11 Jun

The Hollywood Reporter: “Midnight Vista” Comic Explores Life After an Alien Abduction

AfterShock Comics’ new series focuses on a man who returned to Earth, 19 years later.

(June 11, 2019) In most alien abduction stories, when someone returns from that experience, it’s the end of the story. In AfterShock Comics’ upcoming series MIDNIGHT VISTA, it’s only the beginning.

“At its core, MIDNIGHT VISTA is about loneliness, love, and the lost,” Eliot Rahal tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a simple story about the extraordinary. Late one evening, on a school night, the eight-year-old Oliver Flores and his stepfather, Nomar Perez, are abducted by aliens. They disappear completely. Nobody has a clue as to what happened to them. Everyone assumes Oliver was kidnapped by Nomar. And Oliver essentially becomes the milk carton kid of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now, almost nineteen years later, Oliver is back — he’s a fully grown man — And although not everything makes sense, or is clear in his head, Oliver remembers what happened to him: He was abducted by aliens and his step-dad is still with them. The problem is… no one believes him.”

As a result, Oliver has to struggle with both the authorities, who believe that he can’t take care of himself, and also with the possibility that he might one day be able to reunite with his stepfather — the only man who can prove that he’s not crazy. The series’ origins come from an unexpected place, the writer admitted.

“Yes. It’s a weird thing to type on the page, but when I was a child, I believe I had a close encounter and, as a result, have a couple of hours of missing time,” Rahal says. “It’s a much longer and complicated story than that — one that I’ve been telling for a really long time. And MIDNIGHT VISTA is the latest incarnation of it. That event — whatever it was — was the most important thing that ever happened up until meeting my wife and getting married. It has shaped a lot of my personality. It’s a vital part of my experience. And the craziest part all of it is… I barely remember any of it.”

For artist Clara Meath, the appeal of the series may be less personal, but it’s no less simple. “It’s a multi-genre fusion,” she says, adding that the series “combines the accounts and famous elements of alien abductions scenarios with aspects of crime drama in a real-world context. It challenges the happily-ever after: Being returned to earth after over decade in the hands of otherwordly beings is not the end, but the beginning, as the questions and ramifications pile up for everyone involved.”

Both creators are full of praise for the experience of working together.

“Eliot is awesome, hands down; he goes out of his way to be engaging, validating and supportive,” Meath said. “Full time creative work can sometimes be isolating and exhausting, and Eliot gets that my wellbeing is directly tied to the wellbeing of the project, and keeps an eye out for both.  His writing is clever, poignant, and very funny at unexpected moments; he gives just the right amount of information to leave me free to be creative and really lean into visual storytelling.”

“The level of detail and artistry that [Meath] is bringing to this project matches my emotional intensity. It’s obvious that she’s put everything into this,” Rahal says. “Not to mention Mark Englert’s gorgeous color work. And the nuance of Taylor Esposito on letters. This book has a great team. And working with Aftershock is always a sincere pleasure. Both Mike Marts and Christina Harrington, and everyone else behind the scenes has helped elevate this material to something special.”

MIDNIGHT VISTA launches September 4, with a first issue featuring covers from Juan Doe (above) and Rahzzah. For those still on the fence about the project, [Meath] has one final pitch to pull people onboard.

“It’s got all your favorite weirdness,” she promised. “Fans of true crime, the paranormal, and unexplained phenomenon will find a lot of familiar details in both small references and primary plot elements.”

13 May

The Hollywood Reporter: Horror Comic “Bad Reception” Combines Murder and Smartphone Addiction

The miniseries marks the writing debut of Juan Doe, who also illustrates.
 
(May 13, 2019) Weddings can be murder — and in the case of AfterShock Comics’ upcoming miniseries BAD RECEPTION, that’s meant in a very literal sense.
 

“It’s a story about the most followed celebrity on social media and the announcement that her upcoming wedding won’t be a public spectacle like hundreds of millions of people had hoped for,” series creator Juan Doe tells The Hollywood Reporter. Instead, both bride and groom decide that their wedding will be off-the-digital grid entirely, with everyone in the wedding party leaving all devices at home as they head to a remote location, to avoid both fans and paparazzi.

Needless to say, things don’t necessarily go well.

“It sets off a scenario where our main characters are all suffering separation anxiety and severe nomophobia — fear of no-mobile-phone — from the start of the wedding,” says Doe. “Throw in a mysterious killer who savagely hunts each guest and brands them with a hashtag and now you’ve got some serious primal fear going on, a return to zero. It’s in this chaos that the story takes shape and we learn if these characters have the Darwinian grit to survive or just fall victim to the hunt.”

