19 Jan

‘Girls of Dimension 13’ Brings a Magic Twist to Comics

The comic book miniseries comes from the creative team of Graham Nolan and Bret Blevins.

AfterShock Comics’ latest launch sees a couple of fan-favorite creators take a number of familiar tropes in unexpected directions, as four women come together to deal with a supernatural threat without even knowing it in the upcoming Girls of Dimension 13.

“As the father of three daughters, I wanted to do a story about girl empowerment with the visual craziness of (Steve) Ditko’s Doctor Strange, but with the heart and warmth of the classic Alex Kotzky comic strip The Girls of Apt. 3-G,” writer Graham Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter when talking about the origins of the book.

The series, Nolan explained, centers around the four young women brought together — via a mysterious invitation — to a building in New York City that is far more than it seems at first glance.

“The building is a nexus point, a portal to the 12 other dimensions,” Nolan said. “A malevolent force known as Abraxis binds these dimensions together, enslaving them to his will. For centuries, the portal has been guarded by a gatekeeper to prevent the forces of evil on the other side from gaining access to the world we know… Now, the gatekeeper, Anna Nightlinger is missing and the only thing standing in Abraxis’ way is four young women with powers and abilities they don’t even know they have… for now!”

Nolan, whose career includes work on DC’s Hawkworld, Detective Comicsand his own Monster Island, as well as co-creating the Batman villain Bane, is teaming with another comic book veteran, Bret Blevins (New Mutants, Harley Quinn, Superman Adventures), for the new series. Look below for samples of Blevins’ art from the first issue, as well as Blevins’ cover for the issue, and Nolan’s artwork for the variant cover. All art is colored by Greg Wright.

Girls of Dimension 13 launches digitally and in comic book stores April 21.

12 Jan

Read a Preview of Horror Comic ‘Phantom on the Scan’

The new AfterShock Comics series from writer Cullen Bunn promises new takes on familiar psychic power stories.

The next generation of psychic warfare is at the heart of AfterShock Comics’ new series Phantom on the Scan — as long as it doesn’t kill its main characters first.

Two decades after a comet fell to Earth and gave a substantial number of people psychic powers, a group of six psychics have joined together to bring an end to their gift — especially as it can exhaust the life force of the user each time the powers are employed. What they haven’t realized is that a terrible secret connects them to each other, as well as to the mysterious Trellux Institute.

The series offers a new take on psychic powers, and how they can be portrayed, writer Cullen Bunn promised.

“You’ll see a lot of different psychic powers in the book — you might be familiar with some, others might be a little new to you,” he explained. “The ways different characters use their gifts will show some new angles to those ideas you’re familiar with. Our lead character, Matt, is perhaps the most unique: Matt is an omnipath — he possesses many, many psychic powers. All of his powers manifest through ‘a little dead boy’ — a ghost-like figure that accompanies him, invisibly, everywhere he goes. This ghost, Dorian, is decaying. Every time Matt uses a power, Dorian rots more and more, a symbol of how the powers are killing the user.”

Beyond citing Stephen King as an influence, the writer has an unexpected couple of further inspirations for the series. “My father was a professional hypnotist and he had a deep fascination with the powers of the mind that he imparted to me,” he admitted. “But… let’s be honest… at the age of 11 or 12 I somehow saw Cronenberg’s masterpiece Scanners. I’m not sure how I managed to see it. But that head-exploding story of psychic powers stuck with me ever since. So, yes, it’s a big influence. I have been inspired by the potentially deadly nature of mental powers… deadly to the people that possess them… as a horror theme for some time.”

The series re-teams Bunn with artist Mark Torres, following their 2018 collaboration, Cold Spots.

“Mark is going all out to bring creepiness to the page, and beyond the page. He’s even composing soundtracks for the comic, as he did with Cold Spots,” Bunn said. “The moodiness and ambience of Mark’s art helped shape Phantom of the Scan into the dark sci-fi horror story that it is! I crafted the series in a way that I thought would really give Mark lots of room to scare the hell out of us!”

The series launches digitally and in comic book stores April 14. Look below for sneak peeks at Torres’ art from the first issue, as well as his cover for the issue alongside artist Juan Doe’s incentive variant cover.

