This summer, an ambitious storytelling experience will bring the world of science to comics like never before. An impressive roster of comic book creators — including Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Friendo writer Alex Paknadel, UK Comics Laureate Hannah Berry, colorist and designer James Devlin, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou — are collaborating on Planet DIVOC-91, an ambitious webcomic debuting July 15, 2020 on WEBTOON.
The nine-part webcomic, which is funded by some of the most prestigious scientific organizations in the UK, is an offbeat sci-fi satire about a pandemic outbreak in the far reaches of outer space. In Planet DIVOC-91, all young adults between the age of 16-25 have been transported to an earth-like planet which has been terraformed, so that both humans and aliens can breathe the air. Each chapter features the work of a different creative team and cover artist and is interspersed with short articles, links to videos, and other pieces of art by young adults about issues related to COVID-19, and mixes from world-renowned DJs and Producers.
Planet DIVOC-91 follows the adventures of two earthlings: Sanda Oung, a 23-year-old girl from the UK, and Champo Oung, Sanda’s 19-year-old, non-binary sibling. In the series, 15% of the world’s population of 7.5 billion people are now stuck on another planet, miles from the safety of home. Sanda learns that humans have been brought to Planet Divoc-91 because the Earth is at risk of an extinction-level event – and young adults have been moved to safety by the Board of Adversity Scientists for Intergalactic Leadership’ (BASIL), led by a charismatic and fearsome alien named ADRO.
The series will feature covers from all-star artists Elsa Charretier, Marco Finnegan, Leslie Hung, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, VV Glass, Matt Kindt, Alitha Martinez, Anand RK, and David Rubín.
The series’ first chapter is written by Sara Kenney and illustrated by legendary Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard. The first chapter features a cover by acclaimed artist Elsa Charretier, 17 pages of comic storytelling, and 17 pages of extra material. Subsequent chapters will feature between 6 and 8 pages of comic storytelling, in addition to the essays and reporting.
Planet DIVOC-91 is produced by Dr. Bella Starling, Director of Vocal at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Sara Kenney, Creative Director at Wowbagger Productions, in association with the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. The project has since grown in scale and ambition, and there is a young editorial team from UK, India, South Africa, and Malawi who are interviewing experts from scientists to historians, ethicists to anthropologists, and from that material curating articles, creating art and videos in reaction to the interviews.
The project was kick started via NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre seed funding who are providing continued support. Additional supporters include The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC); Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC); The University of Manchester through the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund award; Sarah Iqbal, DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance; Anita Shervington, Blast Fest and Nabeel Petersen, Interfer (South Africa). The series was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.