By Troy-Jeffrey Allen, PreviewsWORLD
Milligan and artist Marcelo Frusin (Hellblazer, Loveless) take readers on a sci-fi horror experience where mankind has abandoned Earth for outer space! Our anchor to religion, however, remains. And when a space colonist is in need of an exorcist, a disgraced priest steps in to cast the Devil out. But how can a member of the clergy confront the Devil when his personal demons are inescapable?
In the following interview, fan-favorite writer Peter Milligan takes us into the darkest corners of humanity and space.
Troy-Jeffrey Allen: Sacrament is a very unique concept. Can you give us an idea of what makes this story a mishmash between The Exorcist and Alien?
Peter Milligan: The definition of mish-mash is a “confused mixture” and I’m confident that doesn’t describe Sacrament! I think of it more as a cross-genre blend of two iconic stories, set in space or at least on a distant planet in the far future that deals with what we might call a monster, maybe the most terrible monster there is: the devil. Which brings us organically on to The Exorcist side of the story. The story developed from character and theme and only then did I start to see The Exorcist meets Alien parallels.
TJA: Tell us about this disgraced priest at the center of this. Why do we follow them through this story?
PM: In some ways, Father Vass represents religion in this future universe, with his belief in God largely in tatters. Some years ago as a young priest Vass took part in an exorcism that went horribly wrong, leading to the death of an older priest. Since then, Vass has slowly lost his faith, having affairs with several women. When we find him, he is hopelessly addicted to the “Transub” – the futurist gadget that’s used during the mass – and struggles with lustful feelings for his pretty and fervent novice, Rais. In short, Vass has lost his belief in himself, in God, and most of all in the power of exorcism. But when a man seems to be possessed on one of the most advanced, colonized planets, it is to this broken priest that people turn—because he’s the closest thing to an exorcist they can find.
TJA: Is this as much a sci-fi tale as it is a horror story?
PM: I never really thought about those terms while writing Sacrament, but you’d have to say it combines elements of both. Because of when and where it’s set, it’s definitely a kind of science fiction. And the horror elements are very clear to see.
TJA: You’re working with Marcelo Frusin on this project. What made Marcelo the right collaborator for this particular title?
PM: You mean, besides him being bloody brilliant? I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job than Marcelo on this book. Even when depicting the most disgusting and horrible scenes – of which there are a few! – Marcelo’s art is beautiful. He really captures the wide-screen sense of deep space – from a poisoned industrial planet to the vast expanse of the cosmos – but maybe what’s most important about Marcelo’s art for this story is his characterization. For all its Sci-fi/Horror undertones this is a story about the characters, and Marcelo is absolutely amazing at capturing people, their changing moods, and their inner struggles. You can probably tell that I’m a fan.
TJA: Looking forward, what can readers expect from Sacrament?
PM: As the story progresses, we see the relationship and power-balance between Vass and Rais start to change and become increasingly complicated. Meanwhile, as Vass struggles with whatever it is that’s ‘possessing’ the victim, he is forced to face something even more terrible than a demon: himself. Mankind has fled a dying Earth to escape its demons—only to discover that the demons were inside us all the time.
TJA: In terms of audience, who is Sacrament for?
PM: On the one hand fans of sci-fi and horror – and Alien and The Exorcist – will love it, but it’ll also appeal to all those interested in adult, sophisticated comics that explore the big themes. Life, love, God, faith. It’ll appeal to anyone interested in watching a flawed but not dislikable man who falls into the abyss…and has to find a way out.
Sacrament is available now at your local comic shop. Reserve your copy with PREVIEWSworld Pullbox.
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