Newcomer publisher Black Mask Studios revealed a heavy-hitting creative team for its launch window: none other than "V For Vendetta" collaborators Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The Hollywood Reporter announced the creative team's return in Black Mask's "Occupy Comics" #1, which launches May 1. The issue marks the first time Moore and Lloyd have worked together since "V For Vendetta."
While Moore and Lloyd are two of Black Mask's most well-known contributors, the other creators associated with the comics imprint of the studio co-founded by Pizzolo, "30 Days of Night" creator Steve Niles and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz is no less impressive. Creative contributors include Art Spiegelman ("Maus"), Charlie Adlard ("The Walking Dead"), Darick Robertson ("The Boys," "Happy"), Mike Allred ("Madman"), Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and Ghostface Killah and more.
"The way we put together the slate is with wanting to push the boundaries of what can be done in comics," Pizzolo told THR. “One of the chief goals is to expand the audience of comics. We are trying to do that by bringing in different sensibilities, like Wu-Tang, like hard sci-fi and futurism, and with madcap energy. Remember books like 'Transmetropolitan?' You don’t see much of that today."
Beyond "Occupy Comics Anthology," Black Mask has a number of other titles in the pipeline, including RZA and Ghostface Killah's "12 Reasons to Die" drawn by rotating artists like Riley Rossmo and Tim Seeley debuting May 29; "Liberator" written by Matt Miner and drawn by Joel Gomez on June 19; and writer Adam Egypt Mortimer's "Ballistic" drawn by Darick Robertson to hit stores on June 26.
"Occupy Comics" was funded by a Kickstarter drive started by Pizzolo. A portion of its revenue will go to Occupy-related initiatives.
UPDATE 2/14/2013 3:16 PM PT: Black Mask Studios has sent out a press release with more details on its 2013 launch titles and slate of creators.
Official Press Release
We are thrilled to announce Black Mask Studios, a brand new comic publishing company created by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre), Matt Pizzolo (Occupy Comics, Godkiller, Halo-8) and Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion, Epitaph Records). Black Mask has just unveiled their initial leadoff slate of comic book series.
Black Mask Spring 2013 Slate:
Occupy Comics Anthology - out May 1st, the star-studded political anthology is the first shared project between Alan Moore (Watchmen) and David Lloyd since V For Vendetta, as well as Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Art Spiegelman (Pulitzer-winning Maus), Molly Crabapple (Shell Game), Matt Bors (Pulitzer-nominated political cartoonist), Mike Allred (Madman), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night), J.M. DeMatteis (Justice League, Spider-Man), Tyler Crook (Petrograd), Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, Vampire), Joe Infurnari (Mush!), Ales Kot (Wild Children), Dean Haspiel (American Splendor), Douglas Rushkoff (media theorist), Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier, Swamp Thing), Matt Miner (Liberator), & the project's organizational spearhead Matt Pizzolo (Godkiller).
12 Reasons To Die - out May 29th, this horror-crime hybrid is the latest comic book from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and Ghostface Killah. It is illustrated by a rotating team of artists including Riley Rossmo (Bedlam), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Joe Infurnari (Mush!), Kyle Strahm (Haunt), Gus Storms & Breno Tamura (Pigs), with covers by Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats) and Christopher Mitten (30 Days of Night).
Ballistic – out June 26th, the new comic book by Darick Robertson (Happy, The Boys, Transmetropolitan) and Adam Egypt Mortimer (director of Grant Morrison's upcoming Sinatoro) is a madcap, futurist, sci-fi adventure about a wanna-be bank robber and his best friend: a psychotic, drug addicted living gun.
Liberator – out June 19th, this is a hard-edged vigilante series about two young heroes who avenge the torture of animals, created by writer and real-life dog rescuer Matt Miner (Occupy Comics) and artist Joel Gomez (Detective Comics) with covers by Chris Burnham (Batman Incorporated), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Yildiray Cinar (Earth 2), and Joe Prado (Aquaman, Justice League). "A really cool, progressive story about young outcast crusaders." - Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire, Superman: Man of Steel)
Black Mask will differentiate itself based on its respective founders' decades-long commitments to championing creator's rights across media from comics to film to music.
As Pizzolo explains, "Groundbreaking art thrives when the relationship between artist and label is built on integrity, respect, and a team effort. Comics has a troubled history with its treatment of creators, our goal is to bring the supportive ethic of record labels like Epitaph, Dischord, and Revelation to comics."
"Art has the power to move people and transgressive art can challenge and even change social norms," adds Gurewitz. "It's what punk rock and comics have in common, and one of the reasons I'm super excited about Black Mask Studios."
"Brett, Matt, and I all came up in the DiY punk scene,” furthers Niles. “And we're bringing that kind of attitude to this... the constructive part about supporting voices who are talking about real things but in a bold and exciting way. We're not afraid to bring in activism and politics and counterculture. What publisher today could be bringing out the next V For Vendetta? Nobody."
While Black Mask Studios' initial titles will be released to comic book stores through Diamond Comics starting in May, the comics are already available for pre-order in the Black Mask webstore as physical-digital hybrid bundles. The comics won't be delivered until their retail street date, but digital subscribers will instantly receive a digital "comics mixtape" as well as a limited edition t-shirt. You can find the Black Mask webstore by going to: kingsroadmerch.com/black-mask-studios
"We experimented with the direct-to-fan digital-physical-hybrid subscription model for Godkiller at Halo-8,” explains Pizzolo. “Basically you get the digital issues every month and then the collected trade paperback when it's all done. The audience loved it and we think it's a great way to reach new audiences with Black Mask."