29 Jun

AfterShock Announces Fast Food Thriller “Chicken Devil”

 

AfterShock Comics have announced “Chicken Devil,” a comedy thriller set in the world of fast food, by writer Brian Buccellato (“Detective Comics,” “The Flash”), artist Hayden Sherman (“Cold War,” “Wasted Space”), and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The book revolves around Mitchell Moss, a happily married father-of-two, and co-owner of the Memphis chain of Hot Chicken restaurants, who discovers his business partner owes the Russian mob $2 million. After his family are attacked, Mitch dons the mantle of the Chicken Devil to fight back.

Buccellato described the book as a “dark tragicomedy that puts an edgy spin on the revenge/vigilante genre,” tonally similar to a Quentin Tarantino film, AMC’s Fargo, HBO’s Barry, or Netflix/Channel 4’s The End of the F***ing World (itself based on the comic book by Charles Forsman). He said he loves “stories that mix the super violent and the funny,” and that “the humor in my story attempts to do the same thing by taking graphic violence and the revenge movie tropes and putting [them] through a darkly comedic lenses that is 100% my sense of humor.”

He also said he was excited by the “opportunity to showcase a different creative side” to readers than his superhero work, quipping that there are “grounded story reasons why he dons the suit. Reasons that aren’t a bunch of bats inexplicably breaking through his window.” He noted “there are serious relationships and consequences at play… but the experience is intended to be breezy and fun as it plays off well-known crime and revenge genre tropes.”

Issue #1 of “Chicken Devil” will be released online and in comic book shops on October 6, and retail for $4.99. It will be available with an incentive cover by David Lopez, which you can check out with a preview of the art, and the full interview with Buccellato, below:

 

BRIAN BUCCELLATO ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY HE IS EXCITED FOR IT TO COME OUT:

“Chicken Devil is a dark tragicomedy that puts an edgy spin on the revenge/vigilante genre. Our hero, Mitchell Moss is passive, super-responsible and is about as regular as it comes. He’s married, with two children and co-owns a chain of Memphis Hot Chicken restaurants. It’s not the life that screams John Wick or The Punisher… until his world gets turned upside down when the Russian mob hurts his family. So, Mitch sets out on a path of bloody revenge…

But there’s one BIG problem. He’s he is ILL-EQUIPPED to be a badass vigilante. He’s not ex-military or a former assassin… he’s just a regular guy who makes really good chicken. Nevertheless, Mitch dons the chicken-devil suit and give it his best (but probably not good enough) shot.

What excites me most about this book is the that it’s an opportunity to showcase a different creative side (that people will hopefully like). Even though there are literal life-or-death situations, it’s done in a light, more irreverent way. Don’t get me wrong, there are serious relationships and consequences at play… but the experience is intended to be breezy and fun as it plays off well-known crime and revenge genre tropes.”

BRIAN BUCCELLATO ON SOME OF HIS INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:

“I think I was watching a lot of Netflix’s BARRY and THE END OF THE F***KING WORLD at the time. And AMC’s FARGO. There’s something about a darkly comedic world with ‘normal’ people and heightened violence that really plays into my sensibilities. I’ve been known for doing down the middle superhero stuff and horror books… but haven’t really leaned into this weirder side of my tastes. Chicken Devil is a major move in that direction.”

BRIAN BUCCELLATO ON THE BOOK’S DARK HUMOR – WHERE IT CAME FROM AND HOW IT INFORMS THE STORY:

“Like I mentioned earlier, I LOVE stories that mix the super violent and the funny. This probably goes back to the first time I saw RESERVOIR DOGS, TRUE ROMANCE and every Tarantino movie that followed. I’m such a big fan of his work and marvel at his ability to mash up wildly different elements into cohesive narratives that are undeniably his. The juxtaposition of his clever banter and wonderfully dark humor allows us to accept heroin needles, ears getting cut off, or people graphically lit up by flame throwers.

I’m not comparing myself to Quentin— he’s truly a master of what he does… but I think the humor in my story attempts to do the same thing by taking graphic violence and the revenge movie tropes and putting through a darkly comedic lenses that is 100% my sense of humor.”

BRIAN BUCCELLATO ON WHY A CHICKEN MASCOT COSTUME:

“Because ruthless mobsters getting whacked by a clueless dude in a burnt-up chicken costume is hilarious to me. There are also grounded story reasons why he dons the suit. Reasons that aren’t a bunch of bats inexplicably breaking through his window…”

BRIAN BUCCELLATO ON 3 REASONS WHY COMIC FANS SHOULD PICK THIS BOOK UP:

“1. It’s fun and funny and weird in the best possible way. I mean. Haven’t you always wondered what a revenge story would look like if the hero wasn’t John Wick— he was just a motivated regular guy who makes really good chicken?

2. Hayden’s art is masterful and hits the tone perfectly. And his vibrant colors make for a beautiful rendition of Los Angeles that really makes the world of chicken devil its own thing.

3. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering is a thing of beauty. I’m honestly in awe of how inventive his letters are. The playful caption design and his ability to manage the flow and mood of the reading experience is some of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s such added value! Truly the top of the lettering game!”

 

22 Jun

Party & Prey, a new queer thriller coming from Orlando, Foxe and Sanchez

 

A night at the club goes wrong

Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe are at it again at Aftershock, with Party & Prey, a new OGN coming this fall with art by Alex Sanchez, colors by Jauncho! and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. It goes on sale this October.

