Dog Eaters

[Interview] The World of Dog Eaters, with Creator/Writer Malcolm Wong

Posted on 07.15.08 3:31PM under Interviews

Dog Eaters is set in a setting unlike most of the comic books you’ll read — rather than starting out in the streets of a city, it opens in the desert amidst a ruined civilization. And while a lot of comic books focus on the present, Dog Eaters is set in a future that was ravaged by the petroleum age, where technology has taken a backseat to survival.

Today’s interview is with Dog Eaters creator Malcolm Wong, and focuses on how he came to create the world of the Black Dog Clan.

BlackDogClan: What inspired Dog Eaters ?

Malcolm Wong: DOG EATERS was first written as a spec screenplay. Because a spec is not an assignment, I could write whatever interested me, whatever I wanted to imagine. This is a movie that I want to see! The next best thing is to have it be a graphic novel. I’m really excited about this.

BlackDogClan: What made you decide to set DE in the far future?

Malcolm Wong: I wanted to explore a situation that didn’t have any pop culture references or baggage. And I’m very concerned about the direction that we, as a civilization, are headed. I turned that concern into a “What if the worst case scenario came true?” scenario. I’m not sure that this scenario is that far off…

BlackDogClan: What is the "Die Off" you mention at the beginning of the story?

Malcolm Wong: In the screenplay, Tracy reads to Bevan when he regains consciousness, to prove that the Black Dog Clan are not savages. She tells him about the world before, where climate change and economic shortages resulted in a huge nuclear war, where 27,000 missiles changed the world forever. In her mind, the Black Dogs aren’t savages at all; the people from the past were. The Black Dogs are survivors.

BlackDogClan: How long has the Black Dog Clan been traveling?

Malcolm Wong: The Black Dog Clan has been nomadic since the DIE OFF. Lamont is a descendant of the original family. Rebecca’s family is from the north and they met at a large trading market. With Lamont and Rebecca, the clan has grown to where they are at a place where they can think about starting their own casino-city. Times are changing and Rebecca can see that. Civilization is getting back on its feet. The days of the nomads are coming to an end.

BlackDogClan: Where did the "Roaches" come from? Are they more like raiders from a large clan,or are they more like barbarians?

Malcolm Wong: The ancestors of Roaches were prisoners in high-security prisons when the DIE OFF happened. They interbred and became a super-ruthless outlaw gene pool, loosely organized in their own clans. Exiles from other clans could also join – if they were tough enough.

BlackDogClan: Is there any government in DE? Any law enforcement?

Malcolm Wong: Each city-casino has their own feudalistic way to keep order with their own form of security. You may not find justice there — they keep order in a way that suits the powers-that-be without regard for keeping people happy. That is the trade-off. Within their walls, there is a certain degree of safety. Outside city walls, anything goes.

BlackDogClan: In present day terms, where does DE take place?

Malcolm Wong: In the desert of the US Southwest. There are many top secret high-security military installations with heavily armored bunkers. There are also a number of maximum-security prisons. Basically, most of the people in the world of the Black Dog Clan are descendants of the survivors of both of these populations and the Amerindians.

BlackDogClan: What’s up with the title? Do these people really eat dogs?

Malcolm Wong: Yes, they do. Obviously, there is a cultural taboo against harming dogs in the United States (like the outrage over the Michael Vick dogfighting incident), never mind eating them, but in the world of Black Dog Clan, most of the hooved animals have gone extinct. When the human population died, animals fed on the bodies and got infected with mad cow disease prions. But dogs have thrived. When your belly is growling with hunger, it has a way of changing culture! Bevan’s people, in the Pacific Northwest, have a lot of seafood in their diet.

BlackDogClan: Do all of the oasis towns have casinos in them?

Malcolm Wong: The biggest and richest population centers have casinos and market centers for trade. These cities have evolved from the casino-cities of Las Vegas, Reno, and the casinos that are authorized by the government and run by Amerindians.

BlackDogClan:Where are the Black Dogs ultimately headed?

Malcolm Wong: They are headed to the Gulf, where they will establish their own casino-city. Years of trading and transporting goods to the market have made them wealthy enough to build walls and infrastructure for waterworks and electricity.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk to Malcolm again to learn more about the characters of Dog Eaters. Don’t miss it!

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