PREVIEWSworld: Black Science (SEP130472) is predicated on one man who has punched through the barriers of reality. That alone is a headline. Whatever happens next is great, but the fact that one is punching through the invisible cellophane is news enough for many scientists. Ufology in many cases hinges upon talk of technology that breaks through barriers, which explains how crafts get here in short time. Is that technology something you like to ponder, or have read about in your recreational reading? Do you use any of this speculative science to help fuel your ideas for Black Science?
Rick Remender: Reading about futurism and speculative science is something I spend a lot of time doing at night. I spend a lot of time watching documentaries on the subject as well. Subjects like the Singularity are particularly fascinating to me. A few years ago I was watching a documentary on other dimensions, and how some speculate that every single decision we make splits off into another reality, and I couldn't stop writing notes about it. Every single quantum event branching out to another narrative of our lives. It's truly fascinating stuff. It got me to thinking about the very nature of the universe, and what it all might be if we could only peel back the layers. Can’t say much more, most of the core ideas that the series is built on I'm keeping in my pocket for big reveals. I spent hours on the phone with series editor Sebastian Girner, as well as Matteo Scalera and Dean White, digging through the notes I had put together, cooking up new ideas, and work shopping until we’d created something entirely unique. Now, the idea of breaking through the dimensional barriers, cracking the walls of reality, is not a new one. In fact it's probably one of the oldest and most widely used in science fiction.
But after months and months of research, and long discussions with the team, we zeroed in on some very interesting concepts that I have never seen explored in the genre. At this point we've got about 40 issues fairly well broken down with plenty of huge reality shattering reveals throughout. At its heart, the book is a giant mystery, a journey into the unknown layers of the infinite Eververse.
PREVIEWSworld: Your main character, Grant McKay, is now a fossil on the new scene. The PREVIEWS catalog solicitation text claims he is “shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds.” An unfathomable landscape to say the least. Have you created your own diagram as to who’s at the top of the food chain in this opaque ocean of creatures?
Rick Remender: Each world they stumble through has a different set of physics, life forms, history and laws. Grant has charted a course to what he believes is… hmm. Wait. Again, I think I'm saying too much. I would love to be able to discuss more details but I truly do believe that these things will be more fun once they were revealed in the narrative as opposed to here in an interview. The device they use to punch the reality is known as The Pillar. The use of this device has many unforeseen consequences. There is a reason the study of String Possibility is forbidden in Grant’s world. And there will be consequences to pay to his team and to the Eververse itself for this expedition.
PREVIEWSworld: Grant seems to also be in the “last man standing” circumstance as Heath Hudson in Fear Agent. Is there an intentional parallel between the lives of these two characters? Or do you feel the alien experience plays out better as a story if there’s an “against all odds” train wreck that lies in one’s path?
Rick Remender: Heath and Grant are very different characters, with very different approaches. Grant is a genius, disciplined and focused, a self-taught master of the black sciences forbidden by all mainstream organizations. Grant, at his core, is an anarchist, a strident individualist. He believes that a man can set out to teach himself and to master anything he desires provided he has the tenacity and the fire within. He holds institutional learning facilities and accreditations and bureaucracy in disdain, seeing them as mind police teaching people to forget their own free will and fall in line with the herd. He dropped out of college, viewing colleges as mind prisons, manipulators of the human spirit, training the young to respect only the laws of authority and the hierarchy of modern existence. These overpriced accreditation centers known as colleges blackmail a slave generation into paying ungodly amounts of money with the threat that if you do not fall in line and acquire their “degrees” you can’t be successful. He sees college as a monkey on the back of a population of future indentured workers, held down by debt for the rest of their lives.
Grant believes, above all else in one thing: No authority but yourself. He listened to too much Crass in high school probably. But he stands by this and fights to show that one man can train himself to do anything better than any facility can. In Grant’s mind, authority and any hierarchy or hierarchal organization demeaned the individual's belief in himself and adherence to discovering his own truth. He believes that only the anarchist can accomplish the truly great feats. Only the self-taught can find their truth and explore avenues barred by the fearful guardians of the status quo. So, basically, screw all authority.
PREVIEWSworld: What scares you about what might be lurking “out there”? Does Black Science play on the old adage of “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it?” Do you think that even though many of us would like to make contact with extraterrestrials, we are not in any way, shape, or form ready for it? We’re not prepared for the consequences?
Rick Remender: The things that we will be experiencing in Black Science will be far beyond mere extraterrestrials, though they will play a role in later issues. The Anarchist League of Scientists are stumbling down a steep and jagged trail, traveling through myriad possibilities. Some of the worlds they travel to are beautiful and peaceful, others very similar to our own but slightly skewed, and others completely and utterly different than anything we've ever seen before. Where life evolved in strange and new ways. We’ll see how first contact often has a splintering effect on both worlds. The ensemble cast in Black Science will have to overcome more diversity and more insanity than anything I have ever put any cast of characters through in anything I've written. I like stacking the odds high against the protagonists, and I set out on this one to stack them higher than ever before.
PREVIEWSworld: Have artists Matteo Scalera and Dean White done well in bringing your fears to the canvas? Have they needed any nudging in areas to come closer to what you had in mind? How has the team worked together as a unit on this book?
Rick Remender: Matteo is among the masters of his generation, as is Dean White. Together what we end up with is a legendary team in the making. The first issue is completed and I have absolute confidence that this will be appealing to arty-artists, indie fans, and mainstream readers alike; their art transcends mainstream/indie and is an absolute achievement accessible to all.
One of the very most remarkable art teams I've ever had the pleasure of being associated with. No amount of hyperbole can detract from the end result. Sometimes you risk building something up too high, and people's expectations going in are so over inflated that the product itself can't deliver. I can't build this one up enough. Because no matter what expectations you go into it with…what these two monkey kings of art sorcery have delivered will stand as an achievement and be remembered. Of that I have no doubt. Get ready to suck on their science. It is mighty.