The story is described as a taboo-breaking queer thriller, with many twists and turns

Alan is used to being ignored by younger guys, so he hardly believes his luck when lithe, handsome Scott makes a move on him in the crowded gay club. But there’s a wolf on the dance floor tonight, and he’s hungry for fresh prey… 

Although there are an increasing number of queer comics out there, Party & Prey sounds a lot darker than most of them, something Orlando and Foxe acknowledge. “There is a very valid, important time and place for affirming, uplifting queer stories, and both of us Steves thankfully get to work on a lot of those, too,” they said in a statement. “But there’s also a need for queer creators to be able to tell other kinds of stories, even those with difficult content or challenging going things to say about the community itself. That’s not to say the book is about gay misery or suffering—far from it, by the time you reach the last pages—but readers who pick up PARTY & PREY are going to find a thrill ride that isn’t afraid to ask some difficult questions.”

Aftershock sent along more quotes from the Steves on what the book is about:

“It’s tough to talk about PARTY & PREY without giving away some key plot details you really shouldn’t know until you’re about 30 pages in, but we’ll do our best: this thriller is about an older gay man named Alan who meets a younger man named Scott at a nightclub and takes him home. The book wouldn’t be a horror-thriller if that summed it all up, though, and there’s much more to this hookup in the making than is immediately obvious…

On a broader level, PARTY & PREY was a chance for the two of us as queer men to tell a grimy, taboo-testing horror story that centers LGBTQ+ men while also addressing the wolves in sheep’s clothing that exist within the community, as well as the way indifference and hate outside of the community can enable those wolves to run wild for far too long. We want to intrigue, we want to offer a wealth of representation, and also admit that we’ve got work to do within the community. When you’ve got a story full of queer folks of all kinds, no character has to be perfect, and that’s when we can get into the provocative storytelling that makes horror so great.”

Foxe and Orlando also wrote the YA graphic novel  Rainbow Bridge for Aftershock’s new YA line, a very different project:

“It’s really a fun fluke of timing that PARTY & PREY comes out just a few months after RAINBOW BRIDGE, because it’d be difficult to find two more different books. While RAINBOW BRIDGE found us Steves channeling an emotionally honest fantasy/adventure story about a boy and his dog, everything stays firmly in the PG range. PARTY & PREY, on the other hand, is a hard R or maybe NC-17, and was a chance for us to explore the darker underbelly of a community we’re both very proud and grateful to be a part of, using some of our favorite horror/thriller storytelling tools. Loving something doesn’t mean ignoring when it’s got some issues to work on, and we’re playing that out in PARTY & PREY as a horror-thriller.”

And here is a preview:

Party & Prey OGN / $17.99 / 112 Pages / Color / 10.06.2021
Writers: Steve Foxe & Steve Orlando
Artist: Alex Sanchez
Colorist: Juancho!
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover: Alex Sanchez w/ Jose Villarrubia

 

15 Jun

Almost American: AfterShock Announces Spy Comic From Neumann, Marz & Castiello

AfterShock Comics announces Almost American, a new spy title written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Marco Castiello from a story by Jan Neumann.

Noah Dominguez, CBR

AfterShock Comics has announced Almost American, a new spy comic created by Janosh “Jan” Neumann. The comic is based on the true story of Neumann and his wife, Victorya, two former Russian spies who defected to the United States in 2008 and provided a significant amount of information to the FBI and CIA, only to be kicked off government payroll and left broke and jobless in Oregon.

Set to launch in September, Almost American is written by Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Silver Surfer) and illustrated by Marco Castiello (Giant-Man, Doom 2099), who are joined on the title by colorist Flavio Dispenza and letterer Rus Wooton. Almost American #1 features a main cover by Wooton, as well as an incentive variant cover by Juan Doe.

Almost American is the real-life story of husband and wife Jan and Victorya Neumann, Russian intelligence operatives who had to flee Russia for their lives, and wound up in America, caught up in the bureaucracy and red tape of the U.S. government,” said Marz. “The story is that much more fascinating because it’s all true. These are real events that happened to real people, and it gives some pretty fascinating insight into the intelligence world works… and doesn’t work. My first professional writing work was as a journalist at a daily newspaper, so in some ways this project was a combination of what I learned as a journalist and what I’ve learned writing comics. It’s filled with details and stories I learned from talking to Jan extensively, the kind of stuff you almost literally could not make up.”

When asked to give three reasons as to why readers should pick up Almost American, Marz stated, “First, it’s a compelling true story. You can tell any kind of story in comics, but we generally tell a lot more fictional stories than true stories. There’s more reportage here than in anything I’ve written. Second, the art by Marco Castiello is fabulous. This is not an easy assignment, drawing real people, real events and real locations, but he’s doing a wonderful job. And third, this is the beginning of… well, a beautiful friendship! You don’t expect to have a Russian former intelligence operative as a friend, but life is strange. We’ve started work on a few other projects together, so I think you’ll be hearing a lot more from us as a team.”

Neumann himself discussed the comic as well, including what inspired him to tell this story. “It’s hard to call it inspiration, I guess it was more of just a desire to share our personal experiences,” he explained. “And to remind readers that there is always hope even if you end up in some really terrible, complicated situations. All you can do is never give up and keep pushing forward.”

Neumann also explained how Almost American plays into today’s political climate. “It’s sad, but we’re heading full throttle to The Cold War 2.0,” he said. “I don’t see anything that can stop this clash between East and West. And that clash is playing out in the shadows, spy vs. spy. Almost American is about those shadow wars and how this game shows no mercy for its players. Once you started to play this game, you can’t quit, and it’s only matter of time before you become yet another casualty.”

Speaking on his time as a Russian spy, Neumann said, “It’s hard to evaluate moments by how scary they were. But the major turning point moment for us occurred when we made the decision to go to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. This moment split our life into two parts: before and after. It was the most psychologically and emotionally complicated, complex, and stressful day we’ve ever experienced. It’s impossible to describe how we felt, and we’ll be reckoning with our decision for the rest of our lives.”

