Have you ever found yourself looking for paradise? Well, so have Ram V and Dev Pramanik. The duo share their story in Image Comics’ new story, PARADISO, coming out December 6th. Jack Kryznan is trying to find his way into Paradiso. Along the way, we meet robots, crazy advanced technology, and murderous people. Ram V and Dev Pramanik were kind enough to sit with us and discuss PARADISO, giving us a rundown of what it’s all about.

Image courtesy of Image Comics

ComicsVerse (CV): For readers who may not be aware, could you tell us a little about PARADISO?

Ram V: Paradiso is a dystopian sci-fi story set inside a living, breathing metropolis. In a far future, when an event known only as The Midnight destroys civilization as we know it, it also imparts sentience to Paradiso. Now, centuries after, the survivors contend with their new reality trying to rebuild their lives inside this living city while the city herself tries to understand what it means to be alive by watching the people who live within her.

When our protagonist arrives at the outskirts of the city with a device capable of bringing dead technology to life, he unwittingly triggers a conflict whose outcome bears significance to the city, the people who live within her and perhaps the future of the world itself.

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CV: In the very beginning, we are introduced to a police officer who seems to have lights as a face. What inspired such a wild-looking, monster-like character?

Ram: He isn’t really a police officer. Things like the police and such have of course become a thing of a past in this new reality. He (The Watcher) is merely a being that exists in this world, and that in itself is intriguing. Why he exists, how he came to be, what are his motivations — these are questions that are tied into the main plot of the story and so they’re things we’ll discover as the story moves along. We only know that he attacked Jack when he was a child, so his intentions might not be very nice.

Dev Pramanik (Dev): We wanted to stick with designs that were tailored to the purpose of the character. This character is called The Watcher. His task used to be to map the city but now he works to his own ends. The tracking lasers and the core at the center are tools meant to map the things that he “watches.”

Image courtesy of Image Comics

CV: The art is absolutely stunning. The colors are bright and vibrant against a dark background, and objects seem to fight for your attention in each panel. Dev, where did you get the ideas for some of the technology and art? Additionally, were the colors pre-thought out or was that the design of colorists Dearbhla Kelly and Alex Sollazzo?

Dev: Thank you! The technology has a lot in common with the world of Mad Max, but a bit more technologically advanced seeing as before the world fell to darkness, technology was majorly advanced. The things you see are the things they cobbled together with whatever they have lying around. Resources are scarce. As for the art, it’s just me and Ram talking over the layouts to tell the story the best way possible, and then me finishing it up and sending it forward to Dearbhla. Alex and Dearbhla are amazing colorists who just took my pages and ran with it and made them a treat to look at. Unless there are some specific things that need to be colored differently (in which case we pass notes and discuss it out) Dearbhla has complete control over the colors, and I’m excited that she does!

CV: The landscape panels are breathtaking. One of my favorite panels is the large city-scape view, where we get to see the whole city of Aquarius Point. Is there a city you modeled Paradiso and Aquarius after?

Dev: The landscape is pretty much Ram and me working together on the ideas that Ram and [architect and urban designer] Rajiv [Bhakat] cooked up. Paradiso herself is modeled after the modern cities of the world, but much larger in scale. For me, whenever I draw Paradiso, I like taking the iconic cities in the world — New York, Chicago, and also fictional ones, like Neo Tokyo from Akira — and just adding my own touches to the arrangement, design, and layout of the buildings. The page with the opening view of Aquarius Point is a favorite among the PARADISO team as well! I had a lot of fun with that page and I’m glad it turned out well!

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CV: In the Lost Corridor of Aquarius Point, we meet some cyborg pirates, Mr. Dandy and Mr. Honeybad. What was the inspiration for these characters? And why does one constantly click when he speaks?

Ram: By the time you’ve met and gotten to know Dandy and Honeybad, you’ll have begun to see that the citizens of Paradiso aren’t necessarily all human. I don’t know that there is any one inspiration for these characters for me. They’re both among the many cyborg characters that we’ll see in the city. Some of them work for Paradiso herself. Others work against her. The why and how, I can’t go into without giving away spoilers.

Dandy clicks because I wanted his manner of speaking to reflect an old audio-tape player playing vocalizations. I imagine Dandy sounds somewhat like that and so the ‘click’ became a great way to insinuate that sort of a quirk!