BAD RECEPTION marks the first project that Doe is writing, as well as illustrating.

“I had this nascent idea visually, and was really curious to see how that process would play out with myself writing it,” he says when talking about the decision to perform double creative duty. “When I started conceiving the pitch, the story just began to flesh itself out, almost without my input. It was a rush to see the interplay between the words and the art when I completed the opening scene. All these possibilities opened up in terms of how I wanted to tell this story both as a writer and artist and I needed to publish this somehow. That’s how AfterShock got involved.”

The series continues Doe’s relationship with the indie publisher, which has lasted since 2016’s AMERICAN MONSTER and included titles such as ANIMOSITY, WORLD READER, DARK ARK and more.

“From the beginning, I saw that AfterShock was really investing in the quality of the stories before anything else. Having had a great working relationship with them and being able to collaborate with some of the best writers in comics for the past four years, I felt that BAD RECEPTION would be a great fit with them,” Doe says. “The first thing they impressed upon me was they supported my vision 100 percent. That was important to know [and] gave me the fortitude to be fearless with my ideas and get to play and experiment with this story as well as the medium of comic book storytelling.”

When it comes to selling people on BAD RECEPTION, Doe has the pitch down. “If you’re a fan of campy, slasher flicks in remote locations, cooked with some heady, social commentary on smartphone addiction, dashed with a wink of dark humor and a vast amount of pretty pictures, you might really enjoy this book,” he promises.

BAD RECEPTION will be released in comic book stores August 21.

02 May

The Hollywood Reporter: ‘Dark Ark: After the Flood’ Comic Is Dark Twist on the Biblical Tale

What if a second ark, containing monsters from across the world, survived the flood that destroyed humanity?

AfterShock Comics series Dark Ark (2017) took a different view of a Biblical story, as it followed a sorcerer as he tried to gather together monsters and mythical creatures into an ark of his own to escape a flood intended to wipe out mankind from the Earth. Two years later, series creators Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe are reuniting to reveal what happened next, in the new series Dark Ark: After the Flood.“This new series picks up right where the last one left off, but a crazy new direction quickly comes to the forefront,” Bunn tells The Hollywood Reporter to explain the impetus behind the new series. “The ‘Dark Ark’ has found land. Now, a society must form — a society of monsters, many of which hate each other. To complicate matters, the man who held a tentative control on the monsters, Shrae, is dead, and his daughter has taken his powers as her own. Khalee is not ready for the magic at her beck and call, and she’s not ready for the demonic orders coming to her from the Great Beyond. The first of those orders: make sure Noah’s Ark reaches the same landing point as Shrae’s Ark. After all, now that the monsters have survived their journey, they need something to snack on.”As with the first Dark Ark series, the various monsters in After the Floodcome from a number of different sources, but Bunn — whose résumé includes X-Men Blue and Venom at Marvel, and Green Lantern Corps at DC — says that readers might see a connection between those who get the most attention. “I noticed straight away that many of the featured monsters this time around are from Greek myth,” he says. “It wasn’t intentional. The monsters just worked in the story. This time around, it will not be monsters serving as the primary villains. Instead, we’ll see the dangers that a human can pose…particularly to themselves.”While the new series reunites Bunn and artist Doe, there’s one important member of the Dark Ark team not returning: Original lead character Shrae, who’s replaced by his own daughter in the new story.“Since this is a new book and a new jumping-on point for readers, I thought giving them a new ‘lead’ was perfect,” the writer says. “Of course, Khalee has been a star of the series from the beginning. Only now we’re seeing her in a new light.”

This doesn’t mean that the protagonist of the first series is entirely gone, however. “Hey, this is a world full of magic and monsters. You might not have seen the last of Shrae,” Bunn teases. “You’ll definitely be seeing more about his backstory — how he became the dreaded sorcerer that he was.”

The first issue of Dark Ark: After the Flood will be released Oct. 2. Below, two of the covers for the first issue.

06 Apr

CBR: “KNIGHTS TEMPORAL” LAUNCHES IN JULY FROM CULLEN BUNN AND FRAN GALÁN

A medieval warrior is set to embark on a quest for the ages, and through the ages.

(April 9, 2019) In Cullen Bunn and Fran Galán’s upcoming series, a Crusades-era knight, Auguste de Riviere, finds himself on a journey for redemption that sends him hurtling through time as he takes on an evil force that stretches across the eras.

