Home Graphic novel NYCC ’21: James Tynion IV on DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH



By Ani Bundel

To say that we live in a golden age of conspiracy theories would be an understatement. The advent of the internet, the feedback loops and echo chambers created by the selective use of social media gave birth to an ability to live in alternate realities that never existed in eras. previous ones. But humans have been fascinated by conspiracies since the dawn of time. It’s wired into our brains to see patterns and find connections, even where there aren’t any. This long legacy mixed with today’s new conspiracies inspired James tynion ivthe last series of, The Department of Truth, from Image Comics.

At the NYCC 2021 panel, aptly called Department of Truth conspiracy theories, Tynion was joined by a panel of academics, including Dr Bob Baskiewicz, Dr Eve Siebert, and Dr Brian Regal. All of them are experts on the theories and crazy stories of his new graphic novel and spin-off Substack, Wild Fictions, covers. Tynion opened the panel by describing his working definition of a conspiracy theory: not just as a wild, mad belief in something that may or may not be real, but there are some nefarious motives behind it. Thus, the existence of the Loch Ness Monster is not a conspiracy theory; Believing that the government is raising and training Nessie to create a race of super-soldiers is.

Although Tynion The Ministry of Truth, vol. 1: The end of the world didn’t arrive until February 2021, he put years of research ahead of him, starting, unsurprisingly, in 2017 after the election brought out some truly startling rabid fantasies from passionate political lawyers. His initial line of research was Pizzagate, which began with a wacky claim that a hip, trendy pizza place in the tony neighborhood of Chevy Chase in Washington DC, Comet ping pong, was the front of child trafficking. (The story became national news when a man who believed in this story tried to set fire to the place.)

At the time, Tynion had noticed a small offshoot of this bizarre story, called “Q-Anon,” and perhaps thought about including it in the book before turning his attention to things that seemed more important at the time. . Obviously, things have changed radically since, and the rise of the group now has a prominent place in the series.

But it’s not all political sideshows in The Department of Truth. Tynion’s series also delves into several older and deeper plots, which his colleagues are experts on. Dr Baskiewicz extensively examined the denver airport plot, ranging from secret Nazi symbols to evidence of alien invasions; Dr Regal told the story of the false scholarship of Gordon Grover Sanders Krantz around the Cryptids. And Dr. Siebert explained in detail (and debunked) perhaps the craziest of all these theories., the phantom time conspiracy. While the conversation strayed a bit from the comics, it was a delightfully odd hour in which fans learned just how far the human mind can push things in its stubborn need to be right.

The Department of Truth is currently releasing new monthly installments. The next edition collected, The Ministry of Truth, vol. 2: The city on a hill, arrives on shelves on October 27, 2021.

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