 

 

 

 

 

05 Jan

How ‘Project Patron’ Deconstructs the Death and Return of Superman

Writer Steve Orlando’s new AfterShock Comics series explores the possibilities of what happens after the world’s greatest hero seemingly returns from the dead.

What if the world’s greatest superhero wasn’t quite as invincible as he seemed? Writer Steve Orlando explores the disturbing possibilities behind that question with his latest project, the AfterShock Comics series Project Patron.

“When the world loses its greatest hero, those in power fear what we’ll do without him, so they bring him back to life the best they can and replace him with a Reploid. This is the story of the team that pilots that Reploid, the people secretly behind the Patron’s continued heroism, and the incredible sacrifices they make,” Orlando explained. “Piloting the Patron Reploid might be the greatest thrill in history, but it comes at a price: total anonymity, and a gig where every flight knocks a year off your life. The pressures on the team are enormous… so when a tragedy strikes at the heart of Project Patron, the world hangs in the balance as the greatest secret in modern history trembles on the brink of revelation.”

Orlando, whose resume includes DC’s Wonder Woman and Justice League of America in addition to his own Commanders in Crisis, said that the new series is “Curt Swan’s Superman meets Mobile Suit Gundam, combining two iconic storytelling modes to create a new one.” It’s also a deconstruction of the classic 1990s storyline The Death of Superman, rebuilding it into a conspiracy theory that asks questions about the nature of heroism.

“This is an action thriller for the present moment, where nothing is what it seems, so much we feel is real is artificial, and altruism is often greed in a well-designed mask,” the writer argued. “We want to think heroes like the Patron are real, but as with most myths ancient and modern, there’s nothing but men and women behind the wonder. And that might be scary, but it should be empowering. We make the heroes happen.”

The series, illustrated by Patrick Piazzalunga — “his designs subvert expectations and give everything a lived-in, organic, rough-tech feel that sells the true emotional and physical toll of piloting the Patron Reploid,” Orlando says, adding, “it’s perfect, and Patrick is the heart of this book” — launches April 7.

Look below for a sneak peek at Pizzalunga’s work from the first issue, as well as David Talaksi and Aaron Lopresti’s covers for the issue.

 

15 Dec

Aftershock Undone By Blood Miniseries Preview

FIRST LOOK AT LATEST ‘UNDONE BY BLOOD’ ARC, THE COMIC SERIES OPTIONED BY NORMAN REEDUS

Galloping into comic shops for 2021 in a gritty cloud of dust and with six-guns blazing, AfterShock Comics’ vengeful Western seriesUndone By Blood, is hoping to ignite another powderkeg of intense storytelling as it begins a fresh arc, The Other Side Of Eden — and SYFY WIRE has roped in an exclusive first look at the premiere issue alongside comments from writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson (The Dregs, X-Men, Her Infernal Descent) and artist Sami Kivela (Tommy Gun Wizards).

The creative team’s first five-part chapter of Undone By Blood and its two-fisted tales has already drawn the attention of The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, who optioned the property back in September and will executive produce and star in an upcoming TV adaptation for AMC Studios, Undone by Blood or The Shadow of a Wanted Man.

The original title tracks the Western revenge tale of Ethel Grady Lane, a troubled young lady who returns to her hardcore hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona in 1971, intent on killing the man who murdered her family.

Nadler, Thompson, Kivela, and colorist Jason Wordie are back in the saddle for Undone by Blood or The Other Side of Eden, the follow-up yarn launching on Mar. 3, 2021. The story follows Silvano Luna Del Rio, a postman working in Buttar, Texas in the early 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression as the Midwestern Dust Bowl begins to form.

Reeling from a shattered past, with only a revolver and a pulpy Western novel to his name, Silvano embarks on a quest to take back from the country that stole so much from him by robbing the first skyscraper West of the Mississippi. However, acts of retribution are never so simple, as his target is home to a radical fraternal brotherhood hiding their own grim secrets.

At Silvano’s constant side is a rumpled Old West novel starring famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. As both yarns unspool simultaneously in classic Undone By Blood style, the mythic Western informs key choices in reality, for better or worse.

In researching this next chapter of Undone By Blood, Thompson started with a deep dive into post Great Depression America and looking at the effects of Herbert Hoover’s presidency.

