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Dark Engine: An Interview With Ryan Burton

Dark Engine

Dark Engine is a grizzly story of a dark world that will do anything to change the past. The alchemists of this world created a “tool” to solve their problem, and engine… a dark engine. A woman named Sym is the carrier of this engine, a thing that gives her life and the power to kill but can also transport her through time.

The first issue introduces us to the alchemists, Sym, and the power of the dark engine. She has been hurtled back in time with a mission to destroy someone in order to stop the future from happening. There is also a dragon waiting for her inside of the carcass of a giant monster. Sym ended up a little too far back in time and slaughtered everything in her path, big and small dinosaurs alike. In the end, the engine pulls her forward in time, using blood and flesh of another animal to move her through time.

Issue two is a little more subtle. We hear a bit of science class explaining one of the deadly creatures from the future world. Meanwhile, Sym has been taken in by a father and his children. The father is exploiting Sym, who is unconscious, by charging people to see her, then drugging them so they see a grotesque creature they believe to be a goddess. Again, the end see Sym pulled forward in time through blood and flesh. Always a pleasant scene.

Ryan Burton, the creator of Dark Engine, was kind enough to give us some of his time to talk about his dark and bloody creation.

Dark Engine

Comic Booked: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I know you are probably very busy, but I am glad we can ask you some questions about this awesome comic. My first question has to do with what is printed on the back covers of each book. There is always a saying, in another language, so tell us a little about what they mean and why you put them there.

Dark EngineRyan Burton: I put them there because you can do anything with comics. I love the idea of having an image that plays to an aspect of the next issue. Also, the saying–why does it have to be in English? It takes a little bit of digging, a little bit of research, sure, but there are ways to figure out what that saying is. The first one is Finnish, the second is Filipino, and the third is in Afrikaans. I’m up in the air whether the back cover of the fourth is going to be in Greek, Russian, or Japanese. It’s so fucking weird, but it’s the type of weird I enjoy.

CB: Haha, fine make me do some research. Is this going to be an ongoing series, or do you have plans for this to just be a mini-series?

RB: It’s ongoing. Rather, we have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sales will certainly determine how slow we take it or how quickly we wrap it up.

CB: What else can you tell us about Sym’s mission and the intent of the Dark Engine? Maybe a hint about what she is supposed to be hunting?

RB: Sure, why not? Sym is an unstoppable savage who’s sent back in time to murder whatever it was that made the world such a horrible place to live. It’s not human, and when we show it in issue 5, readers will see just how terrible it really is; it goes without saying, but I’m really fucking excited about how John and Kelly will pull it off.

CB: Intriguing. I have really enjoyed the first two issues so far and look forward to how the story will unfold. Any other projects that we should keep an eye out for?

RB: Not at this point, no. A lot of talk about things, but that’s all it really is—talk. And, honestly, I’ve learned that talking about potentials or “in-the-works” is the quickest way to kill them. Best to wait until it’s officially announced.

Dark EngineCB: Just keeping us in suspense, and that is okay. I know it is a typical question, but it always interests me as to how you got started writing. What motivates you and in what genre do you really feel at home? Is there something that you really want to write or someone you really want to work with?

RB: I really want to take a pass at Jim Lee’s Wild C.A.T.s. I think Liefeld’s Chapel from Youngblood would be a lot of fun—do a revamp the way Graham and his pals did for Prophet, albeit in a different genre. I’d like to work with so many people, it’s ridiculous. I mean, I want to do this until I’m dust, and as time goes by, I discover more and more folks whose talent just blows my mind.

I can’t remember a time I wasn’t daydreaming, writing, or thinking of strange adventures. When I was little, I’d go up to my dad’s office, take his Post-It-Notes, line them up on his desk, and draw sequences from whatever video game I was playing at the time. I’d also carry around green glue thinking it was Ninja Turtle ooze. My friends and I would act like we were Super Saiyans on the playground, shooting fireballs at one another. And I’d visit that world—where all these things were possible—daily.

CB: I have to ask, what are you reading? Any recommendations, other than Dark Engine, for our fans?

RB: Definitely. Pick up Joann Sfar’s adaptation of Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. It’s currently my favorite comic. You certainly can’t go wrong with All Star-Superman. Check out Prophet & East of West. Also, I suggest giving Rumble a try in December. I’m sure I’ll think of more, but those are the books I’m currently reading, studying, or looking forward to.

CB: Thanks again for all your time and for the great comic series, Dark Engine. I can’t wait to read issue #3. Here’s to six seasons and a movie!

A big thanks to Ryan Burton and the whole team working on Dark Engine. This is one you should be reading. It is dark, mysterious, and bloody, and a great story.

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