ALMOST AMERICAN #1 / $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / 09.01.21

Writer: Ron Marz

Artist: Marco Castiello

Colorist: Flavio Dispenza

Letterer: Rus Wooton

Cover: Rus Wooton

Incentive Cover: Juan Doe

Spies…like us? In 2008, husband-and-wife Russian intelligence operatives walked into the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic in order to defect, making a deal to trade secrets for new lives. But instead of the American Dream, Janosh and Victorya Neumann found themselves caught up in red tape, bureaucracy and turf wars between the FBI and CIA — all while their past tries to kill them.

Based on the real-life story of real-life spies, ALMOST AMERICAN is written by comics master Ron Marz in close consultation with the Neumanns, with art by rising star Marco Castiello.

Written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Marco Castiello from a story by Jan Neumann, with colors by Flavio Dispenza and letters by Rus Wooton, Almost American #1 goes on sale Sept. 1 from AfterShock Comics.

08 Jun

Search for Hu: Orlando, Tsuei & Rubine Team for Cross-Cultural Action Thriller

Steve Orlando, Jon Tsuei and Rubine are collaborating on a new comic at AfterShock titled Search for Hu, mixing cultural history with a family feud.

Jon Tsuei (Sera and the Royal Stars, RunLoveKill), Steve Orlando (Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Kill a Man, Project Patron) and Rubine are teaming up for Search for Hu, a new action-packed, cross-cultural title at AfterShock Comics.

Search for Hu is a first of its kind cross-cultural action thriller, digging into a shared history of Jewish and Chinese lineage dating back to the Russian Revolution,” Orlando said while describing the series. “It’s about the cultural connections we never expect, something Jon and I discovered together. But that’s the tapestry, the story is about a man, Aaron Tse, who discovers this part of his family’s past in the most explosive way possible: when it comes back to haunt them.”

“After an attack in America, Aaron finds himself embroiled in a revenge tour of the homeland he never considered, and a family he never knew he had,” Orlando continued. “But it’s this very same family that Aaron’s mother left China to escape, and getting to the bottom of his family’s bloody internal feud might leave Aaron nothing but another dead-end on the family tree. SEARCH FOR HU is something I can’t wait to get into people’s hands. It’s the best type of action story, one that thrills you, takes you on a wild ride, and while you’re rooting through every explosive battle, shows you something new.”

“What really excites me about this book aside from the high-octane action and revenge plot is the exploration of my own heritage, something that I haven’t had the opportunity to do in my other comics work,” Tsuei added. “It turns out that the first Russian Jewish immigrants to settle in China ended up in the North-Eastern region of China, where my family was originally from before they ended up in Taiwan. The characters in this book are a reflection of Steve’s own Russian Jewish heritage and my North-Eastern Chinese background. This is a mashup I don’t think we’ve ever seen before in Western comics and I can’t wait for people to dive in.”

SEARCH FOR HU #1

  • $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / 09.08.21
  • Writers: Steve Orlando & Jon Tsuei
  • Artist: Rubine
  • Colorist: DC Alonso
  • Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
  • Cover: Rubine
  • Incentive Cover: Dave Johnson
  • Aaron Tse lives for his family, and if he’s not careful, he’ll die for its secrets.
  • When he left the military, Aaron Tse’s first thought was providing for his aging parents. His parents’ bar is experiencing hard times, and one night it’s shot to hell, with his parents critically injured in the attack.
  • But this was no ordinary robbery — Aaron’s mother reveals that she fled China to escape a blood feud between the Jewish and Chinese sides of her family…both of which are powerful organized crime families. Peace existed between these two families — the Hu and the Margolis — but now it’s been broken, and Aaron must protect his parents from further violence. Aaron hops a plane to the homeland he never intended to explore, on a path to revenge he never wanted to walk.
  • Written by Jon Tsuei (Sera and the Royal Stars, RunLoveKill) and Steve Orlando (Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, KILL A MAN, PROJECT PATRON) and drawn by artist sensation Rubine, SEARCH FOR HU is a fast-paced, action-packed exploration of complex cultural histories, powered by a bloody family feud.

Search for Hu #1 goes on sale Sept. 8 from AfterShock Comics.

01 Jun

AfterShock First Look: 10 Years to Death

The Shawshank Redemption meets The Sixth Sense, inspired by an eerily bone-chilling true story.

A newly-hired prison guard, a notorious mass murderer finally incarcerated for his crimes, and the death that binds them together. What happens when the murdered becomes the murderer?

A prestige format “One-Shock” featuring top creative talent, 10 YEARS TO DEATH is a horrific, unnerving tale conceived and written by Aaron Douglas (“Chief” from the iconic TV series Battlestar Galactica), and drawn by Cliff Richards (SHOCK, Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Also offered is a signed edition limited to 1000 copies at $19.99 per copy. Each copy will be signed by Battlestar Galactica’s “Chief,” Aaron Douglas.

10 YEARS TO DEATH

Writer: Aaron Douglas
Artist: Cliff Richards
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: TBD
Cover: Cliff Richards
Incentive Cover: Michael Gaydos
Signed Edition Cover: Michael Gaydos
/ $6.99 / 48 pages / Color
On sale 9.29.21

For more on this series, read below!

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT AND WHY ARE YOU EXCITED FOR IT TO COME OUT?

“This is a story born out of an experience I had as a young boy with one of my uncles and my dad. I snuck to a spot in the house to listen to my uncle relate his tale to my dad. It confused and terrified me at the time and to this day I still have a very creepy feeling inside when I tell it to people. I think it is a fascinating story and whenever I tell it people are enthralled and I want to share it with a wider audience. I hope this can achieve that.”

