You are on page 1of 48

Created by William Gibson & Michael St.

John Smith
Script by William Gibson
Art by Butch Guice | Inks by Tom Palmer with Butch Guice
Colors by Diego Rodriguez | Letters by Shawn Lee
Editing and Story Breakdown by Michael Benedetto
Managing Editor David Hedgecock | Publisher Ted Adams




Special thanks to Jeff Webber for his invaluable assistance and participation in production of this series.

Ted Adams, CEO & Publisher

Greg Goldstein, President & COO
Robbie Robbins, EVP/Sr. Graphic Artist
Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief
Matthew Ruzicka, CPA, Chief Financial Officer
Dirk Wood, VP of Marketing
Lorelei Bunjes, VP of Digital Services
Jeff Webber, VP of Licensing, Digital and Subsidiary Rights
Jerry Bennington, VP of New Product Development




For international rights, contact

Twitter: @idwpublishing

ARCHANGEL #1. MAY 2016. FIRST PRINTING. ARCHANGEL 2016 William Gibson and Michael St. John Smith. All rights reserved. 2016 Idea and Design Works, LLC. All Rights Reserved. IDW Publishing, a division of
Idea and Design Works, LLC. Editorial offices: 2765 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106. The IDW logo is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.
With the exception of artwork used for review purposes, none of the contents of this publication may be reprinted without the permission of Idea and Design Works, LLC. Printed in Korea. IDW Publishing does not read or
accept unsolicited submissions of ideas, stories, or artwork.












William S. Burroughs believed that the act of literary collaboration

generates a third man, an entity distinct from either acknowledged
author. I was about thirteen when I first read that, and Burroughs was
this mysterious guy Id discovered, whose books had something in
common with science fiction but werent it, were super-weird in any
number of ways, and who had some equally strange ideas about
writing. All which remains quite accurate today, and I now think he
was right about collaboration as well, or at least in some cases.
Archangel, the story and characters herein, is the result of collaboration
with my friend Michael St. John Smith, but feels to me as though its
author were someone else. Not that I cant remember writing various
bits of it, Mike writing other bits, and how the ongoing process
scumbled those up in the leaf-mulch of narrative, but that it just doesnt
seem to me to be by either of us, exactly. I have the same feeling about
The Difference Engine, my only other long-form collaboration, written
with Bruce Sterling. One odd result of this feeling is that I can, myself,
actually enjoy going back over these two works for pleasure, something
I almost never do with my own solo efforts. Its as if each collaboration
was dictated by a different stranger, standing, in each case, just out of
sight, around a corner. And that allows the texts to hold a mystery for
me, something pleasantly unsolvable, and perhaps that was what
Burroughs found too, on his way to inventing his quasi-mechanical
method of semi-random verbal collage.
I can no longer remember exactly what brought The Difference Engine
to full collaborative triggering, though Im sure it began with Bruce
schooling me about Charles Babbage, of whom Id never previously
heard. With Archangel, though it began with Mike telling me of a friend
who knew someone in German television, and how this person, an

Im a visually oriented writer, or at

least I like to think I am. My co-writer
on Archangel is a film and television
actor as well as a writer. Comics have
been emerging, over the course of my
life, as a major narrative form
combining prose and graphic arts, so
it didnt feel like that much a leap.
More like Huh, howd I manage not to

executive of some kind, was looking for ideas for a mini-series, to be

set in Germany in World War II. Nazi flying saucers, I think I said,
remembering the Third Reichs most wholly mythological secret
weapons. I then probably told Mike whatever I remembered of foo
fighters and ghost rockets, two species of proto-UFOs reported by Allied
pilots. Word of this discussion was conveyed, evidently, to the nameless
German television executive, who instantly expressed, we were told, his
deep revulsion for the utter goofy tastelessness of our suggestion.
This blunt and immediate rejection, paradoxically, became our moment
of collaborative triggering, at least to the extent that we continued to
talk about our idea, and then more frequently, and eventually to
make notes, and thus began the process of narrative accretion.

Its an alternate-history/cross-worlds
story, and I wouldnt want to spoil too
much of the frame, because thats an
inherent part of our narrative. But I will
say that one of the first verbal tags we
had for the material was Band Of

A fiddle-maker, so the story goes, was asked how he made a fiddle. He

started, he said, with a piece of wood, and then removed all of it that
wasnt part of the fiddle. Thats long been my favorite metaphor for the
production of fiction, but with the caveat that a writer is also stuck with
the job of making the piece of wood. Which can, initially, be particularly
difficult, not to mention lonely. But not so much, we found, with the right
collaborator, though our subsequent whittling would go on and on, with
various forms and platforms in mind at various times, until revealing
itself, finally, as this comic, a form neither of us had previously worked in.
So keep an eye peeled, as this goes on, for that third man. Hes around
every corner in the book.
William Gibson
Vancouver, February

JUNIOR HENDERSON: US Vice President of the dystopian alt-reality

2016. His father is the president. From page one, he takes the
appearance of his Grandfather, Major Henderson (see below). He and
his father are both horrible assholes. They never look like they arent
assholes. They are cruel, smug, narcissistic uber-thugs, wrapped
sanctimoniously in whats left of the flag. Junior travels to our realitys
1945 to corrupt it for his own purposes.

