|JAMES TYNION IV
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DF Interview: James Tynion IV creates a psychic apocalypse in Cognetic
By Byron Brewer
James Tynion IV (The Woods, Batman Eternal) and Eryk Donovan (The House in the Wall), the creative team behind the award-nominated Memetic, come together once again with BOOM! Studios for a new apocalyptic tale in the three-issue event Cognetic. Tynion and Donovan explore the fundamental human desire for control and how absolute power can topple civilization.
To get the full 411 on this psychic contagion story, Dynamic Forces sat down with scribe James Tynion IV. Here is what he told us.
Dynamic Forces: James, tell us how it feels to be re-teamed on this limited series – the second leg in your “Apocalypse Trilogy” – with artist Eryk Donovan?
James Tynion IV: This is actually the fourth project I've worked on with Eryk Donovan! Ever since working with him on a horror short for the Harvey- and Eisner-nominated In the Dark anthology, I've been determined to keep working with Eryk. The two of us have an incredible shorthand at this point. We grew up with so many of the same interests and sensibilities that I know exactly how he's going to bring a story to life on the page with us. I couldn't imagine a better partner on a series of projects like our “Apocalypse Trilogy” with BOOM! Studios.
DF: For the uninitiated, can you tell us about the overall concept of the “Trilogy”?
James Tynion IV: A few years ago, I sat down and I challenged myself to come up with three horrifying ways to end the world. I wanted to try and tap into some of the deepest cultural fears of the modern age in a way that I had never seen before, and see if I could craft a series of apocalypses that would be wholly unique and strange.
The first idea I had was Memetic, a story about an image posted online that ends the world in three days. I wanted to tap into the fact that information spreads so quickly these days that we no longer have the time to figure out if an idea is dangerous before it's spread to hundreds of thousands of people online. I wanted to get to that strange fear I've always had about the human race, that we're for the most part one singular organism, and we act in unison. If you infect one person, you infect all of us.
With the second concept, Cognetic, I wanted to literalize that even more than in Memetic. I wanted to bring in a psychic force capable of taking control of the full human race and wield it as a singular force. I wanted to attack the concept of individuality right at its core.
And then there's the third book, but you guys will have to wait a while to see that one come to life.
DF: What is the storyline of this three-issue series?
James Tynion IV: An incredibly powerful psychic organism walks into the Empire State Building and takes over the minds of every single person inside ... And then it starts to spread. It's a psychic contagion story, a full-on apocalypse where humanity loses its individual willpower to become bound by a single, terrifying will. All the while asking whether or not this is precisely what humanity was always supposed to be. This story will touch on events going back to the very beginning of the human race, and the birth of a number of psychic super-organisms who have wielded humanity like a weapon over and over again across its history. It's a big weird crazy story, grounded by a young woman named Annie. The assistant to the Director of the FBI, who will take matters into her own hands, while revealing herself to be much more than anyone ever expected her to be.
DF: Can you tell us about the character design work Eryk did for this series? Was it collaboration or did you let artistic inspiration reign?
James Tynion IV: Actually, out of everything I've ever done with Eryk, I gave the least direction in this series. We're dealing with beings who can live in many bodies, so the specific designs mattered less than the general feel of the story at large. We spent a long time developing this world and these characters, so I knew I could just leave him unleashed and let him come up with some beautiful designs. All the while, I kept trying to push him. We had a long chat right at the start of the project about wanting to do something in every single issue that would be completely unexpected and beautiful and strange... Each issue of Cognetic raises the stakes tremendously, and there's some magnificent Body Horror in issue #3 that Eryk just destroyed... Just you wait and see!
DF: What can you tell us about the “Trilogy’s” coming third chapter, if anything?
James Tynion IV: These stories are all about the loss of individuality in very, very different ways and the third entry will definitely fall along those lines... But in a drastically different way than either Memetic or Cognetic. I already have the full concept in place, but you guys might need to wait a year or two before you see it in stores!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank James Tynion IV for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Cognetic #1 is in stores now!
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