AARON DOUGLAS ON SOME OF THE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:

“As with all of my writing for AfterShock the inspirations come from CCO and Publisher Joe Pruett who demands more stories every time we are able to find each other for an evening out for dinner. I have a laundry list of stories and I piece meal them out to him hoping that he’ll fall in love with another one and want me to make it a book. He hasn’t failed me yet.”

AARON DOUGLAS ON HIS APPROACH TO WRITING COMICS AND HOW IT DIFFERS FROM/OR IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF HIS APPROACH TO ACTING:

“For me story telling is story telling, it just takes different shapes and has different forms. Whether I am writing for TV or a Film or for a comic book the story is king, or queen. Writing is different from acting in that when I am acting I am collaborating with the person, or persons, who wrote the piece and we are sharing the creation of the character. I feel more in control when I am writing but when you are writing by yourself you don’t get the other perspective from the writer. I often find that invaluable, to be able to speak to the writer and ask questions about their vision which helps inform my understanding of the character and influences performance.”

AARON DOUGLAS ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC READERS SHOULD PCIKUP THIS BOOK?

“1. It’s a true story and it is creepy as hell.

2. Cliff Richards is an amazing artist and he draws what is in my mind and it freaks me out sometimes. HA

3. If you present the book to me at a con we’ll have a beer and we can talk more about the story. Free beer from Chief!”

AARON DOUGLAS ON THE FIRST COMIC HE EVER READ:

“I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home so comics were verboten for myself and my brother. I think the first comic I read would have been at my cousins house. His dad collected Archie comics so when I was about 12 years old I found the stash of comics with my cousin and I read them for hours. After Battlestar Galactica came about and I started going to conventions I would wander the Artist Alley and stop at the different comic companies and marvel at all the amazing work done by these incredibly creative people. Quite often the people would recognize me from the show and load me up with books. I would go home with dozens and dozens of books which I would read and then leave around set where they would be poured over by the cast and crew. We made a lot of fans over those years. It was a wonderful thing.”

18 May

Orlando, Foxe, and Brancati team for YA GN RAINBOW BRIDGE from AfterShock

The graphic novel is the first from AfterShock’s new Seismic Press imprint.

Joe Grunenwald, Comics Beat

Back in March AfterShock announced Seismic Press, their new imprint of young adult graphic novels, and revealed a slate of new and reissued titles coming from the imprint in late 2021 and 2022. Today the publisher has released a preview of Rainbow Bridge, the first title from Seismic Press, along with more info on the book from its writers, Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe.

Illustrated by Valentina Brancati and Manuel Poppo and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, here’s how AfterShock describes Rainbow Bridge:

What if you got one last adventure with your best friend?

Andy and Rocket grew up together, with Rocket serving as Andy’s guardian through every one of childhood’s ups and downs. So, when Rocket passes away right before Andy’s 14th birthday, he’s rudderless. He can’t imagine making the transition to high school without Rocket at his side. The day before school starts, when Andy is at his lowest, he visits Rocket’s grave and unexpectedly summons the RAINBOW BRIDGE, a gateway to a fantasy world where pets discover their afterlife. But there’s a dark shadow to this paradise, and without Andy’s help, Rocket’s eternity may be grim…

The first graphic novel from AfterShock’s new YA imprint, Seismic Press, RAINBOW BRIDGE was conceived and written by Steve Orlando (PROJECT PATRON, KILL A MAN, Midnighter) and Steve Foxe (Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Grumpy Cat) with art byValentina Brancati (Les Ravencroft, Ghost Writer).  Published in the category standard size of 6.5” x 9.5”, this 120-page OGN will resonate with anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a beloved pet – or who has greeted growing up with nervousness and anxiety.

AfterShock also unveiled a short Q&A with Steves Orlando and Foxe about the inspiration for the series, writing for a YA audience, and more:

STEVE ORLANDO AND STEVE FOXE ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY THEY ARE EXCITED FOR IT TO COME OUT:

“Rainbow Bridge is about a 14-year-old boy, Andy, whose lifelong canine best friend passes away right before Andy is about to start high school. Andy has relied on Rocket for support ever since he was a toddler and Rocket was a pup, and now he’s not so sure about handling such big life events without Rocket in his life. 

When Andy gets overwhelmed and runs off to a spot that was important to the two of them, a dizzyingly colorful splash of light swoops down and carries Andy away to the Forever Fields, the afterlife paradise for animal companions. 

It turns out the Rainbow Bridge that pet lovers always talk about when an animal passes away is real, but humans are NOT supposed to cross it—especially humans who are still alive. If the Rainbow Bridge allowed Andy across, it must mean there is powerful unfinished business between him and Rocket. And as Andy soon discovers, animals who linger with unfinished business run the risk of turning into wraiths, vengeful, shadowy spirits that haunt the outskirts of the Forever Fields, driven by unresolved pain and trauma. 

Rocket has always been there for Andy. Now it’s Andy’s turn to find his best friend and make sure Rocket gets the afterlife he deserves.” 

STEVE ORLANDO AND STEVE FOXE ON SOME OF THE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:

“Both of us Steves are dog people—Steve Orlando has a corgi, in fact. And being a dog person unfortunately means knowing your best friend is going to leave you before it feels fair. But having animals in your life, whether it’s for 14 years or 14 days, is a friendship and a bond like no other. We wanted to explore that bittersweet fact for sure, but also celebrate the friendship and wonder inherent in having a childhood pet.

Wouldn’t YOU do anything for one last adventure with your best friend?”

STEVE ORLANDO AND STEVE FOXE ON THEIR APPROACH TO WRITING COMICS WHEN IT COMES TO THE YOUNG ADULT (YA) AUDIENCE:

“Younger readers are looking for the same thing any reader wants to see: good stories done well. But writing for teens and preteens also means getting to be a little more emotionally forward—these are the years of our lives where everything can feel like the ONLY thing, whether that’s losing a friend or starting a new school or trying to figure out your feelings about another kid in your class. 

