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Undiscovered Country #1
Written by Charles Soule & Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Daniele Orlandini
This November, New York Times bestselling writers SCOTT SNYDER (WYTCHES, A.D.: AFTER DEATH) and CHARLES SOULE (CURSE WORDS, the forthcoming novel Anyone) will team up with artists GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI (The Amazing Spider-Man, Darth Vader, Hellblazer) and DANIELE ORLANDINI (Darth Vader) and 2019 Eisner Award-winning colorist MATT WILSON (THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE, PAPER GIRLS) to embark on an epic adventure in the brand-new ongoing series, UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY!
In this special oversized first issue, readers will journey into the near future, and an unknown nation that was once the United States of America-a land that’s become shrouded in mystery after walling itself off from the rest of the world without explanation over thirty years ago. When a team seeking a cure for a global pandemic breaches U.S. borders, they quickly find themselves in a struggle to survive this strange and deadly lost continent!
Diamond Code: SEP190027
FOC due October 14th, 2019
In stores on November 6th, 2019
Why It’s Cool:
“This is one strange slice of sci-fi Americana. The premise is pretty simple: what if the United States walled itself off from the rest of the world for 30 years and only now is allowing a small team back into the country? In this first issue we only get a taste of the craziness to come, but even just these 40 pages are overflowing with a ton of ideas; sci-fi plagues, giant desert fish, heavy metal bison, and something or someone called the Destiny Man. One thing’s for sure, things are going to get way weirder before they get any better!“
Q&A with Charles Soule & Scott Snyder:
Tell us a little bit about Undiscovered Country. How did everything come together?
SCOTT SNYDER: UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY was born of our friendship, really. We came up with the idea about four years ago on one of the many runs we’ve taken together. We’d been wanting to do a project together for a while already. A man we both knew who’d been in the CIA – someone we’d spoken to for research and become friendly with – invited us to visit the CIA and DARPA with him. So we went down to DC and the trip was intensely inspiring. The CIA trip reminded us of the sacrifice so many make in service of this belief, this faith, in what America represents. And at DARPA we learned all about all these emergent technologies being developed to protect or advance American interests here and around the world. Cars with smart armor. Bacteria resistant fish. A.I. built to win the new space race. And it all just got us thinking about America – the big picture – what it used to be, what it is now, what it might be, for better and for worse. And while running at the National Mall together, the idea just hit us: What if the US sealed itself off from the rest of the world and there was no contact, no communication for thirty years? From that moment, we never stopped thinking about it. What would happen? What if all these people, these factions, were sealed together to fight it out with this crazy technology over what America would, and should become? And what if, three decades after the sealing, a team of seven people were finally invited behind the walls…
CHARLES SOULE: The idea was to explore the American experiment a little bit, through a story that could work as a huge adventure. There’s a strong throughline in American history (at least the earlier days) of exploration, of not knowing what was around the next bend or over the next mountain. We wanted to set up an America that was truly wild again, with all sorts of fascinating concepts that are based in things we’ve learned about technologies and plans the US actually has in-play. So, sure, you might see a giant sand-eel or hear us talking about an “Air Wall” forcefield, but there are things in development (or already in use today!) that could lead to things like what you see in UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY. So, the book really came about from wanting a sandbox-style adventure where we could not only think up the craziest possible concepts, but also explore some deeper ideas about this country, where it’s been, where it’ll go, and so on.
So, that was the idea… and then once we brought my Darth Vader colleague Giuseppe Camuncoli on board as a co-creator and his ideas came into the mix, and then Matt Wilson joined us for colors, Daniele Orlandini on the inks/finishes and Chris Crank! for letters and Will Dennis as editor, we knew we had something really special in the making. Not just an A-team. An A+-team.
What are you reading/watching/listening to as inspiration for this work?
CS: I’m a big reader of speculative non-fiction, and this project is great for that. So, books like Soonish by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith, or Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Those talk about the technologies that will change the world in the years and decades to come. Also speculative fiction – Neal Stephenson’s latest novel The Fall, for example. I’d be lying if I said The Walking Dead (in all its versions) wasn’t an inspiration here. And of course, lots of American history – both recent and older stuff. Movies, music… well, there’s so much of that which will influence the book. Pop culture has been one of America’s primary exports for a truly long time, and Scott and I are both voracious consumers. Something I reference a lot in my mind is World War Z, in the way it looked at a global event on an intimate scale. Lots in the stew here, is what I guess I’m saying.
SS: The book is high adventure, a kind of rollicking journey into the unknown, so we’ve been absorbing a lot of work that speaks to that energy, from films like Jurassic Park to shows like Lost and Land of the Lost to books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. But for all its bombast and action UC is also a deeply personal story about what America stands for – what it might become, good and bad. So we’re both soaking up a lot of quintessential Americana on all fronts as well – historical works like Undaunted Courage, about the Lewis and Clark expedition, to classic John Ford movies, to music intrinsic to American identity – Elvis, Coltrane, Kanye, Ella Fitzgerald… The book is neon lights and the Washington Monument, Chaplin and the moon landing, Evel Knievel and the Bill of Rights all in one giant epic speculative “what if” roadtrip.
When you started this project who did you have in mind as an audience for this, and did it change by the time you finished?
SS: It sounds corny, but the truth is, we want this book to appeal to everyone. At heart, it’s a very character driven series, and we’re really in love with everyone on our expedition team into America, from Dr. Charlotte Graves – an epidemiologist trying to save the wolrd – to Ace Kenyatta, the world’s leading American culture expert and a man hiding a dark secret… There’s Valentina Sandoval, our determined journalist, and Colonel Daniel Graves, a mercenary who may have broken into the States once before… Then there are the villains, like the Destiny Man, the enigmatic fifteen-foot tall tyrant of the new west who rules from his neon throne. So our hope is really that the book has someone or something for everyone. It’s high-stakes drama set against a crazy transformed American landscape. What’s not to love, right?
CS: I don’t have a lot to add here. We’re swinging for the fences. I will say that despite what you might think from the overall concept, we’re really leaning hard away from anything overtly political one way or the other. This is a book about America, and all the many people, events, views and ideas that have shaped it over the centuries into what it is now. It’s wide open.
Can you give us an idea of what readers can look forward to in this series, maybe a little down the line?
CS: The idea is to travel with our main cast as they explore a strange, wild, new America. The country has changed radically in the thirty years it’s been separated from the world, divided into zones, each literally walled off from the others, and each completely different. So, as the group makes its way deeper, every arc (give or take) will explore a new zone, which will have new aesthetics, new characters, new allies and antagonists. It lets us keep the book fresh both for ourselves and the readers, and it’s an awesome challenge for us as creators, too.
SS: Not to spoil too much, but each zone is like its own little country, with its own inhabitants, some human, some not. If one zone is impossibly high-tech, the next might be full of savage beast-people. Zone after zone, our heroes will venture forward, desperate to get to the heart of this weird, deadly, wonderous place. Also, just know that it’s a massive series, already planned at thirty issues plus, so there’ll be quite a few zones!
What’s great in comics right now that you’re currently reading?
SS: Charles I’ll leave these to you, but I’d include Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Adera from Boom, Once and Future from Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora from Image and White Knight from Sean Murphy from me.
CS: I’ve been enjoying DIE from Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, The Black Monday Murders by Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker (may it return soon!), Kaijumax by Zander Cannon, and I’m excited for Family Tree from Phil Hester and Jeff Lemire. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. There’s a lot that’s cool right now, and I’m desperately trying to find time to expand my list!