Existential Comics: Talking to the Creators of Existence 2.0

Talking to the Creators of Existence 2.0

Existence 2.0 #1

If there’s a bright side to dying, it’s the chance that reincarnation might be true. And with innovations in technology – that could come true. That’s what happens in the upcoming comic series Existence 2.0.

Existence 2.0 follows a self-absorbed physicist whose consciousness is transferred into that of another --- the hitman who just killed him. Still reeling from that doozy of a mindbender, he finds he can’t process it standing still when the same people who put out a hit on him have kidnapped his daughter. With no clues as to who or what they are, he has to retrace his steps and dredge up his past to find out why he’s been targeted in the first place and who is out there in the dark.

Writer Nick Spencer and artist Ronald Salas have teamed together to create this book, working with Jim Valentino’s Shadowline imprint of Image to put it out into the world. Existence 2.0 #1 is scheduled to debut on July 1st, and we talked with the creators by email to find out more about this sci-fi sequential story.

Newsarama: Thanks for talking to us, guys. Let’s talk about the book --- Jim Valentino describes this book as a mixture of crime and science fiction. How would you describe it?

Existence 2.0 #1, page 1

Ronald Salas: A mix of crime and science fiction definitely fits.

Nick Spencer: Truth is, I think we bounce around a lot of different genres here. It’s a mystery with a lot of crime noir elements laid on top of a high concept sci-fi premise, with a little black comedy thrown in there for effect. We worked hard to make this a story you could enjoy on a lot of different levels. Little something for the whole family in here.

RS: I would definitely say that first and foremost, it's an action whodunit. There's a mystery at the center of the book and the focus, for me, is how that mystery unravels. And as it unravels, there's a lot of fighting, bullets, blood, and sex that come in along the way.

NRAMA: The center to all this is a scientist – can you tell us about him?

NS: Sylvester Baladine—the most narcissistic, self-absorbed, petulant physicist you will ever encounter. Sylvester is a guy who has dug himself a huge hole in life, and managed to alienate everyone around him. So when he gets this new life via the consciousness tranfer, he’s thrilled to just leave everything behind and start anew. The problem is, he has one last shred of humanity in him—he loves his daughter. And when he finds out she’s been kidnapped, he’s forced to dig back into his past and find out who murdered him.

But, you know, with this book, who’s at the center is actually a pretty complicated thing… I’d just tell everyone out there to keep reading.

Existence 2.0 #1, page 2

NRAMA: Another good question is to the title itself “Existence 2.0”. What does it mean in regards to the book?

NS: The title came to me while I was perusing Slashdot and a few of my other favorite science/techie blogs. I actually think I had the title here before I had anything else, truth be told. I was just thinking about software and how we handle those updates or revisions and thought it would be pretty funny if we applied that kind of system to our lives.

Sylvester is, due to the transfer of his consciousness into the body of the hitman who just killed him, in his second life, this is his ‘Existence 2.0’. And he is exactly the kind of guy who would refer to it in such cold, venture capitalist-friendly terms.

NRAMA: This sounds like an intriguing project – how did this all come together for you two?

Existence 2.0 #1, page 3

NS: first talked to Jim Valentino and Kris Simon at Image/Shadowline about the concept last year, and they apparently saw some potential there, it was just a question of finding the right artist for it. That took some time, but eventually a mutual friend (Jeffrey Burandt, who does a great comic called AMERICANS UK himself) hooked me up with Ron, and things just took off fast from there.

RS: I read Nick's 5-page sample script and immediately liked the snappy prose and the overall concept. I quickly put together 5 pages of art for us to show off at this year's New York Comicon. One great thing after another has been happening ever since!

NS: All credit to Kris and Jim for believing in the premise, and to Ron for taking it up to the next level with some truly amazing art.

Existence 2.0 #1, page 4

NRAMA: Before we go, I know fans get excited when they see the book promoted out there. Since this is a really out-there kind of book, do you have anything special planned, promotion-wise, to coincide with the debut of the book?

NS: Oh yeah. It’s a little too early to say too much, but I have a lot of ideas. I always looked at the kind of stuff guys like Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brubaker did to get people excited about their upcoming books and said ‘when we get a turn, we’re definitely gonna learn from this.’ So Tim Daniel (who does a stellar job designing our covers) and I are working hard on some viral campaigning and online back matter stuff that I think will really grab people’s interest. Stay tuned on that front.

For now, the stuff I can talk about: we have a very cool motion trailer in the works, and we’re lucky to have the book come out right in the heart of convention season, so expect us to have a presence at SDCC, Wizard World Chicago, and beyond.

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