So we don’t write “down” to younger readers, but we do enjoy getting to go big and bold and hit the emotional beats hard, since our main audience is here for stories that make them think and make them feel something.” 

STEVE ORLANDO AND STEVE FOXE ON THE FIRST COMIC THEY EVER READ, AND IF THEY HAVE A MOST FAVORITE?”

“The Steve pod will have to split up for this one!

Steve Orlando: The first comic I ever read was West Coast Avengers #16, a Tale of Two Kitties! And perhaps that cat-themed issues ended up being prescient, since here we are launching a pet-themed fantasy epic. As far as my favorite, it was, and likely always will be, Flex Mentallo – an unruly ode to the wonder of imagination, and the deliverance comics can offer outsides hungry for acceptance and community.

Steve Foxe: As a kid of the very late eighties, I grew up with X-Men: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series, so you’d better believe I was grabbing every stray issue of the source material I could find. But I should also give a nod to Garfield, which I would read out loud with a friend on the bus in elementary school, taking turns over who got to be which character. There are so many avenues into comics, it really doesn’t matter where you START, as long as you keep going. 

As for a favorite comic for kids, it’s hard to choose—but also hard to beat the pure storytelling genius of classic Scrooge McDuck comics from Carl Barks, and later Don Rosa. Talk about timeless.” 

STEVE ORLANDO AND STEVE FOXE ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC READERS SHOULD PICK THIS BOOK UP:

“Everything else aside, the team of Valentina Brancati on line art, Manual Puppo on colors, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou on lettering blows us away with every single page. The phrase, “an animated movie on the page” gets thrown around a lot…but sometimes it’s true! Anything us Steves thought up has been elevated by their hard work on RAINBOW BRIDGE, and readers are really going to flip for the fun and whimsy of the Forever Fields. 

We really poured our dog-loving hearts into the story of Rocket and Andy and the other pets they meet along the way, so we hope other animal lovers will get that same swell of emotion when they pick up RAINBOW BRIDGE. We both spent a lot of time hugging our dogs after writing each chapter. 

Finally, we’re just thrilled to be part of the launch of Seismic Press, and to see another publisher make a serious effort to reach younger readers. We love comics for every age range, but getting new readers into sequential storytelling is how we make sure the medium and the market are strong and supported for many years to come.

We hope readers will pick up RAINBOW BRIDGE and the other Seismic titles and share them with younger readers in their life, so that this corner of comics only gets bigger and more inclusive over time.” 

Rainbow Bridge is the first writing collaboration for Orlando and Foxe, though it appears it won’t be their last. Last year Orlando took to Twitter to announce a “Big, Raw, Queer Horror” project with Foxe that at the time was slated for release this year as well.

Check out the full preview for Rainbow Bridge below. The book goes on sale in comic shops on Wednesday, August 4th, and arrives in bookstores on Tuesday, August 17th.

 

11 May

AfterShock First Look: God of Tremors

‘God of Tremors’ is a 19th Century gothic horror of exorcism, demonic worship and epilepsy.

A 19th Century gothic horror of exorcism, demonic worship and epilepsy.

When Aubrey has his first seizure, he’s pulled out of school and hidden away in the family’s remote country estate. His father — a high-ranking English priest — tries to chase the “devil” out of Aubrey — but maybe the devil lurks in the grotesque pagan effigy that dwells on the grounds. And maybe the devil will turn out to be Aubrey’s only ally…

A singular tale of nightmarish terror and creeping enlightenment told against a backdrop of ignorance and brutality, GOD OF TREMORS springs from the fertile imagination of award-winning writer Peter Milligam (OUT OF BODY, Shade the Changing Man, X-Force) with illustrations from Piotr Kowalski (JOIN THE FUTURE, Sex).

GOD OF TREMORS

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Piotr Kowalski w/ Brad Simpson
Incentive Cover: Michael Gaydos
$6.99 / 48 pages / Color
On sale 8.18.21

For more on this series read a few words from Peter Milligan below.

PETER MILLIGAN ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY HE IS EXCITED FOR IT TO COME OUT:

“It’s a story of dark secrets, shameful longings and terrifying changes. A Gothic tale of isolation and horror. Aubrey is a young man living in a straight-laced, 19th century English Victorian world, whose father is a vicar, renowned for his fiery speeches against the evils of new scientific ideas. When Aubrey has his first epileptic seizure it begins a harrowing series of ‘exorcisms’, as both Aubrey and his father are convinced his condition is the work of the devil. Hidden away in his father’s country estate, Aubrey’s only release is walking in the wild woods that surround the house. It’s deep in these woods that Aubrey discovers an ancient stone pagan effigy that slowly changes his and all his family’s lives.

I’m really excited about this book because it’s been brewing in my head for a little while and last year it really came into focus and begged to be written. Though set many years ago it’s an incredibly personal story for me and I think addresses many issues that the modern audience will relate to.”

PETER MILLIGAN ON SOME OF THE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:

“Two main influences, one literary and one personal. I’ve always liked the story by the great short story writer Saki, called ‘Sredni Vashtar.’ It’s about a sickly child who invents a religion around a pet pole cat. It has trademark Saki mix of Edwardian decency and horror. ‘God of Tremors’ is very different but I liked the idea of a boy whose life has suddenly been changed by his epilepsy finding a strange and brutal deity who might take the place of his father’s god. The personal comes from the epilepsy. I’m epileptic and for a few years it’s been well-controlled by drugs and I’ve been free of any major seizures. Last year my neurologist tweaked my medication – for reasons I won’t go into here – which resulted in two quick-fire and nasty seizures, one of which put in me in hospital. It was during this time, with that strange proximity to seizures, that ‘God of Tremors,’ for so long lying incomplete in my subconscious, came fully into focus.”

