Well, here we are ladies, gentlemen, pets, and aliens. What this section of the blog contains is all of the media, writing, and general information about Sewn Together, the first collaborative piece between Alec Faleer and I.
So, I suppose you are wanting to know just what Sewn Together is. If not, you are not only on the wrong page, but also very wise. THAT BEING SAID, let’s begin.
Sewn Together has a strange origin, which actually isn’t terribly uncommon for Alec and I, as we will see a bit later on. It has roots in the mundane and the unassuming. But that’s where inspiration likes to hide. Lying in wait like a predator waiting to pounce and devour your free time and mental energy.
It all began in the late winter of 2011, my Senior year in High School. I believe I was waiting for the bus after coming out of my last class of the day (which was gym, in case you were wondering. [you weren’t]). Really, it started when I had a theoretical conversation between Death and a man who didn’t believe that he should have died yet. Said man also could not remember how or why he died. So, in order to preserve his mind, he began asking simple analytic questions about the nature death and how it all worked. From there, partially inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein I’m sure, I took the idea of a man who tries to transcend death via undeath to my friend Alec.
Needless to say, our dual interests in H.R. Geiger, H.P. Lovecraft, and the dark fantasy genre in general lead to the genesis of Sewn Together. Beginning as a comic published during my Freshman year at Illinois Wesleyan University, we took a hiatus from the idea once we figured out that the story was encountering kinks in how it could be told. More on that will come during the analysis and critique of the work itself.
Either way, Alec and I are both still very much attached to this world. Possibly because this is the first project that we worked on together, made progress on, and (this is the real differentiating factor here) had real feelings of pride for it. Lately, though, we have been mulling over what kind of media would best work with the story we aim to tell. As it stands, graphic novel seems to be the prevailing view. As generally creative people, though, we both know full well that not all (or, hardly any) ideas truly come to fruition, but Sewn Together is still our weird, stitched-together, undead-child-thing.
-The World of Sewn Together-
The year, at the start of the story is 2084 and the world is in a dire state.
In 2030, the ever-anticipated World War 3 broke out over a civil war in Russia, during which most of the world’s powers took sides. The war lasted only two years, but the damage was thought to be nearly irreparable. Cities such as Paris, Beijing, and St. Petersburg were extensively damaged by nuclear weapons and nations were left bankrupt or sickly in the wake of the war. Over one billion people perished in the war, ranging from starvation to sickness to battle. The intensity of the conflict created one rather unexpected result, however, a global culture obsessed with the conquering of death.
A man who came to be know as the Frankenstein had been a renowned surgeon for years before the War, a prodigy in his field of neurology. Having moved to London when he was twenty-two, the Frankenstein saw some of the worst parts of the War and his conviction to end the suffering and pain of those scarred or suffering started to find eager ears. Throughout the War, the mysterious Frankenstein and his companions became known as miracle-workers, using the most advanced science and technology to save or improve the human body from perils that should have taken their lives.
These men and women, who became more renowned and numerous in the wars following the War, were pessimistically called Necromancers by the skeptics who believed that they were toying with (and thus disrupting) the elemental forces of life and death. Still, fantastic miracles of medicine flowed forth from these Necromancers for years. However, in 2037 when the world’s remaining military powers began to take a serious interest in the idea of creating superhuman soldiers out of the Necromancer’s work. Horrified that their secrets might be used to create even more bloodshed, the Necromancers became a secretive organization dedicated to saving humanity from the shadows.
Unfortunately, what knowledge could be salvaged was used in World War 4, later known as the Final War, in 2039. In response to the renewed bloodshed, the Necromancers reappeared in the world. A combination of some of the greatest medical, engineering, and philosophical minds had lead the Necromancers into a powerful nation of their own right. Reanimated, unfeeling creatures sewn together from the flesh of the dead and invincible robotic soldiers brought an enforced peace to the world’s nations, but at a tremendous cost.
The Necromancers, having been known as quintessential anti-heroes of humanity for years, had become cold and cynical, believing that humanity would only continue to destroy itself and inflict pain upon the world until they were put down for good. The Frankenstein lead his people in this endeavor, using all of the Necromancer’s knowledge and power to lay waste to the warring nations, effectively bringing about an apocalypse of shambling flesh and clinking steel.
The human race is still alive as of the beginning of Sewn Together’s story, but they have either hidden away in their domed/fortified cities or are forced to survive in the outside world, waiting to be preyed on by the Necromancers and their undead creations. Paranoia runs high throughout, with purges of entire communities being all-too-common if said community is under suspicion of being a Necromancer.
