Tag Archives: c2e2

ECCC and C2E2 Set for December 2021 While a New Metaverse is set for the Spring

ReedPop

ReedPop has announced new 2021 dates for Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) and Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), and unveiled plans for a series of digital Metaverse events to take place now through summer 2021.

Typically held in the spring, ECCC will now take place at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA on December 2-5, 2021, with C2E2 following at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL on December 10-12, 2021.

While in-person events won’t start up again until later in the year, fans won’t have to wait too long for an opportunity to geek out with fellow pop culture lovers. ReedPop will kick off next year’s con season with a spring Metaverse, followed by virtual events set for the summer. In addition to providing a year-round community for like-minded fans to connect with each other and share their fandoms, ReedPop is leveraging Metaverse as the online world offering access to exclusive content, nerdy merch, and one-of-a-kind celebrity experiences. Through Metaverse, fans can experience a 365-day celebration of all things pop culture and join in on the ultimate comic con experience from anywhere in the world.

DC Reveals New Art from Dark Nights: Death Metal at C2E2

One of the great things about comic convention panels – you rarely know when you’re going to get a special guest appearance or announcement! Fans attending today’s The Super Heroes of DC Panel at C2E2 received a surprise, as bestselling writer Scott Snyder made a walk-on appearance, catching everyone off guard.

Scott stopped by to talk to fans about Dark Nights: Death Metal, the highly anticipated sequel to the smash hit series of 2017-18, Dark Nights: Metal. He gave fans an early look at brand-new artwork from the debut issue of Death Metal by artist and longtime collaborator Greg Capullo. And with fellow Metal contributors James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson on the panel, Snyder may have dropped a few hints about what he has in store for them regarding more behind the scenes stories from the “metalverse.”

Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 is scheduled to hit comic book stores and participating online retailers May 13, 2020.

Dark Nights: Death Metal
Dark Nights: Death Metal

RH Graphic Reveals New Kids and Teens Comics!

At C2E2, RH Graphic shared an inside look at four exciting new graphic novels coming soon for kids and teens on C2E2’s panel “Awesome New Kids and Teens Comics from Random House Graphic.” The panel debuted Witchlight from Jessi Zabarsky, Stepping Stones from Lucy Knisley, Once Upon a Space-Time! from Jeffrey Brown, and Doodleville from Chad Sell.

Comics for kids and teens continue to be the fastest growing area of publishing–providing stories that are both entertaining and engaging, while also placing an emphasis on visual literacy. This amazing creative medium will only continue to build in popularity as RH Graphic continues to roll out with new titles every month. 

Jessi Zabarsky- WITCHLIGHT (available April 14)

Love — loss — witches — this YA fantasy graphic novel has it all! This thoughtful, emotional story will entrance you with its moving story and organic artwork.

Lelek is a witch. That’s all Sanja knows when she meets Lelek in the marketplace. But Lelek is hiding something — and as her life begins to intersect with Sanja’s, all that she’s kept to herself starts to come to light.

Secrets, friendship, and magic all come together as Lelek gets closer and closer to uncovering the truth about her past. . . .Witchlight is a wonderful adventure filled with friendship, family, falling in love, and dealing with the hardest bits of your past all along the way.

Jessi Zabarsky- WITCHLIGHT (available April 14)

Lucy Knisley- STEPPING STONES (available May 5)

Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn’t hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers’ market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.

New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley brings to life a story inspired from her own childhood in an amazing journey navigating her parents’ divorce and of unlikely friends, sisters, and home.

Lucy Knisley- STEPPING STONES (available May 5)

Jeffrey Brown- ONCE UPON A SPACE-TIME! (available June 2)

Jide and Petra are just two normal kids until they are selected to leave Earth and join their new alien classmates on an intergalactic research mission to Mars. Too bad Petra has no idea how she ended up in the program, seeing as the closest she wants to get to space is being a sci-fi writer. Jide, on the other hand, is the brains of the mission, but his helicopter parents make it clear he hasn’t left their gravitational pull behind quite yet.