PETER MILLIGAN ON HIS APPROACH TO CREATING A NEW COMIC:

“It’s not a one size fits all kind of thing, but generally what I’m interested in at the beginning is theme, what this thing is about, and why I want to write it. I tend to focus on that before I get too heavily into what happens when. I find if you hone in on the themes and what it’s about, situations and plot points can emerge quite organically and naturally. That’s on a good day. On a bad day I pace up and down a bit, bang my head against the wall, play guitar for a while, make a cup of tea and get back to work.”

PETER MILLIGAN ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC FANS SHOULD PICK UP THIS BOOK:

“This book works on a few levels. Yes, it’s a character-driven story about a young guy trying to make sense of a world after the shock of becoming epileptic—but it’s also a dark and brooding talk dripping with Gothic menace, a story that I think will really appeal to a lot of people. I haven’t mentioned the artwork, and I should. Piotr Kowalski brings an unnerving, paranoid intensity to the story, perfectly capturing the stultifying world and a young man’s attempts to escape from it. There is horror lying out in the woods: but perhaps the real horror lurks at home, and the twisted morality of Aubrey’s father and his world.”

PETER MILLIGAN ON THE FIRST COMIC HE EVER READ:

“I’m going to be really off base here and talk about a comic few here will have read. I’m not sure what the first comic I read was. I wasn’t a great comic book fan when I was a kid. One of the first comics that I really read and that really showed me some of the medium’s potential was ‘Sometime Stories.’ This was a comic by two friends, Brett Ewins and Brendan McCarthy. I went on to do a lot of work with both of these guys and they both went on to stellar careers, but ‘Sometime Stories’ was their own creation and it was unlike anything I’d seen. They were both very young at the time, it was raw, but it had moments of pleasing weirdness and true emotion. Brett and Brendan had a huge influence on my working in comics.”

 

27 Apr

AfterShock Announces “Campisi: The Dragon Incident”

AfterShock Comics have announced a new series by writer James Patrick (“The Kaiju Score”), Italian artist Marco Locati, and letterer Rachel Deering (“Breaklands”) called “Campisi: The Dragon Incident.” The first issue will feature cover art by Fran Galán, with a variant by Locati.

Cover by Fran Galán

“Campisi: The Dragon Incident” will chronicle how Sonny Campisi, a fixer for the mob that controls the Brooklyn-like neighborhood of Green Village, will solve a problem unlike any he’s ever faced: namely, the dragon that has flown into town.

In the press release, Patrick teased that “the situation with the dragon begins to uncover some things about the neighborhood that the people who live there don’t want to confront,” continuing to describe the series as a “spiritual follow up to ‘Kaiju Score’” due to “it [mixing] the crime genre with a monster element. And hopefully also like ‘Kaiju Score,’ it’s more than just a hook. We’re shooting for a unique execution that makes it stronger than just its concept.”

Patrick also detailed how, whilst the book is somewhat inspired by his love for films such as The Godfather and Goodfellas, it also is influenced by his experiences being “an Italian growing up in Youngstown, Ohio,” an area “has a long history of infamous gambling spots and car bombings and that life extended into the decade of my childhood… A lot of people had weekly betting slips, there were card games – and so you had this part of that world which trickled into everyday life there. Which was just normal. And that’s what I find fascinating – not just the ‘hits’ in movies like Godfather – but how does that mix with where you live in a way that becomes normal but isn’t normal everywhere else.”

“Campisi: The Dragon Incident” #1 is scheduled for release on August 11.

The Locati variant cover, out-of-sequence preview pages, and full press release are as follows.

CAMPISI: The Dragon Incident #1 / $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On sale 8.11.21
Writer: James Patrick
Artist & Colorist: Marco Locati
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Cover: Fran Galán
Incentive Cover: Marco Locati

Sonny Campisi is a small-time fixer for the mob-controlled neighborhood of Green Village. If you don’t pay your gambling debt, he’ll come and collect. If you get a little rough with one of “the girls,” he gets a little rough with you. But when a dragon flies into town and Sonny is the one who’s tasked with getting rid of it, it’s a problem unlike any he’s ever faced, and a chain of events begins that will affect everyone who lives in that neighborhood. Especially Sonny.

A new comic by James Patrick, the writer of KAIJU SCORE, and breakout artist Marco Locati, CAMPISI: THE DRAGON INCIDENT is a genre-mashing comedy-thriller that plays like one part Get Shorty, one-part Dragonslayer, and all parts absurdly wonderful!

JAMES PATRICK ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY HE IS EXCITED FOR IT TO BE RELEASED:

“The book is about a dragon that flies into a Brooklyn-like neighborhood which is controlled by the mob and how it’s the job of the local fixer, Sonny Campisi, to get rid of it. Sonny prides himself in being a problem solver, but this is a situation he’s never faced. And as the story progresses, the situation with the dragon begins to uncover some things about the neighborhood that the people who live there don’t want to confront.

And I’m excited for it to be released because this book has been bouncing around in my head for awhile and has had a long conceptual development. It took me a bit to get the balance of it right and now it’s time to throw it out there. I’m also excited because it’s a spiritual follow up to Kaiju Score, which I also did with AfterShock, and that went over very well. So, you know, maybe this carves out a little niche for me. And when I say spiritual follow up I mean it in that, like Kaiju, it mixes the crime genre with a monster element. And hopefully also like Kaiju Score, it’s more than just a hook. We’re shooting for a unique execution that makes it stronger than just its concept.”

