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Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024
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San Diego Comic Con


Announcing a Provocative, New Comic Book Series from Black Mask Studios, Premiering at Comic Con International 
LOS ANGELES, CA–What if a contested Presidential election plunged America into turmoil? What if political violence consumed the streets? And what if a raging Supreme Court, in a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment, legitimized and deputized all militias—transforming the entire country into a paramilitary police state? What if a freedom fighter emerged from the chaos, raised a civilian army, and carved out a territory across the United States–pushing out police, militias, and National Guard… enforcing its own laws… sovereign. What if Americans refused to be governed?
This is the world of ROGUE STATE, the new ongoing graphic novel series that marks writer Matteo Pizzolo’s return to comics for his first new series since 2017’s acclaimed CALEXIT, reuniting with artist C. Granda (who illustrated 2018’s CALEXIT: SAN DIEGO comic book that raised funds for families separated at the US-Mexico border) and CALEXIT cover artists Soo Lee and Ashley A Woods. ROGUE STATE will launch this October from Black Mask Studios, the Los Angeles based indie publisher of beloved titles including BLACK, 4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK, SPACE RIDERS, KIM & KIM, ALICE IN LEATHERLAND, and GODKILLER. Together, Pizzolo and Granda have created a timely title about rebelling against tyranny, reconquering stolen land, punching fascists in the face, and building a better nation.

“A big part of building authenticity and depth to the characters and the world of Rogue State comes from C. Granda’s incredible eye for detail and the way he infuses the work with his own experiences and observations,” said Matteo Pizzolo, co-founder of Black Mask Studios and the writer of ROGUE STATE. “Granda grew up in Medellín-Colombia, where he still lives and runs multiple cultural organizations devoted to supporting comic book creation in Latin America. He was a kid during the Palace of Justice siege when insurgents stormed the Supreme Court and left half the Justices dead. When Granda imagines a comic book world roiled by political violence, there’s a reason it feels so vital and lived-in.”
In ROGUE STATE, a crew of young vigilantes will rise against an authoritarian state robbing Americans of their rights. The ongoing series tells the story of Vya Of Brightstars, a mysterious freedom fighter rising from the unrest, and Clara Cruz (she/her), a young professional who becomes activated in Vya’s movement when her fiancée Taylor Sanchez (they/them) is disappeared as militias take over their Mission District neighborhood. As a nationwide police state takes shape following a contested Presidential election and The Supreme Court’s Second Amendment ruling to deputize paramilitary groups, Vya and Clara’s rogue state will blaze a path across America, inspiring others to raise their own armies… some in solidarity, others in opposition. Each issue of ROGUE STATE will also include non-fiction material about building local support networks and grassroots campaigning for coming elections.
“Confronting disinformation with political art has never been more important,” said Brian Giberson, Black Mask’s head of publishing development. “Black Mask Studios has always focused on stories that are adventurous and also have a real message driving them. Starting with OCCUPY COMICS, we published stories about inequity and the struggle for financial justice. Since then, we published stories about gentrification (THE DREGS), LGBTQIA+ self-discovery and found family (ALICE IN LEATHERLAND) and empowered Black superheroes fighting racist plutocrats (BLACK). We’ve partnered with creators to fundraise for Black Lives Matter, legal aid for families separated at the border, comic shops subjected to Covid lockdown mandates, and bail funds during the George Floyd protests. The fact that the comic market continues to support and provide a platform for such brave voices is a striking reminder that comics play a crucial and important role in our social, political, and cultural dialogue.”

