Leaping out of the gate with the word "disaster" in your comic book title in the midst of an ongoing pandemic might seem like, well, a disaster. But AfterShock Comics is confident that its new supernatural horror release will resonate with readers and offer a brief respite from the worldwide duress.
Its first new series since the Diamond Comics' distribution shut down at the end of March is Disaster Inc., written by Joe Harris (Rockstars, The X-Files), art from Sebastián Piriz (Headspace, Caped), and covers via Andy Clarke, Jose Villarrubia, and Cully Hammer.
Delayed since April due to Covid-19 crisis, the paranormal offering was inspired by Joe Harris’ addiction to Akira Kurosawa movies, actor Toshiro Mifune, and stories honoring the code of the Samurai. Disaster Inc.'s plotline centers around the concept of underground "disaster tourism" and an illegal excursion into the Japanese no man's land surrounding the site of the infamous 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown.
It's a place nobody should be rightfully visiting, and besides the real-life possibility of being arrested or dosed with radioactive fallout, these bold tourists find themselves hunted down and haunted by the ghosts of noble Samurai warriors who once protected this territory from invaders for nearly a thousand years.
Harris tells Inverse:
“I think my earliest introduction to Samurai culture was watching the television adaptation of James Clavell's SHOGUN with Richard Chamberlain when I was a little kid. By the time I got to film school, I was absorbing Akira Kurosawa movies like The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Rashomon and others. I always found the rock rigid code of honor they followed highly compelling and, I thought, would make for a great and, frankly, rather extreme contrast with the disaster tourists we follow in DISASTER INC. They were determined, ferocious fighters who were instilled with a paramount sense of duty and unflappable, fearless courage. I think that all factors into the scenario these unsuspecting trespassers and thrill-seekers find themselves in when they sneak into the Fukushima Exclusion Zone.”
Harris also relates his extensive research process on the new series and where it led him:
“I read a lot of timeline-based material on the string of incidents that led to the catastrophic reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. How the largest earthquake in Japanese history, after devastating northern Japan, unleashed the horrific tsunami that killed so many before absolutely swamping the Fukushima complex, knocking out the power, and facilitating the meltdown of three of the four reactors. So far as historical research, I've had one or a number of scholar Stephen Turnbull's books on Edo-period Japan and Samurai culture on my shelf over the years. All of it helped inform this supernatural horror idea which led to the creation of DISASTER INC.”
DISASTER INC. #1 premieres May 20.