The ongoing Pandemic has changed how pretty much everyone approaches their everyday lives. But for Sara Kenney, it also changed how she would approach her writing. And it gave her an idea and a new project. Working with a number of talented artists and writers, she decided that she would use the ongoing difficulties that the pandemic has raised and frame them in a Sci-Fi tale. This would evolve into a nine chapter web comic entitled Planet Divoc 91 (COVID 19 spelled backwards) that has reached Chapter 4. The series has not only explored the reactions to a pandemic but shows it from the viewpoint of young people.

In addition, after each chapter, they get opinions and articles from other young people about the pandemic. These include pieces about what it means to them and what they have learned as well as art based on the pandemic. If that wasn’t enough, they also include behind the scenes articles about how the covers for the comics were created. So as far as the story itself, what is going on at Planet Divoc 91? Who better than project lead Sara Kenney to tell us:

Eneba Many GEOs

Sara Kenney

So far in Planet Divoc 91 – Siblings Sanda (23) and Champo (19) have been zapped to a strange planet along with all other young adults on earth, in order to protect them from an asteroid. They immediately witness a disturbing scene as, actress Araminta Love mutates into a monstrous embodiment of her fears and anxieties after being bitten by a Smash Plant! Sanda just wants to go home, but when she learns the baby aliens are suffering from a mysterious virus, she is challenged to help rather than run.

Through the first three chapters, Sanda and Champo have adapted about as well as one might expect. They even volunteer some of their time to help at an apparent children’s hospital. However, they soon realize the concept of “giving their time“ is different than they first thought. What is going on back on Earth, and what is happening there on Planet Divoc-91 with these children? That is what leads us to  Chapter 4. In this segment, we get some some background on Sanda and Champo. That was an exciting opportunity for Chapter 4 writer and artist Rachel Smith to explore:

Rachael Smith

I loved these characters from the first page and it was such an honour to be able to write a chapter where we could drill down into what makes them tick. I wanted to show Sanda and Champo’s lives before they meet the aliens, as I think their relationship with each other, and with their Mum, explains a bit about how they react to things in the future. Sanda is resentful that she hasn’t been allowed to be more ambitious in life, whereas Champo is a little overwhelmed that now the onus is on them to be ambitious, when all they want is to be seen as a human being – these frustrations manifest themselves in different ways. I find writing things like this really interesting and engaging, I’m very lucky to have been given such rich characters to play around with.

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It’s Just a Phase

In Chapter 4 written and illustrated by Rachael Smith (Wired up Wrong/ Quarantine Comics) we get to the emotional heart of the story in a beautifully realized flashback scene back on Earth. This chapter features a glorious cover from Leslie Hung (Snot Girl) and a brilliant Halloween themed spooky mix from DJ Ifeoluwa (AKA Yewande Adeniran) on Mixcloud.
If you haven’t checked out Planet Divoc 91, please do so. It tells a timely tale, blended with sci-fi with a diverse group of talented creators. In addition, the inclusion of thought pieces by young people with their own unique tales on the ongoing pandemic. You can catch up here.
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