“This is an amazing and crucial moment in the history of comics. It’s a real renaissance for socially relevant and politically challenging comic books and graphic novels, but at the same time these books are facing more attacks, lawsuits, and bans than they have in a generation,” said Matteo Pizzolo, co-founder of Black Mask Studios and the writer of ROGUE STATE. “Researchers are pointing out the explosion in book banning has been disproportionately impacting graphic novels–and whether it’s Maia Kobabe’s powerful GENDER QUEER, Art Spiegelman’s incredible MAUS, Alison Bechdel’s moving FUN HOME, or Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s piercing V FOR VENDETTA, it’s clear that deeply personal and fearlessly political comics and graphic novels are capturing imaginations across our polarized world. There’s never been a more robust range of comics and graphic novels speaking to the demand for social and political change than right now.”
The first issue of ROGUE STATE will be available from Black Mask Studios in October 2022, with a special preview book available in extremely limited quantities this week at Comic Con International in San Diego. Black Mask’s full slate of exclusives can be found below, and fans can find out more at the company’s panel on Saturday July 24! 
Black Mask SDCC exclusives: 
– Calexit: Our Last Night In America [Uncut] 
(limited to 66 main cover, 25 clean art)
An extended version of the FCBD 2021 Calexit story which was edited and had pages cut for FCBD’s T+ format. Exclusive cover by Sunando.
– Godkiller: For Those I Love I Will Sacrifice #1 advanced issue 
(limited to 66 main cover/25 clean art of a censored cover, and another 66 main cover/25 clean art of an uncensored cover)
Complete issue for upcoming series launch. Exclusive cover by Jasmin Darnell.
– Godkiller: Tomorrow’s Ashes Collected Edition Hardcover & Softcover 
(limited to 200 hardcover/200 softcover)
Collected editions in hardcover and softcover with limited edition art by Maria Llovet
– Rogue State ashcan
(limited to 50)
Preview book for upcoming series
– Destiny, NY Chapter 1
(limited to 99 of main cover, 25 of clean art)
Special edition of Destiny, NY’s first chapter. Exclusive cover by Amancay Nahuelpan (CalexitBatman: Detective Comics)

Black Mask: Debuting Tomorrow’s Legends
Saturday July 23, 2022 5-6pm, Rooom 28DE
Black Mask has made a name for itself as the hottest launchpad to debut new talent and as the home for some of the coolest, most provocative comics around, including BLACK, Destiny NY, CALEXIT, 4 Kids Walk into a Bank, and Alice In Leatherland. Black Mask co-founder Matteo Pizzolo (CALEXIT) joins creators Kwanza Osajyefo (BLACK), Pat Shand (Destiny NY), Adam Egypt Mortimer (Ballistic), and others for a wide-ranging discussion of how new ideas are changing comics and how you can be a part of it.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: C. Granda is a freelance comic book creator and teacher with more than 20 years of self-study and more than 16 years dedicated to the creation and promotion of comics in his homeland of Medellín-Colombia, where he founded and was the associate director of the National Comic And Manga Hall cultural corporation, and one of the leaders of FICCO (Independent Colombian Comics fair) and the creator of COMICFAN a small press publisher specialized in creating comics for the Colombian market and creating content aimed at the teaching of comic book creation in Latin America including a Youtube channel with more than 250 videos about the making and analysis of comics for and in the Latin Market. He is also an experienced comic book artist with more than 10 years of experience in professional work with several US and UK publishers such as Heavy Metal, Black Mask, Zenescope, Markosia and others, with titles including CALEXIT: SAN DIEGO, PIROUETTE, GRIMM FAIRY TALES, ESCAPE FROM MONSTER ISLAND, THE JUNGLE BOOK, HEROES OF HOME ROOM C, and ARACHNA, as well as handling his own self published titles. Currently Granda lives in Medellín with his wife Cindy and their four cats; Shazam, Mister Darcy, Totoro and Achu.
ABOUT THE WRITER: An Amazon #1 bestselling author, Matteo Pizzolo was named Wired Magazine’s “World’s Most Wired Comics Creator,” one of Bleeding Cool’s Top 100 Most Influential People In Comics, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, and FOX News. While living out of a backpack as a teenager in NYC’s Lower East Side, Pizzolo got his start as a playwright in Hell’s Kitchen’s Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood program. At 19 he wrote and directed THREAT, an independent feature financed with credit cards and set in NYC’s hardcore punk & underground hip hop scenes, which premiered at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, won a Best First Time Filmmaker award at the Rome Independent Film Festival, and was distributed by Sony. He then wrote the comic book GODKILLER (selected as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books Of The Year) and directed its animated film adaptation, distributed by Warner Brothers. He wrote the comic books YOUNG TERRORISTS (second only to Lumberjanes as the highest selling indie graphic novel of the year) and CALEXIT (recipient of international acclaim, including a Publishers Weekly starred review), and co-founded Black Mask where he’s championed “subversive, provocative, and just plain awesome comics and creators.” Utilizing his background in political organizing, Pizzolo created the Occupy Comics project and devotes himself to supporting and creating some of the bravest comics on shelves.
ABOUT BLACK MASK STUDIOS: Bringing the punk rock ethic to comics c/o co-founders Brett Gurewitz, Steve Niles, and Matteo Pizzolo, Black Mask supports creators telling awesome and important stories.

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