Disclaimer: Recently, I had a chance to edit my first single issue comic: Infinite Dark #1, published through Top Cow. In the piece below, I reflect upon a small piece of that professional experience and what having worked on the book means to me.
There are many comics pages that stick in my brain. I’m floored by the marriage of restraint and power Dave Gibbons showcases as Ozymandias batters a would-be assassin in Watchmen #5. I find myself constantly ranting about the hilarious spread of “Douchebags I’ve Dated” in My Boyfriend is a Bear. I’m still terrified by the first time a xenophobic ghoul crossed over into our world in Infidel. But for the first time, when I started editing Infinite Dark #1, out today, I found myself haunted by a comics page.
Of course, having worked on Infinite Dark since near the beginning, I’m biased. Don’t get me wrong– this is not a review. This is me gushing. But I’m doing so earnestly because I think that there’s a rare, perfect marriage of art and prose in the page above. We see the Orpheus, a station built to survive the end of the universe, floating alone in an endless expanse of solid black. K Michael Russell gives Andrea Mutti’s artwork a soft blue glow. The effect is calming, but somber. The art filled with the kind of pregnant silence that populates the air when you sit next to a grieving friend.
And then, to fill the gap, comes Ryan Cady’s words. On the surface, they’re a eulogy to a dead universe and the failures of those who survived its demise. But more than that, they’re a monument to our greatest folly as people.
When I started doing work in comics, my biggest goal was to find community. I wanted to find acceptance and friendship among those like me. But as much as I wanted that, for most my life, I’ve also been obsessed with my survival. And for me, survival doesn’t mean just surviving– it means living well. It means being successful in the things that I do and living out my aspirations to their fullest. It means moving forward and building bigger and better things at almost any cost. And yes, there are costs to indulging obsession. Thus, when I first read Ryan’s words here, I was reminded of a truth that I had forgotten on my journey to build the greatest mausoleum of human history.
There’s no point to succeeding or even surviving if you’re doing so alone.
I have a complicated relationship with my family. That’s caused me to put a lot of value on my friends– the family that you choose. I love them very dearly and they’ve supported me in ways that I could never properly thank them for. But in my desire to survive and to thrive professionally, I’ve often felt like I haven’t been able to nurture those relationships in the ways that I have wanted to. But recognizing a problem is the first step to fixing it– that’s what working on Infinite Dark has done for me.
This is all a long way of saying that Infinite Dark #1 isn’t just another sci-fi story. Ryan, Andrea, K Michael, letterer Troy Peteri and I have worked together to make sure of that. This comic isn’t just about a murder at the edge of an endless void. At the center of Infinite Dark are questions of legacy and faith. What will we, as species, accomplish in the end? How will we leave our mark– will we leave one at all? And indeed, if we ultimately accept how small we are in the face of the universe, what should we put our faith in if not ourselves? A god? Gods?
These are the questions. And while we may not have the answers, we definitely have some thoughts. Welcome to humanity’s last adventure. Welcome to the Infinite Dark.
Infinite Dark #1 is out now.
Alex is the Managing Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at Papercutz. He is your go-to fella for creator interviews, conversations about comic book structure, and general DC Comics nerding. Currently geeking out over movies, too.