Dead Seas: Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire Share What Readers Can Expect Within the Depths of Dead Seas
IDW Originals is set to release a six-issue mini-series titled Dead Seas. The series teams up with New York Times Bestselling author Cavan Scott and superstar artist Nick Brokenshire for a horror series where the dead don’t stay dead and the dangers that lurk aboard a ship full of not only ghosts but also criminals leaving our protagonist Gus in a situation where death is almost a guaranteed certainty, but what troubles could ensue in a world where death isn’t necessarily the end?
The full description of Dead Seas reads:
“Ghosts are real and dangerous. But they’re also valuable, their ectoplasm capable of curing countless diseases. There’s only one problem: harvesting the wonder drug can be just as deadly. Prisoner Gus Ortiz is willing to take the risk in return for a reduced sentence—anything to see his daughter again. All it will take is a few months at sea scraping ectoplasm off the walls of the Perdition, a floating prison containing the most vicious ghosts on Earth.
Surrounded by dark waters, Gus soon realizes that angry spirits are the least of his worries. The Poseidon Adventure meets The Haunting of Hill House in this supernatural thriller by New York Times best-selling author Cavan Scott (Star Wars: The High Republic) and fan-favorite artist Nick Brokenshire (Star Wars Adventures)”
Scott and Brokenshire joined us to share some details about Dead Seas and the creative duo has some terrifying plans for readers, some of which you can find within the very first pages of the series. Check out the Q&A below:
GN: Thank you for joining us to talk about Dead Seas. To kick things off. What can fans expect from the series?
CS: Dead Seas comes from my age-old love of disaster movies. You know, going to my grand’s house when I was a kid and watching things like Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno on the telly, but I always thought what it needed was more monsters, because I think everything needs more monsters. So yeah, I was rewatching The Poseidon Adventure recently and I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if all of these people who are meeting their unfortunate ends start coming back as ghosts?
That was the beginning of what was originally called Ghost Ship has now become Dead Seas. And so yeah, it tells the story of a prison ship with prisoners who have a nasty job of having to scrape the walls off these prison ships because there’s ectoplasm running down them. Unfortunately, the ship starts to sink, and when a ship sinks like this, it just means more ghosts.
GN: The concept of Dead Seas is not your average story, with it taking readers on a haunted sea adventure. How did you both land on this concept?
CS: Well, it sort of came from what I’ve just been talking about, really, it was that initial idea. Then Nick and I started talking about, you know, this idea that ectoplasm in this world is a bit of a miracle cure for certain diseases. So it’s what is suddenly worth more than oil. So they sent prisoners to scrape it from wherever they could find it. And, yeah, and we just started to talk about what would happen if one of these ships where you’ve got these prisoners having to scrape the stuff off the walls to reduce their sentence, what would happen if it starts to take on water, and it sort of went from there?
GN: You’re both no strangers to working together. But I always find it interesting to read comics, where it’s confined to a smaller space, which is kind of what it seems like when it comes to Dead Seas. Any challenges either of you came across when telling a story in such a confined environment?
NB: I did, I did worry about that, actually, when when we first started working together, especially because, you know, I would have to be theoretically conveying the claustrophobia, you know, of being in an enclosed space. And also the lighting of these places is different from, say rooms and the outdoors, of course. So, for me, it did pose a bit of a challenge. But I have discovered lots of wonderful new techniques, and I sort of devised new approaches to my art in order to deal with those challenges. So initially, it was a bit tricky, but I think we’re getting there.
CS: I think the challenge for me was trying to work out how boats work. So I had a chat with a merchant sailor who walked me through what would happen if a ship this size, actually did start to take in water. And you know what, it turns out, they’re really hard to sink because no one wants to lose a ship. So, there are lots of failsafe, so I had to find ways of trying to get around that. So yeah, it wasn’t so much a challenge of it being claustrophobic, but the challenge of actually working out how a ship like this could go down.
GN: From the preview, I get the impression that the ghosts and the dangers that are present are more facts than they are legends. Are the supernatural phenomenon common knowledge in this story?
CS: Yes, so the world as a whole has had ghosts at hand for many years now. They found out all these different things about the different byproducts that ghosts produce. And obviously, big business being what big business is. They find ways to start monetizing ghosts because you know, they would. That’s the world we live in now. Well, so yeah, all our candidates who have signed up for this job in an attempt to reduce their sentences, they all know what life’s like, with ghosts, they deal with it on a day-to-day basis.
GN: Reading the preview, the panel with the grandma in the early pages was terrifying. Can’t wait to see what’s going on there.
CS: That ghost is incredible. Oh, yeah, the one thing that I loved, and I knew that Nick would draw an awesome ghost. Before we even started, I mean, Nick started designing all these different spooks, and specters, which was amazing. And on that page, you know, I basically said, we need the scariest grandmother you can give us Nick and that’s what he provided.
GN: What was the inspiration behind that panel, Nick?
NB: Boy, inspiration. I mean, as an artist, I think that stuff is kind of floating around in my head anyway. You’re always trying to kind of create and invent new and fresh ways of creeping yourself out. So whenever I draw a ghost, or whenever I approach a new monster of some sort, I’m always trying to find things that I’ve not seen before, combined with, you know, more standard things.
So like initially with her, like with our ghosts, when we were devising the story, we spoke a lot about why those two would manifest in these bizarre ways. And so we kind of established, you know, all these weird psychic projection rules. So that’s kind of where I’m jumping off of. I mean, it’s very complicated to explain, There are these weird rules that we kind of came up with that dictate a little bit where they come from. Certainly in my head. They exist a bit.
GN: Lastly, Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Any final words you would like to share with readers?
CS: Basically, like all good disaster movies, don’t become too attached to anyone on the page. Terrible things will happen, but the good thing about this particular disaster movie is when they die, doesn’t mean you’ve seen the last of them. So yeah, I mean, like all these stories, we hope you’re going to fall in love with these characters and we sort of spend some time before the ship starts to sink, getting to know them and get to know why they’re on the ship.
Not just the prisoners as well, the guards, especially Elvis, who’s one of my particular favorites, not the king, but someone who loves the king. More than anyone else in the world and he came again out of one of Nick’s concept sketches. There was originally a prisoner who looked a little bit like an Elvis Presley impersonator and I said, wouldn’t it be cool if we made him one of the guards? And yeah, I think people are gonna love Elvis.
Dead Seas #1 will be available at your favorite local comic shop and digitally on December 21, 2022.