“This is a weird fantasy tale,” Bunn said in AfterShock’s press release. “It’s the story of Auguste, a medieval knight in search of redemption, who pursues a vile necromancer into a forbidden, haunted forest. It is said that no one who enters this forest ever leaves. This is not the case for Auguste, though. He leaves the forest – but when he exits, he finds himself in another time. And another time. And another time. Auguste’s very existence is shattered and cast through time and space. He exists over and over again in multiple eras. And in all of those eras, he has the same goal – to stop the necromancer’s evil plans. There’s a strange connection between all of these different “instances” of Auguste’s existence, one that can be both a boon and a deadly disadvantage.”

Bunn said that the time-tossed adventures of Auguste and his mysterious companion Jane Fool will have a unique mix of tones too.

“It’s a book with lots of action and humor and horror, but it will challenge the readers, too,” Bunn added, “And the characters will appeal to readers in a big way, I think.”

KNIGHTS TEMPORAL #1 arrives in comic shops on July 31st.

12 Mar

Deadline: “Trust Fall” – First Look At New Heist Tale With a Super-Powered Twist

(March 12, 2019)  The majority of American comic books published each month follow a fairly conventional approach to artwork — they follow the superhero traditions on display at every convention. Some comics do veer off into other directions, however, and the new AfterShock Comics series TRUST FALL is in that maverick category.

The 32-page first issue of TRUST FALL goes on sale June 12 with a super-powered grifter saga from writer Christopher Sebela and artist Chris Visions, the tandem that previously collaborated on Dead Letters. In today’s exclusive preview of the artwork, it’s clear that Visions has his sights set on an aesthetic that is light years removed from the latest issue of, say, Amazing Spider-Man or Hellboy. Visions explained that the collaborative comfort pushed the style even farther and further than initially expected.

“Having worked with Chris before, it’s always a pleasure and I’m excited to be back in the sidecar, laughing maniacally and unloading clips of ink cartridges,” Visions said. “Creating with him allows me to pour a lot of the things we love in common into the panels, as well as bits that mean a lot to me: Easter eggs, the fashion, and little character nods to other important references. AfterShock has been awesome in allowing me to explore what I can pull from the threads in the story and cut loose. I’m also excited to be coloring my work.”

Sebela says TRUST FALL is the tale of a dysfunctional family that also happens to be a heist crew — one that boasts a super-powered family member who seemingly represents a quick-access ticket to any score in the world.

“The quick pitch is that TRUST FALL is about a woman, Ash Parsons, who can teleport things, but not herself, who relies on her family to catch her at the end of every job,” Sebela said. “But she lives in an isolated bubble and has never been a part of the real world, all thanks to her family as well. See, Ash’s family is also a crime family and Ash is their golden goose that lets them steal things they could never dream of and elevate them up thru the echelons. They tell her where to go, teach her a narrative about the world so that nothing she does seems like a crime and they drug her to keep her under their thumb when she’s not working. So when Ash begins to push back against this bubble, what she finds underneath it is not going to be pleasant for anyone involved.”

Sebela promises the series is more than a catchy story conceit: “It’s both fast and brutal but with a beating heart in the middle of it all. We’re not just rolling out a neat concept and coasting on that, we’re trying to give all this stuff life, give things stakes, give you characters you can care about, root for or against.”

01 Mar

AfterShock at C2E2 2019

Headed to the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, aka C2E2, this year? AfterShock will be there in full force to meet and greet the fans that have made us the fastest growing independent comics publisher in the business! Hope to see you at Booth #309!

Convention Days/Hours:
• Friday, March 22: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
• Saturday, March 23: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
• Sunday, March 24: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Booth: 309

C2E2 Exclusives (available at our booth):
• Dark Red #1 (C2E2 exclusive cover)
• Dark Red #1 Sketch Cover
• AfterShock Mystery Boxes

Signings (at our booth):
• Tim Seeley – Date/Time TBA
• Cullen Bunn – Date/Time TBA

Panel:
• Saturday, March 23: 12 Noon – 1:00pm
• Room: S503
• Description: AfterShock Comics was created to push new boundaries by giving the comic world’s most creative writers and artists free reign to blow readers’ minds. There’s never been a better time than now to break away from conventional comics and dive into some of the edgiest, most thoughtful and most compelling content being published right now. Join Publisher/Chief Creative Officer Joe Pruett, Managing Editor Christina Harrington and a host of leading creators for a look at things to come!