“The early 1930’s were a lot like today in many ways,” he tells SYFY WIRE. “So we wanted to ensure there was a general sense that you were walking through a recovering world. A country in transition. Where everyone was essentially out for themselves. Then, I revisited one of my favorite noir novels, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest — which was published in 1929 and features a really gritty take on what it was like to live during that era. Hammett himself was a private eye during that time, and he had a really incredible understanding of Great Depression America that can be felt on every page of this new arc.”

For Nadler, dealing with such a notable period in American history like the Great Depression necessitated authenticity, especially while tackling this through the lens of a character who hails from a different cultural background than our own.

“Undone by Blood has always been about the way fiction and myth influences the real world, and a big part of our job is ensuring that the non-fictional elements are as authentic and accurate as possible,” he explains to SYFY WIRE. “So, for this arc, we researched everything from architectural developments in the West, to Mexican/American conflicts, to the entire history of the United States Postal Service.

“While we try not to be didactic, all of this research gets tossed in our narrative blender and can be found in the story and either directly influences the plot or becomes part of the background tapestry in the hopes of creating a rich, darkly comic, and fully realized world. By bringing readers back to the past, we believe it helps to process the uncannily similar issues that plague our present.”

As for the art, Kivela brings an atmospheric style to the series that evokes a specific period and mood inspired by vintage Westerns.

“Research plays a very important role in my work too, and although I don’t draw realistically, I try to keep things quite real and recognizable,” Kivela reveals to SYFY WIRE. “Maybe that’s what — in addition to my liking for thick and rough ink lines — gives my art an old-fashioned vibe. And of course, Jason’s awesome colors are a big part of the book. His watercolor style really helps to evoke the classic Western feel.”

Now enjoy our exclusive peek at AfterShock’s Undone By Blood or The Other Side of Eden #1 in the full gallery below.

 

08 Dec

How ‘Bequest’ Channels ‘Dungeons & Dragons’-Style Fantasy

The new series from AfterShock Comics reunites creators Tim Seeley and Freddie E. Williams II.

The crossover between the fantasy world and the real world gets increasingly messy in AfterShock Comics’ upcoming series Bequest, as a group of warriors set out to shut down the black market linking the two lands together.

“It’s the story of a band of adventures from a Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy world who have been stationed on our world to do a very specific job — stop the black market trade of magic items for technology,” writer Tim Seeley (Dark Red, Rightwing) explained when asked about the book’s focus.

“I love fantasy — I spent a good portion of my career drawing The Dark Elfadaptations by R.A. Salvatore — and I wanted to smash together the tropes of that genre with the world we live in today. Our ‘heroes’ are essentially thieves, as they steal treasure. How does a character like that play in modern America, a place teetering between ‘woke’ liberalism and ignorant conservatism?”

The series reunites Seeley with artist Freddie E. Williams II, years after their work together on DC’s Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe.

“Tim and I really clicked when we worked together on Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe, so, even during that project I started asking him if he had some creator ideas that we might be able to flesh out together, and that’s how things got started,” Williams said.

It’s not the only reunion for the artist on the series.

“Jeremy Colwell and I have worked together for the last several years, he’s an expert at coloring ink wash and now, on Bequest, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what he’s brought coloring my Pen & Ink work,” Williams continued. “It’s cool when you’re working with somebody for years and then they continue to surprise you with the variety of skills. And Mike Marts is an editor I worked with at both DC and Marvel, and it’s awesome working with him again.”

Bequest launches March 17. Keep reading for a preview of Williams’ art from the first issue, colored by Colwell.

10 Nov

Alternate History Comic ‘Nuclear Family’ in the Works

The new AfterShock series imagines an different take on the nuclear paranoia of 1950s America.

What would have happened if the 1950s Cold War had gotten far less cold? AfterShock Comics’ new series Nuclear Family attempts to answer that question with a story about a Korean War veteran and his family who have to deal with a nuclear war literally in their own back yard.

The series, based on the Philip K. Dick short Breakfast at Twilight, is “about a family that seems like the ideal nuclear family in the 1950s,” explained writer Stephanie Phillips. “But, when an unexpected nuclear attack happens on US soil, they find themselves propelled into an alternate future where the US has fled into underground bunkers in an unending nuclear war. The family struggles with this grim outlook of their future, while also trying to find a way home.”

Phillips said that Nuclear Family is “really a collaboration with artist Tony Shasteen. We have tried to create a really weird vision for this nuclear future that is unlike anything that we have seen in apocalyptic fiction to this point,” citing not only Dick, but also The Twilight Zone as inspirations.

