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What if the Cuban Missile Crisis turned out very differently? That's a question that comic book writers Desirée Proctor and Erica Harrell had asked themselves for years.
"When Desirée and I met, we realized we had a lot of things in common with our background — both our mothers were Cuban and we're also big Comic-Con fans and sci-fi fans," Harrell tells SYFY WIRE. "We both realized that, indirectly, we were very influenced by the Cuban Missile Crisis because of our mothers, and how even though that happened way before we were born, how it has had lasting effects on our families."
That shared experience along with their interest in genre led to Nuclear Power, the six-issue comic run published by Fanbase Press that takes place in an alternate history where the Cuban Missile Crisis ended with several nuclear explosions that killed millions. SYFY WIRE has an exclusive reveal of some of Nuclear Power's pages.
Check them out here:
The story takes place decades later, where what was once the United States has split, with the remnants of the U.S. Government creating a military-led American Union and certain undesirables called Grubs living outside the AU's walls who have special, nuclear-bomb-induced powers.
Without getting into major spoilers, the story is one that explores themes of autonomy and the power of truth and lies. Artist Lynne Yoshii brings the story together with hard-line illustrations. "Because the first issue was going to be placed in a somewhat totalitarian dystopia, I took inspiration from '40s and '50s propaganda posters, especially the Soviet Union ones," Yoshii explains. "They're very avant-garde with very hard edges, and very stark colors."
With the six-issue run done, the creators hope that their story speaks to the readers. "I just hope they walk away thinking, 'Well, that was a fun story,'" Proctor says. "I know there's a lot of heavy topics and heavy subject matter, but I also hope it's just enjoyable and something that they can put down, that they want to go back and read again."
The creative team also hopes to write more in this world. "Desirée and I have plotted out what the bigger world is like — what happened after those nuclear bombs went off and Western civilization as well as what was Manchuria got blown up. And so we talked about it, and we were like, 'Oh, it'd be really cool to see what had happened in Africa and what had happened in South America, and how over those 60 years or so, how those places have become the First World countries."
While future stories in this alternative history are still in the works, readers can now buy the collected trade paperback of Nuclear Power here or the digital version via Hoopla, Comics Plus, and ComiXology starting on Oct. 20, 2021.