This post contains SPOILERS. You may want to read the comic first.
I'm always jotting down plots, and the mechanics of this story seemed to work fairly well apart from the cliched "Everyone's dead! And the hero falls to his knees in horror!" ending. Couldn't have that, so I racked my brains in idle moments trying to figure out an original twist. Or rather, I went off and did other things while my mind sorted it out for me. The story was set in the fifties at this point, in Britain, during the Cold War. It all seemed a bit familiar.
My subconsious came up trumps one drowsy morning: 'What about 'if the nuclear detonations irradiated a moment of time and trapped them all forever?' 'Yes,' replied my waking self, 'that would sidestep the cliches. But what would sustain the illusion of internal reality? 'Magic', replied my subconscious - and promptly died of shame. Hoary old sub-Constantine demons and tarot deck magic? Not very inspiring.
Then a neuron in my sluggish brain fired from 'Nuclear detonations in the fifties' to 'The Cuban missile crisis, 1962'. Much more promising: Cuba could provide an original tone to freshen up the whole story. Bury the missile crisis in the shadows till the end, beneath the sparkly misdirection of a search for Castro. And why we're at it why not build the whole world from Castro's imagination, replete with sixties dreams of a sci-fi future and a communist utopia? That's when I got excited.
Tharg wanted it in four pages. I'd sent him Death Sentence first, a six issue series forthcoming from Titan in October 2013. In that comic we don't waste panels or captions when telling the story. Every element adds something new to the narrative, or it gets cut. It makes for powerful sequentials. As a consequence I really enjoy the discipline of writing a story in the shortest possible space. It's useful technique to master.
Overall 'Rocket de la Revolucion' is a little too condensed, with too many words in each panel, but the story works if you bear with it. I like the way you can read it on different levels if you want to: a communist allegory, a muse on the nature of reality - a thriller with a twist. Mostly I adore Simon Fraser's beautiful artwork, which conveys all the information each panel needs in a vibrant and dramatic way despite the lack of space. Any credit for the story's impact should go to him. He has form in this area - check out his decades of excellence here:
2000ad Prog 1823 is out today from newsagents, comic shops, and http://www.2000adonline.com/
Titan comics are publishing Death Sentence, a six part series from Mike Dowling and myself, in October 2013 - Previews code JUN131282