirl, Midnighter, Commanders in Crisis)

“An old fashioned superhero romp with brains and heart—Barbiere & co. at their very best.”

—W. Maxwell Prince (Ice Cream Man, Haha)

“This book reads like a magic trick. Set in a world where superheroes are as commonplace as a rainstorm, it glides around the larger than life powers and iconic costumes to focus on the people just trying to live their lives in the shadow of these impossibilities. Gorgeous from first page to last and moving faster than a speeding bullet, Astonishing Times did the impossible and made me excited about a superhero story again.”

—Chris Sebela (High Crimes, Crowded)

“A joyfully executed meditation on the superhero genre. A welcome return to comics by Barbiere alongside a stellar team.”

—Curt Pires (Youth, Lost Falls)

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