Former Chicago Bear and Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs and ULTRAMAN writer Kyle Higgins are teaming up for a science fiction graphic novel, THE TRAP. And they’re Kickstarting it, because why not.

The 120-page sci-fi story features rising star artist Danilo Beyruth, superstar colorist Tamra Bonvillain, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and designer Sasha E. Head.

Briggs is a longtime comics fan, and the story draws inspiration from his sporting career and his own experiences growing up in Sacramento, CA. The storyline about a future sports star who makes bad decisions to pursue his dream, is also highly relevant to today’s racial discourse.

You can follow the project on Twitter at @TheTrapComics and support the campaign here. 

The story, inspired by his life before sports success, is a longtime dream of Briggs, he said in a statement.

“Before I played professional football, my life was very different,” says Lance Briggs. “I grew up in Sacramento, CA during the 1980s and 1990s, with my mother and two older sisters. But while many people hear “Sacramento” and associate it with a place of power and decision making in the state of California, the reality— for many of its residents— is anything but. Our family struggled no differently than most in the south area. There were times when the pantry was bare and the fridge was empty. Days or weeks without power. Waking up to cold showers before school. For those of us who came of age in an environment like this, we have a simple name for it: The Trap. Put simply, the name translates to a community that has been failed by its governing bodies. The Trap is both a neighborhood and a resulting way of life— a system designed to keep you from succeeding.”

“The best science fiction is allegory,” said Higgins in a statement. “And while the world of THE TRAP has many extraordinary elements— technology, sports, species and interstellar status quo— at its core it is very much an opportunity to explore the different challenges that we face, as we try to save those who come after us from repeating our mistakes.”

Gotta be honest here, looking over a few pages of the art, this looks like a really top-notch project, very much in the vein of a European comics album.

Character designs for THE TRAP

THE TRAP #1_010THE TRAP #1_011THE TRAP #1_008_009

More info from the PR:

In THE TRAP, Jaylen Robinson is a rising sports star from a not-so-great part of the galaxy: Earth. He’s worked hard his whole life. Everyone’s saying that Jaylen is the Next Big Thing for the interstellar sport of the future: surfriding. The future is his. This is his chance. Until it’s not.

Days before a big race, everything changes. Jaylen’s surfrider board needs to be repaired but he doesn’t have the money and he doesn’t have very many options. He’s desperate —  desperate enough to agree to boost the ship belonging to one of Earth’s Interstellar Senators. But when the job goes wrong and Jaylen Robinson accidentally shoots the Senator, his once-promising sports career threatens to succumb to The Trap.

Sacramento, California native Lance Briggs started his sports career playing baseball for Florin Little League at 6 years old. Due to a suspension of the South Sac Vikings Youth Football Club, Lance started his football career with the Elk Grove Knights at the age of 7. In Elk Grove, Lance found a community that would not allow him to fail. He commuted to and attended Elk Grove High School, from Sacramento, and during his senior year, accepted a scholarship to play football and attend college at the University of Arizona. While at Arizona, he was a three-time first-team All-Pac-10 Conference selection as a linebacker for the Wildcats football team.

The Chicago Bears selected Briggs in the third round (68th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He was the 13th linebacker drafted in 2003 and went on to play 12 yrs for the Bears as a 7x Pro Bowler as well as a 3x All Pro.

Kyle Higgins is a #1 New York Times Best Selling author whose past work includes Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Nightwing, Batman Eternal, Ultraman, The Winter Soldier, Hadrian’s Wall and The Dead Hand. After spending two years at the University of Iowa, Kyle transferred to Chapman University where he directed a superhero noir titled The League, about the 1960’s superhero labor union of Chicago. In addition to opening doors at Marvel and DC Comics, the film served as a creative launch point for Kyle’s 2014 Image Comics series, C.O.W.L. 

Danilo Beyruth is a Brazilian comic book creator born in 1973. In Brazil, he has written and drawn a dozen graphic novels, including Band of Two, a western set in the early 1900s, Necronaut, a superhero horror, Love Kills, a contemporary vampire story, and Samurai Shirô, a yakuza tale set in the Brazilian Japanese colony. For Mauricio de Sousa (Brazil’s Disney), Danilo created the adult version of the classic character Astronaut, now on its fifth album, and currently set to be adapted by HBO (for animation). Danilo’s books have been published in Argentina, Italy, Spain, Poland, France, Portugal, Germany, and Belgium.

For the US he has worked as a penciler/Inker on such books as Fubar and Jesus Hates Zombies, as well as Ghost Rider, Gwenpool, Deadpool vs Gambit, Deadpool & Cable, Howard the Duck, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Carnage.

Tamra Bonvillain is a colorist who has contributed work to several series; Doom Patrol, Captain Marvel, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and more. Her color work has been published at most of the major comic publishers such as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc. She’s a graduate of the Joe Kubert School in Dover, NJ, and currently resides in Augusta, GA.

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is a letterer, half from Algeria and half from England. He’s lettered comics like X-O Manowar, Undone By Blood, Red Sonja, and First Knife. He’s also the editor behind the Eisner-winning PanelxPanel, and the voice of Strip Panel Naked.

Sasha E. Head is a branding and editorial graphic designer who loves all things sci-fi and fantasy. She is best known for her art direction and design of all 28 issues of Image Comics’ monthly publication Image+ as well as her design work on Jonathan Hickman & Mike Huddleston’s creator-owned series Decorum. She subscribes to the notion that great stories deserve great world-building, and design is no small part of that immersion.