Peering Past the Bleakness of Infinite Dark With Ryan Cady

BC: The end of #2 brings up the slightly more direct threat of "What happens if this station fails?"

Is that an actual threat or is the station essentially built to last however long it takes to see if the Big Bang happens again?

RC: Oh, that is absolutely a threat. It's got some great security measures, and there are very few ways it could be destroyed - but as we'll see in the next couple issues, we're looking at a perfect storm of "Oh, we could all die. We could survive the end of the universe and still lose."

RC: I think it's kind of a Chekov's gun situation for me. I put all these folks on this ship and made it clear that if it failed, humanity was doomed... So now I have to put them through the ringer a bit. I'm sure they'll find a way to save themselves. Probably. Hopefully.

BC: Well, that's sort of the metaphorical aspect of it all, right? That this is sort of like depression manifested and they are how people survive depression in real life. They are that survivor's instinct that people have that gets them through depression.

RC: Exactly! But you know, for me, that means it's a deeply optimistic book, in a lot of ways. A lot of folks have commented on how bleak it is -- and it definitely is. I want to explore some absolutely dreadful stuff, but like...we SURVIVED THE END OF THE UNIVERSE. So, ultimately, I want this to be a hopeful, optimistic book. But much like depression in real life, that's a journey - a struggle for survival - that you have to get through.

BC: Ha! Exactly. It reminds me of the reactions some people had after the midterm elections this year. Like I would have to remind my wife, "This was a GOOD result."

RC: Oh man, exactly. I was like, "Oh, I was so prepared for so much worse. I was prepared for defeat, and we got a singular victory."

BC: Although, I guess just like surviving the heat death of the universe, it's all how you look at it.

RC: Exactly.

BC: Will we be meeting new cast members as the series goes on, or have we already seen the basic lead cast of the series? There are obviously 2,000 other people out there.

RC: We've seen most everybody important for a while. Kirin in issue two is the last of the “main” characters we introduce, but I've got a handful of key new faces for future issues. I really wish I could do this series for like, 60 issues, and I could just devote whole issues to technolinguists, and what it's like to be a doctor 10,000 years from now, and like, just show people going on dates and all that. And I've got some storylines coming that will be a bit more "these are the people, these are their lives," but I can only show so many of them.

BC: Andrea did a really great job on the end of #2 with the frantic pace. It's hard to convey the sense that people are in a hurry sometimes on ostensibly static artwork and that really made you feel Deva's rush to get to Karin and Sebastian and the dread of it all.

RC: Oh man, I LOVE those last couple pages. Page 19 was so, so perfect. And I loved the way he closed out 20. He's so masterful at pacing things out.

BC: How do you deal with the "need" to have issues end on cliffhangers like that? That's always the interesting challenge with periodical books that are meant to also be read as a collected work. Is it a matter of plotting out the beats or is a more natural thing?

RC: You know, it can kind of suck, but I'm sort of attuned to it now. I've been working in 20 page scripts almost exclusively for the past couple years, and a lot of 4-issue arcs. So it kind of plays to how I beat it out in my head.

RC: For this series, though, oddly enough, it ended up working out perfectly. I knew that I wanted to end issue 1 on that silhouette, and I knew that 2 had to end with the power going out - and 3 has a strong cliffhanger image I had from the get go. 4's is a bit less "Wait, wait, what's next!?" but it's still a cliffhanger, and it serves as a nice bookend to this first volume. I managed not to play myself, for once, haha.

BC: Ha!

BC: By the way, it's interesting that you say "Mysterious Entity" earlier. So that's a more definitive "There is definitely SOMEthing out there?" and not a more speculative "Is there something or is Deva just seeing things?" question?

RC: I'm trying to play it very coy. But there's definitely SOMETHING. How much of it is in Deva's head, what is It, what does It want, etc.

BC: Let's do some Cady promotions! DC Talent Showcase is out soon, right? You must be pumped.

RC: Yes! I am chomping at the bit to see that thing printed. Isaac Goodhart and I put together a Zatanna story I'm insanely proud of. I wanted to do something where I could say, "If I never work at DC again, I'll always be proud of this." But the whole Showcase is great like that. Everyone really put their all in this year.

BC: What else do you have in the pipeline?

RC: It's been a lot of creator-owned, because I wasn't developing for-hire much when I was in the DC workshop. So I've got a webcomic, actually, that's had some fits and starts but should be announced in the next couple months. Really excited about that. Also another book at Top Cow, if you can believe it - in very early stages, but quite different from Infinite Dark.

And two OGNs, actually! One creator-owned and one for-hire, and I'm really stoked on those.

BC: Too soon for further details on the other books?

RC: I've posted a few teases of the creator-owned OGN - it's an adventure story, kind of like MAD MAX meets INDIANA JONES? It's with Cem Iroz, a really talented artist out of Turkey.

RC: And the for-hire one is a very out-there project - I'm really excited about it, cause it's inexplicably right in my wheelhouse. But it's the kind of thing that might make people go, "Huh. Weird." I think that one will actually announce soonish, because I turned in solicit text yesterday.

BC: Oh neat.

RC: And I have a few other little tiny kernels, but I don't want to jinx them by even teasing! I'm just grateful to keep busy, haha.

BC: I totally get that. The life of the freelancer, where you have all of this POSSIBLE stuff that you can't talk about

RC: I just looked over a short interview I did at NYCC, and like 90% of it was, "Oh, I can't talk about this thing I'm doing, but it's so cool!" And I always feel like an ass saying that, haha. But it's all about keeping fingers and toes crossed.

BC: Who came up with the idea of the creator essays on the back of Infinite Dark? They're a great addition. They're not going to be available in the trades, right? Sort of like the backmatter in the Brubaker/Phillips individual issues. A little extra bang for your buck

RC: I'm hoping to fit them in the trades, but yeah, I can't guarantee it, so it's definitely one of the appeals of grabbing those single issues! It was something I was toying with as we were prepping the first issue for print, actually. I didn’t know if it would resonate, but I wanted to hear from other people who’d kind of leaned into horror or fallen in love with the genre when their mental health was at its worst. I just went on twitter and was like, "I had this idea, would anybody be into it?" And so many creators and critics reached out, I was blown away. Thankfully, they’re a lot more insightful than I am.

RC: We've got some really fantastic ones lined up for future issues, too. I really lucked out!

BC: That's great.

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