Ken Kristensen is known for his writing on SyFy’s insanely popular Happy!, and The Punisher on Netflix. Now he is releasing a series of his own called, OBLIV18N through Scout Comics on August 22, 2018. Here, Ken is kind enough to join us for another installment of Five Questions and a Comic.
Comic Burst: What audience do you picture enjoying OBLIV18N?
Ken Kristensen: First, let’s establish that it’s meant for a mature audience. The same audience who can handle the violence in The Walking Dead or The Punisher MAX, and the profanity and sex in Sex Criminals or The Boys. That said, in terms of the story, characters, and themes, this is a book for science fiction lovers, for fans of the post-apocalyptic subgenre. And frankly I wrote it for me, so it’s for those of us who fantasize about what it'd be like to be the hero when the world goes to hell. Oh, wait. Too late. I imagine there will be a line between those who appreciate how far we take some of these characters, and those readers who think we’ve gone too far. And that’s exactly how I like it. My feeling is that if a story is universally adored, then you probably haven’t designed your story world with enough perspectives.
CB: What themes will we find in the story?
KK: Overall it’s science fiction, but certainly some of the storylines venture into horror, and action-adventure. And at the heart of it is a relationship drama, exploring the idea that our most savage instincts can be wrangled only if we’re fighting for someone besides ourselves.
CB: Where does most of the story unfold?
KK: I’m a Manhattan guy who moved to Los Angeles, which, in comparison, feels like living in a suburb. The juxtaposition of my move gave me the idea to pit New York City against the New York suburbs of Westchester County. The suburbs make you soft, so I wanted my protagonists to come from there. One of the themes we’re exploring is “be careful what you wish for.” And when you’re young and you live in Westchester you’re always looking to go into Manhattan. But when the world falls apart, crossing the bridge--or God forbid the Midtown Tunnel--into Manhattan is the last thing you want to do. Yet, that’s what our characters choose to do.
CB: When can we plan on OBLIV18N #1 hitting the stores?
KK: The first issue hits the stores August 22 and #1 will have a couple variant covers by Ariela Kristantina, who I’ve been a fan of since she was in grad school.
CB: Considering your success in both comics and television,why did you choose to tell this story through comics?
KK: There are themes in OBLIV18N that I thought needed to be seen on the page rather than the screen. I feel very grateful to be both a TV writer and a comic book writer, so I think about the differences every day. Comics give you absolute freedom to tell the story you want to tell. And I don’t just mean freedom in terms of budget and censorship, though those factors certainly exist. One of the greatest joys of writing comics is that comic book audiences are more open to a variety of story subjects and ways of telling a story. Writing comics means I get to use storytelling devices that I don’t get to use in the TV writers room. As a writer, you get off on using as many tools in the tool kit as often as possible.