Hard Wyred is the creation of Canadian Erik Bitmanis, who promotes his book as an epic new sci-fie/cyberpunk comic series that features tech coat wielding gunmen, corporate scheming and a giant baby. Its a fantastical tale reminiscent of The Matrix where people hook themselves into machines so that they don’t have to go back to their real lives. The main character Sam refuses to give in and get hooked up to a machine to live a false life and no matter how unpleasant his real life he wants to live. He is a sort of anti-hero who combines a knowledge of the way of the world he lives in with a meaningful grasp of what real life is. Hard Wryed recently completed a successful Kickstarter and will be available soon for those who missed the opportunity when the Kickstarter campaign was live. The Gr1nd got with Erik to talk about his awesome new comic-
What is Hard Wyred about?
Hard Wyred is about a man who is afraid to let go of his past. The main character, Sam, purposely tries to lag behind the world because he is terrified let go of the past events that have defined him. Hard Wyred also parallels some concepts of the way we use the internet today. We all tend to act as different people online then we would in day-to-day life, and I wanted Hard Wyred to reflect that.
How did you come up with the concept?
The concept came to me over a long period of time, mainly when I really should have been studying in university. Two of my favourite movies growing up as a kid were Die Hard and The Matrix, so it was only fitting to have my first major project be a mash up of some of the things that I really liked within both those movies.
Who did you work with on the project?
We have had a couple people work on this project. My penciller/inker is a guy named Ross Zucco, who happens to be from my hometown and we also went to the same high school. The original penciller/inker was Joshua Suarez, and he did a great job bringing initial ideas to life, but life can sometimes get in the way so Josh had to leave the project. Our brilliant colours are done by Gwenaelle Daligault, who hails from France. And our letters are done by Jamie Me, from the UK.
How does what goes on in your comic mirror our world today?
A good deal of what I wanted to mirror would be how people want to be perceived online, or how they change their persona to match this idealized version of themselves. I don’t think it’s a problem we have or anything, it’s just a very interesting topic to look at how someone behaves so differently in an online environment compared to an offline one. The biggest example of this right from issue #1 is how different Sam looks in the online world compared to what he really looks like in the real world. While he is skinny, small, and fragile in the real world; he is this behemoth of a man that is muscular and suave in the online world. A little bit like wish fulfillment mixed with a dose of reality.
What is your personal opinion of technology and where it is headed?
I have two school of thought when it comes to technology. One is that, it’s fantastic. We have increased our efficiency to an extreme degree, allowing us to get so much more done in a day. We are all connected to one another, where for instance most of my art team is from other parts of the world that I would never have been able to interact with without the technology we have. On the other hand, more people are spending time inside and interacting with individuals through an electronic device instead of face to face conversation. I think people’s social skills in the long run are going to suffer because of it as interacting in person is entirely different from online or a mobile phone.
In terms of where I see technology heading; more automation, and greater focus on connecting with people. While we already have great platforms to connect to people with, there is still room to increase that. Also automated driving, that will probably be a thing.
Explain the main character Sam and what he thinks about it all?
Sam hates technology. Period. Despises it, which is really odd for a guy who’s main job is to enter this online world and accomplish whatever menial task is set out by Ms. Teller. As I said above, Sam is a complicated guy who has built his personality and characteristics to push people away. He’s standoff-ish, abrasive, stubborn, and he is actually a pretty big dick. While he has a rough exterior, he does have some soft spots for certain people in his life, but they are few and far between. I think he really just needs a hug.
What were your influences for this comic?
My biggest influences were The Matrix and Die Hard, but other influencers include Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Absolutely love that book series, and really transformed my perception of what a fantastical world could be. Also, CHEW by John Layman and Rob Guillroy, as they were the first comic I read that really proved that a comedy series can do well, and continue to provide laughs throughout the series.
What is the over all point or theme you are trying to get across?
The overall theme would be that it’s unhealthy for a person to hold onto past events that they cannot change, and that in order to continue to grow as a person you would have to be able to move past them. Else, you’ll really be robbing some of the joys of life. Underlying themes address some of the wonders and dangers of losing yourself in an online world.
Will it be a regular series?
I’m really aiming for it to be. I have the entire story set out to be a maxi-series (about 16-18 issues), but my first goal is going to be to complete the first arc (5 issues) and go from there. I really want to tell the whole story, but that comes down to time and money. One day maybe :).
How did the Kickstarter go?
The Kickstarter went great. Seeing the generosity of complete strangers and their belief in your project was truly amazing.
When is the book coming out?
Well we just hit some production delays when Josh had to leave the book, but I’m aiming to be delivering the Kickstarter book sometime this December/early January. After that, I’ll be looking to submit to comixology and sell through my own website while we start working on issue #2.
Will you promote it on the comic con scene?
For sure. In fact I have already been to both Montreal and Ottawa Comic Con to promote the book and talk to other creators. I went to Fan Expo in Toronto as well, but not as an exhibitor.
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