Interview: Duffy Boudreau on Image Comics’ BLACKACRE

This December, venture out from the world you know into the vast wasteland of the world you don’t. In Duffy Boudreau and Wendell Cavalcanti’s Blackacre, humanity stands at a precipice, and any number of factions could send the species hurtling into oblivion. Who will take up the reins of the world and where will they lead the last weary survivors of such a complicated species? The answers have already impressed early readers like Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker.

Blackacre #1

Story by: Duffy Boudreau
Art By: Wendell Cavalcanti
Cover By: Michael Avon Oeming

A retired soldier on a secret mission… sent out from the walled city and the only life he’s ever known into the violent wilderness of the world after the fall! Tribal cults, roaming bands of barbarians, vicious warlords! A startling new take on the post-apocalypse and the most auspicious comics debut of the year!

We spoke to Boudreau about maneuvering all the pieces in this post-apocalyptic chess game.

iFanboy: This is a tale set after the Fall. Without giving too much away, how far and how hard of a landing are we talking about?

Duffy Boudreau: For now I can tell you that the story opens in 2114, and the U.S. has undergone a massive transformation, basically slipped into this new dark age where bandits, warlords, and fanatics rule and ordinary folks struggle to survive one day at a time. Except, of course, for those who live inside the walled city-state of BlackAcre, which is experiencing a time of great prosperity.

iF: Historically, ‘Blackacre’ has been used as a kind of placeholder name for property in legal documents. Kind of like a ‘John Doe’ for an estate or parcel of land. There’s something a little spooky about a community that’s settled on, or perhaps latched on to, a name like that.

DB: Yeah, I always imagined this name to be sort of an inside joke among the founding generation of BlackAcre’s leaders. The fictional piece of real property. They could speak freely about it and no one would know what they were talking about. And all the while they were taking it out of the realm of fiction and actually building the place.

And as strange as the name is, it might be the least creepy thing about this society. Let’s just say you’ll see social engineering at its finest.

iF: What’s the ‘Great Game’? What’s at stake?

DB: Well ‘Great Game’ is a term historians use to describe that time when the superpowers of the 19th Century struggled with one another to dominate Central Asia. And you hear it now, when commentators talk about current geopolitical struggles around that same area, but now it’s all about oil. In BlackAcre, the world’s undergone radical changes, so the players take on a new shape, but the way it works is basically the same: powerful factions vying for influence and control over a treasured area, and all the inhabitants end up paying the price.

iF: Let’s talk heros and villains. Are there any champions for the people in 2114?

DB: In this first arc, we focus on two main characters. The first is Hull: a member of BlackAcre’s elite security force. A fiercely loyal guy who was literally born into the military. He’s a decorated and experienced warrior. But one who doesn’t realize that what are virtues inside the city may be liabilities elsewhere. The other is Lee: raised in the brutal wilderness outside the walls, she’s already close to unbreakable at age fourteen. She’s no victim, and each struggle she faces sharpens her already considerable survival instincts.

As for the forces they’re up against… where to begin? There is one group in particular, and we’ll meet them very early on, that’s stalking the countryside, cutting down anyone who dares to question them. A movement of True-Believers who are convinced it’s high time to restore order to the chaos. And the only way they know is the sword.

Now, a trailer: