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The IMAGE INTRODUCES Interview: Chris Dingess Talks MANIFEST DESTINY

January 26, 2015

All January, we're focusing on Image Introduces, our line of Volume One collections that are only $9.99.

With a range of genres and styles, Image Introduces is the place to find a comic for everyone. Throughout January, we'll talk to the creators of one of the Image Introduces titles.

MANIFEST DESTINY tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition... but we bet your history teachers never told you about the monstrous creatures they encountered and how they defeated them. We spoke to MANIFEST DESTINY writer Chris Dingess.

IMAGE INTRODUCES: MANIFEST DESTINY, VOLUME 1: FLORA AND FAUNA by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts

Manifest Destiny features Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, and other historical figures, but perhaps not quite as we learned about them in school. How are they different from their traditional historical depictions?

CHRIS DINGESS: I think our characters are wildly different.

Our Clark is a bit more of a menacing, no nonsense man than I'm sure he was in real life. Lewis however is way more carefree and wide eyed at this point than I would imagine the real Meriwether Lewis to be. Real Lewis (I guess that's what I'll call him) was a haunted figure as time passed and he apparen
From what I've read they are pretty different, but I don't think anyone will know what they were "truly" like. Our Sacagawea seems to be the most different from her traditional portrayals in that I've never read about her being a one-woman monster destroying machine. Like her real life counterpart, however, our Sacagawea is incredibly intelligent and thoughtful. tly took his own life. We've hinted at our Lewis as having problems. Will he meet the same tragic fate as his true life counterpart?

The monsters in Manifest Destiny aren't alien or otherworldly — what was the inspiration for the botanical "infection"?

CD: How do you know they aren't "other worldy?" As for the Flora creatures... I was inspired by some trees I saw in a rainforest. They looked normal, but had actually been overtaken by a fungus. The "tree" had been almost entirely consumed by this other life. That stuck with me. Also, I loved Swamp Thing as well as the two segments in "Creepshow" where a. Stephen King plays the redneck who becomes a plant man after touching a meteor and b. where Leslie Neilson buries Ted Danson and Gaylen Ross in the sand and lets the tide take them. They come back as sort of seaweed creatures. It creeped the hell out of me as a kid.

Chris, you come from a television background. Can you talk about that a little and how working in comics differs from that medium?

For me, pacing is the big difference as far as stroytelling technique goes. You parcel out the information and big reveals at a different rate, maybe quicker in a comic book. Also, with TV there are budget restrictions. In comics, the sky is the limit!

What has your reaction to Manifest Destiny's reception been? Is there a certain "type" of reader who may not be a comics reader already that you hope it can reach?

I've been amazed by the warm reception we've received. Both Matt and I are new to comics and I thought folks would just pass the book on the shelf and say "who are these zilches?"
I'd like to reach readers who only think of comics as being about "superheroes." There's a entire world out there of great sequential art that remains untapped for people because of that barrier.