Breaking Bad and Black Snow

The Breaking Bad finale has come and gone, and now we all have a meth shaped void in our lives.  Like many of you, I was hooked on the show.  Almost obsessed, really.  I only started watching it during this final season, after years of my friends and family telling me how great it was.

I was watching a Malcolm in the Middle marathon on IFC (a show I loved when it originally aired) and it was a particularly Hal themed episode when I finally felt the need to sit down and watch the Breaking Bad pilot.  I got my wife to watch with me, which lead to us binge watching the show until we were caught up with the current episodes.  It took about two and a half weeks but we became current with only 4 episodes left.

During my time watching the show I found myself thinking about it a lot.  I couldn’t wait to see the next one.  I even found myself having dreams about it (something I don’t remember happening since I binge watched Twin Peaks earlier this year).

Well, after all that thinking about the show I’ve come to a decision.  I’m going to share what Breaking Bad and Black Snow have in common.

Walter White to Heisenberg

Vince Gilligan has stated many time that the premise behind Breaking Bad was to create a series in which the protagonist became the antagonist.  Well, I’ve always tried not to reveal this, but that is the whole premise of Black Snow as well.  To take a main character and turn him from superhero to villain.  This is a series goal I’ve only shared with close family and friends until now.

We’ve never gotten far enough to really reveal that story before.  We were 6 issues into the comic book, and planned on telling the whole tale in 25 issues.  Where we left things before the reboot was on it’s way there, but not really fully developed to the point where I think many readers knew where things were headed.  I think with the graphic novel reboot approach we’ve sped things up a bit.

I always thought that this whole concept had to be kept a secret and slowly revealed over the course of the larger story, but as Breaking Bad has shown laying all your cards on the table from the very beginning is a valid approach that includes the audience in a unique way.  Not talking about the overall story has made it really hard to describe Black Snow and the plot in the past.  It’s a lot easier to summarize the entire planned story than a particular segmented piece featured in one book.

Unlike Breaking Bad, Black Snow starts with the character already well on this path.  That was always something that made me a little nervous, because I didn’t know if the character would be sympathetic enough if he was already morally questionable when we first encounter him.  As things progress I think we’ll get to know his more heroic side more through backstory exposition and flashbacks, but I feel at his core when we meet him in the first scene he is still a decent guy who is really rough around the edges.

I don’t mean to give the impression that Black Snow was inspired by Breaking Bad.  For one thing we came up with the concept in late 2001, and Breaking Bad didn’t start until 2008.  Also, as I mentioned above I only started watching it about two months ago.  It may well inspire us as we continue with the next four books.  I also don’t mean to imply that there are a lot of similarities between that TV show and this comic, just that they share the same general core conceit and it is a finite, singularly story.  Obviously they handle it in very different ways.

And please don’t hold us to the standards of quality we’ve seen from Breaking Bad.  I know I brought up this initial comparison, but clearly it will not be too flattering to our comic if it is directly held against what many feel is the greatest television show and drama of all time.

What I will say is that if you loved the transformative journey from Walter White to Heisenberg I think you’ll like what we have planned for the upcoming Black Snow books.

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