Tag Archives: black mask studios

Preview: Gravetrancers #1

GRAVETRANCERS #1

Written by: M.L. Miller
Art by: James Michael Whynot
Colored by: Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
In Stores: December 13, 2017

On a journey to track down the grave of their estranged father, Maribel and Anthony find their way to the Malort Cemetery, a strange, seemingly abandoned field of mostly unmarked tombs. There they encounter an eccentric clan of grave-robbers who’ve devised a highly-addictive drug made from human remains–and the fresher the corpse, the stronger the dose. What started out as an attempt to reconnect with the past becomes a descent into a psychedelic, neon-colored nightmare, will Maribel and Anthony find their way through the hallucinogens or will they become the next hit?

Written by M.L. Miller (Pirouette) and featuring mind-shredding artwork by new artist James Michael Whynot, Gravetrancers delivers a grisly grindhouse tale of taboo and terror.

Preview: There’s Nothing There Vol. 1

THERE’S NOTHING THERE, Vol 1

Art by: Maria Llovet
Written by: Patrick Kindlon
In Stores: December 13, 2017

Heading your way on December 13th, Black Mask is proud to present THERE’S NOTHING THERE Vol 1, the collected trade paperback of this stylish and hallucinatory horror comic book mini-series illustrated by Maria Llovet and written by Patrick Kindlon (We Can Never Go Home, SHIELD: Quake).

THERE’S NOTHING THERE is a smart-sexy thriller that takes place in the upper echelons of celebrity culture where power brokers treat young starlets like cattle, but in this twisted tale the world is presented through the prism of the paranormal, the paranoid, and those Hollywood Babylon legends of occult celebrity-sacrifices that might just have a few kernels of truth to them. THERE’S NOTHING THERE gives us a sharp new heroine who plays the game without being anyone’s pawn.

Maria and Patrick’s storytelling is brave and provocative while staying nuanced and sophisticated, bringing us slowly into a surreal world that feels all to real.

Preview: Kim & Kim, Vol 2: Love Is A Battlefield

Kim & Kim Vol. 2: Love Is A Battlefield

Written by: Magdalene Visaggio
Art by: Eva Cabrera
Colored by: Claudia Aguirre
Edited by: Katy Rex
Lettered by: Zakk Saam
Cover by: Tess Fowler
Cover colored by: Matt Wilson

The Fighting Kims finally get the bounty of their lives and Kim D reconnects with an ex-girlfriend, so of course everything immediately goes catastrophically wrong. This high-flying, rad af tale of exes and woes is the first in a four-part follow-up to 2016’s Eisner-nominated favorite. Awesome. Collects issues 1-4.

Black Mask Studios’ Releases in February 2018

THE WILDS #1

Written by: Vita Ayala
Illustrated by: Emily Pearson
Colored by: Marissa Lousie
Cover A by: Emily Pearson
Cover B by: Natasha Alterici
In Stores: February 2018
$3.99
36 pages

After a cataclysmic plague sweeps across America, survivors come together to form citystate-like communities for safety.

Daisy Walker is a Runner for The Compound, a mix of post-apocalyptic postal service and black market salvaging operation. It is a Runner’s job to ferry items and people between settlements, and on occasion scavenge through the ruins of the old world. Daisy is the best there is at what she does.

Out beyond the settlement walls are innumerable dangers: feral animals, crumbling structures, and Abominations — those that were touched by the plague and became something other. After a decade of surviving, Daisy isn’t phased by any of it — until her lover, another Runner named Heather, goes missing on a job. Desperate to find her, Daisy begins to see that there may be little difference between the world inside the walls and the horrors beyond.

From writer Vita Ayala (Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, Wonder Woman Annual) and Emily Pearson (Cult Classic) with colors by Marissa Louise (Spell On Wheels) and covers by Natasha Alterici (Heathen), comes this bold tale of surviving in bleak times.

COME INTO ME #1

Written by: Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Illustrated by: Piotr Kowalski
Colored by: Niko Guardia
Cover A by: Piotr Kowalski
Cover B by: Devmalya Pramanik
In Stores: February 2018
$3.99
36 pages

From the critically acclaimed writers of The Dregs and the artist of Image Comics’ SEX comes a new horror series about body image, social media, and memory.

When an entrepreneur with a god complex creates a technology that allows two minds to share one body, he doesn’t anticipate the degenerative effects of long-term trials. Come Into Me is a contemporary comment on connected culture and our longing for approval in the digital age.

This is a world where technology and flesh become indistinguishable, begging the question, “How much sharing is too much sharing?”

Prepare yourself for the insane lovechild of The Fly and Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.

