Myopia’s Dark Tech World Returns In “Rise Of The Domes” – A Quick Chat With Richard Dent

by Hannah Means Shannon

We’ve been following the interesting history of the tech-driven sci-fi world of Myopia on for some time, having caught up with Richard Dent at conventions, and we were delighted to hear that the property would be returning to Dynamite as a new one-shot following on from the initial one-shot introducing us to the world of the story.
Myopia explores the use of “lenses” to interact with a hybrid real-life and online existence in the populace, not unlike having a smart phone in your eye. While the idea has been present in science fiction for some time, writer Richard Dent and artist Patrick Berkenkotter take the premise into terrifying territory through the rise of a surveillance state. In Myopia: Special #1, James Chase is armed with a set of lenses that make him invisible to the “Central Lens Network” and he undertakes a mission to stop this new world order’s violation of the “Magnetic Energy Agreement”. The lenses are being used as a tool of the government to hide extreme “devastation” of the natural environment from the populace brought about by mining of the Earth’s core.

Myopia 2: “The Rise of the Domes” is arriving in February as a direct sequel, and in it we’ll find that the “stakes are raised as the government decodes more of the virus that has been planted in the mysterious domes discovered at the magnetic poles”. James Chase will also be popping up again, starting work at the “invasive” Formula Media Corporation. With the release of Myopia 2, there will also be a re-issue of the first one-shot, so you’ll be able to pick them both up together for a deep dive into this story.
Myopia started life as an award-winning story by Richard Dent that was funded on Kickstarter as a comic, supported by George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Dean Koontz, and Jim Butcher. Now we get a second shot at exploring its world, and the dark underpinnings of a society not all that different than our own.
Richard Dent joins us here today to talk briefly about the new one-shot and give us some non-spoilery teasers!

Hannah Means-Shannon: Myopia has an intricate history, originating as an award-winning prose story, then coming to Kickstarter, and later Dynamite, as a one-shot comic. What does a reader need to know about the world of Myopia before picking up this new one-shot in February? 
Richard Dent: Everything you need to know is in Myopia Special 1, which is also available for preorder in the December Previews catalogue along with the sequel Myopia: “Rise of The Domes.”  I actually wouldn’t recommend picking up Rise of The Domes without reading Myopia Special 1, hence the re-issue!  Myopia isn’t really a one-shot. We just took some time in between 1 and 2 to get the word out about the series. Even though we’re naming the issues (instead of numbering them), they’ll be coming out in a more regular fashion until the story arc ends.

HMS: One of the integral ideas of Myopia #1 was that something useful and functional like eye lenses could become something we are not only dependent upon but then become exploited to control us. In this case, by the government. Do you think we are heading toward an entirely constructed view of reality through technology?
RD: Only of Apple decides to create a device for it.
HMS: What led you, personally, to want to explore the role of technology in linking our personal lives and perceptions to the outer world?  
RD: I find it fascinating how much time people spend on line having social interactions especially when they are surrounded by people. Take my subway ride to work where half the journey has wifi service and the other half doesn’t. During the portion of the trip that has wifi, people are absorbed in their devices, but during the other half of the ride, where there is no service, everyone turns outward. They blink and fidget and worry and look dazed as if they have no idea how to feel in a real-time setting.  It’s like traveling through two different eras of my life.

HMS: With Myopia 2: Rise of the Domes, we’re entering new territory. Can you tell us a little bit about the “virus” that’s implanted in the Domes and what role it will play?
RD: Nobody knows what the virus does. It’s suddenly there. What they’re trying to find out is how it got there and what it does and this turns almost all the characters’ lives upside down.
HMS: How would you describe James Chase in terms of his character and personality? How will we see him effecting the events of “Rise of the Domes”? 
RD: James is that rare person that can keep a secret, yet is always wondering how much these secrets will cost him. How much he’s going to sacrifice, how much he’s going to be able to keep. All of this plays into his ability to do what’s needed to do next. It makes us wonder if he’s someone we can count on, or a wild card.

HMS: Patrick Berkenkotter has been part of this project for some time. How do you think his artwork helps portray the near-future aspects that are both familiar and unfamiliar in Myopia? What excites you most about his artwork in “Rise of the Domes”?  
RD: Patrick’s artwork is filled with incredible detail and that detail shows all the perfections and flaws in this old “new” world. Without that kind of detail a layer of tone would be lost. As far as Rise of the Domes, I love what he did with Jill in this latest issue. You just have to see it to believe it!

Thanks to Richard Dent for joining us!
Myopia 2: “The Rise of the Domes” is available in February 2018 from Dynamite.

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