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SAN DIEGO -- J.T. Krul's first creator-owned book, Mindfield, was announced on Saturday at Aspen Comics panel at Comic-Con International.

The Continuum talked to Krul for the first insights into the series:

The Continuum: What is the concept of Mindfield?

Krul: In today's world, America is threatened not by powerful nation-states an ocean away, but by violent fanatical sects operating inside the border. In order to combat the increasing threat of domestic terrorism, the CIA has reached into its past arsenal and revived MK:ULTRA, a long-defunct program that experimented with hallucinogenic drugs in order to create enlightened agents with paranormal psychic abilities. In its new incarnation called Project: Cobalt, the CIA has developed literal thought police, who monitor the secrets of the general public and neutralize potential dangers before it is too late.

From a policy standpoint, the program is a rousing success, but the agents themselves tell a different story -- or at least those that survived the experiment. The agents that endured have damaged psyches and are constantly bombarded with the mental sewage of those around them. Reading minds might be a good power in a comic book, but in reality it merely uncovers all the psychological bile that most people would rather forget.

On one level, Mindfield is a straight-up action-espionage story in the vein of 24 and the Bourne Identity, as the telepathic agents hunt down and neutralize terrorist threats. On another level though, the story explores the darker reaches of the human condition as the agents are forced to confront the secrets buried deep in their minds and the minds of those around them.

The Continuum: Who are the main characters?

Krul: While there is an entire team working in the CIA's secret project, the two main characters are Connor and Erika. Connor was a naive kid from a small town, who thought he had his life all figured out as his college graduation neared. All that changed when his family died in a car accident. He spent the next several years eking his way along in a daze, but when the nation suffered a massive terrorist attack, he regained a sense of purpose and joined the CIA. He wanted nothing more than to do his part to keep the country safe. Now that he's been through the program, Connor is haunted by his abilities, as he tries to cope with his new reality. He's a broken man, who is simply trying to pick up the pieces and keep moving. Erika was always determined to work in law enforcement. Growing up in L.A., she saw too many people around her fall into the life of gangs, crime, and drugs. For her, the world is black and white, with no gray area in-between - the gray area is just the slide that leads to disaster. She opted out of the police force and joined the CIA because she wanted to make a difference on a national scale. She's a hard-ass, no nonsense woman, who doesn't feel the need to spend her time complaining about the trapping of her new assignment. She's just as plagued as the others, if not more so, but she sucks it up.

The Continuum: How does this compare with your previous work at Aspen?

Krul: I think this is quite a departure from my other work at Aspen, and a departure from Aspen in general. In titles such as Fathom and Soulfire, there is a sweeping notion of good vs. evil as the main characters on clearly on their own hero's journey. With Mindfield, the landscape is a murky. The characters are flawed and vulnerable and not always looking to do the right thing. They may do heroic things at times, but they are damaged goods and sooner or later they might have to pay a heavy price for the abilities they've gained.

The Continuum: How would you describe the look of the series?

Krul: For this story, we're thrilled to have a talented new artist named Alex Konat. He's been a staple in the Aspen Booth at the conventions for the past few years as he's been developing his work. Alex brings an incredible sense of realism to the book. He recently penciled the Gotham Gazette story over at DC. Beyond his artistic ability, Alex is simply a great person, which can make all the difference as you try to put together the best book possible. The book itself will have a very realistic style in terms of tone and style. It's a dark, gritty story and the art will reflect that.

The Continuum: Do you envision this as a long-term comics property? Could you see if going to other media?

Krul: I sure hope so. This is a story I've been working for years and this first volume is really just the tip of the iceberg. I've plotted this thing out a great deal and there is a definite scope and path to the story and the characters that could last for years.

As for seeing it in other media, absolutely, but right now I'm just excited about putting together the best comic I can.

The Continuum: What else do you have coming up? More from Aspen ... and DC?

Krul: I have a lot going on right now. Fathom volume three will be wrapping up later this summer, and I'll start writing volume four before the end of the year. As for Soulfire, the New World Order mini-series is in full swing, and volume two will premier this fall. I'm really excited for people to see the work Marcus To has been doing on it. Over at DC, I'm stoked about the upcoming release of Blackest Night: Titans in August. Plus, I'm talking to them about a few other things, but nothing to announce just yet.

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