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Black Mask Studios Announces their Class of 2016

Black Mask Studios is one of the hottest publishers out there, constantly releasing comics that are some of the most buzzed about and consistent sell-outs. Launched in 2014 by Matt Pizzolo, Brett Gurewitz, and Steve Niles, the publisher has revealed its third slate of comics, a dozen projects “principally from new creators bringing bold and unorthodox points of view to their comics.”

With an already proven success record as a publisher, plus a line-up of new creators, this could be one of the hottest launchpad for new comic talent in quite some time.

So who is in the Class of 2016? Take a look…



writer Katy Rex
artist Fabian Lelay
colorist Mara Jayne Carpenter 
covers Annie Wu (Black Canary)

From an all-new creative team, Jade Street Protection Services is Black Mask’s first all-ages book, decribed as The Breakfast Club of Hogwarts.

Jade Street Protection Services follows a group of (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected.

JSPS channels Black Mask’s edgy, subversive sensibility into a whipsmart all-ages adventure for delinquents young and old.

KIM & KIMJuly 2016


writer Magdalene Visaggio
artist Eva Cabrera
colorist Claudia Aguirre
covers Tess Fowler (Rat Queens), Devaki Neogi (Curb Stomp) 

Another one from an all-new creative team, Kim & Kim is a Tank Girl-esque buddy adventure about a trans woman and her best girlfriend.

Kim & Kim is a day-glo action adventure that’s bursting with energy and enthusiasm and puts queer women and trans women front and center. Badass besties Kim and Kim are out to make a name for themselves in the wild world of interdimensional cowboy law enforcement – and they very quickly end up in way over their heads.

Blending the punk exuberance of Tank Girl with the buddy adventure wackiness of Superbad (if Michael Cera was a trans woman and Jonah Hill a queer girl partner in crime), Kim & Kim focuses on the power and meaning of female friendships as engines of validation. A bright, happy, punk rock sci fi adventure that is queer as shit.



writer Kwanza Osajyefo (former editor at Zuda)
co-creator/designer Tim Smith 3
artist Jamal Igle (Supergirl, Molly Danger)
covers Khary Randolph (Robin Wars)

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

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

X-Men meets The Wire, BLACK’s Kickstarter blazed through Black History Month 2016 earning $91,973, more than three time its funding goal.



writers J.M. DeMatteis (Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt, Justice League) Matt Pizzolo (Young Terrorists, Godkiller)
artist Josh Hood (We Can Never Go Home)
cover Amancay Nahuelpan

Julie was a good girl from an elite family with her whole life ahead of her, until she got mixed up with bad boy Winston. After a decade of hard drugs and harder living, Julie is finally pulling her life back together. In rehab, she undergoes intensive therapy that unearths a deeply repressed trauma: her memory from being 16 and giving up her and Winston’s baby for adoption. She realizes it’s a lie. An implanted memory. There was something else that took the baby. Something evil. Julie tracks down Winston and forces him to tell her what truly happened, a horrifying revelation that will lead them both on a journey into darkness.

A lyrical and fantastical tale of rebellion, redemption, and hellfire, but, most of all, a story of family.

From legendary writer J.M. DeMatteis, co-written by Matt Pizzolo fresh off his smash hit Young Terrorists and illustrated by Josh Hood still on fire from We Can Never Go Home.



writer Tini Howard
artist Devaki Neogi (Curb Stomp)

A stylish, period, political adventure about a pair of hip, clever teens who fool the world of the 1960s into believing they have superpowers. Like X-Men: First Class meets Project Alpha.

It is the 1960s. The Russians have the A bomb, the H bomb, and now the most terrifying weapon of all: a pair of psychically superpowered young people. Terrified and desperate, the US top brass scours from coast to coast in search of psychic Americans. Enter Dr. Isobel Santaclara, an eccentric illusionist and grifter who has recruited two teenagers and trained them to trick the US government, the Russians, and the whole world into believing they are dangerous psychics. Skeptical is a pre-punk period piece, a sort of honest, unfuzzy, non-nostalgic look at the Cold War 1960s in DC.

Featuring female doctors, black female college students, and other genius “undesirables.” Like a cross between Kill Your Boyfriend and Hard Day’s Night, but about politics and ethics and how punk rock it is to be the smartest person in the room.