What is meant to be an intra-species bonding experience soon turns to hijinx as the kids discover The Potato orbiting around their new space classroom and accidentally launch a mission of their own without any adult commanders around to supervise–or help!

From New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Brown comes an out-of-this-world adventure perfect for the astronaut-in-training in your life.

Jeffrey Brown- ONCE UPON A SPACE-TIME! (available June 2)

Chad Sell- CARDBOARD KINGDOM/ DOODLEVILLE (available June 9)

An inventive new story from Cardboard Kingdom creator Chad Sell about a group of young artists who must work together when one of their own creations becomes a monster.

Drew is just a regular artist. But there’s nothing ordinary about her art. Her doodles are mischievous . . . and rarely do they stay in Doodleville, the world she’s created in her sketchbook. Instead, Drew’s doodles prefer to explore the world outside. But after an inspiring class trip to the Art Institute of Chicago–where the doodles cause a bit too much trouble–Drew decides it’s time to take her artistic talents to the next level.

Enter the Leviathan–Levi, for short. He’s bigger and better than anything Drew has ever created before. He’s a monster, but a friendly one. That is, until Levi begins to wreak havoc on Drew’s other doodles–and on the heroes her classmates have dreamt up.

Levi won’t be easily tamed, and it seems there is a link between the monster’s bad behavior and Drew’s feelings. With the help of her loyal art club friends, will she be able to save Doodleville–and Levi–before it’s too late?

Chad Sell- CARDBOARD KINGDOM/ DOODLEVILLE (available June 9)

Marvel Reveals Details on The Rise of Ultraman at C2E2!

Speaking to a packed room at this year’s C2E2, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski unveiled first story details and cover art for Marvel’s upcoming series The Rise of Ultraman, launching later this year! The Rise of Ultraman #1 will revisit the classic first generation of the worldwide phenomenon, co-helmed by writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom with art by Francesco Manna.

Both known for their talents in world building, Higgins and Groom will combine their acclaimed storytelling skills with the stunning style of superstar artist Francesco Manna, who has drawn for some of Marvel’s biggest series like Jason Aaron’s Avengers and Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four. As fans of the Ultraman series themselves, they will introduce Ultraman to new fans young and old and revisit the iconic era – and spirit – of the Ultras longtime enthusiasts know and love.

The Rise of Ultraman
The Rise of Ultraman

X of Swords, the Next X-Men Event Announced at C2E2

Mutant MassacreAge of ApocalypseMessiah Complex. Some of the most iconic X-Men stories ever told have been realized as large-scale crossovers. This longstanding tradition continues this summer with X of Swords.

Just announced to an enthusiastic crowd of X-Men fans at the X-Men Panel at C2E2, X of Swords will be a 15-part crossover tying into your favorite X-Titles and led by Head of X Jonathan Hickman. In this sprawling saga, the new mutant nation of Krakoa faces their biggest challenge yet. Threatened by powerful forces from the unknown, ten mutants will rise up to defend their home. Arming themselves with legendary blades, both new and familiar ones from Marvel history, mutantkind will finally meet its mystical destiny. Impacting the entire X-Men franchise and setting the stage for the future of mutantkind, X of Swords will be a modern X-Men epic that both longtime and new X-Men fans dare not miss.

Last year, Jonathan Hickman reshaped the world of the X-Men with the top-selling House of X and Powers of X. Since then, the X-Men titles have become of the talk of the industry, each telling exhilarating stories set in this exciting new era. Don’t miss the next chapter in Hickman’s grand vision for Marvel’s mutants when X of Swords kicks off in July!

X of Swords

Check out covers and interior pages revealed at the panel below!

