RETURN OF THE CYBER MAN
William Gibson on Archangel, his new comic.
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…