North Rhine-Westphalia is not Wyoming and Germany not the USA. So why do a comic about a place so far afar?
Because I’ve been there.
In 2002/2003 I went abroad to the United States as an exchange student. While I spent most of my months in Buffalo NY (go Bills!), I had the opportunity to travel to some interesting places: Boston, Maine, New York City, Washington D.C. … and yes, Yellowstone!
With a bunch of other exchange students I witnessed the beauty of Yellowstone National Park: it’s Geysers and hot wells, Buffalos crossing the road, thundering waterfalls and high mountains.
Inside a geological museum I first heard about the sleeping supervolcano underneath Yellowstone. It was this danger of another eruption and what it could mean to the U.S. (and even the world) that captured my imagination. The first seed was planted.
Years passed. I went back to Germany, finished school and went to Münster to study English and History. Since tinkering with fiction is one of my hobbies (hello pen & paper RPG!), I sometimes went back to that Yellowstone idea. At this stage, there was no story, just worldbuilding. At one time, it wasn’t even science fiction but alternate history – 09/11 not as a terrorist attack but as a volcanic tragedy. Over the years one thing became more and more clear: It would be a story about a post-apocalyptic society. I didn’t want to tell a story about people escaping Armageddon but rather how Armageddon changed the surviving society. To compare it with Roland Emmerich’s movie “2012”: What happens after those well-armed, high-tech, western refugees get to Africa? How would the remaining Africans react? That’s what got me, not the other 99% of the movie.
In the summer of 2015 the world building got more and more detailed. But it wasn’t until I teamed up with Dave in January 2016 that our main character Noah took form.