We all wonder whether technology will really bring about the end of mankind, or at least when it will rise up and take over, making us its slave. Writer Jeremy Hauck explores the themes of people becoming subservient to technology in his new comic No Wonder, as he elaborates on below:
AP2HYC: Can you talk about the world of the story and the similarities and differences that it has with our own?
Hauck: Our book starts off showing a future that, for some, might seem like a “familiar step” in the direction we’re headed as a technologically-dependent society.
In the year 2019, a visionary invents what most believe to be the last tool we’ll ever need: A.T.O.M. (Access To an Omniscient Mankind). This device promises to connect the user to everyone else and the information they hold in what we’re calling, “The Bond.” A.T.O.M. is presented to our global leaders – now filled by tech-obsessed info-junkies – as the ultimate advancement in education, security, and intelligence. No more war, crime, or any of mankind’s biggest mistakes born from the unknown.
No Wonder revolves around Turner Lane, a boy that unexpectedly breaks from The Bond 16 years after it goes online. He wakes up in our version of Vancouver, BC, which I’d describe as…unnatural, compared to the one we see today. There’s massive, glaring lights almost hovering above the city while rows of crops fill the streets below. The buildings appear decrepit and advertisements seem dated, which adds to the mystery. Turner explores the mystery of this city in our first issue and encounters some interesting people along the way.
AP2HYC: Can you tell us a bit more about Turner, our protagonist?
Hauck: When he is introduced in our story, Turner is very curious and terrified. He’s a boy that’s been disconnected from a device that essentially fostered him through life and, like any symbiotic relationship, there are some painful side effects when ripped from the host.
There is also something special and unique about him, which explains why he’s been disconnected from The Bond…but I’ll let you wonder why that is after you’ve read the first issue. 😉
AP2HYC: What other characters will we encounter?
Hauck: There will only be a handful of characters we’re bringing to the forefront for the first issue, but one important character Turner finds in this mysterious city is Webb, a main character in our story. Not much can be said about him without stepping into spoiler territory, but if I had to describe Webb with one word, I’d say he’s a “protector.”
On our cover, you may have also noticed some disembodied masks floating above the two. Those masks belong to a group we’re calling the Custodians. I can’t go too much into them as well, but if we’re still playing the one-word game, “devotional” would be right for them.
AP2HYC: How are you making the story appeal to a mature audience whilst also getting nostalgic about when we were younger?
Hauck: Great question. On the surface, our first issue contains violence and language that will definitely lean towards a mature audience. But beneath that, there is a deeper through-line that speaks to the kid in all of us – an age when creativity and imagination trumped certainty. Everything seemed to be a wonder to us at that stage in our lives and I hope the mystery in our story, as well as the artwork supplementing it, will capture that.
AP2HYC: What style of artwork are you going for?
Hauck: It took me a few of months to find our illustrator, Ellis Ray III, but he was well worth the wait. His style is very clean with a hint of grit that gives our panels some bite. Ellis also has a very organic process when developing his pages, which gives our characters so much life when he’s drawing them.
Once his inks are sent to our communal dropbox, Sean Callahan, our colorist, takes over. Sean has great range with his coloring, but we both decided in the beginning to go with the “cut-and-grad” style, which works extremely well with Ellis’ lines. I’m lucky to have them both on this book, as well as our letterer, Jamie Me, who also has an extremely professional portfolio outside of No Wonder.
AP2HYC: As the story is about information consumption, is this a topic that you feel needs to be discussed more?
Hauck: Yes and no. I’ve noticed some bad trends within the last couple years when it comes to mobile devices and how we consume information from them, but I’m sure we’re all aware of the impact it has on our social lives.
I just want to write an entertaining story that has a message we can all relate to. If that message happens to resonate more powerfully with some readers, that’s just a bonus.
AP2HYC: Was the fact that people today can’t go ten seconds without staring at an electronic device a point of inspiration?
Hauck: Absolutely. I’d actually like to thank those individuals at my local Starbucks – eyes fixed on their phones below them as they waited for their coffee – for inspiring me to sit down and write this book. Maybe I’ll tweet them so they actually see it.
I just remember thinking to myself, “How can we be so connected via social media, and yet, so disconnected when actually ‘in’ society?” It’s such a bizarre relationship we have with our electronic devices today. But hell, I’ll admit it, I really can’t be excused from that group entirely. Now, I never bring my phone out when catching up with a friend over a meal or any other social gatherings; I find that to be a rude to the people that take time out of their lives to see me. Outside of that though? I get it. It’s hard not to fall victim to that vibration in your pocket that’s begging for your attention. I feel like Pavlov’s dog sometimes when that thing goes off, but it’s because I don’t want to fall behind!
That’s what No Wonder really is at it’s core. It’s a story about breaking free from something we’ve all been conditioned to and know very well. It’s about embracing the feeling of curiosity and wonder instead of absolute certainty or fear of not being up-to-date.
If you’ve noticed the complexity of today’s technologically informed world and want to be transported to one more unknown, our book is for you.
You can discover more about No Wonder on Twitter!