Dekker Dreyer is the founder of Clever Fox Entertainment and is known for primarily his virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences in the genre entertainment and music spaces. But at heart, Dreyer is a classic artist and his latest endeavor, an indie comic strip called Seven Deadly Sins, is his latest cris de coeur.
#GayNrd spoke to Dreyer about his latest labor of love.
#GayNrd: What was the impetus for Seven Deadly Sins?
Dekker Dreyer: This is my third venture into indie comics after Mondo Atomic and a short-lived strip I had at a magazine here in LA. I had just finished my newly released collection of horror and sci-fi stories, Dark Astronomy, and I had this urge to draw. I took a few concepts that were left over from the book and distilled them down into what would become Seven Deadly Sins.
Everything I do, my books, VR, films, stage shows, they’re all at the center of this venn diagram of cyberpunk and demons.
I grew up in a time when there was a lot of love for horror and it all springs from there. In almost any grocery store you’d see a spinner rack with reprints of Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. You could get 2000 AD and Heavy Metal pretty easily and they always had horror elements to them.
My favorite was a comic magazine called Monsters Attack! Which was all new material from creators like Steve Ditko [Editor’s note: Ditko is the creator of Spider-Man along with Stan Lee]. My favorite stories in those magazines dealt with takes on modern anxieties. Back then it was heavy metal music and televangelists and Russians.
When I started illustrating Seven Deadly Sins I wanted to try to recreate that feeling. There’s so much to be terrified of today, but outside of Black Mirror and Jordan Peele films there aren’t many projects that are willing to look straight into that abyss.
Fake news is horrifying. Catfishing is horrifying. Darkcels are horrifying. People who believe in QAnon are horrifying. It’s all fertile ground. In Seven Deadly Sins I’ve tried to personify some of these anxieties through a traditional trope.
The best monsters don’t come from nothing, they evolve with us. I also wanted to make these stories accessible so I released them in an instagram friendly five panel strip format. There’s something I like about having these horror comics about technology custom-made for sharing with that same technology.
What is about the way Sin comments on these issues makes these different?
It’s hard for me to process the level of disconnect people have about the world we’ve created. I get lots of deliveries from Amazon, but I’m acutely aware that my purchases are arriving on the backs of warehouse staff who live in their cars and are discouraged from taking bathroom breaks. I explore that in this series under Envy. I’m frustrated at my own inability to escape those kinds of moral compromises and that tension comes through in the strips.
Why is art like this so urgently needed now?
All you need to do to give yourself chills is go on Linkedin and read any threads about tech startups. You’ll see hundreds of people cheering on the most inhumane ideas because they’re afraid that some HR person somewhere might see their comment and refuse to hire them. We’re very politically polarized, but all sides of that divide are equally bereft of truth tellers. As a California liberal, especially as an artist that uses technology in my projects, I should be a little scared of calling out ride-sharing companies like I do in the Greed comic, but here I am… slowly doling out the last of my fucks.
One thing that surprised me was how much this resonated with people. Some people have been printing the comics and bringing them to bookstores. They’re inserting them in books about app development and business management which I love. It’s like those old Jack Chick religious comics that evangelists used to slide into Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks. That makes me feel like it’s striking a nerve in a way that probably needed to happen.
Where can we buy Seven Sins?
All of my books are available on (ironically) on Amazon and although I’ve released Seven Deadly Sins for free you can get the strips collected as a 24” x 36” giclée on my site. The monsters themselves are available as giclées and t-shirts in the store on my website www.dekkerdreyer.com. I’m also bringing Seven Deadly Sins merch with me on tour as Phantom Astronaut. Check my instagram for show dates.
Clever Fox is a Los Angeles-based production company focused on digital and immersive storytelling. Founded in 2015, their clients include Disney, Warner Bros, Hallmark, and Digital Domain.