Unlike most post-apocalypse futures, however, Sewn Together’s “Wasteland” is not desolate hellscape. Instead, the cities, towns, and field have started to return back to their original state. Overgrowth and neglect is common. Granted, swaths of land and civilization were damaged during the Rise of the Necromancers, but the Necromancers’ methods of leveling human civilization did not bring the same level of destruction that the advanced weapons of their enemies.
-Characters and Their Affiliations-
Death’s Household: Death, fittingly, lives up to his namesake. He is the harbinger of death, the shepherd of souls, and judge of the wicked. He holds is court of one in his House, which floats in an endless expanse of cold, primordial energy in which the dead appear upon their demise. More specifically, the House looks like something along these lines. It falls upon the master of the dead to ensure that balance is kept between Death and Life at all times. Michael, the main character of Sewn Together, awakens in the void outside of Death’s House with no memory of his life. There Death comes to greet him and the story begins.
Characters Affiliated with Death’s Household-
Michael: Michael is a man who appears to be in his mid-thirties who awakens just after his demise outside of Death’s House. Naturally, he and Death meet soon afterwards. Michael has almost no memory of his life before his death. The only thing that remains in his mind is the feeling that the Four Ghosts seem to have a deep connection to him. Furthermore, when Death hands Michael the book of his life, he is struck by intense flashbacks that altogether overwhelm him. As Death says, Michael cannot pass on to the true afterlife until he satiates the Four Ghosts. Death promises to allow Michael to pass on so long as the latter helps the former with the quandary of the undead Ghosts, which Death has no power over.
Thus, his mission in (un)life becomes the pursuit of the goals that the Four Ghosts wanted to fulfill before their untimely deaths. By Death’s hand, Michael eventually joins with the Ghosts, is given a new, temporary body to inhabit the world of the living. From there, he must make his way through the ruined wasteland of a world that was left behind after the Rise of the Necromancers.
The frankly unnatural nature of Michael’s predicament and his own internal frustrations helps to paint Michael as a cold, demure individual who holds nothing back when trying to accomplish the goal set before him. This is particularly strong when the goal may be to help others, yet he takes it as an opportunity to simply help himself (i.e. his relationship with the Ghosts). As the story conitues, however, Michael begins to regain some of his memories and his mind begins to open once again to empathy and a strong sense of moral conviction and justice.
Death: Despite his name and job description, Death is a relatively jovial creature that enjoys the ability to toy with the minds of the people whose souls he reaps. He has a habit to act in a grandiose way or inject theatrics into his activities. As the being whole soul purpose is to guarantee the end of life of all things, Death believes that to be dour in the world of beautiful emptiness that he has created is an insult to his work and also just plain boring.
Death, benefiting his extraordinary power, can change shape as often as he chooses. He has complete and total control over the world of the dead and even his House shifts and changes at his whims. He chooses to appear to Michael as a hooded skeletal human figure with the skull of a canine replacing the head. He often chooses to change forms to illicit a kind of reaction from the lost souls he comes in contact with. Other times he chooses his form just for the fun of it. That’s just how Death rolls.
However, he is not all-powerful. He must balance his ability to end life with Life’s ability to create it and the two must never come out of balance. However, the undead creations of the Necromancers have caused a disturbance in the fabric of Life and Death. Death cannot reap their souls, as they have not been technically killed and Life finds new life being created when it is not by Her hands (as an aside: Life is never seen in the series, She is only hinted at and described indirectly). Thus, Death tasks Michael with not only saving himself from the damnation of eternity without passing on, but also with destroying the Necromancers in the process. Death is very far-sighted and wise in his actions, despite his antics, so Michael can at first do little to understand the gravity of Death’s machinations.
The Four Ghosts:
Human, Outer-World Survivors: While the Rise of the Necromancers was devastating to the population, the human race is tenacious and refuses to submit to the machinations of the Necromancers. While it is far more common for communities left exposed in the Wasteland, bereft of walls or domes, to make as little noise as possible, some think differently. Rather than quietly try to forget that the Necromancers exist, some communities actively oppose their hated enemy using whatever tools that can be salvaged, stolen, or improvised. Curiously, a kind of division exists between the communities who choose to fight (called Stones by supporters and called Egos by the opposition) and those who wish to only survive (called Believers by supporters and called Cattle by the opposition), choosing to use derogatory terms for each other and having virtually no productive communication. Both sides accuse the other of only inciting more destruction and, in a sense, both sides know that every point made in support or opposition of their policies are valid ones. The humans in the Wasteland are stuck between their own definitions of what is “smart,” what is “right,” and the Necromancers who prey on them regardless.
