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Exclusive: Writer Ryan Cady on Top Cow's new sci-fi horror series Infinite Dark

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Jun 11, 2018, 5:14 PM EDT

The cold confines of outer space are spooky enough all by themselves, without the inclusion of a stalking paranormal entity. Image/Top Cow is well aware of the creepy things that go bump in the cosmos and their new sci-fi horror series, Infinite Dark, explores those forbidden territories of the godless depths of creation.

Sharply written by Ryan Cady (Warframe, Magdalena) and paired with stirring art by Andrea Mutti (Rebels, Swashbucklers) and beautifully colored by K. Michael Russell (Glitterbomb), Infinite Dark drifts into a grim realm where the universe as we know it has ended but humanity has endured.

infinite dark

Inside the evocative cover, the brave passengers and crew of the survival vessel Orpheus have discovered a peaceful existence in the calming void between realities, but when a brutalized body is found encircled by arcane runes, Security Director Deva Karrell must investigate the Orpheus' first murder and encounter a horror from beyond the boundaries of time.

SYFY WIRE has an exclusive 6-page preview of Infinite Dark #1 and a chat with Cady where we learned about everything from Top Cow's thrilling new sci-fi odyssey, the Heat Death of the Universe, and what terrors lurk on the vagabond void-ship, The Orpheus.

Image/Top Cow's Infinite Dark #1 launches in October of 2018.

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What are the prominent themes and style of Infinite Dark?

Ryan Cady: The basic premise of Infinite Dark for me is a simple one - humanity always endures. It's a notion that I've clung to even at my grimmest, the idea that, as a species, we survive and innovate and surprise ourselves. It's a trait I love in our species, the ingenuity necessary to keep moving forward as a species and a community. I wrote most of the book on my way out of a really dark, vulnerable time in my life, and I wanted to explore the idea of survival as a kind of virtue.

Can you take us on a quick tour of the storyline for this scary new survival title?

The plot for Infinite Dark follows on the heels of that philosophy. The Heat Death of the Universe - an idea that's terrified me ever since I learned about it back in high school physics - happens, not billions of years from now, but thousands. And the universe ends, but humans manage to construct a kind of void-ship, a vessel called The Orpheus, which projects its own little false reality and floats around with a couple thousand people waiting for another universe to show up. They're all alone against an endless nothingness, total nonreality.

There's a lot of room for dread in the concept, but the real horror comes into play once the murders start, and without revealing too much, the reasons behind them - an ominous voice from beyond time itself, the silhouette of some Outsider entity contacting folks on board.

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A key plot point in Infinite Dark is that colony ships failed to reach The Orpheus before entropy consumed them, so the ship is severely underpopulated, and entirely by staff/management. Our focus character is Deva Karrell, the station's Security Director, and we really feel the weight of being responsible for the safety of the last little bits of reality - it's a lot to push on a person. She's got a lot of survivor's guilt, a lot of absurd stationwide politics to navigate. Deva's a futuristic cop badass, but like anyone in her shoes would be, she's dealing with depression, anxiety, existential dread - and the horror descending on The Orpheus only exacerbates all that. But ultimately Infinite Dark is about fighting and overcoming horror...psychological and cosmic.

What were some of your inspirations when concocting Infinite Dark and how does the art reflect the mood and atmosphere you were striving for?

Inspiration-wise, there's no bigger compliment you could pay the book than comparisons to Ridley Scott's Alien. I first saw it when I was way too young and it's stuck with me ever since. And I think noting Lovecraft is aways unavoidable with books like this, but if I had to pick literary inspirations, Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House comes first for me. I just reread it last year and its creeping, insistent horror makes me want to push my work to the next level. Between works like that and all the glum emo and post-hardcore I was listening to...a sci-fi horror cocktail like this just seemed inevitable.

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Luckily, I have an incredible art team in Andrea Mutti and K. Michael Russell. Those guys make the script sing, and really understand how to just evoke the mood of it all. When I first started getting designs in from Andrea, it changed the whole project - I had to escalate, ramp up the intensity. He was that good I knew I needed to be better. And when Russell started slapping colors on there? Even if I flubbed every script it'd still be a gorgeous, spooky book.