Dark Horse Comics, June, 2016
Writer: Van Jensen
American publisher Dark Horse Comics’ “Cryptocracy” tackles the concept of shadow governments through a story about the so-called “Nine Families”. This group have, since time immemorial, watched from the shadows and manipulated major historical events from behind the scenes. The Nine Families saw themselves as shepherds of humankind, halting or accelerating civilization’s progress as they see fit. (For those familiar with Brian Azzarello’s “100 Bullets” (Vertigo Comics, 1999-2009), the concept evokes The Trust, a group of thirteen families who essentially control the United States.)
The first issue is spent mostly on world-building, introducing the hierarchy and power structure of the world within the comic through an “onion” model; the outermost layer being the 7+ billion humans on Earth, and the core consisting of the Elders and Priests of the Nine Families. Between them are various categorizations ranging from rank and file agents to high ranking, senior members of the families.