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Koren Shadmi’s webcomic The Abaddon is like nothing else in comics today. Loosely based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, it is the story of a man who is trapped in an apartment with four very dysfunctional roommates and no way out. Shadmi’s hero, Ter, arrives at the door with a bandage around his head and no backstory, although little bits of memories start flashing through as the story progresses. Part I of the story is complete and available as a webcomic, and Shadmi is raising funds for Part II via Kickstarter. He reached his goal today, but there are still some pledge awards left, although the big one—being drawn into the comic, which would basically immortalize the donor as an embodiment of Sartre’s famous line “Hell is other people”—has been taken.
I was curious about the genesis of this comic and where Shadmi plans to go with it, so I fired off some questions. .
Robot 6: In your Kickstarter intro, you say that The Abaddon was inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit. Can you explain what interested you about it and how you developed it into this very different story?
Koren Shadmi: When I was in college I took an existentialism class and we read No Exit. When I read it something really struck a chord in me, it’s very minimal and eerie, unsettling in a very subtle way. In the play hell is just a room with three people who make each other miserable. There are little hints to that the characters are not really in ‘the real world’, but those are really understated – which makes for a disturbing setting. I thought I would take the core of the play – a group of dysfunctional roommates locked in the same place together – and elaborate on it. It’s not clear though if they are in hell in my version, and I think the mystery about what exactly is The Abaddon, and who the characters are, that helps propel the story.