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANKStreet date: April 27, 2016


writer Matthew Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home)
artist Tyler Boss (VICE)

What is it?

11 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.

4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, d & d, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, & family.



writer Curt Pires (The Fiction, Mayday)
artist Eric Pfeiffer (Arcadia)

Live fast. Live forever.

Five friends struggling on the brink of stardom sacrifice everything in a black magic pact that brings them all the wealth and glamour they ever wanted. But now, years later, the glow is fading. When one of them is killed in an accident, they each feel a pulse of magic rise in them. They realize the glow is spread evenly among the group, and if one dies that power is passed along to the rest. Suddenly, they are being hunted. One of them has decided to kill the rest and harness the remaining power.

As they search for the killer, each of The Forevers will be confronted by the macabre reality of the lengths people will go to be adored, to make sure the spotlight never fades.



writers Eric Palicki (Guardians Of Infinity) Adrianne Palicki (actress, Mockingbird in Agents Of SHIELD)
artist Ari Syahrazad

Religious texts from The Bible to the Sumerian tablets speak of strange creatures descending from the heavens and mating with humans, their children the superhuman heroes of myth. None of this ever meant anything to Iraq War veteran Hannah Gregory, until she found herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous cult convinced that she’s a descendant of these dangerous bloodlines… bloodlines they’re determined to eradicate.

No Angel is a cosmological and conspiratorial modern western in the style of Preacher meets Justified by way of Jodorowsky.



writers Zac Thompson (VICE) Lonnie Nadler (VICE)
artist Eric Zawadzki (Last Born)

In this bloodsoaked satire of gentrification, an exclusive new restaurant called Pijin becomes the hottest spot in town by serving high-end dishes of human flesh. Where is the meat coming from? No one knows for sure, but a drug addled homeless man named Arnold Timm notices his friends disappearing and is determined to find out if they’re being fed to the rich.

A modern spin on Sweeney Todd in our world of excess where a touch of celebrity can make even cannibalism seem downright sexy.



writer Matt Pizzolo (Young Terrorists, Godkiller)
artist Anna Wieszczyk (Godkiller)

The creators of Godkiller (one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015) return for an all new saga.

In a twisted future where America has been divided into warring city states, escaped slavegirl Halfpipe and grifter Soledad roam the savage land on the fringes between civilizations. When they come upon a strange relic, they will uncover a secret history of America’s destruction.

This grimy apocalyptic fantasy manages to be simultaneously fun and horrifying, both brutal and intellectual, a unique descent into the American nightmare.



writer Fabian Rangel Jr (Space Riders)
artist Alexis Ziritt (Space Riders)

The Skullship Santa Muerte rides again as the creators of Space Riders (one of The Village Voice’s Outstanding Comics of 2015) return.

An ancient evil is gathering power throughout the cosmos, and it falls upon the legendary SPACE RIDERS to kick its a**! Having disbanded, the crew of CAPITAN PELIGRO, MONO, and YARA must reunite for what may be their final ride!

The cult comic that electrified comic readers in the brain RETURNS to blast your fragile human psyche into oblivion!!

WE CAN NEVER GO HOME, vol. 22016


writers Matthew Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home, QUAKE) Patrick Kindlon (We Can Never Go Home, QUAKE)
artist Josh Hood (We Can Never Go Home)

The dream team behind 2015 breakout hit We Can Never Go Home (winner of Diamond Comics Gem Award for Best Indie Graphic Novel of 2015) are back.

17 year old misfit Morgan was lost. Unsure if she imagined the teenagers with strange abilities who were involved in the death of her boyfriend or not, Morgan was worried she was losing her mind. She fell in with a rough crowd, developed some bad habits, and did whatever she could to try and forget the things she thought she saw. But when she runs into a very lonely and disturbed girl named Dania, everything changes. Like those teenagers from her past, Dania can do things other people can’t. Dania will be Morgan’s ticket out of their small town and into a bigger world… whether she wants to be or not.

