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“The Black Summer” Begins – #0 in Stores 6/6/07

by  in Comic News Comment

Official Press Release

Warren Ellis’ first creator-owned masked hero epic, BLACK SUMMER,
makes its debut this week, and the death of a President is only a
catalyst for bigger events beginning this summer. The specially
priced #0 issue is available for only 99 cents. It features an
original story leading directly into the monthly mini-series that
starts in August priced at just $2.99 per issue. The full color
series is drawn by Juan Jose Ryp and colored by Mark Sweeney.

“It’s as pure a working-out of the central notion as I could manage,”
Black Summer creator Warren Ellis says of the core masked hero
concepts behind the series. “Even the characters who may immediately
seem familiar will turn out not to be. This is as new a take on
superhero fiction as I’ve got in me right now. So I guess it fills a hole.
Marvel are engaged in the business of trying to bring in new readers
through the wide-ranging revivals of their creative library that is
their mandate. DC are deeply involved in the complex revitalisation
of their superhero line that is intended to bring back old readers.
BLACK SUMMER is right in the middle – new characters, new ideas, new
angles on the genre.”

“We have the best parts of the masked hero genre, huge fights and
massive explosions,” adds Avatar’s EIC William Christensen.” “But we
also have horrible deaths, real character drama, and actual issues of
our society looked at in the terms of this fantasy world with masked
heroes. Black Summer is the sort of hero book that I have an
interest in reading. I am fortunate that I was able to provide just
the right environment for Warren to create his magic here. A major
creator on a superhero book with no continuity issues or other
editorial restrictions to worry about – that doesn’t happen too often.”

Avatar Press has traditionally specialized in creator-owned and pulp
comics that push the boundaries between mainstream and indy. BLACK
SUMMER is Avatar’s first foray into the superhero genre dominated by
industry heavyweights Marvel and DC, but Christensen views coming at
the genre with a fresh start as a big advantage. “I couldn’t care
less if Booster Gold is dead, or Triplicate Lass is now Duo Damsel,”
notes Christensen. “The huge weight of continuity can be a giant
drag on Marvel and DC books. I’m not saying that to bash Marvel and
DC. I have been a big mainstream comics cheerleader over the years.
Believe it or not, I was one of Wizard’s most prolific freelancers in
the early days.

“But continuity can be a huge obstacle for the creator and the reader
as well. If you think about what books are considered the best
superhero stories of the past two or three decades, a couple books
that are outside of continuity are at the top of the list. Once
every few years there is a book in the genre that makes everyone else
step up their game. Books like Watchmen, Dark Knight, Wanted, and
now Black Summer.

“So, Black Summer allows folks who have grown up with hero books to
enjoy something with more substance. It’s a hero book with balls.”

The series has received coverage unlike any Avatar Press comic
before, with press clamoring to get a peak inside the book with the
already-infamous wraparound cover of issue #0. Playing by the rules
of mainstream hero comic fans, Avatar has committed to a timely
monthly release schedule starting with the launch of #1 in
August. Promotional posters sent to retailers across the country and
given to fans at national conventions, mainstream press coverage, and
Avatar’s most extensive convention presence in a decade at the year’s
most popular conventions – including the appearance with Warren Ellis
at San Diego – have all been in preparation for this controversial
new series and the biggest event of 2007.

“The Black Summer” Begins – #0 in Stores 6/6/07
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