Wil­liam Gib­son on Ar­changel, his new comic.

SFX - - Red Alert -

De­scrib­ing it as “Band Of Brothers ver­sus Black­wa­ter”, Neu­ro­mancer scribe Wil­liam Gib­son’s first comic book, Ar­changel, takes place not in some far- flung cy­ber­punk fu­ture but in an al­ter­nate 1940s.

De­vel­oped with the ac­tor Michael St John Smith, the IDW minis­eries started out as a spec­u­la­tive TV pitch to a Ger­man pro­ducer look­ing for ideas set around World War Two.

“I re­mem­bered read­ing about the mag­nif­i­cently whack- ass Nazi fly­ing saucer mythol­ogy. Our brief treat­ment ev­i­dently of­fended the pro­ducer,” laughs Gib­son, “but by then we had this rudi­men­tary world on the ta­ble, so it turned out to be ini­tially more a world- build­ing ex­er­cise than any­thing else.”

Gib­son is rel­ish­ing his part­ner­ship not just with co- scripter Smith but also with artist Butch Guice. “The com­mon­al­ity for me is that the ideas emerge from con­ver­sa­tion, such as with The Dif­fer­ence En­gine, which came about af­ter Bruce Ster­ling told me about Charles Bab­bage, who I’d never heard of,” he ex­plains. “That didn’t hap­pen again un­til I told Mike about foo fight­ers, ghost rock­ets, World War Two bomber- crew mythol­ogy and pre- saucers.” Thus, Ar­changel was born.

“It’s a par­al­lel uni­verse story that reads more like a time travel story,” he re­veals. “The good guys, who are not en­tirely good, are Al­lied in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers and a Ger­man black mar­keter in Ber­lin in 1945. There’s also one good guy who is, like the bad guys, from what’s left of the United States, circa 2016. That’s a time­line where Amer­ica made a sin­gle very dif­fer­ent move, back in their 1945, which led to sin­gle tech­nol­ogy emerg­ing a hun­dred years ear­lier than it did for us.”

Ar­changel # 1 is pub­lished by IDW in May.

As if fight­ing Nazis wasn’t bad enough…

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