Ryan Ferrier, creator of ‘Death Orb,’ on its dirty, neon-soaked story and the most powerful weapon ever



“Death Orb makes Mad Max look like My Dinner With Andre.”

Death Orb grabs your attention immediately. A story about a post-apocalyptic wasteland and one man’s quest may sound familiar, but as creator and writer Ryan Ferrier explains, the upcoming release from Dark Horse Comics is like nothing comic book fans have seen before.

AiPT!: How would you describe Death Orb in three sentences or less?

Death Orb is a dirty, neon-soaked story about the end of our world. A man with great power has had enough and has put into place the means to wipe everything and everyone out and start again. Our main character, a nameless, axe-wielding, ultra-violent biker doesn’t want to save it–he just wants his kidnapped wife and unborn child back, and he’ll kill anyone remotely in his way to get them.

Cover of Death Orb #1, drawn by Alejandro Aragon and colored by Chris O’Halloran. Dark Horse Comics

AiPT!: What were your influences on Death Orb?

I think the period we’re in right now–which seems grimmer than most of late–is a substantial influence on the direction and tone of this story. Stylistically, in contrast to the dull post-apocalyptic landscapes in Death Orb, Italian giallo films were a touchstone for this; the richness and palettes. I personally looked at a lot of Hitchcock’s perspective on building tension and how we hold–or pull–our audience’s hand along, and how or what we choose to show them. The Bible was also considered for some points, because, man, that stuff is insane.

AiPT!: Death Orb is a five issue miniseries and is going to be filled with fast paced action. but this is also a story of one man’s quest. How well will readers get to know The Rider in such a relatively short period of time?

The Rider is a very interesting cat who keeps a lot close to the chest, but his motives are incredibly clear and unbreakable; he is always thinking about his task. As such, this allows him to always be anchored among the chaos that unfolds around him. Without giving too much away, he does join with other people while Father continues his plan with the Orb, and it’s through these connections that the Rider is forced out of his comfort zone and we get to learn more about him.

AiPT!: Death Orb is described as being “in the vein of Mad Max.” What is your favorite post-apocalyptic story outside of Mad Max, of course?

I love Mad Max, certainly. I’d say Death Orb makes Mad Max look like My Dinner With Andre though, when you take into account what actually happens in the series, and the places and genres we touch on. Unrelated to Mad Max or Death Orb, I’d say my favorite post-apocalypse story is The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price, the Italian-American film based on the I Am Legend novel. Just a wonderfully crafted character study full of emotion from an incredible leading man, and it still chilled the hell out of me.

AiPT!: How did your previous works influence Death Orb?

For [artist] Alejandro [Aragon], [colorist] Chris [O’Halloran], and I, we all click together really well in that we want to create honest artwork. That’s kind of a hard-to-describe characteristic if you’re not the one creating, but everything we do, every panel, we feel it and commit to it. I approach every single thing I write with that intent, to put as much of myself and my perspective in the story. For me personally, this is the most mature science-fiction I’ve ever done, with Hot Damn coming close. Most of my other mature work has been satirical in nature, so while I’m bringing my voice to this one, it is slightly different and exciting for all of us.

AiPT!: Nowadays, there are a lot of stories that deal with the future. These tend to be about how technology has changed life. Death Orb seems to be a more personal story. What made you decide to go in this direction?

We went in this direction for that very reason–we wanted to make a comic that doesn’t already exist on the shelves. We wanted to build a world that hasn’t been seen before and that doesn’t borrow from anything else. We wanted to make our own rules. We wanted to say “f**k technology,” because when you’re staring down a planet-sized ball of death, nothing’s going to save you. Death Orb is about primal instinct, survive or die, fight or flight, and The Rider is guided by the most powerful weapon a human could ever yield–love. I think everyone can relate to that at one point or another, and that’s the kind of science-fiction I want to read.

AiPT!: Death Orb promises to be an action-packed adventure. I know you can only say so much, but what can readers expect from the book?

I think, on top of being incredibly action-packed and violent, people will be surprised at how much character there is from the expanding cast as issues continue. There’s quite a bit of funny moments. There’s also a lot of really, really weird stuff–not-grounded-in-reality-stuff–that’s going to catch people out of nowhere. And we anticipate every issue is going to through audiences into a fit for the next one; we’re really orchestrated this series as a roller coaster of questions and answers, while still rewarding our readers for joining us on the journey.

Death Orb from Dark Horse Comics will be released on October 3rd.