Justin Madson's Breathers takes place in a world in which the air is so poisonous that everyone must wear gas masks at all time. "It's become part of life almost, you know, you always have your cell phone on you, you always gotta have your breather on you," Justin Madson said. "Otherwise you'll die."
When creating the world of Breathers, Madson said that he wanted to skew reality. Creating a world that is both recognizable and slightly off. "I always like to do things with a little bit of normalcy, with a little bit of strangeness to it. You kind of look twice, it's so normal, but not. I just thought, putting the gas masks in would really create this bizarre element to it, and I just kind of ran with it after that."
But what happened to the air? Madson's keeping it vague. "I'm kind of slowly revealing what's happened to the air, I don't want it to be a big deal. Through news reports, people talking, you get little clues about what's happening."
The story follows a small cast of characters as they navigate through their difficult, dramatic, and occasionally conspiracy-laden lives. "I have this brother and sister. The sister found out that she actually can breathe the air, so that's kind of weird. It leads the brother to think that there may be this big conspiracy going on."
The story also enters surreal territories in regards to a small girl with an unusual friend. "There's this mother, who's sort of down on her luck and her daughter. Her daughter has this stuffed dragon. When she's alone with the dragon it becomes this real life thing that she talks to, sort of like an imaginary friend almost."
The separate storylines become entangled and characters collide after a murder shakes up the polluted environment, which gave Madson the opportunity to add one of his favorite types of characters to the mix, a detective. "He's kind of the bad guy in the story. There's this drug called Filter K and he's addicted to that. It creates all kinds of weird things. It's kind of dark."
Now you can read the entire run of Breathers beginning with issue #0 right here! Tune in each month for a new installment!
According to Justin Madson's official site, Breathers #0 is about:
After getting involved with a married woman, Koller finds that his seemingly-irrational paranoia of her husband “finding out” may be such a far-fetched idea.
Don't forget your gas mask!