Cindy Moon Returns in Silk #1 in July by Maurene Goo and Takeshi Miyazawa

Back in 2014, the world learned that Peter Parker wasn’t the only one who was bitten by the radioactive spider in Amazing Fantasy #15. Equipped with spider powers of her own, Cindy Moon took the Marvel Universe by storm as the beloved super hero Silk! Just announced at C2E2, Silk will weave a new web this July, filled with ruthless new villains including the cat demon Kasha as Cindy takes on a new investigative reporter gig under the one and only J. Jonah Jameson.

Acclaimed novelist Maurene Goo makes her grand foray into comic books alongside superstar artist Takeshi Miyazawa to deliver a thrilling series that will pack action, heart, and relevatory insights about the character. Cindy’s new mission will quickly turn as personal as it is deadly and prove Silk to be one of Marvel’s most dynamic and intriguing heroes.

Don’t miss a beat of the latest adventures of Cindy Moon when Silk #1 swings into comic shops in July featuring a cover by Stonehouse!

Silk #1

Marvel Heads to C2E2 with Signings, Panels, Merchandise, and more!

This weekend, Marvel returns to Chicago with a nonstop schedule of star-studded signings, panels, stage events, and more! From Friday, February 28 – Sunday, March 1, fans will want to stop by the Marvel Booth #327 and experience a thrilling series of events happening all weekend long.

From the moment the doors open, fans will be able to get their hands on Marvel’s convention-exclusive t-shirts (while supplies last) featuring iconic characters like the web-slinging hero Spider-Man, the deadly assassin Black Widow, and more of their favorite Super Heroes. Fans will also have the chance to purchase an exclusive Black Widow Spirit Jersey only available at C2E2 this year!

For attendees at both C2E2 and ECCC this year, Marvel will also be offering an exclusive selection of individually numbered, bagged & boarded variant comics while supplies last, including:

X-MEN/FANTASTIC FOUR #1 GLOW-IN-THE-DARK VARIANT BY FRANK CHO (limited to 3,000 total copies)

WOLVERINE #1 FLUORESCENT VARIANT BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (limited to 3,000 total copies)

GWEN STACY #1 GLOW-IN-THE-DARK VARIANT BY SARA PICHELLI (limited to 3,000 total copies)

Looking for more comics? Fans can snag an exclusive giveaway sketch variant of Excalibur #7 by artist Mahmud Asrar during the Marvel Fanfare with C.B. Cebulski panel, and Marvel Unlimited Plus members and Marvel Mastercard cardholders will be able to get an exclusive ultra-rare variant cover of Captain Marvel #15– for FREE!* Drawn by artist Todd Nauck, the cover presents Earth’s Mightiest Hero Captain Marvel soaring through the cosmos – rendered in the inimitable style of Cosbaby by Hot Toys!

In addition to grabbing your exclusive variants, be sure to swing by Marvel’s booth to check out Marvel Unlimited – Marvel’s digital comics app providing access to over 27,000 digital comics. Anyone signing up for a subscription at the booth will receive a free Venom box, including an action figure, comics and more.** And Marvel Insiders, make sure you attend Marvel panels and visit the Marvel booth to capture special codes to earn tens of thousands of Marvel Insider points!

Marvel’s signing schedule will include some of the biggest creators in the industry – including Chris Claremont, Al Ewing, Nick Spencer, Tini Howard, Ben Percy, Jonathan Hickman, Skottie Young, Eve L. Ewing, Rainbow Rowell, and many more!

Attendees at Skottie Young’s signing on Friday will also be able to test their abilities for the mystical and mysterious Strange Academy! Marvel’s first school of magic is in session this March, and Skottie Young wants YOU to apply! But do you have what it takes to train with the best of Marvel’s sorcerers? Drop by the Marvel booth to apply for admission and find out if you are accepted or denied directly from Skottie himself  – and receive a signed Strange Academy poster while you’re at it!

*In order to redeem the comic, fans must come to the Marvel Booth #327 and present their Marvel Mastercard (if they are a Marvel Mastercard cardholder) OR Marvel Unlimited+ membership card or order confirmation (if they are a Marvel Unlimited+ member).  One comic per member or cardholder.  Comics are available while supplies last.

