Fans will soon get to return to the magical world of the Ether in Volume 3 of writer Matt Kindt and artist David Rubin's hit Dark Horse Comics series, titled Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell. The newest adventure will kick off with a host of changes to not only the world of Ether but also to your favorite adventurer Boone Dias. The book launches later this year, but ComicBook.com had the chance to chat with Kindt and Rubin all about the entry in the saga, including where the latest book picks up, what's happened to the world, and why this will be Boone's most challenging adventure yet.
For those who remember Vol. 2, Dias ended up getting to the bottom of the mystery, but he lost quite a bit in the process, and he's definitely showing some of that baggage when we see him in Vol. 3.
"It’s been a few months (in Ether time) and Boone is a bit of a mess," Kindt said. "But he’s got one of those personalities that is a little bit like rubber. Any real emotions he kind of stuffs down deep so he can stay focused on solving mysteries and explaining the unexplained. But he’s lost a lot. His family is gone and he’s living full time in the Ether which in a dark way was what I think he wanted all along. But now he’s got the guilt of that decision on his shoulders. And he’s started to realize that maybe he’s a great scientist and detective...but he is a very flawed human being. This arc is what the entire series was really building to. Not just the conflict with his arch-enemy but the confrontation with his own flawed self."
"This is the hardest arc for Boone," Rubin said. "He confronts his internal demons face to face here. He lives in the Ether now, but more in the way of an illegal immigrant as a citizen of that alternative world. There is a lot of action, comedy and fun in this new arc like in the others, of course, but I think this is the darker one."
You can check out even more from our full interview on the next slide, including if Boone will ever return to his own home universe!
Thanks to the work of his daughter Boone can now survive solely in the Ether without having to return to his own world, and ever since he left the last time he's stayed there. So, will he ever return to his own universe?
"I’m not sure he’ll ever go back," Kindt said. "He lost everything he had that would ever bring him back. So, he really is spending a lot of time in Ether. And the way time works...a day in Ether is a month or so on Earth...if he spends a year or two in Ether and then returns to Earth again? He may not recognize the place. Which really opens the series up to some future possibilities. Literally."
"There is nothing for Boone on Earth now," Rubin said. "His family is gone, his past is gone, and his time is gone too; Earth at that moment of the story is far in the future for Boone. It seems much too strange for him, like the Ether. Boone’s story in the series starts at the end of ’60s of twentieth century, and the last time that we see Boone on Earth at the end of second arc was in our time (2015-2019). Time runs in a different way on Earth than in the Ether, and a week in the Ether could be some years on Earth. The world could be very different than the world that Boone saw for last time. It could be a powerful starting point to build new stories in Ether’s Universe…"
Here's hoping we get to see what Earth looks like someday.
Boone is sporting a different look from the last time we saw him, and there are might be several reasons for the change.
"I think he picked up some kind of enchanted head-lice," Kindt said. "So, he shaved his head. But also...I think it’s his way of trying to purge his past. To start over. The enchanted lice were just an excuse. This, I’m pretty sure, was an idea that originated with David. He was doing sketches of Boone for book three and wanted to change his look and I really liked the idea."
"Totally agree with Matt; Boone’s new look follows the need of the character to establish a new starting point to his life in the Ether," Rubin said. "It’s a visual metaphor: at the beginning of the new arc he tries to leave behind all the sad memories that he has on his shoulders. The life on Earth that he lost, like the hair he shaved his head and the wind took far away. But isn’t as easy to leave behind memories, a past life, like it is to clean the hair off the floor after a haircut…"
Early on in the book fans get to witness the origin stories of several new godly beings. While all of them are immensely powerful, they don't really live up to their lucky title, as all of them have some element of tragedy in their origins.
"I did a lot of research and spent a ton of time trying to come up with those characters," Kindt said. "I really wanted some god-type characters that would represent major cultures from Earth. We’ve seen the Greek and Roman gods in all kinds of formats. Norse mythology and all of that. Gaiman really covered all that ground with American Gods. I was trying to find some gaps in mythology where we could come up with something new and fun. All credit to David here for really selling these crazy characters. I really just want to do spin-off books with these nutty gods next, they look so great! “Big Baby God”? – come on. So funny. But also, I love the ironic nature of these “Seven Lucky Gods” who aren’t lucky at all. They are SUPER cursed and miserable. They have really rough origin stories."
"It was very fun for me draw all the sequences when the crazy gods appear," Rubin said. "I took some influences from El Bosco’s paintings and other stuff from different cultures and art to design them and their environments. My favorite “lucky” god to draw is Big Baby."
You can definitely count us in if this crew, especially Big Baby, get their own series.
A lot has changed since fans were first introduced to the world of Ether and Boone, especially in regards to the latter. In fact, this entry in the series is very much a coming to grips moment for our lead hero, and he might come to the realization that he isn't really that great a hero after all.
"I think we’re slowly seeing Boone, our “hero”, evolve," Kindt said. "I think book one was just a fun rollicking adventure and book two, we begin to see the consequence of his actions and his self-centered nature. And book three is really going to be Boon confronting himself. Coming to grips with the idea that he hasn’t led a great life. He’s a hero to some...but a very big disappointment to many others that he loves. In a lot of ways, it’s maybe (in hindsight) a metaphor for adolescence. The process of growing up and realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around you. That process of getting older and realizing that there are things bigger than you.
"Things that are more important," Kindt said. "And at the end of the day this book ends with a similar message that MIND MGMT ended with. Not on purpose. I never start these books with an idea for the metaphor or “what it’s about.” That would be a disaster. But now that I’ve finished writing it, I can NOW begin to figure out what it all means. And I think you’ll be surprised. The final battle with Boone and his arch enemy - UBEL? It actually made me tear up a little bit. And I made it up. It’s a bit embarrassing. But a lot of heart went into this. Apparently, I do have feelings. (laughs)"
As for Rubin, the biggest change he sees in the book since it debuted is how the characters move and grow.
"The characters move with more freedom now, I think," Rubin said. "The rules and the worldbuilding has been established, so they—and Matt and me—have a lot of room to expand the stories and the background of each character. Matt and I are closer now too than back in 2015-2016 when we started to work on Ether. We know better each other, we met in person a couple of times since we started with Ether vol.1, so it helps to build a stronger creative relationship."
A hero is only as good as their villain, but perhaps villain is a bit too simplistic in regards to Ubel, who doesn't necessarily view what he's doing as villainous.
"I’ve always seen him as this kind of Moriarty figure to Boone’s 'Holmes' character," Kindt said. "And that plays out at the end of this book in a similar way – but with a twist. I think Ubel, like the best villains, is understandable. He isn’t doing “bad” because he likes it. He thinks he’s doing what’s right...he just happens to be very wrong."
"If you want to see more terrific Ubel appearances, rest assured you will in the new arc," Rubin said. "The moments when Ubel appears are some of the most powerful moments of this 3rd volume."
So, once Volume 3 concludes what is next for the future of Ether? Kindt actually reveals that this was the original end to the series, but since writing it admits there are plenty of other ideas they can pursue.
"I’d always planned on ending Ether with book 3 but like any series I start...I begin to get ideas for more and more," Kindt said. "So, there are definitely more stories we can get to after this one. I really like the idea of Boone returning to Earth after ten years in Ether and Earth is unrecognizable to him – it’s so far into the future. Possibilities are endless."
"Of course, yes," Rubin said. "There are a lot of new ideas and plot lines to expand Ether’s Universe and bring you more stories. If the readers want more Ether adventures, Matt and I are ready to do it!!"
Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell hits comic stores on September 26th.