A large crowd gathered Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego for the Archaia panel covering “Lucid,” their first book in association with Before The Door, actor Zachary Quinto’s production company.
Moderator and Archaia Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy thanked the audience for their support. “A year ago today we were here at the con talking to you guys about ‘Lucid,'” said Christy. “A year later, here we are with the actual book.”
“Lucid” takes place in a parallel universe where magic is real. Major world powers have secret agents working for them, fighting supernatural terrorist threats. The comic’s protagonist, Matthew Dee, is America’s new “Protector of the Realm” and is tasked with stopping a black market occult technology dealer known only as the Pendragon.
“I thought ‘Lucid’ could be the story of, what if Barack Obama had an ass-kicking combat mage working for him?” said writer Michael McMillian.
“Or the high-concept pitch: what if Harry Potter grew up and joined the CIA?” said Christy.
Christy asked the BTD team how they discovered McMillian. “We found him lurking in the hallways of Carnegie Mellon,” said BTD partner and “Star Trek” actor Zachary Quinto. “Apparently homeless and in need of acting training.”
The audience laughed as Quinto admitted they had all been friends during college. Quinto formed BTD as a production company two years ago, and “Lucid” is their first comic book, though they have a second project in the pipeline with Archaia. Another Carnegie Mellon alumnus will also write the unnamed book.
“Who knew the oldest school with the oldest BFA program in the world would turn out so many comic book creators?” said BTD partner Neal Dodson.
Available now, “Lucid” is a four-issue miniseries written by McMillian and illustrated by Anna Wieszczyk, a European illustrator who could not make it to San Diego. “I wanted this world to have a bit of an animated style. I wanted it to feel really pop-y, but at the same time really fluid,” said McMillian. “The work [Anna’s] been turning in for us has been awesome.”
Christy and the BTD team showed the audience pages from the comic, describing it as a blend of anime and European styles. “When I first saw it, it reminded me a bit of ‘Aeon Flux,'” said McMillian. “But she has this really classical fairy tale illustration style to her as well.”
Hands immediately shot up after Christy announced they had signed copies, taking the team by surprise.
“Cage fight!” joked McMillian.
The BTD team obviously enjoyed interacting with the audience, stopping the panel to call out individuals. Quinto teased a man talking on the phone and the panelists led the audience in applauding a group of latecomers to the room.
“A Tusken raider is asking you a question, Michael,” said Quinto as a fan dressed like a Tusken raider from the film “Star Wars” approached the microphone.
“This is the best moment of my life,” the Tusken told them, sending the panel into a fit of laughter.
Before the panel wrapped, McMillian summed up the experience of the book. “I want to create something that will be hopefully as fun for the reader as my favorite comics were for me,” said McMillian. “I’d love to see [“Lucid”] going on for a very long time.”
“It’s something we’re really proud of and we appreciate the support,” said Christy.
“Lucid” #1 is in stores this month.