**Supplies are limited.  Must subscribe to Marvel Unlimited on site.  Auto-renewal and other terms and conditions apply.


MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT PANEL SCHEDULE***:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28:

Marvel Artist Extravaganza: A This Week in Marvel Special Event
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Room S401

Marvel’s most amazing comic book series shine due to exceptional artists and storytellers creating each issue. This Week in Marvel invites writer & artist Skottie Young (Strange Academy) and other Mighty Marvel Guests who work on X-Men, Venom, Spider-Man, and more to talk about how they work with their creative teams and the unique storytelling process of the medium. 

Marvel Fanfare with CB Cebulski
1:15pm – 2:15pm
Room S401

This is your chance to meet the head of editorial at Marvel! In an exclusive and intimate panel experience, Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski along with Marvel mega-stars Jonathan Hickman (X-Men) and Al Ewing (Empyre) will talk about anything and everything involved with Marvel Comics. Learn about the origin stories of these superlative storytellers straight from the source, and ask all of your burning questions during the Q&A!  PLUS – Attendees of this panel will receive an EXCLUSIVE Excalibur #7 sketch variant, available while supplies last!

MARVEL COMICS: X-Men
2:30pm – 3:30pm
Room S401

X-ceptional writer Jonathan Hickman (X-Men) is joined by Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski, Senior Editor Jordan D. White, and a Krakoan Habitat’s worth of X-Men creatorsto bring you all-new data straight from the House of X House of Ideas! The Dawn of X has broken, and mutantkind has begun to leave a new mark on the world! But what comes next for Marvel’s Merry Mutants? Find out in this can’t-miss panel featuring Gerry Duggan (Marauders, Cable), Tini Howard (Excalibur), Benjamin Percy (X-Force, Wolverine), Ed Brisson (New Mutants), Vita Ayala (Children of the Atom), and Leah Williams (X-Factor).    

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29:

MARVEL COMICS: Empyre
3:45pm – 4:45pm
Room S401

Come join us, brothers and sisters, as we enumerate upon the crimes of the intergalactic war criminals knows as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and take up arms in a mighty Kree & Skrull Alliance against them! The rally will be led by Ryan Penagos, with Alliance members Al Ewing, C.B. Cebulski, and Tom Brevoort in attendance in Emperor Hulkling’s stead. The Kree and Skrulls are ready to present a united front against the Avengers – and any other Terrans that stand in their way. This panel will detail the battle plans to be chronicled in Marvel’s earth-shattering comic event series of 2020…Your presence is mandatory.

MARVEL COMICS: Next Big Thing
5:00pm – 6:00pm
Room S401

Al EwingSkottie YoungDonny Cates! These titanic talents along with Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort unite to bring you the hottest Marvel projects of 2020! What cosmic calamity awaits the Guardians of the Galaxy in the outer reaches of space? Is Venom prepared to face his deadliest foe yet? And which class at Strange Academy has the hardest midterm? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this premier panel event!  

SUNDAY, MARCH 1:

Women of Marvel
12:15pm – 1:15pm
Room S401

Today, telling stories for Marvel means stepping into a long lineage of characters and a vast web of backstories. What’s it like to take on that challenge as a creator? This year at C2E2, Women of Marvel invites some of Marvel’s celebrated storytellers to the stage to talk about how they stay true to their creative style while continuing the stories of comic book characters so many people know and love. 

