We’ve already talked about how writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen’s Descender is already one of the great scifi comics of 2015. Issue #2 of the hit Image comic arrives in stores tomorrow, so we talked to Nguyen about his five biggest artistic inspirations for the universe he helped create.
TIM-21, a companion robot built to be a companion to a young child, awakens in a seemingly abandoned mining colony on the moon of Dirishu-6. “The single point perspective layout for the overall page obviously Kubrick-esque, but walking around in a cold dark mechanical atmosphere in your pajamas is definitely inspired by Otomo's Akira,” says Nguyen.
Tim-21 has been “asleep” for 10 years, during which time massive robots called Harvesters mysteriously appeared out of nowhere, attacked the Core Worlds, and disappeared just as mysteriously. Since then, anti-robot hysteria has swept thought the universe, resulting in a robot genocide. Tim-21 is one of the few surviving robots left in the galaxy. “Macross [Robotech] is very much a major influence in all my mechanical aesthetics, you'll see it in future issues. Although it will be my take on what made it fun for me growing up.”
Driller is a robot that shows up in issue #2, when Tim-21 is being chased by bounty hunters looking to take his processing unit. Although originally designed to assist the mining colony, Driller has… changed. “Driller is undeniably influenced by my love for G1 Transformers, very bulky, blocky, non-streamlined builds. Something that is instantly recognizable as a robot, and not an android or a metal suit with a human underneath.”
On the far left is Captain Telsa, her companion Tullis is up top, and Dr. Jin Quon is on the right. Telsa and Tullis have been assigned to retrieve Dr. Quon when it’s discovered that the Harvesters use the same basic “machine codex” as the Tim android series Quon created 15 years ago. "The pose and posturing of Telsa and Tullis, and a lot of the United Galactic Council, reminds me of the residents in 2001 Nights by Yukinobu Hoshino [a science fiction anthology manga released in the mid-‘80s]. These uniforms look like they could be possibly worn in and out of a ship."
With his human family long dead, Tim-21’s first companion on the mining colony is his robotic dog named Bandit, a present from Tim’s adopted mother. "I can’t pinpoint where or how, but Hayao Miyazaki has inspired everything in how I tell a story where characters interact with each other the way they do. Tim and Bandit are no different than Ponyo walking around with a wobbly puffer fish."