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Neil Kleid Embraces Dread with 'The Panic'

We chat with the comic scribe about his new series and explore our ever-evolving relationship with perpetual fear.

Every morning we awaken in a world ready to betray us. Kinda makes it hard to get out of bed. But we do it anyway. Is that an act of faith or just an act of capitalism?

In our latest Creator Cranny conversation (which you can listen to in full RIGHT HERE), we're joined by comic scribe Neil Kleid for an animated conversation about his new series, The Panic, co-created with artist Andrea Mutti. Their narrative drops us into the middle of an apocalyptic event experienced by strangers gathered within the New York subway system. Unaware of what hell awaits them above, this eclectic group struggles to survive their egos while rubble and corpses rise around their feet.

"I think terror in general is evergreen." says Kleid. "People fear. People get into situations that they can't control. The Panic, when it was originally conceived, it was actually a book called Coffin, and it was really instigated by my post-9/11 - I don't know if you want to call it PTSD, or just musings, but this sense of just how do you deal with something so giant and traumatic, not just as an individual, but as a community?"

After experiencing terror, the neighborhood around you changes. Or, a least, your perception of it alters. You can see strangers as threats or accept them as allies. The tug and pull between these two possibilities sit at the center of The Panic.

"When I originally wrote it," continues Kleid, "everybody very much much had terrorism on their mind, there was a lot of stories and conversations about things happening around the world, or happening locally, some good, some bad, there was a lot of jingoism, there was a lot of racial profiling, as we know. I'm Jewish, and I have a lot of friends and family in Israel, and I had lived there for a year, and I had a lot of my own experiences with acts of terrorism abroad, as well as hate crimes local, antisemitism, what have you. A lot of that really fed into the original story, just this sense of what happens if you're on a train, what happens if you're on a bus, what happens if you're just at home and the worst happens?"

The Panic #1 debuts via ComiXology on 5/3 before arriving physically this fall from Dark Horse Comics. Initially inspired by Kleid's dread born from 9/11, the author slowly evolved the story into something perpetually relatable. Yay, us.

Seriously, though, The Panic #1 is a deeply personal work that embraces and repels our terror-based anxiety. We were fortunate to explore our feelings with Neil Kleid. While we recognize this conversation probably expands infinitely, we felt this chat helped us put our permanent unease into perspective.

The question then becomes, how does creating something so steeped in panic affect the creator? We get into it with Neil Kleid, and the answers, as they stand today, are cathartic. Now, if we could only get ahold of The Panic #2 immediately...

Be sure to follow Neil Kleid on Twitter HERE, on Instagram HERE, and check out his Portfolio HERE. You can pre-order The Panic #1 HERE.

Follow the podcast on Facebook, on Instagram, and Twitter @CBCCPodcast, and you can follow hosts Brad Gullickson @MouthDork & Lisa Gullickson @sidewalksiren.


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Podcast logo by Aaron Prescott @acoolhandfluke, podcast banner art by @Karen_XmenFan.


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