Yesterday, Sal Abbinati, best known as an art dealer and representative for artists like Alex RossBill Sienkiewicz, and Geof Darrow, launched a Kickstarter for a graphic novel of his own. Written and illustrated by Abbinati, The Hostage follows a group of kids living on the streets of Rio De Janeiro, and is inspired by time that Abbinati spent in the city during his early ’20s. Today The Beat can exclusively debut a video of Alex Ross, the acclaimed painter of books including Marvels and Kingdom Come, talking about Abbinati’s work on The Hostage.

In the clip, Ross praises the amount of detail and time that Abbinati, who has been working on The Hostage for over a decade, has put into bringing his story to life. “We’re in kind of a repeat cycle of art styles being kind of of a certain type,” Ross says, “and [Abbinati’s art] breaks all the molds.”

Alex Ross’s art for a Kickstarter exclusive THE HOSTAGE print

More than half of The Hostage Kickstarter campaign’s $25,000 goal was raised in the project’s first day of funding, with more than 100 backers pledging to help bring the book to life. Abbinati’s artwork for the project is certainly striking, and the quality of the work combined with big-name talent like Ross helping to endorse the project — as well as contributing prints like the one seen above and other exclusive material for the different backing tiers — should help The Hostage reach its funding target in no time.

Check out some interiors from The Hostage by Abbinati, as well as the full announcement of the project, below. The Kickstarter campaign will run until Thursday, February 25th.

January 25, 2021—Chicago, IL— By day, Sal Abbinanti is the art rep for comic book superstars Alex Ross and Bill Sienkiewicz, but by night he, too, is an artist. For more than two decades, the Chicago native has been obsessed with creating a graphic novel inspired by a visit he made to Brazil when he was in his early 20’s. Now, Abbinanti is launching a Kickstarter campaign for his dream projecta 115-page full-color original graphic novel set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro titled THE HOSTAGE.

“When I was 25, I spent six months living in Rio de Janeiro,” said Abbinanti. “I was a starry eyed, full of shit college kid who went there for a Brazilian vacation of samba, nightlife, and beaches. To see the level of poverty, suffering, and death in Rio de Janeiro was eye opening. I will never forget it. THE HOSTAGE is my tribute to the amazing country and especially to the kids living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.”

Loosely inspired by the culture and religions of Brazil like the Umbanda and the Candomblé, Abbinanti has been building the world of THE HOSTAGE in his studio for over 10 years—sketching characters, panels, and scripting pages. Abbinanti’s unique art style and vibrant color choices create a spellbinding effect. THE HOSTAGE tells the story of a group of street kids who are abandoned by society. Dying every day from poverty and gang violence, the kids join together and summon a mystical spirit—THE HOSTAGE—who will protect them and avenge the deaths of their friends.

THE HOSTAGE Kickstarter campaign includes limited edition lithographs from Alex Ross, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jeffrey Alan Love, Sanjulián, Geof Darrow, and Eric Powell, as well as tiers with original sketch cards, postcards, and bookmarks by Abbinanti.

“One of the most exciting parts of bringing my project to Kickstarter is the opportunity to connect with so many amazing artists from around the world and bring their work to you,” said Abbinanti. “I’ve been working in the comics business for a long time and I’m really lucky to know so many talented artists who have been willing to make contributions to this project. It’s an honor to see their visions for THE HOSTAGE and have them be part of this.”

The crowdfunding campaign is live now and concludes on February 25th, with pledge tiers ranging from a digital edition available in both English and Portuguese (translated by Kelsey Trotta), to The Complete HOSTAGE Package, which includes an 11×17 original drawing by Sal Abbinanti and a complete set of lithographs by all guest artists.

For updates, follow @SalAbbinanti and @comics_mercury.

To support the campaign, visit Kickstarter:

About The Creator

Sal Abbinanti was educated at the University of Southern California and the Art Institute of Chicago. Sal began his indie comics career in 2005 with the launch of Mercury Comics and the publication of Atomika-God is Red, and now, The Hostage. By day he is the art rep for Alex Ross and Bill Sienkiewicz and lives on the North Side of Chicago.