JAMES PATRICK ON SOME OF HIS INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:

“Well, I love the Godfather and Goodfellas. The “mob” or “gangster” movie is iconic. But I also was an Italian growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, which for a long time was a notorious organized-crime area. One of the last in the country while other places and that type of life went away. But not Youngstown. It has a long history of infamous gambling spots and car bombings and that life extended into the decade of my childhood. I was never in it, but it was around me. A lot of people had weekly betting slips, there were card games – and so you had this part of that world which trickled into everyday life there. Which was just normal. And that’s what I find fascinating – not just the “hits” in movies like Godfather – but how does that mix with where you live in a way that becomes normal but isn’t normal everywhere else. That’s why in this book I didn’t want Sonny Campisi to be some amazing hitman, I wanted him to be the guy who comes to visit you when you’re late paying your bets or if your music is too loud and you’re waking the neighbors.”

JAMES PATRICK ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC READERS SHOULD PICK THIS BOOK UP:

“Firstly, Marco Locati’s art is amazing and just perfect for the kind of street-view that this book has, and it’s mixed with an urban energy. Secondly, I’d say if they like Kaiju Score I think they’ll like this. I’ve tried to give it that blend of style, humor, and drama. And thirdly is I have kids I need to send to college someday.”

JAMES PATRICK ON HIS APPROACH, AS A CREATOR, TO WRITING COMIC BOOKS:

“It’s messy. Creatively, my starting points for stories are always different. But in the end it comes down to me having some idea that inspires me and trying to execute it as honestly and as entertainingly as I can. Then it’s trying to meet deadlines while making the best product possible. When it comes to structurally, I don’t sit down every day at a certain time for a certain amount hours and do my writing, then take my vitamins, then answer emails in the next block of time; I try to ride the lightning when I can when it comes to the writing and get all my other non-writing stuff done when I can. Which can be a nightmare sometimes.”

20 Apr

AfterShock Announces “Clans of Belari”

 

Cover by Andy Clarke

AfterShock Comics have announced “Clans of Belari,” a sci-fi series written by brothers Rob and Peter Blackie (the creators of the TV series Frontier), with art by Daniel Maine. The book is set in the Belari system, an isolated, feudal
dystopia located in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and will follow a young girl named Te’a, and her adoptive father “Gummy,” as they start a revolution, and unite the system’s clans against an alien threat.

In the press release, Rob Blackie said, “For a long time, we have been interested in a sci-fi story that imagines what life could be like for a human establishment on a distant planet facing similar struggles as we face on the Earth today. As soon as we travelled across the galaxy, so to speak, it opens up the fantastical and what we sometimes call ‘space magic’ of the genre. That is just exciting and fertile territory for exploring character and story.” 

Peter Blackie said about writing on a comic, instead of a film/TV project, that “in a comic you can represent the internal space of characters as you might in a novel but the story telling is primarily still a visual medium. The other great thing about story

telling in comics is the vast amount of story that can exist between panels – this really maximizes the engagement of the reader so that by design the process becomes collaborative.” He added, “I am excited for it to come out so that people will have the chance to see the brilliant work that Daniel Maine has done in realizing the world and characters of the story with his beautiful drawings.”

“Clans of Belari” #1 will be released on July 7, with a retail price of $4.99. It will be available with a regular cover by Andy Clarke, and an incentive cover by Barry Kitson. Check that out, as well as the interior artwork, and the full press release, below.

Clans of Belari #1 / $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale 07.07.21

Writer: Rob Blackie & Peter Blackie

Artist: Daniel Maine

Colorist: Carlos Lopez

Letterer: Taylor Esposito

Cover: Andy Clarke w/ Jose Villarrubia

Incentive Cover: Barry Kitson

PRIMARY LAWS OF THE BELARI SYSTEM:

1.) No person or Clan may exit the system.

2.) No person or Clan may do the Designated Work of another Clan.

3.) Clans may not merge.

4.) Any person that breaks a Primary Law shall be made Outcast.

On the far side of the galaxy, an isolated branch of humanity is trapped in a feudal dystopia. Oder is maintained by a system of oppression, until an orphaned girl and her incorrigible adoptive father sow the seeds of a revolution and unite the clans against a fearsome alien threat.

From Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie (creators and writers of Netflix’s historical action-adventure series, Frontier) and artist Daniel Maine comes this vast and enthralling sci-fi adventure.

PETER BLACKIE ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY HE’S EXCITED FOR IT TO COME OUT:

“The book is about an orphaned outcast girl teaming up with a crusty old pilot to take on the power structure of a feudal dystopia set in humanities future on the far side of the galaxy. I am excited for it to come out so that people will have the chance to see the brilliant work that Daniel Maine has done in realizing the world and characters of the story with his beautiful drawings.”

PETER BLACKIE ON HIS EARLIEST MEMORY OF COMIC BOOKS:

“Going as a kid to the airport comic store with my Dad in Gander Newfoundland, and 9 times out of ten going home with the latest issue of Spiderman.”

PETER BLACKIE ON HOW CREATING COMICS DIFFERS FROM OTHER MEDIUMS LIKE TV AND FILM:

“The wonderful thing about comics vs tv and film, is that in a comic you can represent the internal space of characters as you might in a novel but the story telling is primarily still a visual medium. The other great thing about story telling in comics is the vast amount of story that can exist between panels – this really maximizes the engagement of the reader so that by design the process becomes collaborative.”

PETER BLACKIE ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC READERS SHOULD PICK UP THIS BOOK:

“1. An underdog protagonist who’s resilience and latent talents enable her to ascend to a position where she holds the future of this branch of humanity in her hands.

2. A complex and vast world where humanity has reverted to a clan based feudal dystopia where the three most coveted items for trade are ancient earth artifacts, alien technology, and yes gold ‘chiclets’.