***Due to guest scheduling conflicts, Marvel’s Storyboards World Premiere with Joe Quesada (originally scheduled for Saturday, February 29) has been cancelled***


MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT BOOTH SCHEDULE (#327):

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28:

11:00am – 11:30am –Prop Store’s Marvel Television Live Auction Preview
12:00pm – 1:00pm – MARVEL COMICS: X-MEN SIGNING
2:30pm – 3:30pm – Marvel Becoming: Cosplay Photo Op
3:45pm – 4:45pm – Marvel Comics: Strange Academy Signing & Application Test
6:00pm – 7:00pm – Marvel Super Hero Happy Giveaway Hour

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29:

11:00am – 11:30am – Marvel Mystery Message
12:00pm – 1:00pm – MARVEL COMICS: EMPYRE SIGNING
2:00pm – 3:00pm – Marvel Becoming: Costume Contest****
3:15pm – 3:45pm – Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Exhibit Preview
4:15pm – 4:45pm – Marvel Mystery Message
6:00pm – 7:00pm – Marvel Super Hero Happy Giveaway Hour

SUNDAY, MARCH 1:

12:00pm – 12:30pm – Marvel Mystery Message
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Marvel Civil War: Empyre Edition
2:30pm – 3:00pm – Marvel Becoming: Kids Costume Event
4:00pm – 5:00pm – Marvel Super Hero Happy Giveaway Hour

MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT SIGNING SCHEDULE (#327):

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28:

12:00pm – 1:00pm – MARVEL COMICS: X-MEN SIGNING (feat. Jonathan Hickman, Gerry Duggan, Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, Ed Brisson, Vita Ayala, Leah Williams)
3:00pm – 3:45pm – Al Ewing, Michael Cho, and Rachelle Rosenberg
3:45pm – 4:45pm – MARVEL COMICS: STRANGE ACADEMY SIGNING & APPLICATION TEST (feat. Skottie Young)
5:00pm – 5:45pm – Rainbow Rowell, Robbie Thompson

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29:

11:00am – 11:45am – Leah Williams, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala
12:00pm – 1:00pm – MARVEL COMICS: EMPYRE SIGNING (feat. Al Ewing, Tom Brevoort, C.B. Cebulski)
1:00pm – 1:45pm – Kyle Higgins, Rod Reis
3:00pm – 3:45pm – Benjamin Percy, Ed Brisson, Jonathan Hickman

SUNDAY, MARCH 1:

11:00am – 11:45am – Chris Claremont
12:00pm– 12:45pm – Nick Spencer, Pat Gleason, Ryan Ottley
2:00pm – 2:45pm – Eve L. Ewing, David Nakayama

****See Marvel.com/c2e2-costume-contest-rules for full terms and conditions

Around the Tubes

Amethyst #1

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? What’d you enjoy? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Comicbook – GameStop No Longer Plans to Sell Comics In Stores Called that one.

Newsarama – C2E2 ‘Meet The DC Publishers’ Panel Canceled Following Didio Exit Duh? It’d be insane to do since there’d be one question asked over and over.

Reviews

Newsarama – 2020 Force Works #1
AIPT – Amethyst #1
AIPT – Batman: Curse of the White Knight #7
AIPT – Fantastic Four: Grimm Noir #1
Newsarama – Finger Guns #1
Newsarama – Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost #1
AIPT – Justice League Dark #20
AIPT – Tomorrow #1

C2E2 2019: Interview with Punk Mambo Writer Cullen Bunn

Cullen Bunn is one of the most prolific comic book writers of the past decade. He has worked on Dark Horse’s Eisner nominated horror comic Harrow County, The Sixth Gun for Oni Press, comics like Sinestro and Earth 2 World’s End for DC, and worked extensively on titles starring Deadpool, the X-Men, and Venom for Marvel. Now, he turns his attention to Valiant where he will be writing the first solo series for Victoria Greaves-Trott aka Punk Mambo, a British voodoo priestess created by Peter Milligan and Roberto de la Torre as a supporting character in their relaunch of Shadowman.

Due to sickness, I wasn’t able to chat with Bunn in person at C2E2 about Punk Mambo, but was able to interview him via email.

Graphic Policy: Punk Mambo has had a lot of guest appearances in Valiant books since 2013, but apart from a one-shot, she’s never had a series of her own.  Why is now the perfect time for her to have one, and how will the solo series explore her character?