LAST SONG #2

Written by: Holly Interlandi
Illustrated by: Sally Cantirino
Cover by: Sally Cantirino
Cover Colored by: Marissa Louise
In Stores: February 2018
$4.99
64 pages

When do you know you’ve made it?
When your song first plays on the radio?
When a kid recognizes you at the laundromat?
When you start getting fan mail?
How about on your first tour, or the second; your first magazine cover feature, your first show played while high out of your mind, your first groupie hookup?
For Nicky, it might just be his first drunken confession in a hotel room that alters the path of his friendship forever.

From Holly Interlandi on scripts and Sally Cantirino on pencils and inks, Last Song returns with the second of its four oversized issues telling the heartbreaking story of two best friends who let music change them for better and for worse.

BEAUTIFUL CANVAS, Vol 1 Trade Paperback

Written by: Ryan K Lindsay
Illustrated by: Sami Kivela
Colored by: Triona Farrell
Cover by: Sami Kivela
In Stores: February 2018
$14.99
112 pages

Beautiful Canvas is 2017’s smash hit warped crime miniseries about Lon Eisley discovering the similarities and differences between her job as a hitwoman and her new role as a mother-to-be when she finds out her girlfriend is pregnant.

Going from destroyer to creator/protector is a major swerve, but parents still have plenty of violent and brutal moments to contend with, especially when the world is full of pyrokinetic sleeper agents, animal/hybrid muscle-squads, and one hell of a nasty boss pulling your strings.

From the creative team of Sami Kivela (Abbott) and Ryan K Lindsay (Negative Space, Eternal, DC Writers Workshop) comes this gonzo world of future noir, where the story aims to deliver a brutal blow to your heart and piss in your brainpan.

Black Mask Studios Celebrates Local Comic Shop Day

On Saturday, November 18th, Black Mask Studios will release six limited edition items to commemorate Local Comic Shop Day, a nationwide event that celebrates locally owned independent comic book specialty stores. The Los Angeles-based indie publisher of acclaimed titles including The Dregs, Kim & Kim, and Space Riders is releasing three limited edition hardcovers, a CalExit bandana and two “DIY” Lenticular hardcovers for some of their acclaimed titles.

The Black Mask Studios Local Comic Shop Day releases are as follows:

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK – Local Comic Shop Day Exclusive Hardcover. 208 pages. $29.99

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK is the darkly comedic story of four burgeoning child criminals and their elaborate plans. When a group of bumbling criminals show up in her father’s life looking to pull one last job, young Paige has two choices: let her father get caught up in their criminal hijinks or enlist her three best friends to do the job first. Paige makes a bad decision. And we can’t look away.

Writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Tyler Boss pull off something almost as rare as a successful bank heist: a seamless collaboration that celebrates their, and our favorite, cultural touchstones—with loving nods to THE GODFATHER, STAR WARS, SCARFACE, and the films of Wes Anderson, Sidney Lumet and Quentin Tarantino—while creating a story that is immediate and original.

BLACK – Local Comic Shop Day Exclusive Hardcover. 160 pages. $34.99

In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

Co-created by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith III, illustrated by Inkpot-Award winning artist Jamal Igle, and featuring a cover by  illustrator Khary Randolph, BLACK follows the story of a young man, who, having miraculously survived being shot by police, learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. He must decide whether it’s safer to keep history’s secret, or if the truth will set him free.

YOUNG TERRORISTS – Local Comic Shop Day Exclusive Hardcover.  224 pages. $29.99

From writer Matteo Pizzolo and artist Amancay Nahuelpan — the creators of the acclaimed  and controversial CALEXIT comic book — comes YOUNG TERRORISTS, in which a young heiress discovers her father is part of a tyrannical new world order and vows to burn his whole empire down.

Local Comic Shop Day CALEXIT “Mulholland Resistance” bandana. $9.99

Join the resistance with this black bandana inspired by the flag of The Mulholland Resistance, Zora’s band of black masked revolutionaries from the pages of Black Mask Studios’ breakout hit CALEXIT.

Local Comic Shop Day Exclusive: DIY Lenticular Hardcover Options for BLACK and YOUNG TERRORISTS

Artist Amancay Nahuelpan provides illustrated lenticular cards, which shops or readers can affix to their Local Comic Shop Day book for a DIY lenticular cover or keep separate as a special collectible sticker.

Underrated: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank


4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK 1

All images will be taken from the first issue preview pages to help alleviate the spoiler hammer.


At some point  in the last two years you’ve probably heard somebody talking about the comic 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank. The first of the five issues in the series was released April 2016, but due to a series of delays the fifth issue only hit the physical and digital shelves in September 2017, which unfortunately left some readers less than enthused about the story – not because the quality was lacking, but because the inconsistent release schedule caused momentum and interest in the series to wane.

