Saturday, January 5, 2013

Über Announced

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Last night news broke on Bleeding Cool about the oft-teased Avatar Project 2. It’s called Über. There’s more art in the post.

We’re starting with a $3.99 double-sized (44 pages of comics) issue 0 in April. Just to front load an essential piece of buying info, y’know?

Despite that I’ve been calling it Avatar Project 2 in blog posts, it was actually Avatar Project 1. THE HEAT came later. William approached me in 2008, right at the start of my career, and talked about doing some work for him. He had some core ideas that he thought would work well as Avatar books and thought I’d suit one. The core of this was basically “Germany invents superheroes in WW2, prompting an arms race between them and the allies. Deal with any and all of the genuinely horrific stuff.”

So I went away, worked out whether I had anything to say, decided I did, went and did my research and then came back with a 25,000 word series bible planning out the whole thing.

I’ll be talking about its ideas as we progress, but I wanted to do a war comic with almost none of the genre tropes. There isn’t a single raised eyebrow. This is done entirely straight, made with the leap of faith that you can say something serious about the worst conflict in human history via the genre.

It’s serious work. It’s obviously phenomenally violent. It’s written with the sense of moral outrage that WW2 has to provoke. I’m angry when I’m writing it. I can’t write about WW2 without being angry. Since I conceived it, I find myself thinking about reviewers who say I seem to be more interested in villains than heroes in my work. I suspect Über will provide more fuel for that particular argument.

As I said, I’ve tried to purge the majority of the tropes of the genre. This is a book that, if you run with its assumptions, takes itself seriously. It’s a book that is more concerned with large scale strategy and economic production. Technological advancement and R&D is key. The heroism tends to be desperate and futile. A tradition of the genre is that a weaker hero will overcome a stronger one. There’s none of that here, any more than a tank is anything but a target when a gunship pops over the horizon. It switches between those decisions between men poring over maps and the lives they’re ending as they push pieces around the board. As the size of the bible suggests, the world building is considerable and the plan is complete. I could end the series at any point by going into a documentary-style comic. While the title shows that the Wunderwaffen of the Germans precipitate the situation, this uses all the major players and all the major theatres. So far I’ve written everyone from Churchill to Hitler, from Guderian to Turing. Its scope is large, to say the least.

It’s overthought. It strives to be credible. It’s as ethical as I can make it. It’s dark as hell. I think it’s good.

I wrote the issue 0 in 2008 (If you remember this blogpost, this was me planning the issues’ structure). Caanan had to work on other projects for a couple of years, before returning last year. There’s now 7 issues worth of comics in the can (0-5) and I’m starting writing issue 10 next week. I’d be surprised if it was less than 30 issues. It’s openly strange for something that I conceived so long ago to come to light, but part of me thinks it may make a lot of sense.

Über is out in April with a double-sized issue 0 for $3.99.