Cullen Bunn: Valiant is launching several new titles, offering readers something fresh and exciting with new characters and new settings and new adventures. Punk Mambo is a character a lot of readers might be unfamiliar with. She is a great gateway to Valiant’s supernatural world. I’m hoping this new initiative will bring in readers unfamiliar with the character, and maybe even unfamiliar with Valiant as a whole. I’ve talked to many people, who know little or nothing about Punk Mambo, but who are interested in finding out more now that there is a spotlight on her!

GP: Punk Mambo is one of several new #1’s for Valiant. How will you make this series accessible to new readers?

CB: I have written this series in such a way that you need not know anything about this character in order to enjoy the book. In a lot of ways, I’m treating this like her first appearance. Yes, if you are familiar with the character, you’ll get something different out of the book than if it is your first encounter with Punk, but first time readers will not be lost at all. Punk narrates this book so she brings the reader right along with her. And she’s encountering new threats, new enemies, and new allies; most of whom are appearing for the first time in this book.

GP: Punk Mambo is set in Haiti instead of New Orleans or London. What does this new setting bring to the series?

CB: I have written a lot about New Orleans of late, and I love the city as a setting for this kind of story, but I thought it would be fun to bring Punk Mambo to an area where we haven’t seen her. That gives us fertile ground to tell a new tale and keep the characters (and the readers) on their toes. This is a corner of the Valiant Universe we haven’t really seen, and it fits so perfectly with Punk’s ties to voodoo.

Or it doesn’t.

Part of what I wanted to do here is show that Punk Mambo doesn’t really fit into the typical voodoo paradigms. We get to play her against aspects of traditional voodoo culture, and I love that sort of thing. 

GP: How did you write to Adam Gorham’s specific strengths as an artist in Punk Mambo?

CB: Punk Mambo needed to feel action-packed and fun and a little dirty. Adam manages to bring that aesthetic to every panel of every page. The action is kinetic and frenzied. The horror beats are scary as Hell. I’m so lucky to be working with him on this book.

GP: Even though it’s technically a superhero universe, Valiant has always had a strong supernatural corner. What will you add to that corner in Punk Mambo?

CB: With this story, I want to establish Punk Mambo as a kind of roaming paranormal investigator. Only, she doesn’t just investigate paranormal threats. She kicks their teeth in. I also wanted to expand the “pantheon” of voodoo spirits and gods. Finally, I’m introducing a couple of new villains to the Valiant Universe. These villains will be firmly rooted in the supernatural.

GP: Punk Mambo has an interesting relationship between her and her various Loas. How will you develop these relationships in her own series?

CB: The relationship with the Loa—and with voodoo as a whole—will be a key part of this series. You’ll see both sides of this… partnership. Punk Mambo has been using the Loa for some time now, and she never really stops to consider how the Loa feel about that.

GP: You have a strong background in horror comics, and Punk Mambo seems to have some horror elements. What are some tricks you use as a writer to make a comic frightening and/or unsettling?

CB: It’s important in a horror comic to make the reader worry about the characters. There are real threats facing Punk Mambo, and if I’ve done my job, you’ll care about her and worry if she’ll survive or not. In a book like this, no one is safe so don’t assume that having a character’s name in the title means that character will make it to the end.

GP: A lot of your recent works (Dark Ark, Blossoms 666, Punk Mambo) have touched on religious elements or rituals. What do you find fascinating about faith and belief, and why do you continue to incorporate them in your stories?

CB: I’ve always been fascinated by faith and by ceremony and by the rules associated with religion. All these different characters allow me to approach those things from different angles, to pull at the frayed edges from different directions, and to explore my own questions without really smashing the reader over the head with them. My hope is that readers will come away with their own questions and their own answers. With Punk Mambo, I really wanted to look into the rules of faith and how someone who doesn’t follow any rules might still be faithful.

Punk Mambo #1 is set to be released on April 24.

Follow Cullen Bunn on Twitter.

