Inside Look: Dead Run #1

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Michael Nelson released his latest book at BOOM! Studios last week, and BF brought him on for an Inside Look. Folks, enjoy the joyride that is Dead Run.

The solicitation for Dead Run #1 reads:

“All Speed. No Limits.” The end isn’t near… it’s here. America has become a wasteland, leaving the few cities that remain transformed into impenetrable fortresses. NICK MASTERS isn’t just a driver, he’s the best there is. If you need something picked-up, delivered, or disposed of, Nick’s your man. And he’s all business. But when he fails to deliver an important package to a local crime lord, Nick’s business suddenly becomes very personal… A science fiction action piece in the vein of MAD MAX from the writer of HEXED and FALL OF CTHULHU, Michael Alan Nelson, collaborating for the first time with EUREKA creator Andrew Cosby!

At the risk of using a bad pun, Dead Run is a post-apocalyptic joy-ride through the wastelands of a future California.  Nick Masters is a courier tasked with delivering goods from one walled city to another, all while avoiding  the deadly inhabitants of the barren wastes in between. 

Unfortunately for Nick, he's hired to make what is known as the Dead Run: the run from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  The run is so deadly that only one person has ever made it.  Yet no one really knows how.  At it's core, this book is all about big fun and big action with a healthy dose of violence and intrigue.  Plus, you know, mutants on motorcycles.  How can you go wrong  with that?


The purpose of this page is to quickly establish the world in which the story takes place.  Right off the bat we know what we're dealing with.  There is a massive walled city shining in the distance just beyond the crumbled ruins of the old Los Angeles. 

What's nice about this image is that is also gives us a sense of scale.  The destruction, however it was caused, is massive.  Yet, a threat still exists.  Why else would you build a wall if not to keep things out?


Our hero's introduction.  We wanted to do a couple of things when showing Nick for the first time.  Obviously, he had to be visually rugged.  He's your typical tough guy.  Rough around the edges and can take care of himself no matter the situation.  

And that's the other thing we wanted to show here as well.  Nick is being chased by mutants on motorcycles, yet when we first meet him, he's casually lighting a cigarette.  That is not the action of a man who is terribly worried about his safety.  He's cool and calm under pressure.


Here, we get a real good look at the things chasing Nick.  These mutants are a cross between Road Warrior and Hellraiser.  Vicious men intent on doing vicious things.  So here we wanted to show how easily Nick can deal with these things.  With just the flick of a switch, he's able to take most of the mutants out. 

This page shows us that Nick not only has the temperament needed to deal with such a deadly scenario, but he also has the tools he needs to get the job done.


This is where we wanted to show Nick as a thinker as well.  It's his ability to improvise and think on the fly that has kept him alive so far.  And again, we wanted another moment of seeing just how tough Nick really is.  The brute on his car is armed with a mace made of nothing but jagged edges and all Nick has is a cigarette.  Yet, he still comes out on top. 

We also wanted to use this as a metaphor for his character.  When Nick is dispatching his enemy, you'll notice that he never takes his eyes off the road.  He's looking ahead.


This page is designed to quickly show the people in Nick's life (without having to actually meet them all).  We establish that his mechanic is also his brother-in-law and that he and Nick have a good relationship. 

Though we don't meet Nick's sister on this page, we know that she can be a bit of a ball buster.  This also helps establish how ruthless our bad guy is when we discover later on that he's kidnapped her.    


This is our “petting the dog” scene.  We wanted to show that despite his rough and tumble exterior, Nick is a decent guy.  Obviously, that's something we show more of later on, but we wanted a quick and easy  way to show our hero being heroic.  We thought the best way to do that was to have him deliver hard-to-get medicine to sick people.  Very altruistic, even for a hard-ass.

As I mentioned earlier, we learn that Nick's sister has been kidnapped by some very unsavory people.  But to get her back, he is forced to deliver a package to San Francisco.  With the help a beautiful co-pilot, he tries his best to make the Dead Run, dealing with roving gangs of Zone Drones, Foragers, traps, an antagonistic navigator, and a mysterious package that could prove to be deadlier than anything he's ever faced before.

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  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 10, 2009 at 6:52am

    This looks like a lot of fun but, like I do with most non-shared universe stuff these days, I daresay I will wait for the trade. Then again, in these days of Diamond minimums restricting the potential diversity of the medium to such a disturbing degree, that may be a philosophy I need to rethink sooner rather than later.

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