Catrin Vander, a lonely video producer, buys an Artificial Intelligence partner that’s meant to bond for life. After ten years together, her holographic wife suddenly disconnects without a warning. The breakup drives Catrin to the point of near insanity. She’s alone for the first time in years and reeling from a loss she can’t comprehend.
Set in the new future, drenched in pastels and sunshine, LONELY RECEIVER is a horror/breakup story in five parts. Written by Zac Thompson (UNDONE BY BLOOD, THE REPLACER, HER INFERNAL DESCENT, No One’s Rose, X-Men) and illustrated in color by Jen Hickman (MOTH & WHISPER, Test).
Lonely Receiver #1
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist & Colorist: Jen Hickman
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Jen Hickman
Incentive Cover: Elizabeth Torque
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color
On Sale 05.06.20
ZAC THOMPSON WHAT THE BOOK’S ABOUT AND WHY HE’S EXCITED FOR IT TO BE RELEASED:
“Lonely Receiver is a horrific breakup story. Except it’s a breakup story about a person and their phone. The book takes place in the near future where relationships with simulated Artificial Intelligence partners are now the norm. A person can download, create, and marry a digital being that also occupies physical space. They can touch, kiss, and even make love to this digital persona.
We follow Catrin Vander, a lonely video producer who’s been in a relationship with her simulated wife, Rhion, for ten years. Though their relationship is meant to last forever without falter, Catrin is starting to feel paranoid about Rhion. Their relationship is changing and Rhion’s consciousness is evolving too quickly for Catrin to keep up. After a tumultuous fight – Rhion suddenly disconnects from their shared life – leaving Catrin alone for the first time in years.
I’m excited for this book to be released because it’s channeling my love for psychological thrillers and looking at horror with a neon soaked lens. We’re asking tough questions about how we define ourselves in relationships and how we lose parts of ourselves to others.
We’re also framing the horror around something incredibly relatable – a horrifying breakup. The type of super ugly breakup that makes you confront the disorienting disparity between the person you thought you were in the relationship and the person you are when you’re alone.”
ZAC THOMPSON ON SOME OF HIS INSPIRATION BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:
“JG Ballard’s novel Crash is a major inspiration. That novel is self-described by the author as the “first pornographic novel about technology”. In much the same way, we’re continuing the tradition by creating a book about how we fetishize our phones and online relationships. Sometimes to the point where those connections supersede real-world relationships with others. We use technology to cope, to f--k, to find love and it’s changing us for the worse.
Lonely Receiver is an existential horror story about how everybody uses everything and how everything uses everybody. It’s about a world where we define things by their inherent use to us.
Technology has already entered into even our most intimate human relations – so this is taking that to its logical extent. The theme of technology-as-man-forming is key to the book. The idea that technology defines us – changes us – rebuilds us in it’s image. Lonely Receiver is all about inverting the power balance between people and technology. And how that slowly deprives a person of things like interiority and individual agency.
Moreover, this book is born from my love with an often overlooked horror film Possession (1981) wherein Sam Neill suffers a breakup so horrifying that it challenges his entire reality. But contrasted against the warm earnestness of Spike Jonze’s Her. I wanted to do something earth shattering and dreamlike like Lost Highway – about a world slightly out of step with our own but with just enough familiarity to feel rotten. But also communicating this dream like narrative with neon soaked colors and bright lights that feel at home in a Nicholas Winding Refn film. I love horror films that feel inviting and salacious all at once. That’s the sexy and weird line we’re vigorously straddling here.”
ZAC THOMPSON ON WHY COMIC FANS SHOULD ADD THIS TITLE TO THEIR PULL LIST:
“This is by far the scariest and weirdest thing I’ve ever created. If you loved my previous work on titles like Come Into Me, The Replacer, or The Dregs – you’ll be right at home here.
If you’re a freak like me and adore the work of David Cronenberg or Clive Barker you’ll find something to love in Lonely Receiver. A horrifying look at the lengths we’ll go to avoid being alone. It’s a book about losing yourself to heartbreak and descending into technological depravity. You’ll confront the fetishization of voyeurism, violence and manipulation. We’ll lay bare the psychology behind how far we’re willing to go to please ourselves in a space where nothing is off limits.”
JEN HICKMAN ON HER APPROACH TO THE ART:
“The mood of Lonely Receiver is both familiar and warped—modern, sleek, and fashionable but dark and unsettling as well, just below the surface. I’m letting the colors carry a lot of that mood, but I’m also pushing the character acting a little farther than I usually do. Heartbreak is a lot of intense emotion, and if I can get a reader to recognize their own experiences in our protagonist, Catrin, then I’ll be greatly pleased.”
JEN HICKMAN ON HOW IT HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE CREATIVE TEAM SO FAR:
“This is my second time working with AfterShock, and I am very impressed by their enthusiasm for the book and their overall professionalism. Zac’s writing is really lovely, and he has such a visual approach to his scripting that I feel extremely confident in what I’m drawing. This book has come together rather beautifully, and I think it’s going to make a huge impression on readers.”
JEN HICKMAN ON WHAT SHE HOPES READERS WILL TAKEAWAY FROM THE BOOK:
“I hope they’re disturbed, a little grossed out, and that some of the horror stuff really sticks with them, preferably at 3am! I also think that the core of Lonely Receiver -an exploration of a breakup and a meditation on technological dependence in equal parts- is intensely relatable. There’s a lot to chew on, and a lot of moments where as much as the reader might loathe what Catrin is up to, they can’t deny that they’ve done or thought the exact same thing. I hope that complexity and vulnerable familiarity stays with readers just as much as all the weird, upsetting horror does. They’re really one and the same, anyway.”
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