Introducing... ADAM FRANKENSTEIN
James Tynion IV introduces everyone to another character from Tiny Onion Studios' new Substack Original series, THE ODDLY PEDESTRIAN LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER CHAOS
Okay, so I want to talk a bit about LORE. I’m not talking about the podcast/tv-show, but rather the different grouping of ideas in the collective unconscious that different kinds of stories tap into. It’s a term that I use to refer to the subject matter that one of my comics is built out of.
Back when I was a teenager reading stacks of creator-owned trade paperbacks in the mid-2000s, it felt like every great creator-owned book was built out of a distinct kind of Lore that it was using the comic to teach to the audience, either directly or indirectly. The Lore of FABLES was Grimm Fairy Tales, and the timeless characters that came out of worldwide folklore. The Lore of THE SANDMAN was world mythology. The Lore of EX MACHINA was contemporary politics in the Bush Years. The Lore of HELLBOY was the real-world history of militaries dabbling in the Occult around World War II (though it would broaden to a larger history of the Occult). PLANETARY was the history of popular science fiction in the 20th Century. These fictional stories were often the lens through which I really deeply considered all this subject matter for the first time. I think it’s the trademark of those late 90s/early 00s Creator-Owned books. You felt like you were getting smarter while you were reading them. They were all dynamic crash courses in the weird stuff you don’t get to learn in high school. They made you want to dig deeper, to learn more.
I think we lost a bit of that in the following decades. There are a lot of great insular projects, that just feel like they’re built on their own stories. They don’t make you sit back and wonder about the world around you. Make you want to dig deeper into the strange source material and play with it yourself. I think part of that was a by-product of making too many comics that were about comics, meta stories that spoke to the entire history of a single character or a single idea.
In my work, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH best represents the kind of comic I’m talking about. It’s built from an entire history of American Conspiracy Theories, and how they have shaped the history of our country to the present day. I do lots and lots of research for DOT, trying to make sure I’m building all of the strangeness from strange things that people in the world actually believe. It helps make DOT a fictional lens through which to dig deeply into a subject matter that’s often difficult to parse and often disturbing to grapple with. BLUE BOOK does this most directly, by tapping into non-fiction stories of UFO encounters. It’s pretty direct about its source material and what world it’s trying to open up to readers.
When I started developing THE ODDLY PEDESTRIAN LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER CHAOS, I wanted to draw from the history of the horror genre. I wanted to juxtapose that with the history of people who don’t usually get their histories told - The Outcasts. The Weirdos. This is a story about monsters and mad scientists, the Pedestrian world that rejected them and pushed them out, and the story of them trying to push back and tell their own stories on their own terms. In the world of TOPLOCC, the classics of Horror Fiction sit on the shelves, twisted by the hands of a dark conspiracy to cast Monsters as the villains.
ADAM FRANKENSTEIN is the monster who sparked the war between that dark conspiracy, and the monsters it sought to subjugate and cast into the shadows. He is the original monster, written about in Mary Shelley’s classic novel. He was created by the Mad Scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who would go on to betray his son to the authorities he had originally sought to rebel against. His actions across the 19th and 20th Century spread the long, dark history of the outcasts of those centuries. In the present day, the war he fought seems long over. Monsters have been eradicated or kept to the shadows. Mad Science has been stamped out. People think what the authorities want them to think. The world is being KEPT ordinary. Pedestrian.
When we met him in the Prologue last month, Adam is being hunted by the enforcers of this dark conspiracy. He is all that’s left of the resistance, and his entire life has been reduced to a matter of surviving, day by day, in the shadows of New Briar City. Adam is a hulking, statuesque figure, standing about eight feet tall. His body is covered in scars, healed from the bodies of the different men whose graves were desecrated to make him. He is striking, beautiful, but deeply unsettling. He is a sensitive giant, gentle and kind, but incredibly powerful. There are patches in his skin that allow him to replace damaged or rotting organs. In designing him, we had our incredible character designer, Nick Robles, create the map of scars across his patchwork body.
He carries symbols of his life before the fall of his allies, many years ago at MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY. Symbols of a long-dormant association of like-minded people. THE HORRORIST SOCIETY. He is one of the last people in the world who remembers the histories and the mad science concocted to make the world a better place before their enemies destroyed it all.
Adam’s History was cooked up over months last year by me and series writer, Tate Brombal, and he was designed by the phenomenal Nick Robles. Adam’s story and the story of other classic monsters like him will be uncovered slowly over the course of the series. There are many more secrets in Adam’s past… But to find them out, you’re gonna have to read the book!
The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos is based on an idea by James Tynion IV
Script by Tate Brombal
Art by Isaac Goodhart
Color by Kurt Michael Russell
Letters by Aditya Bidikar
Character Designs and Covers by Nick Robles
Design by Dylan Todd
Edited by Greg Lockard
Happy Thursday, everybody! Sorry for getting this out a day later than planned. Next month, in April, I’ll do a bit of a deep dive into the adversaries of Adam Frankenstein, who he was fighting in the prologue we dropped last month… And then in May, we’ll drop the e-long first issue in its entirety!
I cannot wait for you all to see what I’ve been cooking with Tate, Isaac, Kurt, Nick, Aditya, and Greg! We’ve got a whole world of horror to introduce you to! Just you wait! And just a reminder, THE ODDLY PEDESTRIAN LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER CHAOS will be free to read, and available to all subscribers to this newsletter, paid and unpaid alike! We can’t wait to introduce you to this whole crazy world!
James Tynion IV