Civilization as we know it has ended -- so what now?
Marc Guggenheim's post-apocalyptic Oni Press series "Resurrection" explores a world in which an alien race has devastated Earth for ten straight years. Throughout their reign, the aliens, called "Bugs" by Earth's native population, have experimented on humans, conducted non-stop bombing campaigns, and torn down the structure of civilization. Then one sunny day, they just disappeared.
Following on the six-issue black-and-white series that introduced this post-invasion world and some of its major players, "Resurrection" returned in color with a #0 issue on Free Comic Book Day. Issue #1, illustrated by Justin Greenwood, ships next week from Oni, and CBR News caught up with Guggenheim to discuss the resurrection of "Resurrection" and some of the intrigues that will play out in the new series.
"Resurrection's" move to color came about because "the economics changed such that color publishing became feasible and Oni wanted to try it out on the most amazing series they publish. That they've ever published," Guggenheim told CBR. "Yeah. Yeah, something like that."
Both Series One and the new season of "Resurrection" begin after the invasion of Earth ended, but scenes taking place before and during the occupation will be coming up. "We're parceling those moments out in strategically-deployed flashbacks," Guggenheim confirmed. "Starting with Issue #2, we'll also be starting up a new feature called 'Resurrection Tales' which features short stories set at various points in time over our meta-narrative. Some of the stories will take place post-occupation -- but other stories will take place during it and even before it. The story that appears in Issue #2 is set during the beginning days of the occupation."
Series 1 and 2 are also connected by their opening pages, as readers see the same group emerging from a bunker once the above-ground explosions have ceased. The stories diverge when this group splits up, with the first series following Sara Lisco on her adventure, while issue #1 of the new series begins with the tale of the other survivors.
"Well, I've [reprised those pages] twice thus far and I haven't yet made up my mind whether to do it a third time (though I do have an idea)," Guggenheim explained. "The reason I did it -- at the beginning of Book 2, Issue #1 -- was that I had a problem to solve: I wanted the first issue of the new book to be completely new-reader-friendly which meant, among other things, that I had to introduce the high concept of the book to those readers who hadn't read Book One. At the same time, however, I wanted readers who had read Book One -- both of them -- kidding -- to see some familiar faces. So at some point I hit upon the idea of revisiting the opening pages of Book One, then branching off in a different direction. It felt like an elegant solution to my problem."
The two stories, of course, seem likely to converge before long.
Throughout the first series and also in the Free Comic Book Day #0, "Resurrection's" survivors have an instinct to restart society, but have no way to know who else may be alive or whether the situation is the same everywhere. This leads to no small confusion as to societal structure and what form the newly emerging human civilization might take. "I guess you could say that the entire series is my take on humanity's next step -- that's why I chose 'Resurrection' as the title," Guggenheim said. "It was actually inspired by something I heard on the news after Hurricane Katrina. One of the inhabitants of New Orleans had been talking on CNN about how they had to go about 'starting the resurrection of New Orleans.' As for how that resurrection takes place in our series, my general 'take' is that it's something that happens in fits and starts and a step backward for every two steps forward.
"In Book One we established pretty clearly that the world is in a state of chaos after ten years of alien occupation and that humanity's next step is going to be the descent into more chaos."
On a national level, issue #1 begins with a flashback to 1998, where President Clinton addresses the crisis shortly before Air Force One is shot down. With the last elected president gone, readers have already seen some power shuffling for the presidential line of succession, raising the question of who exactly is in charge at this point. "That is an excellent question," the writer said. "Believe me, our characters are asking it a lot and it's that mystery that forms the substance of much of the first year's worth of stories. That's a long way of saying that I can't tell you without spoiling a lot of stuff."
The end of the previous series and the #0 issue, both of which feature powerful humans operating to conceal major secrets, suggest that there is more to the bugs' invasion than the public knows. As to how the conspiracy might unfold, Guggenheim said, "There's a big story to be told in Europe. Not everyone dealt with the occupation the same way. I won't say that nothing is as it seems, but I will say that what it seems may not be the whole story."
Given that the Bugs ruled Earth for ten years, it should not be surprising that they performed ghastly experiments upon humans, resulting in mutant creatures called Burns. Though briefly appearing in the first series, Burns were not as central to that story, but Guggenheim suggested they will crop up in Book Two. "We saw one in Book One named Victor -- who will be showing up in Book Two, albeit not for a little while," the writer said. "A Burn also makes an appearance in Book Two, Issue #1 as part of a suicide attempt by one of our characters. How's that for a tease?"
With "Resurrection" #0 representing Oni Press as the publisher's Free Comic Book Day offering for 2009, introducing readers not only to the series but potentially to the wider line of Oni books, CBR asked Guggenheim what other Oni titles fans of his book might enjoy. "I think 'Wasteland' is the obvious companion," he said of the long-running post-apocalyptic title by Antony Johnston and Chris Mitten. "There are also elements and mysteries that will be familiar to readers of 'Queen & Country.' Then again, I might just be mentioning my favorite Oni titles. You never know..."
"Resurrection" #1 goes on sale June 10 from Oni Press.