Characters Affiliated with the Outer-World Survivors:
Heinrich Eisling: Heinrich is a 32-year old chemist and is the apprentice of the Doctor. He makes his home in the ruins of the (University of some Science Place in England) where he performs experiments for the benefit of both the humans in the wasteland and the Necromancers. The strangeness of his dual alliance is the product of his desire to keep the town the University resides in safe from the Necromancers. By conducting research and perfecting the arts of undead Reanimation, Heinrich is a valuable asset to the Necromancer’s regime. As per the Doctor’s worry, however, his apprentice has become more obsessed with aiding his new allies, rather than siding with the far-flung and haggard human race. Lately, kidnappings have been reported on the community that Heinrich presides over, with himself being the main suspect in the matter.
Marco Marshal: Marco is the de-facto leader of a small community about ten miles south of (university place) called Nameless. He is a dour, intense man who, perhaps all-to-fittingly, has an intense hatred of Necromancers and their creations, having spent a disquieting number of years of his 29-year long life fighting them. Nameless was once a small mining town but now exists as a kind of fortress. More recently, however, he has been contacted by the people of (name), the community over which Heinrich presumes to presides. In their desperation, the ruined city calls for the skills of Marco and his people to shelter them from their guardian-turned-tyrant. Naturally, he accepts the responsibility with a dutiful kind of satisfaction.
Valerie Marshal: Being the vice leader of Nameless and the wife of Marco, Valerie never shied away from responsibility and the grittiness of battle. In recent years, however, Macro has become stressed and battered by his responsibilities (despite his inability to deny a task set upon him) and Valerie has had to handle more fighting and governing than before. She is the first person in the Wasteland to meet Michael and vouches for his innocence when he is accused of being a Necromancer. Unlike Marco, Valerie is able to see past the anger felt in their desperate day and age and wants Nameless to prosper along with the rest of the human race.
Andrew Johansson: Andrew was once a feared Wasteland raider, taking the battle to the Necromancers and to other human communities throughout Europe. After the loss of his arm and too many of his friends, he eventually lost his taste for blood and violence. He lives in Sanctuary, under the domineering gaze of Heinrich. He, like many others in that community greatly appreciated Heinrich’s skills and the peace that he brought to the people in Sanctuary. However, as the disappearances in the town increased, Andrew’s old cynicism came back to the surface and he tries to actively outreach to both Valerie and Marco Marshal for assistance.
Lord Governor Timothy Graves: A man of fifty-two years old, the words “charismatic,” “grim,” and “suspicious,” describe him most accurately. He has been the Lord Governor of the New Paris domed-city for twenty-five years, ascending to power under some dubious conditions. He is also the husband to the First Ghost and the secret behind his life is the source and focus of said Ghost’s discontent. Timothy is aware of the state of the world and the reality of the domed city. He, unlike many other city leaders, chooses not to reveal that secret to anybody, including his wife. His motives for maintaining his power whilst isolating his people from reality has been a choice that has its reasons buried deep within his angry psyche.
Police Sergant Richard Cooper: Often called “Guard Dog” by both friends and enemies alike, Richard is known to be a kind of harbinger of doom to the people of New Paris. As Timothy Graves became more tyrannical and controlling, Richard was the first of his supporters to break the news to the rest of the city. As such, he has brought a new standard of authoritarianism to the police force and has also garnered the hatred of many of the people in the city of New Paris. Suspicion is rampant throughout the city that Cooper, under the orders of Lord Governor Graves was responsible for the “accident” that befell Graves’ wife, later the First Ghost. Due to the control and complacency within New Paris, however, the voices brave enough to speak up at all are few in number. Richard Cooper represents one of Michael’s earliest challenges when he visits New Paris.
Doctor Maximilian Ingraham: Being an M.D. with a focus in neurology for seventeen years, Maximilian Ingraham is well-known throughout New Paris.
Councilman Norman Creed:
Professor Spencer Fenroy:
Ross Graves: The cousin of Timothy Graves, Ross Graves is a friend of the Third Ghost and feels the guilt and shame of letting his friend be killed by Timothy’s machinations.
Frankenstein: Very little is known about the ambiguous man who lead the Necromancers who adopted the name of Frankenstein, after Mary Shelly’s famous Dr. Frankenstein of course. After the end of the Rise of the Necromancers, however, the current leader of the Council donned the title of Frankenstein, in the same way that the other Council leaders took names of historical chemists or alchemists.