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Tim Seeley is having a good year.
Alongside the DC superhero series Nightwing and his newly announced horror series for the Vertigo imprint, Imaginary Friends, the writer has a new series from independent publisher AfterShock Comics this November — and it’s one that doesn’t shy away from controversy.
Brilliant Trash, co-created with artist Priscilla Petraites, begins with the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of a superhuman teenage girl, which introduces a near-future dystopia in which anyone can be a superhero — but only one journalist knows how pricey a proposition that really is. Heat Vision talked briefly with Seeley about the new series.
What’s the elevator pitch for Brilliant Trash?
In the near future, superpowers can be bought for a price — namely, time off your life. A listicle-writing journalist is the only one with the truth behind the conspiracy, and everyone wants her, from a medtech company to superpower-hacking teenagers!
The world of the series feels very much like it’s prime satire, taking elements of today and ramping them up to 11: Journalists that no one believes! Fractured media that tells everyone what they want to hear! Conspiracy theories where corporations keep information from the people! Does this come from a love of satire, or a sense of “I have to write this now before reality eclipses me in a couple of days”??
It’s both! But my favorite sci-fi has always been the material that takes current trends to a seemingly ridiculous satirical end, because those are the things that end up being accurate. We laughed at the ads in Robocop, but they mostly came true. As a person, I have to fight myself not to make fun of everything — but Brilliant Trash allows me to do it, and be absolutely savage about it.
As the solicitation for the first issue reveals, you’re literally wiping Jerusalem off the face of the earth at the very start of this series. As far as opening gambits go, there’s attention-grabbing and then there’s attention-grabbing. Are you anticipating a lot of feedback on that particular plot point?
Ha, I never anticipate feedback, because I never know what’s going to really sink in with readers. But there’s very much a reasoning behind why Lady LastWord [the character responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem] does this, and we’ll see that motivation unfold over the course of the first five issues.
The series appears to answer the question of where to go for a new take on the superhero genre, but you’re also working solidly inside the superhero mainstream twice monthly with DC’s Nightwing. Does that experience feed into coming up with something like this?
Oh, for sure. The tropes of superhero comics are ever changing, so I’m able to keep up on them and use them here. Plus, I think society’s current fascination with superpowers means I have to use that in a story about our new future.
The new series launches with a first issue on sale Nov. 15; below, a preview of the artwork by series artist Petraites, in addition to the variant cover by Seeley himself and the main cover by Mike Norton.
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DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts