The Art Of World-Building, and LAZARUS by Greg Rucka.
It is my belief that Star Wars was the first mainstream instance of a fictional world so huge and detailed, that fans of the movies couldn’t help but be reeled in. Still to this day, over 30 years later, people are going all of the intricacies within the worlds and characters that George Lucas created. Within 3 movies, he created an entire universe. Zoom out from that fact for a minute or two, and let it sink in just how gigantic of an undertaking that is. Civilizations… Not just one, but dozens. People. Planets. Governments. Races. Technology. Families. Criminals. Heroes. Myths. History. Religions. This is a type of storytelling so huge an endeavor, that when done correctly, it takes root deeply in your subconscious. The best fiction is the type that makes you think about it long after you’ve put it down, and the writers that are successful world-builders know this more than anyone.
A little bit about myself, I discover writers whose work I have enjoyed, and continue to follow their career and output. I found Greg Rucka through a really cool little black and white series called “Whiteout” from Oni Press, years ago. Like most comic writers he has written for most publishers including Marvel and DC (a lot of Batman in his bibliography which is never a bad thing), but this independent book really reflected what he could do with his own ideas. They even made a movie out of it starring Kate Beckinsdale in 2009, however if you can remember it you’re a better man than me; it was critically and commercially panned. That doesn’t speak to the source material though; that type of shit happens in Hollywood all the time.
Rucka must have worked on the ideas behind Lazarus for a long time. Briefly; the world is no longer controlled by governments, but families instead. People either work for these families (serfs, like in medieval times) or they are “waste” (the poor). It’s set in the not too distant future, so there is a lot of technology, but only accessible to the families and their armies. Much like Game Of Thrones, there is a lot of backstabbing and drama within these families. Some are allied, some are at war. Each issue has a ton of extra information in it; from very extensive and detailed information about each family and how it came to power, to artwork pertaining to familial crests and even advertisements for the corporations that these families came from, years ago.
The series is so well-written, and I believe it has something for everyone. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at the below link from moviepilot.com, comparing Lazarus to the most successful TV show of all time (also derived from a comic book), The Walking Dead. Last year it was optioned by Legendary Television, so this might become a reality soon.