“We really tried to create family tension to see how this family reacts to unreal and horrific scenarios,” Phillips said. “It’s really interesting to see this family of four change as they are put through these trials.”

Nuclear Family launches Feb. 24 digitally and in print. Look below for preview artwork from the first issue, by Tony Shasteen and colorist J.D. Mettler.

30 Oct

AfterShock Media, Alibi In Deal To Unite Creative Talent with Original Comic IP

AfterShock Media – a partnership of indie comic publisher AfterShock Comics and distribution company Rive Gauche — have formed a joint venture with literary management firm Alibi.

The deal unites Alibi’s roster of writing talent with AfterShock Comics expansive IP library. It will also cut the other way, nurturing new AfterShock Comic talent with the opportunity to be represented by Alibi.

AfterShock Comics publishes series including Animosity, Dark Red, Babyteeth, A Walk Through Hell and recently Dead Day from Ryan Parrott, We Live by the Miranda Brothers, and new release The Kaiju Score from James Patrick.

Alibi Entertainment, founded and led by literary talent manager Jake Wagner, will provide AfterShock with a wide roster of top-caliber writers for current and future properties.

“Jake has a fantastic roster of writers for AfterShock comic collaborations … cutting down the development process by pre-packaging various properties,” said Lee Kramer, President of AfterShock Comics & Film/TV at Rive Gauche. “Jake’s clients will provide us a steady flow of new comic ideas; and, from time to time, AfterShock creators who aspire to transition to film and TV could find a home with Alibi, as Jake is the perfect partner to help in this evolution.”

Said Wagner: “AfterShock has exceptional taste in material and I’m looking forward to helping their efforts to package and shop fresh IP in the marketplace while continuing to discover and guide creators in both screenwriting and comics.”

Rive Gauche and AfterShock merged in early October.

Rive Gauche distributes TV series globally including Homicide KillerSomething’s Killing MeVery Scary PeopleDog Whisperer with Cesar MillanIce Cold KillerMy Strange Addiction and My Crazy Obsession. It has a portfolio of 1,700-plus hours of unscripted programming and docu series. With AfterShock, it aims to expand into original scripted content creation and conversion of original comic IP into film, television, video games and podcasts.

20 Oct

How ‘I Breathed a Body’ Mixes Social Media and Supernatural Horror

The new comic is from writer Zac Thompson, who spent years working with YouTube influencers.

AfterShock Comics’ latest series centers around the dangers posed by social media and the internet — and, given that this is a horror series, those dangers are not exactly what audiences might be expecting.

I Breathed A Body is, according to writer Zac Thompson, “a supernatural horror book set in Silicon Valley about the voyeurism of violence. Thanks to social media, we’ve become prepared to see death and despair at any moment. Modern social networks are a relentless barrage of provocative content designed to keep us outraged, engaged, and fearful. This book is an indictment of the Big Tech companies who engender and profit from this vitriolic environment.”

Specifically, it’s about Anne Stewart, the social media manager of Mylo Caliban, an extremely successful online personality and self-styled prankster, who’s posted something almost unspeakably horrific — something that Anne now has to try to deal with the fallout from, even as it pushes her in even more terrifying directions.

“Before coming to comics, I worked with YouTube influencers for years. I was a video producer creating content and attempting to leverage the labyrinthine algorithms that keep viewers engaged. Since then, the landscape of social media has changed for the worse,” Thompson explained. “This series will explore the ramifications of our collective moral outrage, its role in society, how/if it can affect change, and what it means to worship content above all else. If nothing is famous for longer than five minutes, does anything matter anymore?”

The series has some specific influences, the writer revealed. “I wanted to take everything I love about [Clive Barker’s] The Hellbound Heart and push it into the modern era with a distinct ‘alt-future’ lens,” Thompson said. “I’m also channeling the work of Alex Garland taking inspiration from his recent show Devs. But also leaning into some of my recent obsessions in the world of weird fiction like Jeff VanderMeer, Yoko Ogawa, and Thomas Ligotti to build a strange, horrific, and surreal world. There’s also plenty of David Cronenberg influence, and a little of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games at play.”

