Exploring The Time of DAYS MISSING W/ Roddenberry, Archaia
Phil Hester Resets Time in Days Missing
With all the evil and corrupt imagination in our world, it's a wonder we haven't blown ourselves to Kingdom Come already. But what if we almost did? What if humanity came to the brink of extinction -- and then somehow forgot it ever happened?
Newsarama caught up with Roddenberry Productions COO Trevor Roth and Archaia's Stephen Christy to talk about how they brought the concept to the publisher, what Roddenberry's legacy on the series was, and how the sci-fi adventures of the Steward may be a cover for a love story that spans eternity.
Newsarama: So tell me a little bit about how Days Missing came to be -- what was the inspiration for you guys in creating this series?
Trevor Roth: Y'know, the inspiration normally comes from something that either we believe in at Roddenberry--whether it be an investigation of the human condition or an explloration of some kind, we always work on certain themes. When it comes to Days Missing, it comes to exploring the human condition, and we're able to explore it through a very unique dimension -- the 4th dimension -- which is unique in terms of the Steward and the overall concept. It came to me as an idea: what if there was a lost period of time in history that no one knew of, that could explain certain things about it -- that was the foremost kernel of the premise. When I spoke to Stephen, he got very very excited about the sorts of possibilities -- which are essentially endless -- about this. Combine that with a character that represents humanity in so many ways, and lives outside it in lots of other ways, and combine it together, you have one really exciting book.
I think I'll speak for us -- it was definitely fortuitous that I met Steve when I did and this ended up at Archaia -- I think first and foremost, Stephen understood Roddenberry and what that meant -- the criteria and the excellence we expect for anything that comes out of the name. So the ability for him to have that background was a real step from the very beginning to understand the potential, from just this kernel, to talk about the possibilities that would come out of this right off the bat were instantaneous and really organic right off the bat. I don't know if you were doing to say something else, Steve.
Stephen Christy: Being a fan of the Roddenberry brand just as a little kid based on Star Trek being able to contribute to that legacy was great -- I remember meeting Trevor and thinking, "God, I hope its a good concept, I hope its a good concept." Not only was it a fantastic concept, and not only did it hold up to the kinds of things out of Roddenberry science fiction, but I knew at the end of the day this would make an awesome comic book. [The Steward] doesn't necessarily travel through time -- he folds time -- but having a character who can do that is fascinating, and you really can only do it in comics. One issue can be thousands of years ago, another one can be today -- coming from the initial concept Trevor and I got to the point that we both agreed that we wanted to do its as a miniseries.
We came up of the idea as a different creative team every issue -- that to me was something that was really exciting -- that meant we'd be able to bring in a huge amount of creators on this series and allow a lot of people to bring their voice to it. It harkens to the episodic nature of Roddenberry sci-fi, like Star Trek, Earth: Final Conflict... its all self-contained, you don't need to know all the previous issues to get into the series. That was really attractive to us because we thought it would get a lot of readers on board. Single-issue storytelling is something thats pretty rare in comics, in the world of endless crossovers. We thought it'd be a breath of fresh air saying you could just pick up this book. You didn't need to read 100 issues to get this book, and if you don't like it, you can wait till next month.
Christy: He kind of reminded me of Spock or Data actually, and I think that was something Trevor and I talked about a lot.
Roth: In the tradition of Roddenberry, creating a character in a very unique way to bring a mirror up to ourselves -- humanity as a whole -- and be able to really look and analyze the reflection in that mirror -- and funny enough his eyes are a mirror -- that's something we're always striving for. When it comes to the particular circumstances of the Steward, he lives in this extraordinary world under extraordinary circumstances, but it also allows him to relate to our audience and deal with relative issues to them will allows us to say, hey, this guy, if you were him, you might feel similar and allow them to extrapolate what those feelings might be I think at the core of whats about the Steward is. The relevance to humans, in their daily lives, is to connect with the extraordinary cirucmstances; in a lot of ways, he's patterned after humanity because he believes in certain things for no reason, because he has to, because it allows him to exist, and I think humanity follows that. Oftentimes, he has to provide himself with meaning and I think that that is something humanity does very large-scale, without even knowing it. He has to deal with the lack of interaction, the loneliness, the need he has for compaionship, that many of us can understand or empathize with. Given the kind of scenario he has in his life, one of the most tragic things about him is that no matter what he does for humanity, no matter what role he plays, no matter what connection he has with a group of human beings, when he ends up folding time, he's not only severing that connection, he's completely obliterating it... he's a man without existence, not a man without a country. I think that very human trait is something that carries throughout, and allows him to have so many layers, as an onion would, to dig, dig, dig, dig, and at the same time, be accesssible to the readers.
Nrama: It's interesting you talk about that feeling of loneliness -- there really was this feeling throughout the series that almost felt like a love story. Do you feel this might be accurate or appropriate for Days Missing? A love story between the Steward and humanity itself?
Roth: I'll say, for me, the writers of this definitely gave [the Steward] a voice that allowed that to really come through -- I will say absolutely there's that devotion, because when you're dealing with something that's essentially faith -- faith in humanity itself, as well as his mission regarding humanity -- you have to believe in it. In his core, he has to belive in what he's doing, and have a tremendous revereance for humanity in order to accomplish his job. In a way, everything from envying humanity to caring for humanity is a huge part of who he is.
Nrama: With the first miniseries having concluded, was there a particular favorite issue for you guys? You had a lot of name talent like Phil Hester and Frazer Irving on board for this book...
Roth: I have to agree with Stephen -- I can say with any given issue, for looking at story, in terms of looking at things with the character were constistent, it really allows me to look at issue #5 to see that the themes that Roddenberry speaks to, and the themes we can explore with Days Missing, but the accomplishment of making it into a whole work -- and also bringing a little bit of humor to it. I'm always a little bit hesitant to say that, as the Steward isn't neccessarily a humorous character.
Nrama: Something we were particularly happy to see was at the end of the last issue, where it looks like the Steward has some otherworldly adversaries of his own. Without giving too much away, what's the future for this franchise? Do you plan on bringing Days Missing back to comics, or to TV, film?
Roth: I would say the good news, even about the initial kernel, is that this thing has legs. Days Missing, as a concept, can go on for eternity. As long as we have a history and there are days in it, we can create stories -- or rather perhaps 'reveal the truth' about it -- so as far as the ability for it to do so. It's enormous. We definitely have an idea of, if it would continue, where it would go. As I would say as a big fan of science fiction and television and comic bokos and eveyrthing under the sun, I'm not a big fan of people saying "do they know where they're going? Who's driving the ship?" To make sure we're achiving what any Roddenberry proprety should do, we have an idea of where this might go in the event that we might move forward.
Be assured there is a plan -- if there are more issues coming, they come with intent.
Christy: One thing I will say is if you pick up the hardcover collection of the series that comes out next month, there's a complete story right there, you can read it. It's a really great way to come out with the concept -- the 99 cent issue is still out there, so you can order it from Diamond, you can order it from your stores, or on the online side. Do you want to tell him about what's going on with that, Trevor?
Roth: iVerse, which is becoming a fast and furiously growing machine of comics, starting at the 20th of this month, we will be carrying Days Missing issue #1. And every week until the launch of the trade, there wil be a new issue of Days Missing available on iVerse ... I really think Stephen brought up a really good point. If you're able to get these and look at the trade, one thing I think the trade does so well is to make sure that along with great extras and special features that we think really make sense as to what people would be really excited about, there's clarity and explanations if you have questions. You're not going to know what's in the future, but you're going to understand the character in a new level, on a completely new plane. I really hope people enjoy what extras are in there, because they give such a full and vivid picture of the universe.
The Days Missing hardcover collection hits stores February 25th. Check out the series' first issue by Phil Hester and Frazer Irving for free right here at Newsarama!