Preview: Headspace #8

Headspace #8

Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay
Artists: Eric Zawadzki, Sebastián Piriz
Colorists: Eric Zawadzki, Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 18
Rating: 15+

The end of the whole mess. Shane V the Id in a blood red Carpenter Cove. Max and the kids under a slow dull sky. Surely, in our final moments, we all wonder if there are other worlds than these.


Preview: Headspace #7

Headspace #7

Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay
Artists: Eric Zawadzki, Sebastián Piriz
Colorists: Eric Zawadzki, Marissa Louise, Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 23
Rating: 15+

Shane is free…but earning your freedom and deserving it can be two very different paths to commit to.


Preview: Headspace #6

Headspace #6

Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay
Artists: Eric Zawadzki, Sebastián Piriz
Colorists: Eric Zawadzki, Marissa Louise
Letterer: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 24
Rating: 15+

It’s time to find out what happens out on the water beyond Carpenter Cove.


Can You Hide a Secret… In Someone’s Mind?

The thrilling and complex tale of a town that discovers their own terrible reality becomes even more frightening when the Sheriff of Carpenter Cove discovers whose mind he and his neighbors now reside in.

From breakout creators Ryan K. Lindsay and Eric Zawadzki, Headspace delivers twists and turns that will make any fan of suspense squirm!

The series is the latest example of the partnership that brings digital publisher Monkeybrain‘s comics to print through IDW Publishing.headspace

Preview: Headspace #5

Headspace #5

Writer: Ryan K Lindsay
Artists: Eric Zawadzki, Sebastián Piriz
Colorists: Eric Zawadzki, Marissa Louise
Letterer: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 24
Rating: 15

Imagine watching your child die. Max’s heart is a labyrinth of depravity and at the centre Shane will be crushed under its fractured weight. Also covered in this issue’s curriculum: can a duffel bag full of cash be used as a silencer?


Eric Zawadski and Patrick Meaney Discuss Last Born

last born #1What if the Big Bang was not the first of its kind? And, more importantly, not the last? Her whole life, Julia has yearned for adventure, and when she falls through a rupture in spacetime, she finally gets her wish. Last Born is a cosmological thrill-ride marks the comic writing debut of Patrick Meaney, director of Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, and features art from Eric Zawadski.

We got a chance to talk to the two of them about this new series from Black Mask Studios.

Graphic Policy: For those who might not know about the series, what is it about?

Patrick Meaney: Last Born follows Julia, a frustrated teenager in the early 1960s who yearns for adventure. When she falls through a rupture in space-time to a desolate future, it’s up to her and a small group of friends to restart life on Earth before it’s destroyed forever. The series blend big apocalyptic spectacle with a focus on characters and emotional experience.

GP: How did the series come about?

PM: I developed the idea for the series slowly over the past few years. I knew I wanted to do something with people from different times and places overlapping against the backdrop of this epic conflict. I like action movies and blockbusters like Empire Strikes Back or Aliens a lot, but I also love character drama like Magnolia or Six Feet Under, and I wanted to try and bring those two worlds together and mash all the stuff I love into one series.

Eric Zawadski: I collaborated with Patrick on a short for the Occupy Anthology and enjoyed working with him enough to ask if he wanted to do something bigger. He sent me a couple of ideas, but I fell in love with this one.

GP: With the idea of the Big Bang not being the first, and not being the last, it got me to thinking of cycles, life and death, and how parents and children tie into all of that.

PM: Right from the title, the series is all about the overlap of birth and death. As it goes on, we deal a lot with the idea of cycles, and the intersection of creation and destruction. I’ve always wondered what existed before the Big Bang, there must have been something, right? And what will happen after our world gets wiped out for whatever reason. There’s always going to be something new rising up, and whatever’s next might have no idea we ever existed, in the same way that we all have thousands of generations of ancestors, but have no idea who they were or what their lives were like. By combining a disparate group of characters from different points in time, I wanted to show the interconnected nature of the entire human experience.

GP: A lot of the first issue deals with a daughter and a father. Was it important to have a female lead, and how did you decide on that?

PM: When I approach a story, I’m usually trying to find a different take or approach to the material than what I’ve seen a lot of, and since there’s been more stories with male protagonists in the past, I often gravitate towards a female protagonist. The original approach to the story was going to be a bit more ensemble based, but in searching for the best way to bring people into it, Julia emerged as the clear choice for a central viewpoint character for the audience, and we built the world around her.