Personally, after the second delay I had almost forgotten to keep checking for the next issue, so it came as quite a welcome surprise to notice the trade. Finally, I could read the entire story in one sitting (or several but at least I had the full story in hand).4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK 4

But first, before we talk about 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, what’s the story about?

Well the book’s synopsis reads: “A fun(ish) crime caper about children! Eleven-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking Reservoir Dogs, 4KWIABis a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, D & D, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, and family.

Before we get to talking a little about the story, when you open the trade and see the comic’s credits you’ll notice that they’re done in alphabetical order; art and design by Tyler Boss, Flatting by Clare Dezutti, Lettering by Thomas Mauer, Wallpaper by Courtney Menard and written by Matthew Rosenberg. Rosenberg was a guest on Graphic Policy Radio last year where he said that he felt it important that each artist who contributes to a comic is recognized (I could  be wrong in the exact wording, but I believe the essence of the quote is there), and it was on that episode of the radio show that I first heard the term “flatter.” I hadn’t really come across it before, and consequently had no knowledge of what a flatter did. Thankfully, the ever reliable Wikipedia was there to help;

flatter is a colouring specialist within the comic book industry that prepares the inked or sketched comic book page for the colorist with digital art software such as Adobe Photoshop. The specialist does so by selecting the objects on the page and filling them in with a solid color called a “flat”, so that the “flats” can be used by the colorist by way of the “magic wand” tool. In this way, the colorist may select each object during the rendering process-to the exclusion of the other objects on the page-so that the object’s base color may be changed, or to render the colors.”

They sound like a pretty important part of the comic industry, eh?

That’s a subject for another day, however, as today we’re looking at 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank in it’s totality.4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK 10

Perhaps best likened to somebody throwing the Goonies, a supernatural-less Stranger Things and Reservoir Dogs into a blender and then poured it out over a nice crust of fantastic and baked for several minutes. Served with a side of wry humour and a glass of childhood innocence that may have started to sour a little, if you had started 4 Kids when it first came out but, like me, you’d let the series fall off your radar then you’ll be pleased to know that with the release of the trade you won’t need to put the story down.

I didn’t (well, not intentionally – I did fall asleep while reading but that’s because it was 3 am and I’d been awake more than twenty hours and thus should not be taken as an indication of quality).

4 Kids is one of those stories that really couldn’t work as well in any other medium; this is a story that exemplifies what it means to be a comic book. In an age of endless crossovers and reboots it is beyond refreshing to read a complete story that will take you along by the scruff of the neck as the characters end up going further and further down a rabbit hole – not only do the elements of humour in the comic play off the visuals, but they allow the deeper messages of the story to permeate your brain. Before you know it you’ve noticed that this story is so much more than just four kids walking into a bank (keep an eye out for some great narration bubbles there, too) – this is a story about family, societal debt and the folly of youth.

Rosenberg’s script is witty, the pacing of the story beats are utterly perfect; his writing so sharp I nearly lost a finger. When it comes to Boss’, his art may not be your cup of tea at first, but his command of the page and the characters upon that page couldn’t be better suited to this script. If this was a review rather than an entreaty to pick the trade up (I have despite having  a review copy) then I would be giving this top marks across the board. 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is a comic you must read.


That’s all for this week folks. Join us next week when we talk about something else that falls under the Underrated banner in the comic book world.

Preview: There’ Nothing There #5

THERE’S NOTHING THERE #5

Illustrated by: Maria Llovet
Written by: Patrick Kindlon
Lettered by: Jim Campbell

All troughs of blood run downhill to this place and moment. Reno confronts her tormentors, but finds there’s more than one lion’s den to stumble into. All her problems and all her friends are in the same cage now.

It’s up to her to pry the door open.

This is the conclusion!

Preview: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank TPB

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank TPB

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home / Punisher / Phoenix)
Arter: Tyler Boss (Lazurus / Vice Magazine / Calexit)
Letterist: Thomas Mauer (The Realm / The Disciples / Copperhead)
SRP- $14.99. 208 pages
Genre: Crime/Comedy
In Comic Shops: November 8th
In Bookstores: November 21st

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK is the darkly comedic story of four burgeoning child criminals and their elaborate plans.

When a group of bumbling criminals shows up in her father’s life looking to pull one last job, young Paige has two choices – let her father get caught up in their criminal hijinks or enlist her three best friends to do the job first. Paige picks the bad one.

180ish pages of full color comic-booking about friendship, family, growing up, and grand larceny from rising star writer Matthew Rosenberg (WE CAN NEVER GO HOME, PUNISHER, PHOENIX RESURRECTION) and equally rising star artist Tyler Boss (LAZARUS, CALEXIT, Vice Magazine).

