Last year, Paste helped announce three Vault Comics series: Fearscape, Friendo and These Savage Shores, all of which joined the already released Deep Roots as part of the publisher’s partnership with the British-based White Noise creative collective. Those titles went on to become some of our favorite series of 2018, which means we have high hopes for this exclusive reveal of Vault’s newest upcoming series, Queen of Bad Dreams.
Arriving in March, Queen of Bad Dreams comes to Vault courtesy of writer Danny Lore, artist Jordi Pérez, colorist Dearbhla Kelly and letterer Kim McLean. In addition to a first look at interior art, covers and concept sketches, we’ve also got the first series synopsis and an exclusive statement from Lore about the book’s gestation. Check all of that out below, and stay tuned to Paste for more information on Queen of Bad Dreams as it becomes available.
Queen of Bad Dreams
Writer: Danny Lore
Artist: Jordi Pérez
Colorist: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Kim McLean
Publisher: Vault Comics
When a dream entity known as a figment emerges from a dreamer’s mind, it’s Daher’s job as an IJ to track them down and make the call: reinsert the figment, or grant them agency in our world. After an especially powerful figment escapes the dreams of an even more powerful politician’s son, Daher is pulled headlong into an investigation that traces all the way back to the incident that sent dreams, even nightmares, spilling into our reality.
Writer Danny Lore on Queen of Bad Dreams:
People like me are told constantly how to dream—not too big, not too broad, not too often. We’re told how to be black, how to be queer, how to maybe be a woman—but if you’re not a woman, here’s a prescribed way of being non-binary too. You have to follow the pattern, again and again, so someone higher up on the food chain can achieve their “perfect” dream life.
When you’re stuck in that rut, what do you do? You dream anyway.
You have your happy dreams, of course, where nothing bad ever happens. You’re safe and sound, untouched by the pattern, the strictures. Maybe you ride on a soft, fluffy cloud while wearing a crown of cotton candy (I haven’t had this one, but I’m trying to put it into the universe so that I can).
You have your bad dreams, too. You have nightmares where you wake up in a cold sweat because a certain striped-sweater-wearing villain with a fedora chases you through your housing projects (I HAVE had that dream, many, many times; feel free to take it from me). You can’t help those when there’s so much fear in the world. It creeps up into your brain and lodges itself. Festers.
But more than the happy or bad or sad dreams…you’ve got those angry dreams. The ones where you wake up, heart racing, and maybe your cheeks are streaked with tears, but you feel triumphant. Maybe it started out as a nightmare, but for the first time in the dozens of times you’ve had it, you broke the pattern. Turned and faced the beast. Found yourself lucid and made a choice. Maybe the dream started out happy, but instead of just going for a ride, you explored. You questioned. You went off-script. The feeling might not necessarily be happy, but damn if it isn’t freeing.
That’s what Queen of Bad Dreams is about. It’s about the moment you become aware of the pattern…and the first time you break the routine. They will come after you. You will probably have to fight. That’s what happens in a world where your own dreams are the stuff of nightmares for those in charge.
Queen is the story of a small group of women, both dreamers and dreams, who break the pattern—who fight to win. Ava, who steps out of the dreams of a spoiled rich man, and Daher, who breaks protocol to help her, are at the center of the story, but they’re not the only ones in these pages who are discovering what happens next.
Queen of Bad Dreams is my way of telling fellow dreamers: you deserve to step into the waking world as vibrant and as powerful as you are in your dreams. You deserve to be more than a pawn in someone else’s.