Heavy Metal has always been home to larger than life science fiction concepts and stories, but the latest new series from the publisher is looking to take the concept of space exploration to some bold new places. The series is titled Dark Wing and is the first entry in an ongoing saga in this original universe titled Beyond Kuiper. CEO Matthew Medney is writing Dark Wing while German Ponce will be drawing the science-fiction epic, which blends in elements from Star Trek and The Expanse but forges its own path in a big way. You can get your first exclusive look at the serial and all the details right here, including the Dark Wing itself, which is a space ship that is also a moving planet.
ComicBook.com had a chance to speak to Medney all about the new book, which kicks off in Heavy Metal #300 and will run through issue #309. To give you a bit of insight, the Dark Wing is a space ship that is essentially moving a planet, and pyrotechnics had a big role in inspiring the idea.
"I used to travel the world touring with musicians and producing events from the pyrotechnics side, you know, blowing stages up with epic amounts of Fire, Confetti and Co2," Medney said. "At one show 2 years ago in Las Vegas, I was backstage, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 'Why couldn't the USS Enterprise had been a planet ship, instead of a star ship.'"
"That was always the original idea," Medney said. "I've been a major Gene Roddenberry fan my entire life and the idea of an exploratory cosmic story always interested me. However, doing anything with a ship would have been just too close to home, if you know what I mean. So I pushed myself to find a narrative that would appease the Trekkie in me, while creating something unique enough to quell the writer/creator in me. As for the narrative I take you on, the end goal of all of my writings is a reflective lens on current day social-political issues through the scope of science fiction. To this, the narrative has always stayed true to that mandate."
The Dark Wing doesn't really look like any ship that's come before, and the impressive creation is the combined work of Medney, John Connelly, and Pete Russo, and artist German Ponce.
"What’s crazy about that is from the second I incepted the idea, I always knew exactly what it would look like," Medney said. "I have an incredible, seriously incredible group of creatives around me that helped breathe the design into life. My co-author on the Beyond Kuiper Series, John Connelly is much more than just a Science Fiction author, he is an aerospace engineer, at Lockheed Martin."
"Pair him with my creative director, Pete 'Voodoo Bownz' Russo, and the talented German Ponce, and taking my vision from concept to design was actually incredibly easy," Medney said. "While a planet ship is not really anything in current day sciences capabilities, the general structure, stations, and control apparatus is as grounded in science as it can be, due to my team."
While the ship may evolve in certain ways, this is the prime form of the Dark Wing. "Our journey takes place about 4 millennia after the Dark Wing was created (4,000 years is a long time!). So we are seeing her in prime form," Medney said. "While we might iterate small changes throughout the story, the mandate for anything I write, is to stay as close to the science part of science fiction, as I can. It would take decades to make real changes to an apparatus of that size."
Dark Wing will likely appeal to fans of both Star Trek and The Expanse, though it will also several key differences from those beloved franchises, especially when it comes to who the crew interacts with.
"What makes Star Trek so great and timeless is its ability to take strong views that need real human deliberation and drop those conversations into an exploration narrative," Medney said. "The Expanse, is a cosmic reality that while won't be possible in our lifetime carries similar tensions to our society today. Now, the Dark Wing is much more fantastical than either the USS Enterprise or the Rocinante, but the journeys both those sagas take the fan on stay true to the core principles of exploration, self-improvement, and adventure, all while making one re-evaluate the choices and decisions they've made in their actual life."
"I’d like to think Dark Wing has similar qualities in those arenas," Medney said. "Where the Dark Wing differs is its placement. Both Star Trek and The Expanse are based on Human to Alien or Human to Human interactions rooted in Earthbound home bases. While the species of the Quails is humanoid in design and will feel like our long lost brothers and sisters, the planet of Tiberius is far away in the distant zones of the Karandu Galaxy (that’s the actual name of the Milky Way- at least it is in the Beyond Kuiper Universe) and we don’t encounter any humans in this Graphic Novel."
The Dark Wing is currently helmed by Benedict Gunn, a fearless and respected leader that has sacrificed a bit of his wants and needs to lead the people of Tiberius.
"What can I say about good ole BG. Ben is fearless, daring and good," Medney said. "Really good. He’s been piloting the Dark Wing for over a decade now, and no one has been a better shepherd to the people of the Tiberius (the planet that is now the Dark Wing) than Ben. That sort of courageousness comes with a bit of isolation. He’s had a hard time making real friends, and keeping relationships. But don’t think that means he isn’t respected, no Quail (that's their species) is more respected than Ben. People like Ben though, they don’t really 'hang out', ya know. You’ll journey with Ben during the series and see what a pilot like Ben does on his off time."
Gunn will be far from the only character fans meet along the way, and if there is one character Medney is anxious for fans to meet, it's Council Member Burkk, but he wasn't spilling the beans on why just yet.
"Oooooo, that's a really hard one, there are a ton of characters and personalities that make the Dark Wing, well, The Dark Wing, but if I had to choose one, it’s Council Member Burkk. If I told you why, well, what’s the fun in that, you’ll see," Medney said.
The series aims to be a nice mix of exploration and space battles, though it's the characters that make it all work.
"I think it's honestly both," Medney said. "The space battles, and asteroid fields definitely make for amazing comic pages, especially at the hands of German. However, the exploration of the world and the journey the Dark Wing goes on coupled with the dynamics of the characters are what I hope keeps people really engaged throughout the entire 160 page Graphic Novel. My creative team, including Bruce Edwards, Pete “Voodoo Bownz” Russo, German Ponce, and the consulting John (Connelly, on how it integrates with the Beyond Kuiper Universe), have all worked tirelessly alongside myself on making sure that the tensions between characters live up to the epicness of a planetary ship. And I gotta say, we did a pretty damn good job at that."0comments
Fans can meet the crew of the Dark Wing when it debuts in Heavy Metal Magazine #300, which goes on sale on August 19th, and you can check out a preview of what's in store in the trailer and in the preview above. You can also find the official description for Dark Wing below.
What do you think of Dark Wing? Let us know in the comments and as always you can find me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB to talk all things comics!
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.