“Man, you find new conspiracy theories all the time if you’re looking for them. And new mysteries, because weird shit happens.”
Do you believe in conspiracy theories or do you think that everything that is happening and has happened out there is real? From the moon landing down to the 9/11 attacks, there are equally convincing voices on either side, some people saying some of the most gripping moments in our history were staged, others countering those notions with strong arguments of their own.
In Deep State, Justin Jordan and Ariela Kristantina’s new ongoing from BOOM! Studios launching this week, Harrow and Branch, one a veteran cover-up agent the other a newbie on the job, must make sure that the things the world must not know about stay hidden at all costs.
Broken Frontier spoke to Jordan (Green Lantern: New Guardians, Luther Strode) about his new book, of which our own Jason Wilkins said it’s sure to “please fans of Planetary, The X-Files, and Fringe.”
How big of a conspiracy theory believer are you?
JUSTIN JORDAN: Believer? Not very.
There are a few of them where I’m inclined to believe that, yeah, things could have happened that way. One that’s pretty instrumental as far as inspiring Deep State is potential CIA involvement in the Jonestown Massacre. That one I could buy in a heartbeat.
A lot of other stuff, like 9/11 trutherism, requires conspiracies with such vast and reaching powers that it’s pretty much the supernatural. If an organization is capable of faking the 9/11 attacks, then there’s no reason to fake the 9/11 attacks, because they can do ANYTHING.
But I do find them fascinating. I think the truth of it is that the world is waaaaay too big and complex for us to really understand. Conspiracy theories, for those who believe them, give people a sense of order and certainty in the world, that there is someone to blame.
So they serve very much the same role as myths, I think, and I find them really interesting.
Are there any unsolved mysteries you discovered doing research that you hadn’t heard of before? It’s interesting that you mentioned Tesla’s last project ‘before he was made insane’ in issue one. The supposed covered-up Tesla space-time experiment is something Jeff Smith played on heavily in RASL as well.
The Tesla thing is actually a reference to Tesla’s life kind of breaking down into two chunks: one where he developed some amazing stuff and was merely weird, and another where he started talking about some really out there stuff and seemed to have gone completely around the bend.
Of course this was also the time Tesla talked about spies trying to steal his death ray so, you know, no way that wasn’t going in.
But, right, the actual question. Man, you find new conspiracy theories all the time if you’re looking for them. And new mysteries, because weird shit happens. There’s one that’s recent, where a girl was found drowned in a Los Angeles hotel water tower, and there’s footage of her acting very strange in the elevator on the way up. Like most things, there’s some simple explanation I’m sure, but the video and circumstance are fairly chilling.
Do you think that, if indeed there’s anything that’s too scary or bad for us to know that it’s ok for the government to cover it up ‘for the greater good’? Or does every story need to be told, as you write on the first page of the book?
Man, I don’t.
I mean, I lean toward there never being something we shouldn’t know, and definitely nothing that should be kept secret for the reasons that the main character, John Harrow, mentions.
…we’re rapidly getting to a time where it’s not inconceivable that technology will be produced that maybe we’d be better off if everyone couldn’t have it. I mean, what if growing your own biowarfare plague got real, real easy?
The question there, and the question of the book, is who makes those decisions. Who do we trust for that? And for me, the answer is basically no one, so I am on the side of getting every story out there.
Certainly, in practical terms, the cover-ups that have happened definitely lead to bad things that, probably, would not have happened without the veil of secrecy.
The first arc will deal with a mystery stemming from the original moon landing – which in your story happened to be accomplished by the Russians. What can you tell us about the major beats in the opening story?
I’ve thought for a while that the moon landing took major balls. I mean, not just on the part of the astronauts, because that is obvious. But we basically sent men to the moon publically, when there were so, so many things that could have gone wrong. That was some ballsy shit, and is probably one of the main reasons there are “moon landing was a hoax” theories.
So I got to thinking, “What if it wasn’t?” And then I asked, “Why we haven’t gone back?”And what I came up with was that no, that wasn’t the first trip to the moon, and the reason we haven’t gone back is something is up there. The problem, as Harrow and his new partner, Branch, find out in the first arc, is that it didn’t STAY up there.
There’s a moment in the middle of the first issue where a not-too-smart agent calls our federal investigative duo ‘Men in Black’. Does that forebode the functional/dysfunctional relationship Harrow and Branch will have?
Well, it’s not the relationship that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones had. But they are, effectively, the men and women in black, so I figured I’d acknowledge that straight off.
Branch and Harrow’s relationship is complex. To do their job, you need to be self-contained and self-motivated, which doesn’t necessarily make for a smooth partnership. And as you’ll see in a few issues, there’s other stuff going on as well.
How hard will it be for them to actually keep buried what should’ve never come to the top in the first place?
Pretty damn hard, as the second issue will show you. They have a protocol in place to deal with the worst-case scenario, but they are working really, really hard to keep this whole thing a secret. But some jobs are easier than others, as we’ll see in upcoming issues.
There’s so much potential for cover-up stories. What kind of mysteries have you planned once the lid on this off-planet mystery has been strapped back on?
Well, there’s the secret seed cities to rebuild America, and then there’s the algorithm that turns people into tools, and there’s a gun that can shoot through time… so I’ve got some cool stuff coming up.
You discovered Ariela Kristantina through your Luther Strode compadre Tradd Moore. What attracted you to her work?
I am trying to think of a better response other than “it’s awesome.” Although it IS awesome. Basically, I thought her work was beautiful, a kind of loose style that’s very evocative. So when Deep State got greenlit, she was the first (and, actually, only) person on my list of artists I wanted for it.
Is there anything more you can give away on the two other BOOM! projects you teased around SDCC this past summer?
Well, all I can say right now is that one is about a detective and the other centers around a very special kid. More details on those to come!
Deep State is on sale now from BOOM! Studios.