Today, artist Stephanie Hans and writer Kieron Gillen announced DIE. This new Image Comics series, launching in December, will explore traditional tabletop gaming tropes through the lens of fantasy and horror.
DIE follows a group of six teenagers who disappear during a role-playing game session in 1991, only to reappear without explanation two years later, having been changed by their experience. Then, as adults in 2018, they find that their mysterious past might not be done with them yet.
Previously, Hans and Gillen have collaborated on both Marvel’s Journey into Mystery (where Hans painted covers) and several issues of Image’s The Wicked + the Divine. Speaking of the series origin, Gillen said that he and Hans had wanted to work together on a book since they first worked on Journey into Mystery together. The concept of DIE was born during SDCC 2016 while Gillen was musing aloud with Jamie McKelvie and Ray Fawkes, wondering “what ever happened to those kids in the 1980s D&D cartoon?” The thought stuck in Gillen’s mind all day until he “burst into tears during dinner” when he cracked what the story was about.
For her part, Hans had recently left Germany to become what she characterizes as “a digital nomad.” She was in search of a project where she could “reconnect with things that were important for me and this, this was important.”
Expanding on the themes of the title, Gillen said that “fundamentally, [DIE is] a book about a group of adults who realize their lives have not measured up to their teenage hopes, merged with a Planetary-esque examination of everything that lead fed into D&D (And how D&D took over the world’s conception of fantasy.) That’s pretty heavy, and necessary, and its timeliness adds to the sense that it really needs to be done.”
Check out the cover to DIE #1 and a “trailer” for the comic below:
— Kieron Gillen (@kierongillen) September 10, 2018