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We Talk “IF” With Alterna Comics – Part 3

Nicholas Bennett Nicholas Bennett
October 3rd, 2015

We Talk “IF” With Alterna Comics – Part 3

We at ComiConverse are pleased to present to you the third in our series of Q&A's with some of the many diverse voices from the science fiction themed anthology by Alterna Comics – IF.

Started by Peter Simetti, Alterna Comics offers a unique platform for writers to write in the short-form and present their unique ideas. While one of the big lines in IF says "there are no questions, only answers", we hope to do a little bit of both in these posts.

Below are a series of back and forths with some of the creators, who give their take on science fiction and the many questions that are arising in the genre as a whole.


You can check out their  for this project for more information:

You can also visit Alterna Comics and get your copy of the series.

Check out part one here and part two here.

Nick Bennett for ComiConverse:

If we all fear robots so much, at least the android/humanistic versions of them, why do we continue to strive to make them more realistic?

This actually makes me think of a second point. In Alex's Moon and Garrett's Automata we see stories of humans or approximations of them doing the work of what nature or machines should be doing. With the rise of human body hacking (or just me wearing a fit bit) is it possible that instead of us creating robots to do our work we'll just become robots ourselves?

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Garrett Sneen, author of Automata

Are you referring to physically realistic robots?

The only human looking ones I've seen are supposed to be receptionists or customer service robots, but let's be honest-- the ultimate goal there is to mass produce sex bots.

Right now, we have user interfaces that have somewhat realistic human personalities (think SIRI), which are supposed to make the user experience easier, or at least more pleasant. I'm guessing it's more fun to have a dialogue with a person than a machine, hence the human realism. SIRI doesn't have a physical appearance though. Apple really messed up on that one.

As for your second point, yes, the idea of humans being made redundant by technology was the point of my story. And, (spoilers) the humans in my world were totally okay with that.

In the real world though, I'm not too worried about technology/AI doing more work for us. That is, until someone creates a robot that can write comics. Then we're screwed.

Glenn Matchett, author of Love By Numbers:

I don't think we're inherently afraid of robots, I just think, like most things, its something humanity likes to mess with that should probably be best left alone.

As to why we want them to be more human, I think again it goes back to the god complex.  It's why humanity went to the moon and made other major discoveries or advancements, we do it because its a challenge and accomplishing it makes us feel like we're awesome as a species.

As to why we would assign a lot of our duties to a machine, its because we're all about making our own lives easier.  Everything we build is to make our lives easier in every aspect you can imagine.  Thanks to the internet, in theory you now no longer even have to leave the house for things like work, shopping or even companionship.  Robots to me is the next logical step in us not wanting to get off our couches.

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Dino Caruso, author of Smash Atom and the Arachnid Assignment:

I think that robots are being made to look more human because it's just naturally part of the way that we create things. We're always striving to improve our creations, ultimately to the point of perfection, or some perceived ideal of what "perfection" is. In our case, we must view ourselves (the human form) as perfect. Tools have been evolving since the time of the caveman, cars have been evolving since they were first created...same with every other thing humans have ever constructed.

Why not do the same with robots?

I'm pretty sure this is how Skynet started though. We should probably be careful, or something.

I wonder, if we ever encounter aliens, and we consider them to somehow be more "perfect" than we are, will our robots start to look more like them?

Alex Eckman-Lawn, author of Moon:

It's not hard for me to imagine people slowly becoming closer to machine as time goes on- things like google glasses/watches/ etc are evidence of this to some degree. That's actually an easier sell for me than the idea of realistic approximations of humans. Some cars are already outfitted with the ability to stop themselves if they detect a pedestrian that the driver doesn't. Why should we trust ourselves with real responsibility when a computer is so much more reliable? we're better suited to sitting, eating, and reproducing. At my most pessimistic I can see a future where people are left to do the kind of mundane jobs that machines used to do, while more advanced computers take care of the tougher bits.

Anyway, I guess my story is sort of about humanity stubbornly hanging on to traditions, going to great lengths to not lose the things we remember as normal/natural/beautiful, even if it may be a sort of a fraud. I was also a big fan of In the Night Kitchen as a kid, and i was hoping to capture a little bit of that surreal storybook feel.

Finally, the most obvious question: Why pick up IF? How do you think it distinguishes itself in the genre?

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Alterna Comics IF

Glenn Matchett, author of Love By Numbers:

I think its the fresh voices included.  We're all familiar with the type of sci-fi that Marvel, DC, Image, etc give us but I believe the people involved in this particular anthology are still relatively unknown.  I think Alterna and IF has given a platform to show that there is a lot of talent out there and although you may not know the names, I really think they will be known after its finished.

I also think if you're a fan of science-fiction as a whole, this volume is a must.  That might sound a bit obvious but I really think its true.  I think the market is getting a lot of high quality sci-fi comics at the moment but you won't get as much bang for your buck on those as you will with this.  Imagine doing a marathon of Twilight episodes on the big screen instead of just one long movie.  You get something for everyone and you get a lot of different experiences from a variable amount of stories.  That's what sets this volume apart.

Dino Caruso, author of Smash Atom and the Arachnid Assignment:

I think that IF is an essential pick-up for comic book enthusiasts and fans of science-fiction because it contains a lot of really strong, interesting and unique stories. The creators are all coming from different parts of the world, bringing different and distinctive points of view.

Science-Fiction covers a wide range of possible story elements, and I think that readers will find that a little bit of everything here. The creators of these stories have included unpredictable twists and turns in their tales, which are sure to keep readers entertained and turning the pages.

Personally, one of the reasons that I really like anthologies is for the wide variety of art and writing styles contained within. And IF certainly has that going for it. Readers eyes and minds will be dazzled and amazed by IF's creativity and fun. It was a blast to be included in this anthology, but it was equally fun to sit and read it!

James Roche, author of Apex War

IF has something for everyone who is a fan of science fiction.
And the fact that it's an anthology makes it even more of a fun read. You can flip to any chapter and read a short, entertaining story in just a matter of minutes. And if you have the time, just turn the page and another great story awaits - the hits just keep on coming.

Alex Eckman-Lawn, author of Moon:

I really value a chance to hear new voices in comics, and IF provides a batch of completely unfiltered stories, straight from the artists without any outside influences. I tried out some  things with Moon that I just can't do on every project and I'm excited, both for you to see it and to have had the chance to do it! It's a rare opportunity for an artist to get this much freedom in this business, and I think you can really feel the enthusiasm in every story.

Nick Bennett for ComiConverse:

And with that I want to thank everyone involved with IF for a wonderful series of back and forth questions. It truly is a very diverse and stimulating series of stories that anyone who enjoys science fiction will be happy they ordered.


Our Nick Bennett is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TheTVBuddy

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