Vertigo has a new book out that just hit store shelves called HINTERKIND. You can pick it up today at your local comic book shop. Writer Ian Edginton took the time to answer some questions about this new series.
COMIC VINE: HINTERKIND is the newest addition to the growing number of new Vertigo series. In a nutshell, what is this new series about?
IAN EDGINTON: The Hinterkind is set several generations after a biological event - The Blight - has wiped out about 99% of the human population. In seven months we went from being kings of the hill to an endangered species.
Now you might think that was bad enough, however…
Years on, not only has Mother Nature reclaimed what was rightfully hers, but the Hinterkind have returned too, emerging from their hiding places in the last, lost corners of the world. The Centaurs, Satyrs, Elves, Dwarves, Ogres, Trolls, Werewolves, Vampires, etc.
They’re also known as the Hidden, the Twilight People, the ‘walkers-in-shadow’, collective names for the myriad menagerie that mankind has hung it’s tales of myth and magic upon but these aren’t fairytale creatures. They have no magic powers, instead they’re flesh, blood and passion and have a long simmering hatred of humanity.
They’re a divergent species. Exotic evolutionary ‘try-out’s that
couldn’t compete with the rapacious ape. Hunted to near extinction through fear and ignorance, they fled to the great forests and deserts, losing themselves in the shrinking wilderness of an ever expanding world. Now the wilderness is the world and mankind’s in the minority.
CV: Who is Prosper Monday?
IE: She’s our window onto this world. She’s the granddaughter of the village doctor, Asa Monday. The village being Central Park that’s been put to pasture and the plough. Asa raised her after her parents were killed. She and her best friend Angus are children of the new world. For them, social networking means going next door and talking to your neighbour. We currently live in a world where we know more about what’s happening on the other side of the planet than we do in our own streets.
That global view isn’t necessarily a bad thing so long as it doesn’t disconnect us from what’s happening around us. In The Hinterkind, it’s the older generation who’ve had a hard time ‘de-toxing’ themselves from their phones and tablets. Prosper and her friends are bemused and amused by this. They’re baffled by the appeal of such things. They’d rather swim, fish, hunt and read. They still watch movies on DVD, etc but it’s a rare treat as opposed to a common occurrence.
However, like most young people her age, she’s starting to get itchy feet. She’s lived in the village all her life and wants to see what’s out there, in the wild. When Asa and several others disappear on a expedition to help the colony in Albany, it’s her excuse to set out on her own mission to find them, except it’s not quite the adventure she imagines.
CV: Much like how FABLES pulls from classic children's fables and UNWRITTEN pulls from literature, HINTERKIND, from the looks of the solicits, seems to pull from fairy tales and lore. What books and stories were the inspiration for this series and are there any stories (fairy tales or lore), in particular, that are especially close to your heart?
IE: I’ve drawn on diverse and wide ranging sources. The creatures of the Hinterkind themselves are culled from myths, legends, fairy tales and fables because that’s how, in less enlightened times, mankind rationalized the presence of these fantastical beings. What they didn’t understand they feared and what they feared they wanted to destroy and did it pretty well too.
What also fed into this notion, is the theory that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man may have existed at the same time. That they inter-acted, inter-bred but (in the case of the Neanderthals) were eventually exterminated by their evolutionary cousins. Suppose then, we make a leap and say that the creatures we built our myth and legends around actually existed too? That’s where the Hinterkind came from.
As for what books and stories influenced the series, I’ve always loved post-apocalypse tales, whether it’s Richard Mathesons ‘I am Legend’, ‘The Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley, John Christopher’s The Death of Grass or John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids and The Kraken Wakes - I’ve always been fascinated by what would the world be like if mankind was no more or at the very least had one foot out of the door?
Then there’s Raymond Feist’s excellent Faerie Tale, Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood, Little Big by John Crowley. They’ve all had their influence, great and small.
The series also incorporates certain aspects of Dune, Lord of the Rings and even Game of Thrones in that I want to try and world build on huge scale. The world of the Hinterkind isn’t ours anymore, our tenure’s over and done, it’s their turn now. It’s almost an alien planet. A National Geographic documentary called Life After People which projected what would happen to the cities of the world if no one was around to maintain them also came in very handy.
CV: What is the tone for this series?
IE: You could call it an intelligent action/adventure story with plenty of twists along the way. Things won’t always go as you’d quite expect them. Heroes will do terrible things that make you question how long you can keep on rooting for such a character. Likewise, the so-called villains will do something that makes you think they’re not so bad. Characters you like may die in sudden, stupid and violent ways because as Asa tells Prosper early on. ‘This world has teeth, ready to devour the unwary.’
CV: Are there any repeating themes taking place here?
IE: I don’t know. I suppose one of the themes that does become apparent is the impermanence of things and the ability to survive and endure. We think our society, our civilization will never end but then again so did the Romans, the Sumarians and a whole host of others. Things change. The knack to surviving is being able to adapt accordingly. As we follow Prospers story, we (and she) see exactly how she fits into this strange, new world.
CV: What's your process in working with artist Francesco Trifogli?
IE: It’s fairly straightforward. We bounce stuff back and forth, mostly via emails or editor Will Dennis. I have to say, Francesco’s done an amazing job at realizing all the stuff I’ve thrown at him. The creatures, the over- grown cities. We’ve been having fun world building.
CV: How long do you see this series going on for? Is there an end point or do you plan on this series going on for the long haul?
IE: The book’s on-going but I do have an end-point in mind. I know how it’s going to finish. To have a definite end is important, as otherwise, I feel it throws the whole thing out of balance. You can’t have a beginning-middle and end if the middle just keeps on going and going and going. There has to be some kind of resolution. That said, there’s sufficient material that a spin-off or sequel wouldn’t be out of the question but that’s a long way off.
CV: What sets this book apart from everything else on the shelves?
IE: Hidden somewhere in the issue will be this months winning lottery numbers! No? Well, it’s a book you can jump straight on to. There’s no foreknowledge required of decades worth of continuity. It’s a good gateway book for non-comic reader. The first issue has a longer page count than normal. Bottom line it’s a good read.
CV: In one sentence, why should people pick up HINTERKIND?
IE: It’s not what you think it is.
Many thanks to Ian for answering some of our questions about the series, and remember to check out HINTERKIND, which comes out Wednesday, 10/2/13 (today).