Ether gets sequel The Copper Golems: exclusive first look plus interview with Matt Kindt

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Feb 13, 2018

Dark Horse Comics' Ether was one of the wildest, dreamiest comic books of 2016,  created by the dream team of Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, X-O Manowar) and David Rubin (Black Hammer, Hero), and it featured a headstrong problem solver grounded in science who would traverse back and forth between Earth and a bizarre world called the Ether. Kindt delivered on coming up with a splendid, thought-provoking, and wonderfully deep series with explosive pop-rock visuals by Rubin. 

Now we can confirm it's getting a sequel: On May 16, the highly anticipated sequel, Ether: The Copper Golems, will hit local comic shops. Once again, Rubin will supply the sublime interior art and the regular covers (seen below). The Paul Pope art (in color seen above and in black and white at the bottom) is the variant cover for Issue #1.

Here is the description of the new arc from Dark Horse Comics:

Ether: The Copper Golems finds Boone Dias, our science-minded adventurer, trying to seal the portal breaches that have opened between Earth and the Ether that have unleashed devastating magical fury on Earth. In order to put an end to this chaos, Boone recruits a powerful team of mystical beings including a grumpy, spell-writing fairy; a bickering, lavender gorilla; and a bull-headed, motorcycling spell-hacker. These heroes set off on a journey taking the reader through the centers of volcanoes, deserts full of living mummies and sphinxes, and a bizarre fairy forest in an effort to save both worlds from complete destruction!

We spoke briefly with Matt Kindt about Ether and what The Copper Golems will entail.

The first mini-series closes with Issue #4 and 5 on a fury of emotional gut punches about Hazel's first trip to the Ether, losing so much time and her grandmother, Ubel's evil ways, etc. How did you develop the first arc to unfold the way it did and dovetail into the new arc, The Copper Golems?

Well – I’ll lay all the credit (or blame) on David for the emotional sucker punch of the first arc’s ending. It’s just that his art is so fun and candy-colored, and full of energy and motion. It caught me off guard, to tell you the truth. I have LOVED his stuff since I first ran across him in Battling Boy – and was jumping at the chance to work with him. Initially, when I was writing Ether I pictured everything pretty dark and dour – to match the sort of mood that the first arc ends up on – and the darker emotional beats. But when David’s art came in, I realized the genius of what he was doing. I think the superficial “fun” look of the early issues really helped sharpen the emotional beats in the first arc and in the series in general.  I mean – how much more literal can we get with the juxtaposition of the art and story – we have a character named “Glum” who’s a big purple ape! I think there’s a weird synergy there that is unlike anything else I’ve ever been a part of as far as collaborations go. We’re playing a crazy kind of harmony with art and story. 

The mystery of the map opens up this grander plot of portals to the Ether appearing. Have we been introduced to all of the essential parts for the second story in that first arc, or have we just scratched the surface of the Ether and Boone's purpose?

It’s a fully realized world within worlds – I think the closest comparison I can think of would be something like Gaiman’s Sandman. We can really go anywhere with it. That was the kind of sandbox world I wanted to create with David – so we could explore myth and storytelling – two things we’re both deeply interested in. If you haven’t picked up his book Hero yet, I highly recommend that as well. We’re sort of tackling some themes in that, but from a really different perspective. I love that the world we’ve created is so big that we can show all of these grand ideas and characters and concepts ... but one of the threads that drives the second book is very simple – something very small and personal. Our hero can’t eat anything in the Ether. So a lot of what’s (oddly) going to drive this second arc – is Boone’s quest to find something to eat. There’s probably a metaphor in there too – and this arc definitely ends with another emotional ... revelation. But I won’t spoil it. Hey look! Giant copper golem-monsters! 

Is this still just a story of science vs. Magic?

I think that’s the short synopsis of the series – man of science vs. man of faith kind of thing. But really – there will end up being a little more gray area to explore. Where does the science end and the magic begin? Is there room for both? I think it’s one of the great discussions of humanity and worth exploring. It’s why we don’t talk politics or religion at family get-togethers, right? We all just want to get along for a dinner? But ugh – who wants to read a great debate about faith and science and the in-between? It’s an adventure book. Did I mention the giant metal beasts that take on increasingly horrific forms and sizes over the course of this series? Or the super-crazy magical riddle in the second issue? We’re trying to have fun with this thing and bring up some questions and thoughts and ideas – not necessarily hand out answers to these things.

Is it safe to say that Glum has a new role moving forward? Or with more portals opening up, is his role of Gatekeeper becoming more important to ensure nothing else from Earth comes through?

Glum is (Boone would say “unfortunately”) Boone’s lifelong partner. They are a duo. I don’t want to say where Boone is going necessarily – but wherever it is – Glum is going to be there. He’s Boone’s “Watson.” He’d kick my ass for saying that – but it’s the truth. But ... that said – I think Glum has a good story of his own – he can exist and thrive without Boone. In fact, he’d probably rather do that, so I do see a “solo” adventure in his future. “Glum the Barbarian” has a good ring to it.

How much detail do you put into your scripts to David in visualizing the Ether vs. just giving him suggestions and letting him go loose? 

The real answer is – both. I give him a ton of detailed description, and then add a postscript that says “just go crazy if you don’t like what I’ve described” – and most of the time we get something happily in the middle – what I’ve described but WAY more interesting-looking. David is a funny guy, and he really sells the moments in this book – the small comic moments as well as the emotional beats – so I don’t have to spend much time on describing the “storytelling,” because he’s got that down.

Here’s a random sample from the issue 1 script for Copper Golems:

Violet is walking toward a large she-wolf – she’s in a small hollowed out area of a large rock...other rocks all around her in this dead end...they’re being lured down a cul-de-sac. The she-wolf is suckling a bunch of human babies – but not all human – some are weird faerie looking babies – others look more like strange mythical animal kids – some with horns – bull-babies and others look like mini-creatures from the black lagoon. They’re all infants/toddlers – some suckling at wolf-mother’s teets, others crying – some barely walking – toddling around. OFFICIAL ART NOTE: It should look super weird!

VIOLET: @(*@& gross!

What magical things did you see, as a kid or an adult, which inspired what we're reading of the Ether world?

I grew up with Lord of the Rings and bought all of the D&D source books. I didn’t have enough (or any) friends to play any role-playing games, so I just bought the books and read about the scenarios and the creatures. I remember reading a bunch of Piers Anthony’s “Xanth” novels too when I was younger – just crazy funny fantasy stuff. Ha! I hadn’t thought of those until just now – this is the great part of doing interviews – my influences are all pretty subconscious and don’t come to the surface until someone asks a great question and jogs my memory. I was always interested in fantasy and magic stuff, but it was never really my favorite. I was much more into Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and the hard sci-fi genre. So I think the conflict between those two genres in me growing up is what really birthed this series. I like the “idea” of magic – but something in me really needs it to make sense. I need an explanation. I need to see the math.

Below is a gallery on the covers to the first issue of Ether: The Copper Golems, available May 16, 2018. Tell your local comic shop to preorder a copy for you now.