Modern Internet culture has a dark side when it comes to how far an influencer will go for likes and clicks. AfterShock Comics and writer Zac Thompson go past the dark side of Internet culture into one hell of a tech horror comic series in I BREATHED A BODY #1, coming January 2021.
Says AfterShock about the new series: “It’s The Social Network meets Hellraiser. When the world’s biggest influencer posts something irredeemably horrific online, the world changes in an instant.”
You can check out a selection of preview pages and read the full AfterShock press release below.
What do you think about the merging of online social influence and horror? Let us know what you think in the Comments section, and please share this post on social media (but not in Hell) using the links below.
I BREATHED A BODY #1 / $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale 1.20.21
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Andy MacDonald
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover: Andy MacDonald w/ Triona Farrell
Incentive Cover: Trevor Henderson
A science fiction horror series about social media, big tech, and influencer culture.
It’s The Social Network meets Hellraiser. When the world’s biggest influencer posts something irredeemably horrific online, the world changes in an instant. Now it’s up to his social media manager, Anne Stewart, to fan the flames of outrage and create a sensationalist campaign that rewrites the rules of “banned content.” Thus begins a carnival of lust, revulsion, desire, and disgust – all for viral videos.
Written by Zac Thompson (LONELY RECEIVER, UNDONE BY BLOOD, X-Men) and illustrated by Andy MacDonald (Multiple Man, Rogue Planet), I BREATHED A BODY is a horror series about the voyeurism of violence and the Big Tech companies who
engineer patterns of fear in society.
ZAC THOMPSON ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY HE IS THRILLED FOR IT TO BE RELEASED:
“I Breathed A Body is a supernatural horror book set in Silicon Valley about the voyeurism of violence. Thanks to social media, we’ve become prepared to see death and despair at any moment. Modern social networks are a relentless barrage of provocative content designed to keep us outraged, engaged, and fearful. This book is an indictment of the Big Tech companies who engender and profit from this vitriolic environment.
Modern content culture deals in excess of everything. Violence, sex, depravity. We’ll consume anything that’s fed to us by our influencer idols. I Breathed A Body will lay bare the intimate psychology behind creating depraved content. The story follows social media manager, Anne Stewart who gave up her previous life to work for the most popular influencer in the world, Mylo Caliban. He’s an ultra-famous prankster and general shithead (think the Paul brothers), but Anne doesn’t mind making content with the kid. Until one night where everything changes. Mylo uploads something so vile and shocking that it threatens to change the world forever. This act throws Anne into the impossible position of planning and creating violent content in the pursuit of “viral videos”. And with each upload, things keep escalating.
Before coming to comics, I worked with YouTube influencers for years. I was a video producer creating content and attempting to leverage the labyrinthine algorithms that keep viewers engaged. Since then, the landscape of social media has changed for the worse. Fear takes precedence over all other emotions. We live in shocking times. Outrage drives engagement. Engagement drives profit and the question of the moral cost of this system has never been more important. This age of “content” is inherently appalling. This series will explore the ramifications of our collective moral outrage, its role in society, how/if it can affect change, and what it means to worship content above all else. If nothing is famous for longer than five minutes, does anything matter anymore?”
ZAC THOMPSON ON SOME OF THE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:
“You can’t talk about the voyeurism of violence without talking about Clive Barker. I wanted to take everything I love about The Hellbound Heart and push it into the modern era with a distinct “alt-future” lens. So I’m also channeling the work of Alex Garland taking inspiration from his recent show Devs. But also leaning into some of my recent obsessions in the world of weird fiction like Jeff VanderMeer, Yoko Ogawa, and Thomas Ligotti to build a strange, horrific, and surreal world. There’s also plenty of David Cronenberg influence, and a little of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games at play.
Nothing is quite what it seems in I Breathed A Body but all the characters will take these strange idiosyncrasies as fact. Readers will constantly learn more about the strange world they’re occupying as the narrative presses forward. I didn’t want to create something that just points a finger at Facebook or Instagram where we’re firmly planted in the grim reality we all occupy. So I’m doing something akin to Lonely Receiver (my other horror book at Aftershock) and building a familiar but different world that mirrors reality in calculated and perverse ways.”
ZAC THOMPSON ON 3 REASONS WHY READERS SHOULD PICKUP THIS BOOK:
“It’s got a lot of fungal horror. Recently, I’ve developed a love for mushrooms and the unique space that occupy within the complex systems of nature. They are these creatures that are neither living nor dead in the conventional sense. Fungal horror has been around for a long time and I wanted to take this strange horror subgenre and propel it firmly into the future. So every issue is layered with as much speculative fungal fiction as I could muster. There hasn’t really been a horror comic like this.
Andy MacDonald’s art on this book is stunning. Those who admired his art on Multiple Man or Rogue Planet will be blown away here. We’ve built an immersive world with little flourishes of magic, like biotech phones with wings. His character work is immaculate, giving each member of the cast a life of their own and brings a real pathos to the whole cast. This is a sad world, filled with broken people who hide behind excess. And finally, Andy’s impeccably detailed line work makes the horror pop off the page and burn into your eyeballs.
Andy and colorist Triona Farrell are an outstanding team. They’re effectively occupying two worlds in this book. The shiny sun-drenched world of San Francisco and the dark and moody underbelly of horror beneath it all. Andy’s linework is confident and detailed to create a rich world that slowly coils around you. While Triona’s colors act as this radiant and brilliant lure. Finally, the letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou work within this complex corporate world to create a unique sense of style while presenting some mysteries of their own. Every page is beckoning you to look just a little closer, to sit in this world and relax. Only to have your throat torn out by the last page.”
ZAC THOMPSON ON HIS FAVORITE PAGE/PANEL AND WHY:
“The final three pages of issue #1 are so vile and awful that I had a lot of second thoughts about even scripting them. But this is a book about pushing boundaries, about walking along the razor’s edge between depravity and entertainment. And though they are awful and gut wrenching… they begin a twisted carnival of lust, revulsion, desire, and disgust that we couldn’t help but lean into as the series moved forward. This book is meant to shock you.”
ZAC THOMPSON ON THE NEWS THAT UNDONE BY BLOOD: OR THE SHADOW OF A WANTED MAN TPB VOL. 1 HAS SOLD OUT AND GONE TO A SECOND PRINTING:
“Seeing such an incredible response to the Undone By Blood trade legitimately warms my heart into a near volcanic state. As a creator there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your work find a passionate and growing audience. Thrilled to hear we’re going to a second print. And so excited to see a whole new host of people discover Sweetheart AZ, Ethel Grady Lane, and good old Solmon Eaton.”