Simon Oliver, the creative mind behind the quirky, fan-favorite series The Exterminators, is coming back to Vertigo this fall — this time with a look at what happens when the universe starts coming apart at the seams.
Announced by DC at Chicago's C2E2, a new ongoing series called Collider will unite Oliver with artist Robbi Rodriguez to tell the story of a world where wormholes show up in the kitchen and gravity tends to fail from time to time. And when things get really bad, people call the Federal Bureau of Physics for help.
Collider is told through the point of view of Adam Hardy, a rising star at the Bureau — better known as the "FBP." When a gravity failure ends up causing the creation of an alternate dimension known as a 'BubbleVerse,' Adam is sent on a rescue mission, although he discovers his partner has a different mission in mind.
Newsarama talked with Oliver to find out more about the new Vertigo ongoing series.
Newsarama: Simon, this world in Collider sounds pretty messed up. What's the premise behind the story?
Simon Oliver: Some years in the not too distant past the world as we know it changed.
The expansion of the universe reached a point where the space/time fabric stretched too far and the laws of physics, the constants of our world, are no longer as carved-in-stone as they once were.
As a result, our world is full of physics-related incidents, from the small and relatively minor, such as one morning waking up to find a wormhole in your kitchen, all the way to massive quantum tornados ripping across the Midwest.
At first, this was obviously big news, but like most things in life, man has kind of adjusted and moved on to this new reality, and it's now an everyday part of our life. You turn on the TV news in the morning, and along with the weather and traffic reports you get to hear about potential physics problems to avoid on the commute to work.
The key thing is that it is very much like our own world, only physics is no longer reliable.
Nrama: Does this stem from your wild imagination? Or do you have an interest in physics?
Oliver: A little. It's always been something of an interest. When I came up with the idea for this book, I hit the books pretty hard, starting from scratch, from Newton through to quantum, and something interesting came up.
As a writer doing these things, you try and take a basic grounded concept and just push it a little further, but I found every time I came up with something, no matter how crazy an idea, a week later I'd discover it was at least an existing theory.
For example, to explain the overall physics failure, I figured that the universe's expansion had caused a rip in the time/space fabric, great, a little crazy but simple to understand and it works to explain the big picture of our "new world."
A week later, I read a theory that suggested a similar idea, that the universe might expand to a point where the space/time membrane our dimension is a part of could start to stretch, warp and tear.
This happened over and over again.
Once you start looking literally, there is a new article everyday. Physics research is moving ahead at an unprecedented rate, and I felt when you can't out-crazy science, that it was kind of a sign to me that I was on the right subject.
Nrama: Can you explain a little more about the Federal Bureau of Physics? What's the idea behind this organization?
Oliver: You dial 911, you get a choice of fire, police, ambulance, or physics. They're just another emergency service, like the guys who come out in the truck to fix a burst water main.
That will change a little over the course of the book, but I don't want to tip my hand too far.
Nrama: Who are the main characters we'll be meeting?
Oliver: Adam Hardy, a young and upcoming FBP agent, and Cicero, the tech who works with Adam's father, who as we discover in the first arc was a scientist and early pioneer when physics started failing. And his story and fate will be wrapped around his son's.
Nrama: Robbi Rodriguez has a wide variety of comics under his belt, especially superhero stuff at Marvel. What's his style like in this series, and what does he bring to the comic?
Nrama: This is the first time we've worked together, and he's great. Seriously, I'm not lying when I say the art will blow you away. This is a very, very visual story, so I'm making a big effort to give Robbi the space he needs to pull it off.
Just an example of what to expect: The first arc has the guys entering a "BubbleVerse," a temporary, alternate dimension that exists on the edge of our membrane, where molecular structures are not stable, so on impact objects shatter apart, or get smashed into one another, creating new morphed together shapes.
Nrama: For fans of The Exterminators, will they see any similarities in your approach to Collider?
Oliver: On the face of it, there is this "blue collar guys saving the world" concept, so yes.
But honestly, my storytelling approach is very different on this book.
Less characters, less interlocking storylines, there is a big ongoing arc that will get pushed forward, but I'm trying to focus on making the individual story arcs somewhat self-contained so even a causal reader can pick it up and not feel lost.
And for those expecting bugs and exploding junkies, sorry. There's a lot less gross out type stuff in this one.
But it's a reality that's far more likely to happen than a zombie attack.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!