The writer of Image's new supernatural nautical horror mini thinks you should be careful where you dive and drill.
If you go far enough down, how truly strange, how bizarre can the sea get? That's what writer Sam Sarkar and Garrie Gastonny ask in their three-issue Image miniseries, The Vault, whose first issue hit shelves this week. In it, a crew of scientists and divers attempt to learn the secrets of the titular undersea cavern, only to find something totally outside of the frame of human experience. Mr. Sarkar was kind enough to talk to MTV Geek to shed some light on the mysteries of the deep.
MTV Geek: Could you guys walk us through the notes and the process for this first page and the spread?
Sam Sarkar: “This is the beginning of how it all ends” is the first line that came to my mind when I started writing the script. It’s a twist on phrases like, “The beginning of all ends.” At first it had a cynical connotation to me, very apocalyptic. But it has also come to mean, the end of bad things too. The end of an era of not meant to continue. Because of some of the themes behind the story, Dave had suggested a lyrical opening like this. Especially after I had explained some of the backstory to him. It is meant to be open to interpretation, so I won’t put too much spin on it myself. Suffice to say, everything about the that opening reflects an amalgam of world mythologies.
Geek: This is your second project together. What brought you back together for The Vault?
SS: I had wanted to work with Garrie and Imaginary Friends Studios again after Caliber. I was working on a sequel to Caliber for Radical (which they pulled the plug on) and it was not my choice to change artists. Not that I didn’t like the artist Radical had chosen, but rather, I had already enjoyed the rapport that I had built with Garrie, IFS and David Elliott. Half of doing something creative is who you get to do it with. So when I set out to do The Vault, it was an easy decision.
Geek: What kind of research did you guys do on deep sea life and the mechanics of a dive?
SS: I did quite a bit. A lot of research on treasure hunting and a lot on the mechanics of cave diving and staying at depths over 150 feet for long periods of time. Even the dangers of large squid. There are packs of them off the coast of California. The suit that Michael uses has a basis in reality. Aside from allowing for deeper dives, the hard suit doesn’t require decompression or special gases. So you can go down for hours and surface right away, without going into a special chamber for decompression.
Geek: Three words or less: both of you tell me the first thing that comes to mind about your cast:
Geek: Jesus Mondragon
Geek: Cheryl Mithra
SS: Desperate. Materialist.
SS: Gung-ho. Fearless.
Geek: Gabrielle Parker
SS: Thoughtful. Conflicted. Believer.
SS: Pragmatist. Courageous. Non-believer.
Geek: How did you arrive at the level of tech you wanted for your story? Up to this point, everything seems more or less grounded in modern machines and methods, then you have a robotic, diving dog.
SS: Well, the dog represents more than just modern machines. It is also a representation of evolution. But in terms of reality… what we saw in the Gulf oil spill was that the majority of the work was actually done by robots (operated remotely, but robots nonetheless). Under more and more conditions, we entrust more and more of our dangerous work to robotics.
Geek: Tell our readers a little about the Oak Island “money pit.” How did you first learn about it and how much did it affect the creation of The Vault?
SS: I grew up in Nova Scotia near Oak Island. The money pit was something I learned about when I was probably less than ten years old. It was discovered by a couple of teenagers in 1795 and over the course of the last two centuries it has captured many imaginations. It has claimed lives and several fortunes in the efforts to get to the bottom of it and unlock its secret. The reason that people believe that it contains something of great value is due to its complexity. It is protected by a flood channel that floods the pit at high tide. It is exceedingly deep. The theories range from a great store of treasure to a sacred artifact like the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.
Geek: You took a while getting to that last image. Tell us a little about how you decided to tease out the reveal of what the crew would find under the sea.
SS: Again—it’s a bit of a metaphor for man’s search for riches. Drilling for oil and gas is very lucrative, but at what price? Nuclear energy is great, until it goes wrong. And the search for buried treasure seems like a great idea, until you find out what’s really buried down there.
Geek: Tease out a little about what we can expect from future issues.
SS: Michael, Gabrielle and the rest of the group are faced with some tough choices as the storm seals them on the island. The thing that they find is open to question and the only way to resolve what it is, is to open it. Part of the team is driven by economics, part of them by academics and research. The debate on what to do with what they find, hinges on which forces will win out. You may be able to guess which forces in the group win. After all, we didn’t leave Pandora’s Box closed either.
The Vault #1 is on shelves now from Image.