Busiek and Fry's 'Liberty Project' collected

Thu, March 27th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

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Official Press Release

When the U.S. government needs a superhero team, they

turn to the handiest source of superpowered folks: prisons. Can four

supervillains win the fight for life, liberty, and an early parole?

That's the central question of THE LIBERTY PROJECT, a superhero series

created by original Thunderbolts writer Kurt Busiek and by penciler

James W. Fry now being collected for the first time.

Originally published in 1987 and 1988, this overlooked

series came out before Busiek's ground-breaking work on Marvels and

Astro City caused readers to begin seeking out his work. "This was

the first place I got to play with a number of my ongoing obsessions

about characters and storytelling," says Busiek. "LIBERTY PROJECT

was the first ongoing title I created, and the themes James and I

explored there have been popping up ever since in my work -- the

idea of super-villains-as-heroes was also the central concept of

Thunderbolts, of course, and it's been a part of Astro City and

Power Company as well, and even Avengers. I don't know why I'm so

interested in redemption as a theme - maybe I have hidden issues

myself! - but it's definitely something that hooks me, and seems

to hook readers of my work, as well.

"Still, that doesn't mean that the series is a serious,

weighty tome. Like Thunderbolts, it's an up-tempo, upbeat superhero

series, with as much action and fun and character drama as we could

fit into each issue. Maybe even more so, since the Proj came out

at the height of the grim & gritty era, and James and I were

itching to do something that was just a ton of fun."

Penciler James W. Fry's sense of fun is obviously

still intact. "Sure, I could go on and on about how thrilled I am

to see The Liberty Project back in print, but would that make you

buy this book?" he asks. "I don't think so. I could wax rhapsodic

over the fact that creating these characters and stories with Kurt

was more fun than a sleepover with a supermodel, but would that

separate you, the American consumer, from your hard-earned cash?

No, and why should it? Never mind that purchasing this volume

will clear away warts and blemishes overnight, help you lose

up to 150 pounds of unsightly fat before lunchtime and make you

over one million dollars an hour for the rest of your life.

Sure, that's all true, but of absolutely no consequence! No,

the single most compelling reason to buy this book is that each

these stories contain within them the long-coveted, absolutely

guaranteed, one hundred per cent foolproof Secrets of How To

Attract Women! That is, of course, assuming the women you wish

to attract are Tex-Mex gals with super-strength and poor impulse

control, or deranged homicidal pyrokinetic teenagers. Good luck,

America!"

When the book was first published, it built a fan

following among those who knew their superhero books. "I read THE

LIBERTY PROJECT when I was in high school and sought after every

issue," remembers Wolverine artist Darick Robertson. "It was ahead

of its time in that it tried to spin super heroes into the real

world of media hype and personal conflict. My only regret is that

James Fry is too smart with his creator rights and I couldn't

convince Kurt Busiek to throw him aside and let me draw it! But

James is so damn good in his own right, I should just stick to

heaping on the praise..."

About Comics' upcoming trade paperback of THE LIBERTY

PROJECT is the first time that this material has been collected.

"We wanted to put out a book that was good fun superhero material,"

explains Nat Gertler, publisher of About Comics. "The book has the

entire eight-issue run of The Liberty Project plus the contents of

The Seraphim Objective, a one-shot that followed the series, with a

new cover by James and a new afterword by Kurt. By reprinting it

all in black and white in a convenient manga-sized book, we managed

to keep the price down to $11.95, a bargain for nine issues of

comics."

The four convicts-cum-heroes who are brought together

include Slick, a smooth player whose name suits both his slippery

powers and personality; Burnout, a troubled lass with pyrokinetic

ability; Crackshot, a repentant marksman; and Cimarron, a spirited,

sexy, and super-strong young woman. On their rocky road toward

redemption, they encounter teenage monsters, autocratic space

aliens, larcenous old friends and lovers, and enough wrecked

police cars to fill a summer blockbuster.

"It's always good to see your work collected, to have

a chance to live on and entertain new readers in book form," Busiek

notes. "And I've had a lot of work collected over the last

decade - but I've got to admit, I'm giddy as a hyperventilating

schoolgirl that this stuff is coming back into print. It's a series

I'm proud of, it's a series not many people have had a chance

to read, and most importantly to me, these guys are family - we go

way back, and I'm so glad to be connected with them again. James

and I have often talked about going back to tell more LIBERTY

PROJECT adventures someday, and I hope this is just the first step

down that road."

The Liberty Project (ISBN 0-9716338-2-7) is a 232 page

black and white trade paperback, 7 3/4" by 5 1/2", priced at $11.95

and shipping in July from About Comics.

 
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