What is “The Uthers”?

the uthers cast members
Nautilus, Riley, and Gunter, the main characters of The Uthers

There’s a noticeable trend in recent blog posts, and I wear it’s not intentional (this trend being where I talk about upcoming comics projects and what they’re about).

However, this idea is one I’ve hinted at on Twitter and Tumblr, and occasionally here on this site. So today I want to talk more in-depth about it.

The Uthers is the story of an autistic engineer named Riley. She and her father create cyborgs for the Uthers, an alien race that have colonized Earth. The most recent assignment given to Riley and her father is named Nautilus. Nautilus and Riley actually become friends until he murders her father (it’s complicated) and runs away. The story follows Riley pursuing Nautilus, and along the way she discovers a rebel force fighting against the Uthers, her long lost mother, and a sinister plot being run by the head of police.

Creating the look for the Uthers was long and difficult. I like the current design of them the best.

the uthers alien design

The idea was to create a race that could be analogous to humans, but not ape-like. The Uthers have features borrowed from equal parts fish, lizard, and human. I didn’t want to draw too much from only one element of nature because that’s been done before. A lot.

The Uthers and the environment they inhabit is very light, with blues and greens, representing the idea that they live on the surface of the world. The rebels, however, have browns, blacks, and deep shades in their colors, which are colors associated with underground tunnels.

All of the story has been written out already. I’m going to let it sit for a month or two before I approach it again to edit it. In the meantime, I want to do more visual designs for the comic itself.

Originally, I wanted to base the Uther fashion on ancient Japanese aesthetics – but then I realized that with the elements I had in the story, as well as the unconscious German influence on the Uthers, it would make more sense to pull German fashion references, especially those from the colonial 1880s period.

the uthers costume design

the uthers costume design

The story itself also plays with the implications of the title. “The Uthers.” It’s pronounced like “Others,” but I wanted to play around with the idea of “othering.” The very concept of “othering” requires a mentality of “us vs. them,” one group against another, and each group has defining characteristics. You fit in either one group or the other. There is no room for outliers.

However, each of the main characters of “The Uthers” are outliers of their own social groups – Riley is human, but she is autistic. Gunter (a detective who partners up with Riley midway through the story) is half Uther and half human, and does not belong in either social class. Nautilus is a mute cyborg, but he is not programmed to fight in the Arena, a gladiatorial ring where the cyborgs battle for the entertainment of upper-class Uthers.

The rebels themselves are humans, but humans with characteristics that make them “unfit” for living in the Uther society – dark skin, missing limbs, learning disabilities, falling outside of the gender binary, etc. The Uthers give privileges to humans that are white and physically fit like they are, but humans still sit low on the heavily-structured totem pole of Uther society.

There are still elements of the story I need to edit, but that core idea of what it means to be considered “other” is something I want to keep.

When will this comic be available to read? Probably not anytime soon (and by “soon,” I mean within the next six months). This is another long-form story, though it’s not the length of The Legend of Jamie Roberts. The current draft of “The Uthers” clocks in at 12 chapters and somewhere around 300 pages, but we’ll see what happens after the editing process.

What do you think of this series of blog posts? Would you like me to continue? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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