EZ: Each issue focuses on the point of view of a different character. In issue 2 we see James’ story and in issue 3 we follow Eden. But Julia is the most logical entry point for the audience because her time, the 1960’s, is closest to ours.

GP: The first issue jumps around a lot as far as genres, there’s some super natural, some sci-fi, family drama. And the issue jumps around in worlds. What got you to want to change up the tone of the first issue, instead of just sticking with sci-fi, or super natural aspects?

PM: I wanted to make sure there was a clear grounding before getting into the headier sci-fi stuff, and tracking back into Julia’s life and world she came from seemed like a good way to do that. Even people who become heroes or involved in massive battles come from somewhere and have personal problems, and I wanted to explore the roots of all these characters and show their personal lives as well as their more heroic struggle.

GP: Patrick, you’ve been involved in the movie industry, though a lot of those movies have to do with comics, what got you interested in doing a comic?

PM: I’ve loved comics for a long time, and love the kind of storytelling that you can only do in comics. Reading a work like Watchmen or The Invisibles, there’s an incredible density of ideas and emotion contained in any given page or panel. Comics can do things that movies can’t, both in terms of presenting a story with a scope that would be cost prohibitive to film, and in terms of the storytelling style. I love the challenge of writing comics, the need to encapsulate a vast world in a series of images and moments. I love doing movies, but comics offer a bigger canvas and an entire different way to tell a story. And, having loved reading comics so much, creating my own was irresistible.

GP: Eric, how did you come on board the comic?

EZ: I’ve been following Patrick’s writing since his pop culture blog way, way back when. I appreciated his smart analysis of comics, TV and movies. A couple of years ago he wrote on twitter that he was looking for an artist to do a short story and I jumped at the chance. We worked well together on that, so we decided to work on something bigger.

GP: The coloring for the first issue stands out, especially Julia’s red dress. How important was that coloring to the art and storytelling?

EZ: Coloring is probably my weakest skillset in producing comics. I’m still learning, but I think I’ve grown a lot while working on Last Born. The biggest challenge is portraying an ash covered wasteland while still making everything look interesting. My solution for that was to give our cast a very colorful appearance.

GP: This is a four issue limited series, but any chances it might extend beyond that into another volume?

PM: The plan is to do three four issue volumes, which will tell the entire story of Last Born. When I first presented the story to Eric, I included everything, and we’re planning to tell that whole story over the next year or two.

GP: What can we expect from you two next?

PM: As I mentioned, we’re planning to work together on Last Born Volume II once this initial run is wrapped. I have a few more comics projects in development, as well as a film project called Trip House, which is coming together slowly, but surely. I’m also working on a documentary about Neil Gaiman that I’m currently editing.

EZ: I’ve got another comic that I created with Ryan K. Lindsay called Headspace, which comes out regularly from Monkeybrain Comics. I’ve also got a couple of smaller projects cooking with various writer friends, including my long-time collaborator Danny Djeljosevic.

Preview: Headspace #4

Headspace #4

Writer: Ryan K Lindsay
Artists: Eric Zawadzki, Sebastián Piriz
Colorists: Eric Zawadzki, Marissa Louise
Letterer: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 24
Rating: 15+

Shane comes face to face with the twisted black heart of Carpenter Cove, and watches it win. Max finally tracks down the lady who started this whole mess and she says something he can’t ignore.

The critically acclaimed book Pipedream Comics are calling “a smartly written, surreal thriller” hits its emotionally charged middle point.


Preview: Headspace #2

Headspace #2

Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay
Artist: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 20
Rating: 15

Shane chases his son through the labyrinthine battlefield of Max’s memories and fears. Will he find a way out, and can he trust that path?


Preview: Headspace #1

Headspace #1

Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay
Art: Christopher Peterson, Eric Zawadzki
Colorist: Marissa Louise, Eric Zawadski
Letterer: Eric Zawadzki
Price: $0.99
Pages: 27
Rating: 15+

The inhabitants of Carpenter Cove discover their strange town is actually a construct in the mind of a killer. Shane, the sheriff, wants to get back to his real life but one dark connection between him and the killer is going to make him rethink everything.


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