C2E2 2019: Interview with Writer Ryan Cady

On Sunday at C2E2, I had the opportunity to talk with writer Ryan Cady about his work on the Image/Top Cow sci-fi series Infinite Dark with artist Andrea Mutti as well as his upcoming Z2 graphic novel, Genesis 1 about Internet music star Poppy that he is co-writing with Poppy and Titanic Sinclair. Previously, Cady has done work for Marvel (Old Man Logan), DC (New Talent Showcase), Lion Forge (Rolled and Told), and Archie (Big Moose) as well as co-writing the Magdalena relaunch for Top Cow with Tini Howard.

Graphic Policy: You were a part of the DC Talent Development Workshop. How did that impact your work on Infinite Dark?

Ryan Cady: I developed Infinite Dark before the workshop and started scripting halfway through the workshop. When I started Infinite Dark, it was much more isolated story, and Scott Snyder, in the workshop, was good about getting us to examine higher stakes. From the beginning, Infinite Dark was going to be an end of the universe/last people on Earth story.

The initial pitch was more inward, character focused and weird Grant Morrison-y stuff. Not that’s a bad thing. I love that stuff and could do it well. After working with Scott and the DC projects in the class and focusing on the balance between character and action, I really decided to start ramping things up. And, obviously, something like [the workshop] makes you a better writer. It’s 10 weeks of doing scripts, getting them reviewed by not just Scott Snyder, but a bunch of really talented peers and examining your own work really critically. It forces you to think “What do I suck at? How do I need to get better?”

GP: From the first page of Infinite Dark, it’s all about staring into the abyss. How do you get into the zone to write about characters who gaze into literal nothingness?

RC: When I was really developing Infinite Dark in earnest, I was in the midst of a really bad depression. I kind of had the basic ideas there, but when I sat down to write the project, I was really miserable. At that point, it felt like a bleak work. (This was before the DC Workshop.)

When it came time to script, I focused a lot on staring into [nothingness] and overcoming it and survival as a virtue. In the script, I tried to tiptoe between those two. About how coming out of this I feel stronger and what it means to survive the worst year of your life versus diving back into those feelings a little bit if I wanna get grim. Sometimes, to write the darkest parts of the book, I have to dive back into those bad, weird feelings because it’s my first creator owned story.

GP: Infinite Dark has a big monster in the book called the Entity that I really enjoyed. What was your inspiration for them?

RC: In the very original pitch for the book, the Entity was something that claims to be God. I’m not an atheist, but I really thought the “No, fuck you, God” idea would be a cool take. God, in the original pitch, was like “I seem like a monster, but it’s because I need to create a new universe, and you guys are getting in the way.” [The protagonist] Deva was going to shoot God. That was the very Grant Morrison part of it. God was going to be like “I made you guys. You’re the best thing I ever made, but I’m making a new thing.” And Deva was gonna be like “No, you made us to survive.” and shoot God.

That was early days. It’s changed a lot since then. The initial idea was always the shadows. A thing you can’t understand, not even a Lovecraftian thing from beyond, but something that doesn’t interact with physics like we do.

GP: My favorite character in Infinite Dark was Smith, the A.I. I love him so much. In a lot of these kind of sci-fi stories, the A.I. is always evil. Why did you decide to make Smith more of a humanist and an ally to humanity?

RC: Thank you for that reading. I’m always antsy if it’s going to make it in or not. I play with [the humanism] a lot in the next volume without spoiling anything. Because that’s such a trope, I believe we as people are always like “The next thing is going to usurp us.” It’s tied into the whole killing God thing. This thing we made is going to hate us for a reason, maybe, because we think we’re putting our worst selves in it.

But my whole thing with Smith is that I don’t know if I believe in that trope. [Some] people (Granted a lot of people who work in tech and in Silicon Valley are awful and scary technocrats.) make stuff earnestly with the idea you would make a life with the idea of “This is designed to love all the good things about humanity.” Smith’s creators are like “We believe in all these things.” I wanted to emphasize that and double play on “The A.I. is so evil.”, but not at all.

