The solicitations for CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE #1 were just released and it is now available for pre-order, so it seemed like a good time to get in contact with the creator for a little more information about his book. Here is what writer Eric Garcia (ANONYMOUS REX, MATCHSTICK MEN) had to say about making his first comic series:
What is CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE about?
Eric Garcia: At its heart, CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE is about the impending merger between man and the omnipresent networks all around us. It’s about a man who is tasked with the job of keeping watch over the city he loves, and finds that in order to protect a city, he’s got to become the city. Now, that sounds a bit promo-tag-line-ish, I grant you, but that’s really the meat of the story. What’s the fine line between being logged-in, and just being? I think it’s going to get harder and harder to tell in the coming years, and this book is a way to explore that notion in a sci-fi/speculative setting.
What research did you do about the technological and scientific aspects of the book?
Eric Garcia: The funny thing about researching something like CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE is that as soon as you think you have got a handle on where the science is right now, it up and changes underneath you. Everything is moving insanely quickly these days in terms of speed, networking, and interface that the research I did a few years ago when I originally conceived of the story is completely outdated. Fortunately, I read a ton of science-fact along with my science-fiction, and keep up on tech news to a degree that’s probably unhealthy, so that helps keep me abreast of things, even as I realize that it’s a bit futile to try and predict what’s speeding toward us at a million miles per hour.
For an action-packed sci-fi book there are also a lot of interesting relationship and character dynamics, why was it important for you to include these as well?
Eric Garcia: The character and relationship dynamics are, to me, the start of any great story. When I first conceived of the idea for CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE, it was off of a one-thought premise: why can’t my appliances just know what I want and act accordingly? But that’s not a story. Stories come from characters, and from characters put into situations. I wanted to explore the notion of a man put into that world, and wanted to populate it with other characters who had motivations and desires both adjunct to and opposite of his. At the end of the day, this world is our world, just thrown into a future of our creation – so it’s got to be populated with people who are, in at least some ways, like us.
What has the process been like working with the artists and Darby Pop to realize this story as a comic book?
Eric Garcia: Nothing short of fascinating. It’s this odd amalgam of what I do as a novelist and what I do as a screenwriter, When the artists become involved and start putting their own stamps on it, it’s like working with a great production designer, or a director – they really start bringing your concepts to life. Sometimes it’s exactly as you pictured, sometimes it’s wildly different – and that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing. I love the collaborative process, because you’ve got incredibly talented people bringing so many different areas of expertise to the table. The key, I’ve found, is that you’ve got to be willing to put your ego aside (and I’ll be honest – this is not always an easy thing for me) and allow alternate or actively disparate viewpoints – while still protecting the core of the project itself. It becomes this little Platonic ideal, and you want to get as close to that ideal while recognizing that you’re not the only one who can get it there. It takes a village to raise a comic book.
Is there a particular character or aspect of the story you are most excited to see realized visually in the comic?
Eric Garcia: As the comic has come together, I’ve been thrilled to see so many of the action elements rendered so beautifully on the page – it’s still amazing to me after three decades of reading comics how so much motion can be conveyed in such otherwise static images.
The thing that’s really surprised me, though, is how much of the love story between Ben and Chloe is apparent just in looks, glances, little emotions flitting across features. For me, this is the story about one man taking on the hopes and dreams and fears and secrets of an entire city – but any great city is also filled with a million love stories, and I dearly want Ben and Chloe to find happiness a midst all the crazy. It’s been exciting watching that come together.
CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE issue 1 will be available in February, from Darby Pop and IDW Publishing. Talk to your local comic shop to reserve yours today!