Digging Into Dead Space: The Supplemental Materials (Pt. 1)

For anyone out there with an interest beyond just blasting the limbs off Necromorphs, there's a plethora of supplemental material that fleshes out (no pun intended) the world that has been created around Dead Space.  How much?  Well, to give an example, the range of material that has been released so far includes a comic book series (Dead Space), two films (Dead Space: Downfall and Dead Space: Aftermath), a novel (Dead Space: Martyr), a graphic novel (Dead Space: Salvage), and five video games (Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Dead Space: Extraction, Dead Space for iPhone/iPad and Dead Space: Ignition).  All of those materials, plus additional audio and text logs within the games, span the course of some 300 YEARS WORTH OF FICTION!!! 
 
300 years, folks!  To put that in perspective, that length of time in American history covers the founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620 to around the beginning of the Great Depression in the 1930s.  Sure, there are universes like Star Wars, Star Trek, and even Mass Effect that cover a massive frame of time beyond that, but it's interesting that a franchise like Dead Space would have this deep of a fiction.  Nonetheless, it means that there can be a dilemma when digging into these materials:  where do you start? 
 
Even if you do know where to start, many may ask "what's the importance of anything besides what happens with Isaac Clarke?".  While the struggles that Isaac must go through are what many know as "Dead Space", there is so much beyond it that many don't realize.  For instance, why was the Ishimura at Aegis 7?  What's the deal with so much mining and digging in the universe?  How does Unitology play into all of this? 
 
Well, fear not!  Over the next week or two, I'll be doing some regular blogs to get you immersed in the world without having to spend an arm and a leg on a ton of materials...unless you really want to.  Seriously, I'm not kidding.  The price for a hardcover copy of the original Dead Space comics runs you a minimum of about $100 used...and up to $1,200 brand new and still sealed!!! 
 
****WARNING!  This blog may contain spoilers to any and/or all of the games, books, comics, and other forms of media in the Dead Space universe.***  
  

The Resource Wars

The reason for all of the mining and resource digging is simple:  The Resource Wars.  After the last bit of resources were drained from Earth, people and...more importantly...corporations needed to find a new way to get resources.  In turn, planet-cracking was invented.  This was achieved with massive ships, but because of the lack of resources and the race to find new ones, war broke out.  Multi-factional divides began springing up, and the height of the Resource Wars took place on Scorpio 6, a human colony.  Three factions fought, but in the end, it proved useless for everyone involved.  The Resource Wars were largely ended by the year 2508, which leads all the up to the beginning of the first Dead Space game.  The war raged on for the better part of at least 80 years.   
 
Materials related to The Resource Wars include the original Dead Space six-issue limited series, Dead Space: Downfall, and Dead Space: Extraction.
 

The Founding of Unitology by Michael Altman  

Before the Resource Wars kicked into high gear, Michael Altman was part of a secret research project to decipher and translate the findings of the Black Marker, the original alien artifact that was discovered in the early 2200's.  As he continued to decipher it, he found that it caused intense visions and violence amongst most that came in close proximity of it...well, except to him.  Because of this non-reaction, Altman was seen by many as a prophet.  In the wake of this, Altman founded the religion of Unitology and exposed the existence of the Black Marker to the people of the universe.  Shortly after, he was assassinated by the Earth Government for outing the existence of alien life.  In order to make it work to their benefit, Earthgov had Altman killed by a necromorph in order to make him look like a martyr.  Because of his martyrdom, Altman's beliefs in Unitology led a large social movement that created the Church of Scientology, which believed that the Black Marker was a gift from God.  By the time that the Red Marker was reverse-engineered from the Black Marker about 100 years after the discovery of the Black Marker, Unitology had become a interstellar religion. 
 
Materials related to Michael Altman include Dead Space: Martyr, while material pertaining to Unitology spans the majority of the material in the Dead Space franchise.
 
 
Stay tuned for next week when we'll be discussing the significance of the USG Ishimura and the Markers.
7 Comments
7 Comments
Edited by jakob187

For anyone out there with an interest beyond just blasting the limbs off Necromorphs, there's a plethora of supplemental material that fleshes out (no pun intended) the world that has been created around Dead Space.  How much?  Well, to give an example, the range of material that has been released so far includes a comic book series (Dead Space), two films (Dead Space: Downfall and Dead Space: Aftermath), a novel (Dead Space: Martyr), a graphic novel (Dead Space: Salvage), and five video games (Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Dead Space: Extraction, Dead Space for iPhone/iPad and Dead Space: Ignition).  All of those materials, plus additional audio and text logs within the games, span the course of some 300 YEARS WORTH OF FICTION!!! 
 
300 years, folks!  To put that in perspective, that length of time in American history covers the founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620 to around the beginning of the Great Depression in the 1930s.  Sure, there are universes like Star Wars, Star Trek, and even Mass Effect that cover a massive frame of time beyond that, but it's interesting that a franchise like Dead Space would have this deep of a fiction.  Nonetheless, it means that there can be a dilemma when digging into these materials:  where do you start? 
 