Dev: The inspiration I took for designing Mr. Dandy and Mr. Honeybad was from Laurel and Hardy, but without the comedy, and powering them up in them in the multiples of thousands. Dandy keeps talking and Honeybad doesn’t say anything. That ties into their personalities really well and I’m really excited for our readers to find out more about them!

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CV: What is the Pneumas? Can you tell us more about it?

Ram: Without giving too much away, at first glance, it seems that the Pneumas is able to bring dead technology to life. Somehow giving defunct tech the ability to function despite being broken or out of power. We know it’s intrinsically connected to what happened to Jack in his childhood and as the story goes on the true nature of the Pneumas becomes apparent. And it becomes the object that everyone’s vying for. That makes for interesting conflicts and as we understand the nature of the Pneumas, the motivations of the characters, human, inhuman and metropolitan will all become clear. So, in that sense, the arc of the larger story is tied in with our understanding of the Pneumas!

CV: We get a few references to the Midnight, but we haven’t really gotten any information about it. Is there anything you can tell us about what happened?

Ram: Well, that would be giving away too much. I can say this — it was supposed to be our moment of glory. The pinnacle of human technological achievement, and instead, it was anything but. We did not predict the outcome of this event and we did not predict the snowball effect it had on everything else. The destruction that followed in its wake was devastating. The cataclysm we brought upon ourself was far worse than any natural disaster. But life always maintains a complex duality in its events. Where humanity was all but wiped out in that fateful moment, something new was also born.

Dev: The midnight event is what plunged the world into darkness. More about it will be revealed as we go along. But basically, it’s the catalyzing event that sets into motion the events of our story. Well, catalyst might be a bit erroneous, more like the pivot where the world takes a dark turn.

Image courtesy of Image Comics

CV: Is there anything about PARADISO you’d like readers to know that I didn’t mention?

Ram: We’re telling a patient story. A story that gets weirder and more mind-bending the deeper we delve into it. You’ll see of course with this first arc and its MAD MAX meets WESTWORLD vibe. But there is so much more to come; space vampires, mecha battles, sirens that steal away travelers, whole towns that are hallucinating, and a city that dreams of love and longing. Strap in. You’re in for a ride.

Dev: Just that I’m really excited for people to pick it up and find out about the world! This is a story that explores the question of purpose. What is purpose to us? How does it change who you are? These questions aren’t answered outright, but are explored through the story of the characters, and the city itself.

CV: What was your favorite part about working on this project?

Ram: On the issues so far, it’s been all about the reveals. I am genuinely excited for people to get some of the answers we give them through these first issues and realize how ambitious in scope the story of PARADISO actually is. It’s about a city, yes. It’s about surviving in a post-apocalyptic cityscape. But it is about life and trying to understand what makes us alive, through the eyes of a near-immortal thing that can only understand life by watching the fleeting struggles of these beautiful fragile things called human beings.

Dev: Honeybad, definitely Honeybad. Also, I always have a lot of fun drawing emotions and dramatic scenes, although I also love drawing action scenes, as well as trippy, mind-boggling scenes. And PARADISO gives me the chance to do all those, for which I’m thankful!

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CV: Are there any other projects in the works you would like to mention?

Ram: I’ve got a few things on the boil. My fantasy series BRIGANDS returns soon with Arc 2 — Ruin of Thieves. There should be another series announced for mid 2018. My second graphic novel GRAFITY’S WALL should be done by mid 2018 and released shortly after. PARADISO of course is a major project that will occupy most of my energies for the foreseeable future. And I intend to continue working with Dev on many projects after. I think we make a good team!

Dev: None right now. I am planning on giving PARADISO my full attention for now. That and a story I have that I’m still chipping away at till I can get it to where I want to show it to the world. But, other than PARADISO, there will be a lot of Ram V and Dev Pramanik projects you’ll be seeing in the future!

PARADISO is out December 6th

Be sure to keep your eyes open for this comic! Image will release PARADISO #1 on December 6th, so be sure to check it out! In the meantime, keep up with Ram V on Twitter or his website. You can find Dev Pramanik’s work at DeviantArt. Keep up with ComicsVerse for upcoming reviews and information on PARADISO!

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