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Busiek and Fry’s ‘Liberty Project’ collected

by  in Comic News Comment

Official Press Release

When the U.S. government needs a superhero team, they
turn to the handiest source of superpowered folks: prisons. Can four
supervillains win the fight for life, liberty, and an early parole?
That’s the central question of THE LIBERTY PROJECT, a superhero series
created by original Thunderbolts writer Kurt Busiek and by penciler
James W. Fry now being collected for the first time.

Originally published in 1987 and 1988, this overlooked
series came out before Busiek’s ground-breaking work on Marvels and
Astro City caused readers to begin seeking out his work. “This was
the first place I got to play with a number of my ongoing obsessions
about characters and storytelling,” says Busiek. “LIBERTY PROJECT
was the first ongoing title I created, and the themes James and I
explored there have been popping up ever since in my work — the
idea of super-villains-as-heroes was also the central concept of
Thunderbolts, of course, and it’s been a part of Astro City and
Power Company as well, and even Avengers. I don’t know why I’m so
interested in redemption as a theme – maybe I have hidden issues
myself! – but it’s definitely something that hooks me, and seems
to hook readers of my work, as well.

“Still, that doesn’t mean that the series is a serious,
weighty tome. Like Thunderbolts, it’s an up-tempo, upbeat superhero
series, with as much action and fun and character drama as we could
fit into each issue. Maybe even more so, since the Proj came out
at the height of the grim & gritty era, and James and I were
itching to do something that was just a ton of fun.”

Penciler James W. Fry’s sense of fun is obviously
still intact. “Sure, I could go on and on about how thrilled I am
to see The Liberty Project back in print, but would that make you
buy this book?” he asks. “I don’t think so. I could wax rhapsodic
over the fact that creating these characters and stories with Kurt
was more fun than a sleepover with a supermodel, but would that
separate you, the American consumer, from your hard-earned cash?
No, and why should it? Never mind that purchasing this volume
will clear away warts and blemishes overnight, help you lose
up to 150 pounds of unsightly fat before lunchtime and make you
over one million dollars an hour for the rest of your life.
Sure, that’s all true, but of absolutely no consequence! No,
the single most compelling reason to buy this book is that each
these stories contain within them the long-coveted, absolutely
guaranteed, one hundred per cent foolproof Secrets of How To
Attract Women! That is, of course, assuming the women you wish
to attract are Tex-Mex gals with super-strength and poor impulse
control, or deranged homicidal pyrokinetic teenagers. Good luck,
America!”

When the book was first published, it built a fan
following among those who knew their superhero books. “I read THE
LIBERTY PROJECT when I was in high school and sought after every
issue,” remembers Wolverine artist Darick Robertson. “It was ahead
of its time in that it tried to spin super heroes into the real
world of media hype and personal conflict. My only regret is that
James Fry is too smart with his creator rights and I couldn’t
convince Kurt Busiek to throw him aside and let me draw it! But
James is so damn good in his own right, I should just stick to
heaping on the praise…”

About Comics‘ upcoming trade paperback of THE LIBERTY
PROJECT is the first time that this material has been collected.
“We wanted to put out a book that was good fun superhero material,”
explains Nat Gertler, publisher of About Comics. “The book has the
entire eight-issue run of The Liberty Project plus the contents of
The Seraphim Objective, a one-shot that followed the series, with a
new cover by James and a new afterword by Kurt. By reprinting it
all in black and white in a convenient manga-sized book, we managed
to keep the price down to $11.95, a bargain for nine issues of
comics.”

The four convicts-cum-heroes who are brought together
include Slick, a smooth player whose name suits both his slippery
powers and personality; Burnout, a troubled lass with pyrokinetic
ability; Crackshot, a repentant marksman; and Cimarron, a spirited,
sexy, and super-strong young woman. On their rocky road toward
redemption, they encounter teenage monsters, autocratic space
aliens, larcenous old friends and lovers, and enough wrecked
police cars to fill a summer blockbuster.

“It’s always good to see your work collected, to have
a chance to live on and entertain new readers in book form,” Busiek
notes. “And I’ve had a lot of work collected over the last
decade – but I’ve got to admit, I’m giddy as a hyperventilating
schoolgirl that this stuff is coming back into print. It’s a series
I’m proud of, it’s a series not many people have had a chance
to read, and most importantly to me, these guys are family – we go
way back, and I’m so glad to be connected with them again. James
and I have often talked about going back to tell more LIBERTY
PROJECT adventures someday, and I hope this is just the first step
down that road.”

The Liberty Project (ISBN 0-9716338-2-7) is a 232 page
black and white trade paperback, 7 3/4″ by 5 1/2″, priced at $11.95
and shipping in July from About Comics.

Busiek and Fry’s ‘Liberty Project’ collected
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