Michael Moreci is the writer behind Wasted Space, the first Vault Comics title to be upgraded from mini-series to ongoing series. For Wasted Space, with artist Hayden Sherman, imagine Preacher meets Philip K. Dick, complete with jaded prophets, enormous space gods, and a horny blue-skinned pleasure bot. I sat down with Michael at Emerald City Comic Con to talk all things Wasted Space.
Tim: Roche Limit was a grand sci-fi piece. Was it a conscious decision to have Wasted Space be sci-fi on a smaller scale?
Mike: Yeah, I wanted Wasted Space to be kind of, I don’t want to say the anti-Roche Limit, but it’s so different in so many ways. Roche is obviously way more serious. I take Wasted Space serious, but it’s not at the same kind of serious tone, you could say. I wanted to narrow it down. Roche Limit is more grand in the ideas. I tried to make Wasted Space a little more intimate and more personal. I zeroed in on the characters and their thoughts and philosophies.
Tim: Wasted Space seems to center around methods of controlling people, one of those ways being religion. Can you touch on why you wanted to incorporate that into the comic?
Mike: Wow, man. You nailed it. That is essentially the book. It’s about all the ways religion, relationship, family, politics. All the ways in which we’re controlled. That’s a big, big beating heart of the book, man. Wow. That’s the reveal at the end. But it’s true. It’s about how these things affect our lives. Good or bad. How this all shapes who we are and we don’t even know it. Joseph Campbell said that god is an impersonal cosmic force, which is fucking terrifying. God doesn’t care. But you let god, this impersonal cosmic force impact your life. People do. You’re doing all this stuff and most likely, god doesn’t care. That’s sort of what the book is about.
I’m a political guy, I’m progressive. People who read the book will see that. For instance, people on Twitter will respond to everything Trump says. Trump is an impersonal cosmic force. He doesn’t care. But he’s shaping everything you do. Every move he makes you’re reacting to and it’s shaping your life. He doesn’t care. Your reaction means nothing to him. The feedback loop doesn’t exist. That’s a big thing. How do you carve out these overwhelming forces around us? How do you carve out a personal existence? What do you do to defend yourself against many, many things that are trying to control you?
Tim: Issue 8 comes out later this month. Now that you’re 8 issues in, do you still see the series as Preacher by way of Philip K Dick?
Mike: Definitely. Preacher will always kind of be the star that we steer by, in a sense. I think we share a perspective, in the sense of saying things that are uncomfortable. I don’t always agree with what Billy has to say. Billy says terrible things. It doesn’t mean I agree with him. I think that Garth didn’t always agree with stuff that all the characters in Preacher said. That’s one book that defined the idea of saying things that maybe grabs people by the lapels.
Tim: Can you explain your working process with Hayden Sherman?
Mike: It’s great. Hayden adds the strangest things to this book. For example, Legion is this 15-foot god figure. In the script, I wrote it that he’s big. I meant like he was hulking, like a hulking mass. When I saw the inks, it was this enormous thing. Like “All right, whatever.” He does it all the time. He adds this weird texture to it. All these jokes in the background and the way he designs stuff. We just finished issue ten and there’s this thing called the Cryptolord at the end. I’m like “What is this thing?” But it’s also perfect. Working with him has been great. We’re just having fun. This is the most fun I’ve had on a book. He trusts me to do my thing. I trust him to do his thing. Jason, Joe, Adrian. We’re all having a blast making this weird crazy book that people seem to like.
Tim: How did it feel getting Wasted Space upgraded to Vault’s first ongoing series?
Mike: Awesome. So great. Not only for the book, but I consider Vault really near and dear to me. I love working for these guys. They’ve made me so much more passionate about the process of making comics than I’ve ever been in my career because they’re so supportive and enthusiastic. I love that. Getting to be that first feather in their cap, which I’m sure there’ll be many, but being the first, we’re all really proud of that. I’m proud Wasted Space caught on in that way and people are reacting to it in a way that we can justify it. It’s been a fun ride. An unexpected, but fun ride.
Tim: How did that upgrade affect your writing process for Wasted Space?
Mike: When it started, we thought six, then we could probably get eight or nine issues and get to two trades. I always knew where it was going to land and it’s still going to land in the same spot. The difference is now being able to explore. My big thing is how people are going to respond to the constant people talking about philosophy and existential shit. That’s become the best part of the book to me. There’s a war between two alien races going on in the background. I don’t how that ends up. It doesn’t matter.
It’s about all these four assholes in space talking about stuff. Being able to draw that out more, let’s see where we can take these characters to have this existential experience they’re having. Going back to that impersonal cosmic force, how can we extend that experience and really dig into this idea of what we are to the world and what we are to each other. It’s still going to land where I want it to land, which is hopefully a satisfying place that wraps up what the book is getting at. I think 20 issues. Maybe 25. I don’t think we can stay too long because there’s only so many existential chats you can have.