Our Creators* & Staff at the Show:
• Tim Seeley (BRILLIANT TRASH, DARK RED)
• Cullen Bunn (UNHOLY GRAIL, BROTHERS DRACUL, DARK ARK, WITCH HAMMER)
• Stephanie Phillips (DESCENDENT)
• Joe Pruett (AfterShock Publisher/CCO & BLACK-EYED KIDS)
• Steve Rotterdam (AfterShock SVP, Sales & Marketing)
• Christina Harrington (AfterShock Managing Editor)
• Sarah Pruett (AfterShock Publishing Assistant)
• + more!
*Note: Guests are subject to change

Additional Info:
Official C2E2 Website

19 Feb

Deadline: “Descendent” First Look

AfterShock Comics Series Digs Into “National Treasure” Turf.

(February 19, 2019) Today, a special exclusive preview of DESCENDENT a previously unannounced title from AfterShock Comics and the creative team of Stephanie Phillips (Devil Within, Kicking Ice), artist Evgeniy Bornyakov, and colorist Lauren Affe. Asked to describe the plot, Phillips resorted to a bit of screen-franchise mathematics to sum up the thrilling pursuits and haunted history found in DESCENDENT, which hits shelves with its 32-page first issue on May 1.

“Imagine National Treasure meets The X-Files and you’ll get close to DESCENDENT,” Phillips said. The story revolves around a conspiracy theorist named David who begins to piece together a mystery surrounding the disappearance of two politicians’ children. What David learns, however, sends him down the rabbit hole of a centuries-old conspiracy, complete with witches, monsters, and a cult, of course. To save the missing kids, David needs to earn the trust of FBI agent Joanna Hernandez and put the last pieces of the puzzle together before time runs out.”

The Washington thriller is a riddle that winds back through the nation’s occult secrets and covert sects, which connected with Phillips, a University of Buffalo writing instructor.

“Writing this story allows me to blend action, comedy, and some unsolved historical mysteries that have always fascinated me,” Phillips said. “I really enjoy all of these characters and I am grateful that AfterShock has partnered with me to bring this story to life. Besides, I got to invent a cult, which is definitely on my bucket list of things to do in my life. Kidding… kind of.”

11 Feb

“Killer Groove” Brings a Different Kind of Hit to the Music Industry

An unlucky musician finds success as a contract killer in the upcoming AfterShock Comics series.

The Hollywood Reporter:

The music business is a killer — and that’s never been more true than in KILLER GROOVE, a new AfterShock Comics series launching in May, from the creative team of Ollie Masters and Eoin Marron.

Described by writer Masters (Vertigo’s The Kitchen, currently being adapted into a movie starring Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss) as “a ’70s L.A. crime story about an unsuccessful musician finding success and musical inspiration as a contract killer,” KILLER GROOVE comes from personal experience — to a point.

“I used to play the drums and know what it’s like to be out there playing gigs, although I never starting killing people so I guess that’s where the comparison stops,” Masters jokes. “But like most people, I’ve got a love of those ’60s/’70s bands. I’m not an expert in that area but it’s my parents’ generation’s music, it was like a background soundtrack to my early life. So it’s weird, it’s like nostalgia for a time I never actually experienced.”

“Me and Ollie have been meaning to reteam since we worked together on Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original, and now we’re getting to do so on our own terms, which is crazy exciting,” Marron said of working on the title. “Especially now that we’re in it with Jordie [Bellaire] on colors and Hassan [Otsmane-Elhaou] on letters — two insanely skilled individuals I’ve been dying to work with on interiors for ages! We’re also super lucky to have Tríona Farrell colouring my covers for the series. Dream team would be an understatement!”

Masters agreed, adding, “Eoin, Jordie and Hass are some of the best people in comics and I’m privileged to get to work with them all.”

The series launches May 29, 2019 and Marron has the perfect pitch to try and get people on board: “If you’re thirsty for a cocktail of Chandler, Leonard, the Coen Bros., Mann, Soderbergh and rock music of the ’70s (and who isn’t?), then we’re serving all night!”

25 Jan

“Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter” Turns “Frankenstein” Author Into Action Hero

The new AfterShock Comics series launches in April.

The Hollywood Reporter:

(January 25, 2019)  The discovery of the secret memoir belonging to the creator of one of the most iconic fictional characters of all time changes everything, in the latest launch from independent comic book publisher AfterShock Comics, which works from the basic question of, “What if Frankenstein was real?” The answer, as it turns out, is the title of the new series: MARY SHELLEY: MONSTER HUNTER.

