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SYFY WIRE Heavy Metal

Sun Eater is an intense, dark, and personal new comic from Dylan Sprouse and Heavy Metal

By James Grebey
Sun Eater Dylan Sprouse

A drug-addicted warrior in ninth-century Norway sacrifices his leg to the gods, replacing it with a parasite that gives him great and terrible power. It's a dark, intense premise for a story — a far cry from, say, a Disney Channel series about two twins and their "suite life." But, for author Dylan Sprouse, it's a very personal one, and it's a saga he's excited to tell when Heavy Metal and DIGA Studios release the first issue of his comic, Sun Eater.

"I've learned that people kind of want to 'trial-by-fire' me," Sprouse tells SYFY WIRE, reflecting on the possible expectations people might have for his comic book debut — or any of his non-acting endeavors. "I generally live up [to expectations] because I don't really give a f*** about what those people think anyway — excuse my French. But, the truth is, no, I don't feel the need to prove myself. I feel the need to get out a good story that's from my heart and one that I think is interesting, and I think other people will take something away from."

"I love fantasy-action and I wanted to create something that would appeal to newer fans of the genre while tackling an elevated story," Sprouse said in a press release. "The characters I wrote are from actual tales and bardic songs, and the story is about the adult, dark, grotesque, and somber world of Sun Eater and its desperate, faulty protagonist."

Sun Eater

Sun Eater, a Heavy Metal Original, is illustrated by Diego Yapur and will hit comic store shelves in August. It is largely inspired by the folk stories that Sprouse's Scandinavian-American grandparents told him and his brother, Cole, while they were growing up, as well as the 27-year-old's own faith as a practicing Heathen. And, of course, a longtime appreciation for comic books.

"I grew up particularly being a Marvel fanboy," Sprouse says, adding that his favorites were Iron Man and Avengers titles. (He's fine with Thor, for the record, saying he views Thor comics as a Pagan the way "a Christian would think of, like, a Jesus comic book. I'm sure it would be fun to read, and I did read them growing up.") Eventually, Sprouse became an avid reader of many Oni Press titles, including Black Metal. It was Charles Burns' acclaimed comic Black Hole, a unique coming-of-age story about a sexually transmitted disease that causes mutations, that really showed Sprouse what comics could be.

"When I read Black Hole, that kind of changed my complete perspective on what comics were doing," Sprouse says. "The story and the setting just blew my f***ing mind."

Sprouse has been working on Sun Eater in various forms for half a decade now, and the resulting title combines all of his influences and beliefs to create something new. Readers may think they know what to expect from a comic about Vikings or Norse mythology, but Sprouse promises Sun Eater will stand out — especially because of his collaboration with Heavy Metal.

"I think the story stands on its own, because many of these stories, of a similar nature, stand on their own," Sprouse says. "But I will say that the one that we're making here, particularly, couldn't be made anywhere else."

Sun Eater

Sun Eater is available for pre-order here and will begin shipping on July 17. It will be available in select comic stores starting on August 7.