A Comic to Benefit Striking Writers, Actors Is Coming from Indie Publisher Black Mask (Exclusive)

The writers and actors strike is getting a boost from the comics world and a new superhero named General Strike.

Indie publisher Black Mask Studios, run by Matteo Pizzolo, is putting together a comics anthology that will be written by WGA members with the company matching the writers’ fees with donations to the safety net organization Entertainment Community Fund.

The announcement comes as the writers strike hits its 100th day. No new contract talks are scheduled to begin any time soon.

Titled General Stike: Calexit and Other Tales of Fighting the Good Fight, the collection of new stories has the theme of confronting economic inequality and, like any good superhero story, featuring new characters fighting the good fight against injustice. A bubblegum-chewing, labor-organizing character named General Strike will act as the host of the comic, threading the stories together.

The book is in pre-launch mode on Kickstarter now, with an official launch set for Aug. 15.

The WGA writers involved include Judalina Neira, who has worked on CW’s The Flash and Amazon’s The Boys and its spinoff Gen V and who is also the WGA’s NBCU lot coordinator; Winning Time and The Boondocks writer Rodney Barnes; and Brian Michael Bendis, a longtime comic book author who is the creator of the Miles Morales Spider-Man character.

Black Mask is paying the writers rates that equate to those paid by Marvel Comics or DC Comics. It will also match those rates with donations to the ECF. Creators will also retain ownership of the IP to their stories and characters.

“I’m a WGA member and my wife is in SAG, so we know firsthand the cost of this strike. It’s impacting so many people–writers and actors and their families for sure, but also everyone who works in the community and culture,” said Pizzolo, who is overseeing General Strike. “Hopefully we can use our comics platform to help members of the creative community cover costs during this crisis while also telling badass and inspiring stories about Truth, Justice, and Collective Action.”

Pizzolo co-created Calexit, an indie series set against a California seceding and going to war against a United States overrun by fascism. It was his reaction against the politics of the time, with it debuting in 2018. Initially he wanted was thinking of having General Strike be a series of short comics set in the world of Calexit, but the idea grew to become a platform for WGA writers tell their stories of activism.

Other writers on board include Tamara Becher (Doom Patrol, Star Wars: The Bad Batch), Charley Feldman (X-Men ‘97, Teen Titans Go!) and Daniel Dominguez (Seis Manos, Gen:Lok).

“This is a pivotal moment for our business and it’s projects like this that show our solidarity in the most difficult of circumstances,” said Barnes in a statement.

Stated Becher, “This strike isn’t just about writers in Hollywood, it’s about the exploitation of labor. As such, we cannot and will not stop fighting until we are fairly compensated for our work.”

The project still has room for some more participants and those interested can reach out to Black Mask. More writers and the first team of artists will be announced as the Aug. 15 campaign gears up.

Black Mask and the creators of Calexit have used the comic medium for activism on several previous occasions. Other initiatives included raising money for families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border during President Donald Trump’s  administration’s border crisis, running voter registration on the showfloor of San Diego Comic-Con, supporting Indivisible’s Get Out The Vote campaign, and donating to bail funds during the George Floyd protests, and using comic royalties to form a SuperPAC named Become The Government.

Source From: www.hollywoodreporter.com

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