Leave it to big business to take a scientific miracle like V-Trans -- the process of moving a person's mind into another body -- and make a buck off it. In writer Enrique Carrion's vision of the future, Vescell fills the role of the shady corporation while former Icarus City detective Mauricio "Moo" Barrino investigates potential threats to the company, its clients and its secrets. Pencilled by John "Roc" Upchurch, "Vescell" balances the technological side of the futuristic Icarus City with mysticism and demons. With the Image Comics series hitting stands in late August, Comic Book Resources spoke with Carrion about building a brave new world, the V-Trans process and Moo's role in the story.
"Vescell is a company that mixes Earth-based advanced technology and highly guarded technology called spirit tech to perform a procedure called V-Trans which is short for 'Vescell transfer,'" Carrion said. "V-Trans is the transferring of a person's mind and soul from one body into another."
As with most competitive companies, Vescell employs people to secure their assets. That's where Barrino comes in. When Vescell's holdings or clients are in danger, he's the guy who makes sure everyone -- and everything -- is safe and secure.
"Mauricio 'Moo' Barrino is a former Icarus City detective who has left the force and is now Vescell's No. 1 agent," Carrion said. "He handles the most delicate cases; that is, people who are High-risk Obtain Transfers, or 'H.O.T.' for short. That means they face some kind of threat to receiving a V-Trans, which could be a psychotic, stalking ex-husband or a demon who wants to collect on a debt."
That's right, the world of "Vescell" doesn't just have killer scientific advancements, but also a pesky demon problem thanks to an inter-dimensional portal.
"The humans of Earth are fighting for survival against various supernatural menaces that are spilling through from another dimension known as the banerealm and plaguing their existence," Carrion said. "Icarus City is the crown jewel of the world because it is monster-free, a place where humans can live a relatively normal life. [However,] the people who run the city are as twisted and corrupt as some of the monsters they work at keeping at bay, so the city is clean on the surface but very corrupt at the core."
The world of "Vescell" isn't all crime, corruption and transdimensional demons, of course; it also boasts a stylish side that Carrion and Upchurch designed.
"Icarus City is a high-tech, Art Deco-designed, beautiful city with bridges running through it and trains curling around skyscrapers," Carrion said. "One thing I'm big on is fashion. You are also going to see a lot of classic fashion from the '40s and '50s mixed with contemporary fashion. I love [designers such as] Gilded Age, Alexander McQueen and Karen Millen. I think fashion should integrate with comics a lot more. I also love classic cars; you will only see classic whips in 'Vescell,' beautiful automobiles that my artist Roc really brings to life."
The comic tackles a lot of big-picture issues, but at its core, gumshoe Moo is the star of the show. The former detective isn't working for Vescell just for the paycheck. He has ulterior motives much closer to his heart than his wallet.
"Moo is a man fighting not to make his destiny manifest and not fall victim to his fate," Carrion teased. "He is also trying to solve the mystery of why the love of his life has been separated from her body and why her spirit is stuck in 'the banerealm,' a second dimension which exists parallel to earth. He is hoping that the company will repay him by using their resources to find his girl."
To help him create the world of "Vescell," Carrion enlisted the help of artist John "Roc" Upchurch, who not only excelled at developing Icarus City, but also the characters that inhabit the comic.
"Roc Upchurch is a fantastic artist," Carrion said. "I am so glad to have him on board. We started working on some ideas and concepts, and then I was like 'You know what, I got this idea.' I shot him a script and he was like, 'Ooh, I'm feeling this,' so we just went in on it. He is the perfect artist to bring my story to life. The way he draws women is amazing, so his style fits perfect with all the different types of women I have in my book. My whole production team is putting in amazing work; I have a fantastic production designer/letterer, Rafael Diaz, and a great art supervisor, Evelio Tamayo."
From there it was just a matter of finding the right company to pitch the book to. Enter Image Comics, no strangers to creator-owned projects.
"I submitted 'Vescell' to Image, and a few months later I got a response from [Image Comics Publisher] Eric Stephenson, and from then it's been on," Carrion said. "I love Image; they really take care of me over there. Eric, [Art Director] Drew [Gill] and [PR & Marketing Coordinator] Sarah [deLaine] are like my personal holy trinity of comics.”
With a wild mix of science fiction, corporate espionage, action, adventure, mysticism, inter-dimensional conflicts and demons, "Vescell" sounds complicated, but Carrion sums it up quite eloquently.
"'Vescell' is vulgar, it's honest, it will make you think about emotions and things hiding in the corner of your soul trying to sneak out the attic of your mind," the creator said. "All this wrapped up in a mystic, sci-fi saga written with the sexy, smoky ink of noir scandal."