'The Dark' Graphic Novel Explores Future of Biotech (Exclusive Preview)

The Dark- Publicity - H 2019
Kristian Donaldson/ComiXology
The thriller is the latest release from Amazon's ComiXology Originals line.

The year 2045 may be almost unrecognizable after a terrorist attack ends technology as we know it, but in the world that remains, a secret still lingers that could change all of humanity once again. This is the world of The Dark, a new graphic novel released today from Amazon's digital comics imprint ComiXology Originals by Graveyard of Empires writer Mark Sable and illustrator Kristian Donaldson. The Hollywood Reporter has a preview of the book, as well as some words from the creators about the book’s roots.

“Imagine a world where a Russian cyber-attack takes out not just the ‘Internet of everything,’ but the electrical grid,” Sable tells THR about the backstory of the future he imagines in the new release. “Imagine that as a result, biotechnology starts to replace untrustworthy silicon-based tech. Imagine those things still don't stop the NSA's unauthorized surveillance."

The Dark centers on two people working inside this new reality, both working toward uncovering a conspiracy unlike anything they could imagine — even if they might believe they’re working at cross purposes. "Camille is a trans biohacker in this world, stealing data from the NSA's biocomputer. Carver is a former cyber soldier with PTSD from the Russian virus, tasked with hunting down Camille,” Sable explains. “Together they discover nothing is what is seems."

The graphic novel was originally inspired by Sable’s work with the Atlantic Council’s Art of the Future project, intended to envision the future of conflict using unconventional thinking. Sable said that the title is “based on my work both as a sci-fi comic creator and a futurist consulting for the military and intelligence communities [and] brought to vivid life by artist Kristian Donaldson, who literally created every aspect of our story in three dimensions. It's a next-gen story that only a digital comic innovator like ComiXology Originals could tell."

Donaldson — an illustrator with a comics résumé that includes IDW’s Supermarket and DC’s 99 Days, has also worked for clients including Nissan, Adidas and Philippe Starck Co. As Sable mentioned, the art for The Dark has been created digitally using posable 3D assets that allow him to “build” scenes on the page.

Donaldson tells THR that the book is "sleek and serious," adding, "The story is fast and action packed, and the world is dense with flavor over a whole lot of locales. The characters of Carver and Camille are both flawed and dreamy in the best way. I can't believe how much we fit into a 120-page graphic novel, and it doesn't sag for a single second."

The Dark is available now on ComiXology for purchase, and at no additional cost for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and Comixology Unlimited. For those looking to sample before diving into the dark, read on for an exclusive preview.