“How could a twenty-year-old woman write the most famous horror work of all time? Easy, she actually lived it,” teased Adam Glass, one of the two writers on the new series alongside Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, about the project. Hayden Sherman provides art.

“I’m excited for everyone to see who Mary really was,” he added. “Olivia and I did extensive research on the mother of modern horror and she was way ahead of her time, a true feminist pioneer.”

Glass, who’s worked in both television (Supernatural, Cold Case, Criminal Minds) and comic books (Deadpool, Suicide Squad, Teen Titans) for years, discovered co-writer Cuartero-Briggs some time ago in an unexpected manner.

“My wife and I were in Singapore where I was a guest speaker at Tisch Asia, and Olivia was a graduate student there,” he explained. “I read her work and thought she was super talented. So a few years later back in the States, I hired Olivia as the writer’s assistant on a TV show I was co-running and the rest is history, as she’s gone on to work on other shows and staff. One day we were sharing our love for Mary Shelley together — I always wanted to do a story about Mary but never knew how. Once Olivia and I started to talk more about it I felt like we had an approach that was different and called my partners in crime, Aftershock Comics, and they got it right away. But what made this even more special was the idea of being able to help platform a younger writer whom I believe in; I’m excited for everyone to see how talented Olivia is. I think she will become a powerhouse in both comics and TV. You’re welcome, fellow nerds everywhere.”

Cuartero-Briggs is similarly excited about her first comic book project.

“When I was growing up, Archie, and then the Betty and Veronica spinoffs, were really the only comics out there for girls. Everything else was about hulking male superheroes, sometimes featuring scantily-clad female sidekicks. Things have changed a lot in the world of comics, thank goodness, and I am stoked to be contributing comic content by women for women that reflects a real, female experience.”

The first issue of MARY SHELLEY: MONSTER HUNTER will be released April 17, 2019.

22 Jan

“Orphan Age” Imagines a World Where All Adults Have Died

The new comic book series from AfterShock is a Western that picks up two decades after a generational genocide.

The Hollywood Reporter:

The end of the world was just the beginning for AfterShock Comics’ new series ORPHAN AGE, which explores a world two decades after all adults died as the result of a mysterious global event, leaving children to rebuild society.

Written by MOTH & WHISPER author Ted Anderson with art by Marvel Girl and Alpha: Big Time’s Nuno Plati, the series is described by the writer as a “post-apocalyptic Western.”

“Those children have since grown up and survived and tried to rebuild in the ruins of a society that they barely remember,” Anderson tells The Hollywood Reporter, describing the series as “an adventure road trip story built around a question: what kind of world would our children build, if we weren’t there to help them? What would it look like if the chain of civilization and society was suddenly broken? What if the next generation didn’t have the previous generation to rely on?”

He explains further, “I’ve always loved stories with post-apocalyptic settings, and I wanted to create a world that took that apocalypse seriously, that looked at the societies and groups that would spring up in its wake. Survival in these types of worlds isn’t always about materials — the food you can scavenge, the shelter you build — it’s also about the people you work with, the networks you form, the tribes you create. Maybe you can shoot a gun, and maybe you’re ruthless enough to kill, but you’re not going to survive the first winter unless you’ve got a place to live and other people to help you. In a world where society basically died in a single day, what kinds of new societies will appear?”

The idea behind the series has been something Anderson had been working on for more than a decade.

“It stemmed from me reading and watching other post-apocalyptic works and wondering: what are the long-term challenges these worlds would face? How would you go about not just surviving, but thriving?” he says. “I think a lot of works with a post-apocalyptic setting devolve into a kind of power fantasy: in a world where there are no rules, you can be as badass as you want and show off all your cool skills and kill your enemies indiscriminately! But that’s not how a society perpetuates its own existence. Power fantasies are fun for a while, but in reality, keeping a community alive is a much harder task. So Orphan Age is, on one level, a story about communities: how people come together, how they define themselves, and how they resolve their conflicts.”

If the series is successful, Anderson has a long-term map for the concept — “I don’t know if I can say how long I’ve planned it for, but there’s several major arcs,” he teases — following the initial story arc, which he described as a road trip of sorts. “There’s going to be action, tragedy, thrills, drama, romance, gunplay and standoffs and quiet nights under the stars,” he promises. “It’s going to be a hell of a ride, and I can’t wait to bring everyone along.”

Orphan Age ORPHAN AGE launches digitally and in comic book stores April 10, 2019.

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