Tricky bit: Al, Juniors grandfather, wasnt an asshole, but by the time
we meet Junior, his face has been altered to look exactly like Als. But
the asshole still has to show through.

MAJOR GUADALUPE TORRES: Face a study in determination, she pilots

a noisy electric wheelchair and wears a brace on one leg. Her fatigues
are faded and patched. Her uniform is a little shabby. Her world is
ragged military, post-apocalyptic. They dont have a lot of stuff left, are
running out of things, mending things, making do. All the spit-shine is
reserved for Junior and his dad. Shes hellbent on stopping Juniors
plans in 1945.

DAVIS: Addressed as Doctor or Jack, in his fifties, tired-looking but

resolute in the face of his present task. Hes the genius physicist
behind the Splitter. Hes loyal to the Hendersons more out of loyalty to

whats left of the idea of America. Hes a flawed character but not
inherently evil. He accidentally winds up being the one who has to try
to talk Torres out of wrecking their plans.

My mood board: Atmospheric.

Melancholy. Ominous. Dirty.

PILOT: Male, Marine, Hispanic. Dark tattoos from head to toe. Marine
haircut, very short sides. Dressed in his camouflage/invisible creepsuit.
The tattoos are black-work, like present day gang tattoos, extending up
the neck and onto the sides of his skull. Tattoos look something like the
style of MS 13 tattoos, La Mara Salvatrucha, but hybridized with USMC
and apocalyptic symbols. Ornate olde English lettering styles. Hes
sent to 1945 to stop Junior.

ONE and TWO, A and B: Junior Hendersons personal bodyguards.

Hulking, intimidating Blackwater contractor types. They are never
named in the series and are the only characters that should have the
hyper-muscular, superhero physique.

AIR COMMODORE GORDON TULLY: British. Naomis commanding

officer. White-hair.

I have a certain kind of over-the-top female

character who just never gets killed. They
may not be realistic but I love them, and a

NAOMI GIVENS: British. Royal Air Force (RAF) uniform. A flight

lieutenant, early 30s, attractive without seeming to try. Shes our hero in
1945. Believes in the supernatural and unusual. Tully says of her,
Difficult enough being a woman in British Intelligence. Being a smart
one is quite unforgivable. She is determined to succeed in maledominated military.

There are three protagonists: Naomi

Givens, an RAF Intelligence officer in 1945
Berlin; Vince, her ex, an American OSS
officer, also in 1945 Berlin; the Pilot, socalled, a nameless US Marine from a
seriously harsh-ass 2016 America, but hes
got his own undercover role as well. Naomi
likes science fiction, Vince and the Pilot
both like Naomi, so theres a certain
discomfort to the triangle. The bad guys are
all from the 2016 fork, and are the only
characters in the book with overtrained
comic-book mesomorphy. The good guys
look like actual 1940s humans! 1945 Berlin
is an easy place to find interesting sidecharacters; really hopping with them.

CAPTAIN VINCE MATHEWS: American army uniform. Formerly

romantically involved with Naomi. Hes her male/US counterpart
throughout the story. Vince struggles between doing what is required as
part of his position in the military and helping Naomi, who he still loves.
Hes tough and doesnt believe the Pilot at first, but ultimately we like
him and root for him.

FRITZ: Young, German. A decidedly unmilitary figure, his attempt at

sharp civilian attire has been artfully assembled from available
remnants. Has a sort of young Bowie lan. Hes charming and clever.
Acts as Naomis street-smart driver and black market specialist.

Easily the most exciting aspect so far has been

seeing Butch bring it to life on the page. To me,
thats actually more amazing than
seeing screenplays of mine filmed,
because its not the result of
hundreds of people and umpty
millions of dollars, but of the talent
of one person, someone who just
sits down with a pen and *does it
by hand*. That continues to
blow me away.

MR. BABY / HERR SUGLING: Who does indeed look very much like a
newborn infant. Hairless, pink, rosebud mouth, no visible teeth. Hes only
five feet tall and dressed in an immaculate pale prewar suit. German
nightclub owner, black market specialist.

I am constantly amazed by Butch, and have a

horrible feeling that I am getting hopelessly

COLONEL YERMAKOV: Soviet. Intelligence officer. Tullys equivalent in

the Red Army Air Force.

The following pages show some of the process work for the making of ARCHANGEL.
Pencils by Butch Guice Inks by Tom Palmer Colors by Diego Rodriguez