Clandestino: The Complete Collection in January 2018

Clandestino: The Complete Collection

Written, Illustrated, Colored, and Lettered by: Amancay Nahuelpan
In Stores: January 2018
$14.99
208 pages

Written, penciled, inked, colored, and lettered by Amancay Nahuelpan  [CALEXIT, YOUNG TERRORISTS], CLANDESTINO is a tour-de-force of a hyperstylized, splatterpunk, ultraviolent revolution.

The country of Tairona became a no man’s land after the military coup. Guerrrillas were formed across the lands, and rebels unified against the dictator to resist the regime. A high-octane, action-packed thrillride about freedom fighters, their love of country, and a rebellion to seize liberty from tyranny!
Collects issues 1-6.

Review: Kim and Kim Love is A Battlefield #4

Kim and Kim Love is A Battlefield sadly reaches its conclusion in this issue as Kim Q and Kim D fly part of a broken mecha thing into a giant ship and fight Kim D’s very evil ex Laz so they can get a $250,000 bounty, get Kim and Kim LLC back on track, and maybe turn their regular cat into a talking cat. Artist Eva Cabrera plays with a tight grid for some of her fight scenes and captures the feel of kicking, punching, shooting, and bass swinging inside the close quarters of a spaceship while going full romance comic when Kim D has two different heart to hearts with Kim Q and Laz. Writer Mags Visaggio continues to bring the snappy dialogue and gives a satisfying end (and possible new beginning) to the Kims’ personal arcs, and colorist Claudia Aguirre uses plenty of pink and yellow

After Kim and Kim Love is a Battlefield #4’s one page cold open that kind of encapsulates what went wrong in Kim D and Laz’s relationship, Visaggio, Cabrera, and Aguirre deliver on the spaceship flying, boarding, and slaying buddy team-up that George Lucas wishes he could have pulled off in Revenge of the Sith. It’s not as Gundam Wing as last issue’s set-piece, but Cabrera gets a space marine with the Kims’ cute as hell spaceships and even dedicates an entire panel to Kim Q’s bass with not a dialogue/caption box or human being in sight. Unlike the previous issue, Kim Q and Kim D work in tandem and make short work of Laz’s goons with plenty of hilarious reaction shots from aforementioned goons to show that they have no chance against the fighting Kims.

Even though it’s a kick-ass, gun toting space bounty hunter jamboree, I love how Visaggio and Cabrera slow down and get real about relationships of all sorts towards the end of Kim and Kim #4. Obviously, Kim D gets to beat the crap out of Laz in a mostly silent, powerful series of panels while confronting her for using her over the course of their relationship and even after in the early issues of Love is a Battlefield. But Visaggio also lets Laz speak up for herself and talk about how difficult it was to be in a relationship with such driven, gung-ho person. With the exception of an opening bass bash, the scene between Kim D and Laz is just them with Cabrera turning on the waterworks and then zooming for one last punch that is more for catharsis than badass style. In addition to this relationship, Visaggio, Cabrera, and Aguirre also check in on Kim Q and Saar, who downgrade from friends with benefits to just friends with mixed results as Saar goes in for the kiss. And Kim Q calls him out for this while speeding away on her motorcycle, and their conversation shows the messiness of mixing sexy things and friendship.

But, of course, Love is a Battlefield #4 always comes back to the friendship between Kim Q and Kim D. There’s the obvious action team-ups and fast paced conversation (I swear Mags Visaggio’s dialogue increases in fun and quip volume when they chat.), but god, I would love to have someone look at me the same way Kim Q looks at Kim D and vice versa. For example, Eva Cabrera cuts to Kim Q saying “Hot” when she watches Kim D attacking Laz, and there’s an earlier scene where Kim D goes into “mom mode” and makes Kim Q stop pretending she’s in a horror flick so they can coordinate an attack on Laz’s ship. This filled with silliness, yet emotionally resonant bond between them along with all well-choreographed hand to hand combat and well-developed secondary relationships with characters like Kathleen, Saar, and of course, Laz is what makes Kim and Kim Love is a Battlefield an enjoyable read.

The final issue of Kim and Kim Love is Battlefield concludes with an empowering and optimistic essay by Sam Riedel where she asks, “What is the story of your future?” And Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre end the miniseries on an up note with the Kims finally starting to realize their potential as human beings, friends, and even bounty hunters. It’s been a rough journey of violence, emotional baggage, and some pretty rad vehicular warfare, but Kim Q and Kim D come out on top as the flawed, funny, and kick ass queer heroes that I wish I could see more of in pop culture.

Story: Mags Visaggio Art: Eva Cabrera Colors: Claudia Aguirre
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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