Matteo Pizzolo is making a comeback with a new series from Black Mask entitled Rogue State. The series marks Pizzolo’s first series since 2017, and the publisher has released details ahead of SDCC 2022, where the book will premier. Check out the details below as well as some SDCC exclusives from Black Mask.
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 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 Pizzolo. “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 (Calexit, Batman: 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.
Check out more SDCC ’22 coverage here!