Apocalypse Now: Rafael Nieves Talks "The Apocalypse Plan"

Open up the newspaper and you'll find countless stories about corporale greed, the evils of modern business, and how you may be putting your faith, and cash, in the wrong companies. Still, those stories of corporale villainy pale in comparison to the idea that perhaps the devil himself is profiting in the business world. This summer, Narwain Publishing brings comic book fans the story of what would happen if heaven and hell were to attempt a corporale takeover of the other, complete with devestating results, in "The Apocalypse Plan." CBR News caught up with series writer Rafeil Nieves, who was happy to share his plans for the series and explain what the book is all about.

"'The Apoclype Plan' is the story of two rival corporations fighting for a larger piece of the market. One of the companies attempts the hostile takeover of the other, with startling results," explained Nieves. "That's the basic crux of the story. In this instance, though, the two organizations are Heaven and Hell, and the market is human souls.

"There are two main characters in 'The Apocalypse Plan'; Mr. Abaddon, who is the mysterious 'fix-it' man for Morningstar, Incorporated, who is called in to investigate a bizarre scene at company headquarters, and is the first to uncover the plan. He is assisted by Theda, a beautiful young woman who seems to be completely out of her element. These two are the chief protagonists of the story.

"As for the genesis of 'The Apocalypse Plan,' I've long been interested in the story of the Apocalypse and the war between Good and Evil. I'm more fascinated in how that struggle would be presented in the 21st century, where everything that used to be black and white is now a muddy grey. Does the end really justify the means, if you fight for Good? And if so, at what cost? These were the questions that drove the concept for me."

While Nieve's passion is evident, horror is a genre that has yeilded mixed results in the comic book world. The scribe's approach to horror is more nuanced that your typical Hollywood slasher flick. "With 'The Apocalypse Plan,' I wanted to tell a kind of hybrid story that mixed a little bit of John Grisham, noir, and the supernatural. What seems apparent on the surface of the story is, in fact, much deeper, and much more insidious than would seem obvious. I liked the idea of doing a mash-up of genres. Horror in comics is much like horror in film; there are so many sub-genres that to lump them together is to dilute the whole. I don't think that horror has been truly explored in comics the way it could be, and should be. There is definitely room for more varied types of horror, and not just the monster of the week, or bloody-slasher stories with gallons of blood flying everywhere (either red or, for the black and white books, black).

"I'm writing 'The Apocalypse Plan, ' I hope, for the same audience that goes to films like 'Devil's Advocate' and 'The Others.' I think that, story-wise anyway, horror comics haven't touched the potential that horror films have shown us, and I have to believe that the markets overlap. I mean, I read comics and go to the movies, so why shouldn't I think that my audience does, as well?

"The Apocalypse Plan" centers around a "mysterious conspiracy," which has become clichè to some readers, but just as with horror, Nieves is doping his approach will show that there's a lot of life left in the idea. "Mysterious conspiracies in comics are usually comprised of costumed villains who plot to put the costumed hero through his paces. In comics, the outcome is usually understood and accepted; the hero will prevail, the group defeated. In films, though, as in novels, that's not always the case. The conspiracies prevalent in those two mediums can have world shattering outcomes, and sometimes the hero doesn't save the day.

"I work in comics because I love the medium, the collaborative process; I like making these mini-movies. The challenge for me is to take stories that one would expect to find in films and/or novels, and translate them for the medium in which I work. So, when we talk about horror, conspiracies, things like that, I always equate them and judge them not by how they've been handled in comics, but by how they're handled in the other mediums as well."

Handling art chores is Aaron Kuder, who Nieves found online, and despite his relatively unknown status, is well-suited to the project. "I discovered Aaron while prowling through penciljack.com. I really liked the work that I saw, and approached him about 'The Apocalypse Plan.' Luckily for me, he said yes. This is Aaron's first major comics work, as I understand it, and it could be a daunting project for someone new to the business. But Aaron has embraced the idea fully and is very gung-ho about it; his line work shows a real maturity. He brings a nice blend of the natural and ethereal to the work, so that, as things start to go wonky in the story, the scenes are presented in a style that engages you, makes you believe them to be plausible. I'm very lucky to have him on board!"

Though "The Apocalypse Plan" is slated as a mini-series, Nieves believes that enough fan support could bring it back as a regular series. "The war between Heaven and Hell will rage on for eternity, so there are plenty of opportunities to revisit these characters, albeit in a somewhat different light. As long as the readers want it, I'll come back to Abaddon and the gang again and again!

"It might interest the readers to note that 'The Apocalypse Plan' is the first in a planned series of projects that are inspired by Biblical tales. Upcoming books include a science-fiction tale, as well as one of my rare entries into the realm of super-heroes."

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