The series will be illustrated by Andy MacDonald, whose work Thompson described as “stunning,” with colors from Triona Farrell. The two, Thompson said, are “an outstanding team. The shiny sun-drenched world of San Francisco and the dark and moody underbelly of horror beneath it all. Andy’s linework is confident and detailed to create a rich world that slowly coils around you, while Triona’s colors act as this radiant and brilliant lure.”

I Breathed A Body will launch January 20, 2021, digitally and in comic book stores. Look below for a preview of artwork from the first issue, as well as MacDonald and Farrell’s cover to the issue, as well as Trevor Henderson’s variant cover.

 

05 Oct

AfterShock Comics Merges with Distributor Rive Gauche

The independent comics publisher is partnering with the television distributor to form AfterShock Media.

AfterShock Comics, the independent publisher behind such titles as Animosity, Babyteeth and Witch Hammer, has announced a merger with television production and distribution company Rive Gauche, with the resultant combined entity called AfterShock Media.

The new company will focus on AfterShock’s library of properties — including The Kaiju Score and Undone by Blood, both of which are currently in development for the big and small screen, respectively — with an eye to move them into new formats, including television, film, narrative podcasts and gaming. Rive Gauche CEO Jon Kramer will take the role of CEO at AfterShock Media.

“Today is a milestone day for both Rive Gauche and AfterShock Comics, two companies I’ve had the pleasure of building alongside amazing visionaries, colleagues and collaborators,” Kramer said in a statement. “The significance of this strategic union cannot be understated because our ground-breaking, diverse comic IP will now have a team to support and drive its growth into TV, film, gaming and podcasts, fueled by the development, production and distribution of both scripted and unscripted content. Rive Gauche and I were looking for a way to reenter the scripted space because we saw an insatiable appetite with the proliferation of channels.”

AfterShock Comics will continue to be led by chief creative officer and publisher Joe Pruett, president Lee Kramer, and editor-in-chief Mike Marts. Lee Kramer will head up AfterShock’s film and television division. Marine Ksadzhikyan has been promoted inside Rive Gauche to the role of chief operating officer and EVP of sales, while also talking on the role of head of business development and strategy at AfterShock Media.

 

 

 

29 Sep

Post-Apocalyptic Comic ‘Scout’s Honor’ in the Works

The new series from AfterShock will launch in January 2021.

AfterShock Comics wants its readers to be prepared for the very worst in indie writer David Pepose’s post-apocalyptic thriller Scout’s Honor.At the heart of the series is a cult that has built itself in the aftermath of a nuclear war, with one artifact of the before-times as its guiding light: a Boy Scouts manual. But the series lead, Kit, has a secret that could upend the entire society in one fell swoop.“In a harsh survivalist society that only allows men to serve, Kit has concealed her identity as a woman to pursue her calling as a Ranger Scout,” writer Pepose (Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel) teased. “But when she makes a shocking discovery dating back to the Ranger Scouts’ conception, Kit will be forced to reexamine everything she once believed, as she struggles to survive both her fellow Ranger Scouts and the radioactive horrors of the Colorado Badlands.”

Although the series has multiple influences from the world of media — “The best way for me to describe Scout’s Honor is like Fallout meets Mulanmeets The Handmaid’s Tale,” Pepose joked — the roots of the story are far more personal, as it turns out.

“Ultimately, my biggest inspiration behind the series was watching my two younger brothers serve as Boy Scouts — from their uniforms to their manuals to their bylaws, the Boy Scouts as an organization has this kind of pageantry and regulations that can often feel religious,” the writer explained. “The idea of history being like a game of telephone felt like some exciting narrative territory to explore, and the idea of the Boy Scout ethos mutating into this hyper-masculine survivalist cult felt eerily plausible given the state of the world today … Whether it takes weeks or hundreds of years, eventually the truth will come out — and having to reorient yourself in the face of these startling revelations can be challenging and painful. Thankfully for Kit, the most important Ranger Scout law is to always be prepared.”

Scout’s Honor will be illustrated by Luca Casalanguida (Image Comics’ Lost Soldiers), with colors from Matt Milla and letters by Carlos M. Mangual. The first issue will be released Jan. 6, 2021, with covers by Andy Clarke with Jose Villarrubia, and Brent Schoonover. Look below for images from that issue by Casalanguida and Milla, as well as Clarke and Villarrubia’s cover for the issue.

 

 

 

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