Comics are a big part of our culture, and while DC Comics and Marvel may dominate the market, there are plenty of other companies and books telling unique and special stories that most definitely deserve your attention. This past weekend at C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo), I was given the honor of talking to legendary comic writer Kyle Higgins (Nightwing, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), who has a new comic coming out this week from Image Comics called The Dead Hand.
Me: First off, Mr. Higgins, thank you for talking with me.
Kyle: Sure, not a problem.
Me: So, tells us about The Dead Hand.
Kyle: It’s a new creator-owned series that I’m doing with Stephen Mooney and Jordie Bellaire, it’s about a small town with secrets that date back to the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s an end of the Cold War spy thriller, involves doomsday weapons that actually were built by the Soviet Union and features others that they theorized about, and now, some of these weapons are threatening to end all of existence right now. The only thing standing in their way is the small group of spies that have been former adversaries and are now working together in the this little All-American town that has a very complicated relationship with those weapons.
Me: Very cool, that’s very unique. Is the name “Dead Hand” referring to one of the weapons? Or is it the group of spies that are trying to stop the weapons?
Kyle: The Dead Hand is actually an autonomous doomsday system that the Soviet Union didn’t actually build but they considered building it. It would ensure a retaliatory strike against the US even if the Kremlin was killed. They actually did build a semi-autonomous weapon system named Perimeter that we didn’t learn about until 1993.
Me: Wow, you did a lot of research on the Soviet Union for this book. How did you acquire the information? How did you find out about these weapons?
Kyle: It was everything from Google to books to documentaries. I’ve always had a fascination with the Soviet Union, and I liked the idea of a “dark mirror” version of our country during that time. The “big evil threat” that we didn’t know much about at that time. It just fascinates me, I like cautionary tales like dark mirror inversion stories and exploring them.
Me: So to you, is the history just as important as the story you are telling?
Kyle: I wouldn’t say it’s just as important, I would say it informs the story I’m telling.
Me: You mentioned your artists for the book, Stephen Mooney and Jordie Bellaire, what can readers expect visually from the comic?
Kyle: The book is coming out soon (April 11th), so you can Google the pages but there’s a lot of Barry Windsor Smith inspiration, there’s a little bit of 90’s Image inspiration, it’s a really cool espionage series.
Me: Has this idea been in your head for awhile?
Kyle: For a couple years. Stephen and I know each other from our time at DC with the different Batman books. I realized we both had a lot of similar interests in regards material and I thought it’d be cool to try something new like this.
Me: So it’s really cool seeing this long-time idea of yours come to life?
Me: Any final words to your potential readers?
Kyle: Support creator-owned comics if you like original content, if you like your Marvel or DC stuff you should support original content. Because creator-owned comics are what recharge us so that we can do that material and superhero stuff at the same time.
Me: That is absolutely wonderful, thank you Mr. Higgins.
Kyle: Not a problem.
The Dead Hand #1 arrives this Wednesday. If you need help finding a comic store that will have it, or want to order it digitally, you can do so here.