The Heat

William Avatar actually had a poster of my first project at Avatar up at the stall at the MCM. While there’s no art to actually see yet, I was allowed to talk to people who interviewed me about it as much as I like. I’m not saying much yet – if only because I’m still feeling out the exact angle of how best to explain it – but the just-up Den of Geek interview with Jamie and I includes the first details. There’s lots more about what we’re up to in the interview, but the Heat relevant bits…

William [Christensen, Avatar Editor-in-Chief] came to me, and basically wanted a female-led action comic, and apart from that, it was entirely open. That’s an incredibly open brief, so I sat back and started thinking. I was thinking about cyberpunk, and I was thinking about Riot Grrl, Judge Dredd, Tank Girl, Kill Yr Boyfriend… The most important thing, is that it’s a cop drama on Mercury. It’s the idea that, especially after Obama got in, people seemed to be thinking about the future again, the idea that we’re going to have a future. So a lot of the problems that we have today, are not problems in this particular world. Specifically, environmentalism becomes very important, as in Environmentalism is actually very close to what religion is now, but they still have this energy need. So what they’ve ended up doing is solar panels on Mercury. And Earth is kind of like a lived-in Utopia, but Mercury is a bit harsher, kind of the new Wild West. And the lead character is one of these cops, who goes to Mercury, and has to deal with crime there. Of course, The Heat. So the focus is both on Mercury, because it’s very, very hot, and the police.

One of the inspirations for it was… Whiteout! Not the film but the actual comic. Whiteout is fantastic because it takes a police procedural and then applies it to an unusual environment. And the environment becomes a character. I basically wanted to do the idea of ‘what would it be like to fight crime on Mercury?’. But Mercury’s incredible, one side melts lead, the other side freezes oxygen. These are incredible differences, how would you police it? In fact, how would the power plant work? How would the people live? How would the energy get back to earth? Mercury is very small, and it rotates very slowly. A Mercury day is about 88 Earth days long. It actually only rotates at around 10km/hr, in other words it rotates less than running speed. On Mercury, you can out-run the dawn. And that’s pretty much the opening scene, of somebody trying to out-run the dawn. And of course, you can out-run the dawn – just not for long. And that’s my noir-esque start of it. And the environment characterises and changes everything.

So that’s it then. Be gentle with the science phrasing, as it’s were off the top of my head for casual conversation. I’ve done enough research to at least not fail no that level.

Much more on this as art starts to emerge, but that’s enough to tease for now. Should be out in the first half of 2010.

Sounds cool.

If I had time, I would mock up the following picture:

Following the layout of Steve Lieber’s original Whiteout promo (“You can’t see it, but she’s giving you the finger”), Carrie Stetko reacts with wide-eyed horror (over the top of her shades) as her extended middle finger bursts into flames, as if it were a matchstick. The Sun is a looming, threatening presence, filling the horizon with furious nuclear menace, like a lioness catching a jackal with his teeth at her cub’s throat.

Legend reads, somewhat predictably “IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT…”

…thank heavens for small mercies. :)


Your premise for an energy station reminds me of a (the second?) story in I, Robot. He did something with focusing the beam of energy back to momma, no? There was probably enough crafty vagueness in there to serve as an example.
Excited to hear how fast i could run on mercury.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s one of the trad solutions. I mean, Mercury-as-power-plant is one of those ideas that have just floated around, and the concentrated-beam is the sensible way to go for.

I haven’t, for various reasons which will become clear. Not least because my solution is more fun.