My favorite thing that I’ve written for the whole series is Smith’s speech in issue 3. I’m glad people liked it, and it landed. When I wrote this, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “I never say this, but I’m really proud of what I wrote here.” This is great, but the rest of the issue sucks.

GP: Yeah, that speech is awesome. Lots of text, but it’s definitely one of things I’ll remember about Infinite Dark.

So, the antagonists of Infinite Dark are the technolinguists. How did you come up with this cool, sci-fi concept?

RC: The idea came up because I’m not good with computers. Also, it makes sense if you’re setting a story fifty years from now to extrapolate what we have. Infinite Dark takes place 10,000 years from now so computing is going to be something that’s so fundamentally different. There’s the idea of people who can interact with this future’s version of code on an informational language level. Linguistically, they interact with computers.

I made them bad guys because really early on, there was a notion that the Entity could interact with them because the techno-language they speak is similar to the fundamental building blocks of reality. You know that theory that the universe is just a VR simulation? In Infinite Dark, they have simulations they go into sometimes, and we wanted to play with that. If we end up having more issues then these eight, I might go into that even deeper.

GP: Yeah, I Googled “technolinguists”, and I guess they’re not a thing yet.

RC: They’re antagonists, but they might not be bad guys.

GP: Your book’s definitely in a moral grey area.

RC: I like to play with that when I can. Except Smith. He’s just good.

GP: Could you tease the upcoming arc of Infinite Dark?

RC: The next volume of four issues starts in April, and without spoiling anything if you haven’t read the first volume, weeks have passed in issue five. But it’s not gonna feel like “Bam, bam, things are happening again.” It’s a lot of aftermath and cleanup stuff. But, also, oops, an act of saving everybody doesn’t necessarily save everybody. There’s still so many things that can go horribly wrong.

It’s very character conflict focused. All these people have survived the end of the universe twice, and yet, that alone is not enough to have them cooperate and get along because we have such fundamentally different ideas about what it means to do the right thing. How do these people faced with impossible choices, who have survived so much, reconcile that? I talk a lot philosophically in the book about survival being a virtue, but this arc is about what the next “good is. If we survive, how do we move past that.

GP: Like the whole “survive and thrive” Pinterest board idea.

RC: Yeah, we’ve reached “survive” on our Pinterest board. How do we “thrive” without it becoming worse or inequality or dooming ourselves again?

GP: I had a couple questions about the Poppy graphic novel Genesis 1. With these musician graphic novel projects, I’m really curious about how much input Poppy had on the graphic novel and what that collaborative process was like. She has all those YouTube followers.

RC: I’ve never met Poppy because she’s a robot, probably. I’m sure she’s very nice and only has our best interests at heart. And her church is not a cult. I’ve been given absolute freedom, and I speak in total earnestness. This is 100% me and mine. I’m nobody’s mouthpiece. This is my version of her story, and I believe it 100% and am not part of a cult.

GP: A lot of Poppy’s ideas are about how she’s beyond humanity and is very post-human. Why is her origin story being told in an older medium like comics?

RC: Even though it’s an older medium, comics is still really dynamic. It’s not limited to what you can get across on one side in a YouTube video. It’s not limited by time. I talked to an editor who brilliantly said, “In comics more than any medium, you can do a good job of controlling the flow of time.”

Also, there’s a weird element of apocrypha to it. Is this Poppy’s origin story? It’s this comic, and we play on this in the story. If this is really Poppy’s gospel and her origin, why would it be in this graphic novel? Why would it be told in this way, and how would that be obtained? Is the story true? Is the story stolen? It’s about to get too religious in here. We’re playing a lot with a sense of time and futurism, and how that blends with the occult and weird hacker people.

Infinite Dark #5 is set to be released on April 10, 2019 from Image/Top Cow Comics. Genesis One will be released in summer 2019 from Z2 Comics.

Follow Ryan Cady on Twitter.

« Older Entries