Graphic Novel on Climate Change -Coming to You via Celsias

Dave DeVries and Blake Hutchins

The “green” movement turns blood-red in the high-octane action thriller BLUESHIFT, a two-issue, 60-page graphic novel premiering in 5 page installments on Celsias for the next 12 weeks. Marvel and DC Comics artists John VanFleet and Dave DeVries, writer Blake Hutchins, and Seed Studio Inc. take audiences a half-century into a future extrapolated from today’s environmental headlines. Their creation is a world sliding into a globally warmed Hell.

But don’t expect BlueShift to be a preachy green cautionary tale. Expect blood. Lots of it.

“Today’s older teen audiences are keyed into video game thrills,” series art director Dave DeVries stated, “They would tune out a preachy story. BlueShift delivers all of the brutal action they expect, along with a story that holds an important message about the environment. It was important to everyone at Seed that this audience understand the consequences of their actions.”

blueshift To accomplish this, Seed Studio hired renowned environmental concept artist John Van Fleet to painstakingly build backgrounds based upon the extensive research of writers Blake Hutchins and Alex Jimenez. Using global warming reports by both the United Nations and the Department of Defense, the team created their vision of our world after the worst effects of climate change have become a reality..

Responding in kind, the protagonists, dubbed BlueShifters for their cyanotic appearance when powered up, have adapted superhuman abilities to navigate this brutal new world. They fight like Bruce Lee, heal like Wolverine, and predict opponents' moves like Nostradamus.

BlueShift readers should expect blood, entertainment and a new uneasiness about abusing the world we all share.  To read the first chapter just click here!

So really, what is BlueShift?

So here we are in the launch week of BlueShift on Celsias, and you probably have questions about where “this”–meaning the setting, characters, story, and style–is all coming from.

What the hell is BlueShift, anyway? Eco-punk? Pre-post-apoc paranormal action? Cyberpunk metaphor writ large in bullet-chewed letters?

The world of BlueShift is a high-octane action-noir premise painted across a big, science-fictional canvass that bellies right up to an almost post-apocalyptic take on the mid-21st century. Because the environmental theme is so central to the entire setting, I like to call it “eco-punk” or “pre-post-apocalyptic,” but that’s my personal literary compartmentalization. The two main catalysts that create this mold-stained future out of our world’s cloth are catastrophic global climate change and the emergence of the Eli. I’ll talk about the Eli in another post. Today let’s touch on the impact of catastrophic climate change, the big background chunk of canvass. We’ll fill in a lot more detail as we continue this blog in the coming weeks and months.

The first thing to note is that we’ve based all the underlying climate change assumptions on real science, the events and developments and insights unfolding today. What’s happened by 2061 is a cascade failure, a series of worst-case scenarios coming together with terrible, synergistic speed: melting glaciers and ice pack, desertification, rising seas, disruption of the Gulf Stream, depletion of large aquifers like the Ogallala, mass extinction of species on land and sea, spread of tropical diseases into the mid-latitudes, genetic engineering run amok, destruction of critical habitats, and so on.

It’s a bleak picture.

In real life, we don’t know what exactly will happen, or how fast it will happen. Some things are happening now: shrinking glaciers, elevated methane levels in the Arctic, thawing of the permafrost, rising sea levels. Most projections contend that certain aspects like the rising seas, will occur continuously over a couple of hundred years. But by 2061 in our sci-fictional world, it’s been a runaway process for over twenty years.

blue shift Sea levels have risen nearly thirty feet, flooding low-lying coastal regions and turning places like California’s Central Valley into a shallow inland sea. New Orleans is reduced to a few scattered islands, whereas Baton Rouge is a seaport.

blushift Europe freezes as temperatures there plummet with the loss of the Gulf Stream. A huge permanent hurricane system called Leviathan has established itself in the Atlantic off the Gulf of Mexico, giving Mother Earth a Great White Spot to match the red one on her sister planet Jupiter. Much of Florida is underwater. Coastal metropolises like New York have constructed massive sea walls to hold off the higher seas and turn back storm surges and hurricanes thrown north by Leviathan (by the way, did you know New York City is a major risk for massive flood caused by storm surge?). Biloxi Malaria has taken root across the American South as higher temperatures support migration of disease-carrying mosquito populations. The mutated offspring of crazy, out-of-control genetic experiments run rampant in both urban and rural locales. The bees and other common pollinators are gone or mostly gone. Acid rain is the norm. The oceans are dying, very possibly throwing global oxygen production into the red. The Ogallala desert stretches from the Rockies to the Mississippi, a tornado-scorched region now nicknamed “The MidWaste.” Fierce hurricanes batter the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard nearly year-round.

And greenhouse gases continue to rise in Earth’s atmosphere. It’s probable that the worst is yet to come.

Only a very few elements, such as Leviathan, don’t come from a foundation of research and extrapolation from current trends and projections. Sometimes you just toss stuff in because it’s cool.

Let’s quickly glance at the social impact of all this. The world’s population has been cut in half. Billions perished between 2020 and the present day. Refugees migrated from coastal regions and climate devastated areas, at least in the early years. Later, when the scale of what historians are calling the Great Collapse became evident in crop failures and vanishing water tables, heavily armed border units and harsh immigration policies cut down sharply on refugee entry into the more industrialized or less impacted countries. Genocide became national policy for many countries.

It’s not the kind of world you want your kids to grow up in. No place has gone untouched by the Collapse.

new orleans Our first story takes place in New Orleans of 2061, a stubborn urban enclave that reinvented itself into a makeshift fortress perched like a barnacle on the slivered remains of the Vieux Carre, the famous core of the French Quarter. The rebel jewel of the Gulf Coast Federal Emergency Zone, New Orleans itself is now nicknamed “the Big E-Z.” It’s a data haven, a marine base for FEMA enforcement operations, and an Incorporate research and trade nexus in the Gulf. It’s a frontier town populated by tough, independent types able to cling to their traditions and make their lives in the shadow of Leviathan.

At the end of the day, Blueshift is about people, whether Eli or baseline human, and how they make their way in this very different world.
We hope you like it.
 By Dave DeVries and Blake Hutchins at

For other great stories, not usually in comic form, check out Celsias

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  • Posted on July 6, 2011. Listed in:

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