Last month the first issue of ALEX + ADA by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn was released by Image Comics. The second issue hits stands this week and caught up with the two to find out more about this new world they're building.
What would you do if you came into possession of a realistic android?
COMIC VINE: In creating a new comic book world, you have to start someplace. Where did the idea for this time and setting come from?
JONATHAN LUNA: I’ve wanted to tell a futuristic story for a long time. I’ve been fascinated with androids and how we’d interact with them. And since I have leanings toward drama and romance, all of it just meshed together into ALEX + ADA. I brought a simple concept to Sarah, a writer-friend who’s really into romance comics, in early 2013, and since then we’ve been talking constantly, developing the world and scripts.
CV: The idea of artificial intelligence becoming self-aware has been a debatable topic. Do you have a stance on the matter that you're trying to convey in the story?
SARAH VAUGHN: The book isn’t necessarily a stance on sentience and whether or not it’s possible, but more a social and emotional exploration of what happens if it does. My personal view is it would be presumptuous to ever believe something is impossible. There is so much about science and life we are constantly discovering that changes the game.
CV: There are definite pros and cons to living in a world like Alex's. Would you hope to see any of the technological advances happen in the real world?
JL: Very true. As technology progresses, life becomes more convenient and efficient for us. So I guess I would like to see most of them happen. On the other hand, it makes me feel like I’m lazy. But we human beings are drawn to an easier life. No one wants to exert any more energy they don’t have to.
All said, I’d love to have holographs in my life. Prime Wave would be cool. It’s basically a computer in your head. But I don’t know if I’d go that far.
SV: I would hope to see the butler-robots, for sure, and self-driving cars if I was guaranteed I’d survive. There’s a new piece of technology coming up in issue 3 that I could easily lose myself to. And that’s the scary thing, isn’t it? How much of our everyday life are we going to give up for technology?
CV: It's never fully stated but are there any plans to give us an approximate time frame for the story - about how far in the future it takes place?
JL: We thought it would be a mistake to do that. When a futuristic book meets the time within it, it just dates it.
SV: There’s something fun and disappointing at the same time about watching a sci-fi movie that takes place in 2012 or 2015, and seeing that the real world is nowhere near as advanced as how the movie envisioned. On the other side, you don’t want to go out too far where today’s technology could surpass what’s in the story.
CV: We saw a little "history" in the newscast in issue 1. Any plans to fill us in on other events that have taken place in reaching this point in time?
SV: A bit, yes. For the most part the Nexaware Massacre has shaped the world Alex interacts with, and we’ll be elaborating more on it.
CV: The first issue introduces us to Alex and we see him meet Ada. What will be the tone or direction of the series? Will it focus on their 'relationship' or will there be other plot elements?
SV: The story revolves around Alex, Ada, and their relationship, but they’re also a small piece of a larger picture. They’ll be meeting more characters and experiencing more sides of android/owner life, and what it’s like to live in a world that both loves and fears robots.
CV: How much of an exploration will we see on the morality of having a companion robot and the things some people in this society do with them? We saw one protester asking for robot rights. Will this come up some more?
JL: It will definitely come up more and is a major part of the story. Issue 3 is where we delve deeper into this and the meat of the story.
If you missed the first issue, a second printing is on sale this Wednesday, December 11, as is ALEX + ADA #2.