Even if you do know where to start, many may ask "what's the importance of anything besides what happens with Isaac Clarke?".  While the struggles that Isaac must go through are what many know as "Dead Space", there is so much beyond it that many don't realize.  For instance, why was the Ishimura at Aegis 7?  What's the deal with so much mining and digging in the universe?  How does Unitology play into all of this? 
 
Well, fear not!  Over the next week or two, I'll be doing some regular blogs to get you immersed in the world without having to spend an arm and a leg on a ton of materials...unless you really want to.  Seriously, I'm not kidding.  The price for a hardcover copy of the original Dead Space comics runs you a minimum of about $100 used...and up to $1,200 brand new and still sealed!!! 
 
****WARNING!  This blog may contain spoilers to any and/or all of the games, books, comics, and other forms of media in the Dead Space universe.***  
  

The Resource Wars

The reason for all of the mining and resource digging is simple:  The Resource Wars.  After the last bit of resources were drained from Earth, people and...more importantly...corporations needed to find a new way to get resources.  In turn, planet-cracking was invented.  This was achieved with massive ships, but because of the lack of resources and the race to find new ones, war broke out.  Multi-factional divides began springing up, and the height of the Resource Wars took place on Scorpio 6, a human colony.  Three factions fought, but in the end, it proved useless for everyone involved.  The Resource Wars were largely ended by the year 2508, which leads all the up to the beginning of the first Dead Space game.  The war raged on for the better part of at least 80 years.   
 
Materials related to The Resource Wars include the original Dead Space six-issue limited series, Dead Space: Downfall, and Dead Space: Extraction.
 

The Founding of Unitology by Michael Altman  

Before the Resource Wars kicked into high gear, Michael Altman was part of a secret research project to decipher and translate the findings of the Black Marker, the original alien artifact that was discovered in the early 2200's.  As he continued to decipher it, he found that it caused intense visions and violence amongst most that came in close proximity of it...well, except to him.  Because of this non-reaction, Altman was seen by many as a prophet.  In the wake of this, Altman founded the religion of Unitology and exposed the existence of the Black Marker to the people of the universe.  Shortly after, he was assassinated by the Earth Government for outing the existence of alien life.  In order to make it work to their benefit, Earthgov had Altman killed by a necromorph in order to make him look like a martyr.  Because of his martyrdom, Altman's beliefs in Unitology led a large social movement that created the Church of Scientology, which believed that the Black Marker was a gift from God.  By the time that the Red Marker was reverse-engineered from the Black Marker about 100 years after the discovery of the Black Marker, Unitology had become a interstellar religion. 
 
Materials related to Michael Altman include Dead Space: Martyr, while material pertaining to Unitology spans the majority of the material in the Dead Space franchise.
 
 
Stay tuned for next week when we'll be discussing the significance of the USG Ishimura and the Markers.
Posted by YoctoYotta

Cool, interesting summary, consider me a new follower.

Edited by NTM

Yeah, glad to know someone else cares about the story of all things Dead Space. The Dead Space Wikia has a lot of stuff on the entirety of the series. Dead Space is my favorite sci-fi universe along side something like Alien/Aliens. You could just send people to the sources of all these interesting (and immersive) backstories instead of writing a lot down to save time. Then again, I approve of this since it makes others think of Dead Space more. All I have to do now is watch Aftermath. 
 
http://deadspace.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page    
Posted by jakob187
@NTM I could send people there, but that means that we have less to discuss. Moreover, this is very much a summarized thing in order to inform the very basics of what expanded people would need to know in order to get all the crazy references in the games.
Posted by sarahsdad

Cool stuff. I'm glad you're posting this up. I like to have some of the back story of what's going on here. It seemed especially strange to me that anyone would re-create the marker, considering what it does, so knowing there's at least one person it didn't effect is cool. 
 
The mention of 300 years reminds me of something I read years ago about Babylon5. I may be mis-remembering but it was something about how the creator had mapped out about 500 years both before and after the span of the show, to make sure that there was some weight behind what the viewer was seeing. It's cool that the DeadSpace team bothered to flesh all that out as well.
 
Anyhow, thanks again for posting this stuff up; looking forward to more.

Posted by jakob187
@sarahsdad: Don't be mistaken.  The Black Marker still had an effect on Altman.  However, he was able to resist the urges of madness that it would bring on.  In turn, he wasn't "affected".  
Posted by JeanLuc
@jakob187: A couple of your facts in your "Founding of Unitology" section are wrong. 
First off you wrote the " Church of Scientology" in one sentence. 
Second, Altman  never founded Unitology. Because he wasn't effected by the Marker all the people on his research team started to worship him as a prophet. They believed the Marker and the Necromorphs  were the secret  to human immortality and formed a cult. Altman was terrified  of the cult and wanted no part in it. Altman was simply trying to worn the world about how the government was keeping proof of alien life a secret. It was the  distorted  minds of the cultists, combined with his murder by the government that led to Unitology. 
 
Otherwise great job. I've always been confused about some of the plot points in the Dead Space story, so maybe your blogs will help.