Although the adventures of Agent Jean have come to an end, the distant origins of the likeable comic book characters of Alexandre Couture, aka Alex A., continue to be explored in the series The Universe is a Ninja. Meeting with the creator of this flat planet.
The Universe is a Ninja will conclude with the sixth volume, scheduled for spring 2024. But before tackling the penultimate volume, which has just arrived in bookstores, let’s go back to the beginning.
Ataria is the center of the universe created by Alex A. The planet was designed by three creator gods: Celius, Luceta and Delenor. Later came their opposites: Colbert, Meldora, and Deleria. A conflict between the two trios resulted in the destruction of the Big A, source of the power of creation. Residents of the planet have also been victims of this war, including the Celestial Ninja race. Among the few survivors, Iyo, a little blue ninja who speaks very little. Nearly 600 years after the battle, he is determined to rebuild The Big A. To do this, he and his friends scour Ataria for the artifacts that were constructed from the pieces of The Big A.
“In The Universe is a Ninja, magic no longer exists. There is no more fantasy, everything is drab. Even the gods have lost their power, underlines the cartoonist. I imagined how a god with a big head of object could remake his life, for example Luceta who directs his company. »
Each volume features a god. The people of Ataria perpetuate the belief that the first three creators meant good and the other three inspired only evil, but as the story progresses, this notion becomes more nuanced.
“Agent Jean ends with the bad guy winning, which doesn’t happen often. I’ve noticed that young readers are so unused to seeing this that they ask me who’s good and who’s bad. I tell them that both can be both and that provokes interesting thoughts,” he adds.
In the new tome, The White Book, Colbert captures the entire gang, but Iyo manages to escape. However, he finds himself in the hostile crater at the Diodes. In addition to the many dangers that the place conceals, he must face other people, also in search of the artefacts.
“It’s my most action-packed,” says Alex A. The one before ended with Colbert abducting the characters in his airship. The action resumes immediately at this point. It moves a lot, throughout. Then, there is a nice punchy ending, as I like them, to prepare for the last volume. »
Alex A. has been drawing since he was a child. He created his first comics before the age of 10 and the character of Agent Jean was born around this time. The idea for The Universe is a Ninja came to him when he was in his early twenties. “I was having fun creating random characters, and then among them was a blue ninja. His design was that of a classic human ninja, like Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat. Over time, I made it a smaller and cuter character,” says the cartoonist.
Since his characters have lived in his head for years, Alex A. has always imagined them cohabiting in the same universe. “I’m a fan of superheroes and their universes are interconnected. Before doing Agent Jean, I had built a timeline of my future series showing how they were connected. The Universe is a Ninja was at the end. Thinking about it, I realized that it was more interesting to make it the mythology of the creation of the universe, he explains. The gods existed before Agent Jean, and I had already foreseen that Luceta was partly responsible for the creation of the Agency. Everything came together naturally. »
In 2024, after the release of the last volume of The Universe is a Ninja, Alex A. will launch his next series, Ataria. “It is not a direct sequel, even if there are elements of continuity, announces the author. Rather than having a character that evolves in a universe, each volume will explore a different character in a different world. The first will feature a character called Alex who looks a lot like me. That’s all I can say for now. »