3. A wide variety of explosions.”

ROB BLACKIE ON SOME OF THEIR INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:

“For a long time, we have been interested in a sci-fi story that imagines what life could be like for a human establishment on a distant planet facing similar struggles as we face on the Earth today. As soon as we travelled across the galaxy, so to speak, it opens up the fantastical and what we sometimes call space magic of the genre. That is just exciting and fertile territory for exploring character and story.”

ROB BLACKIE ON THEIR CREATIVE PROCESS WHEN FLUSHING OUT STORY IDEAS:

“All of our writing process borrows heavily from the design process, in particular from architecture. Peter is trained as an architect, and over a few decades, he has been educating me as to how the hierarchy of architectural design works. We talk about foundations, framing, I-beams, and building envelopes. If you were to listen in on a conversation, you might think we’re talking about an actual budding design, but it is all our metaphorical way of talking about story and story structure. We try and approach all stories with a ‘parti’ or a diagram that forms a kind of map for the creative decision making that follow. Particularly with something like Clans that borrows heavily from fantasy, and is deep into the world of science fiction, we need a set of rules by which our creatives choices can be gauged.”

ROB BLACKIE ON WHAT IT’S LIKE WORKING WITH FAMILY AND SOME OF THE MOST REWARDING PARTS OF IT:

“Working with family is incredibly rewarding. And it’s difficult, but in our case it’s difficult for all the right reasons. We really appreciate the importance of critique in any design or creative endeavor, and being brothers allows us a very high level of directness and bluntness through a critical lens without running the risk of permanent fracture. Being brother’s gives us a form of consensual, respectful disagreement that is special to the creative process.”

ROB BLACKIE ON IF THIS BOOK WAS TURNED INTO A TV OR FILM PROJECT, WHO THEY WOULD WANT TO STAR IN IT:

“This story has two protagonists – one is a older, somewhat gruff space pilot in Gummy Greely. The other is an ‘outcast’ that we meet at age 4, and see grow to 21 – where she becomes an accomplished pilot herself. In the case of Gummy, we always talked about it as though it’s important that anyone who plays him can be a little hard on the outside, but have a warm soul. And we think of him as a character that we would not be precious with – if he needs to lose teeth for the story, then we should not be shy about that. We often talked about Bruce Dern as a great point of reference. Viggo Mortensen is another wonderful possibility for Gummy. For Te’a, she is younger, and is mixed race given the time and place of the story. So on some way, we think it might be exciting for whoever plays her to be an actor the world is meeting of the first time.”

06 Apr

Beyond the Breach brings ’80s style fantasy adventure to Aftershock this summer

Ed Brisson and Damian Couceiro are launching a new AfterShock title that channels classic ’80s fantasy films

This July, writer Ed Brisson and artist Damian Couceiro will launch Beyond the Breach, a new AfterShock Comics ongoing title that draws on elements of classic fantasy adventure movies with a splash of sci-fi.

Beyond the Breach follows Vanessa, a young woman whose dream vacation is ruined by a strange cataclysm that alters the
world forever, and puts Vanessa on a path to adventure.

“Life sucks for Vanessa. Her mother just died and her boyfriend is cheating on her (with her own sister!). To clear her mind, Vanessa is taking the California road-trip that she’s been dreaming about for years,” reads AfterShock’s official description of Beyond The Breach. “Her postcard-perfect drive through old growth forests quickly turns when the Breach hits. A bizarre anomaly in the sky plunges California into a nightmare-world populated with strange, extra-dimensional creatures.”

“Now Vanessa, along with Dougie, an orphaned child, and Kai, a strange, fuzzball of a beast, must fight to survive if they ever hope to make it back home. If there’s even a home to return to,” the description concludes. “Written by Ed Brisson (Uncanny X-Men, Ghost Rider, Old Man Logan) and illustrated by Damian Couceiro (Old Man Logan, Iron Fist, X-Force), Beyond the Breach is a fantastical sci-fi road trip adventure about perseverance and finding family in unexpected places.”

Brisson himself chimes in on the series announcement to expand on the plot of Beyond the Breach, which has a few thematic elements that echo cult classic ’80s fantasy movies – including ones Brisson himself cites such as Time Bandits, The Neverending Story, and even Beastmaster.

“The book follows the fall out of a cataclysmic event, called The Breach, that knocks the population of earth unconscious. When they wake, they find that all electronic devices have been rendered useless and huge swathes of the planet overwritten with alien landscapes and creatures – creatures both friendly and deadly,” Brisson explains of the series’ plot.

Here’s a gallery of interior pages, along with covers from Coucerio/Paricio Diepeche and Declan Shalvey:

“Our protagonist, Vanessa, had hoped to embark on a weeklong road-trip along the California Coast. Her mom has just passed away and she just discovered that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her own sister,” Brisson continues. “Things suck and this trip was supposed to be about her leaving her troubles behind and seeing redwoods and old-growth forests, but instead, she finds herself plunged into a nightmare world of human-eating aliens. Vanessa, along with a small group of survivors – a small child and a dimensionally-displaced fuzzball – set out to find out what the hell happened and if there’s any way for them to undo it.”

Things will only escalate from there, with Brisson describing an expansive cast of sci-fi and fantasy-esque creators and concepts.

“As the series unfolds, we’ll meet more dimensionally displaced survivors as they embark on a journey to find answers. Every day brings a new threat and new answers. This is a story about finding family in the strangest of places and the most trying of circumstances,” Brisson concludes.

“I’m excited to be working with Damian on a creator-owned project again. We’ve done a few things together at Marvel over the last few years, but it’s been about 4 or 5 years since he and have the opportunity to build our own world together. Thrilled to have Patricio Delpeche on board to grace us with his otherworldly colors and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, who I’ve been working with a lot lately.”

Beyond the Breach #1 goes on sale on July 14.