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DF Interview: Matt Hawkins examines if utopia as potentially destructive as apocalypse in Symmetry
By Byron Brewer
Utopia is here. Hunger, sickness, work … all relics of a long-forgotten past. The population is limited to segregated areas where people lead long lives of leisure, games and socializing. Only one man and one woman seem to notice, care or think differently. Once they find each other, their relationship sparks a revolution that will either save or destroy all mankind.
With this atmosphere of utopian perfection comes Symmetry, from writer Matt Hawkins and artist Raff Ienco. To further examine this decidedly non-apocalyptic outlook on our future that still may lead to species downfall, Dynamic Forces chatted with Hawkins about the book.
Dynamic Forces: Matt, most comic creators, especially with creator-owned properties, seem to be doing futuristic apocalyptic worlds. Your future world in the new Symmetry book is just the opposite?
Matt Hawkins: And that’s why. I wanted to try to look at it from a different perspective. Create a world that people look at and can’t quite figure out if they like it or not.
DF: And yet, even in utopian societies, the mere presence of perfection can lead to societal dangers. Is this the case in your new book?
Matt Hawkins: Yes, creativity, love and independence have all been suppressed. The world is segregated. It’s a fragile balance, but has worked for awhile until the tragedies that strike our main characters unfold.
DF: You certainly are becoming known for your science fiction and science thriller books. What is the inspiration for this love of sci-fi and technology?
Matt Hawkins: Been a fan since I was a kid. Grew up with Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Piers Anthony. These were the books I read as a kid and of course I loved Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. They make up a big part of my youth.
DF: Tell us about the overall storyline of Symmetry, in a non-spoilery manner if you can.
Matt Hawkins: When Artificial Intelligence became ubiquitous humanity was confronted with a choice: continue the endless cycle of violence or make a real change.
The System Optimizer for Longevity (SOL) was engineered. When it came online it worked under humanity’s guidance to build a better future.
Ambition, diversity, creativity and instruments of capital were eliminated for the greater good.
Everyone was given a personal A.I. joined with their brain in utero to connect them with SOL and the community. These Responsive Artificial Intelligence Network Archetypes became known as RAINA.
Society now has Four Pillars: COMMUNITY, PEACE, HARMONY and EQUALITY.
Everything was designed to support this ideology.
Robots took over all labor. Humanity entered its most harmonious age.
It had finally found Symmetry.
DF: Who are your protagonists?
Matt Hawkins: Michael and Maricela are two kids from two different completely segregated groups that fall in love. Definite Romeo and Juliet thing going on here.
DF: How did artist Raff Ienco become a part of this new series?
Matt Hawkins: He did a book called Manifestations that we published a few years ago. Met him through that.
DF: Did Raff do a lot of designs for the book? Were these with your assistance, or was he given artistic license of a sort?
Matt Hawkins: Both, he did most of the design but I included a lot of photo reference for how I wanted it to look. Ultimately I wanted it all to have a beautiful, symmetrical feel to it.
DF: Matt, are there any projects current or future you’d like to discuss while we are at it?
Matt Hawkins: Working with Colleen Doran on a project that will be announced at some point in the near future and a couple other things I can’t discuss yet. Linda Sejic’s Blood Stain and Bryan Hill/Nelson Blake’s Romulus books coming out I’m super excited for. Good stuff.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Matt Hawkins for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Symmetry #1 is in stores now!
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