Team Red Star explores their mad side with 'Buddha Master & Angst Man'

'Buddha Master & Angst Man'

are TM & © Gossett & Kayl 2002

The Image Comics book "The Red Star" has been a great success for the Team Red Star gang. The story of a fictional war between a futuristic Russia and Afghanistan filled with magic and sorcery combined with dynamic computer generated art was an instant hit. While "The Red Star" continues on, Team Red Star has plans for a new project that takes them in an entirely different direction.

Debuting later this year from Oni Press is "Buddha Master & Angst Man" created by Christian Gossett and Brad Kayl. Where "The Red Star" is a serious, complex adventure with heroes fighting to save their world, "Buddha Master & Angst Man" couldn't be any more different.

"No seriousness. No complexity. Only comedy," series co-creator Christian Gossett told CBR News when asked about his new project. "Comedy and madness. Mad comedy. Crazed comedy. Crazed comedy madly composed into a collection of jokes designed to bring joy to the hearts of anyone who wouldn't mind seeing Adolf Hitler strangled at birth, or checking out the mad alien scene on an Intergalactic Rave on board a gigantic flying saucer."

"And if you think the title's wacky wait until you see the book itself," co-creator Brad Kayl told CBR News. "It really defies classification in just about every sense of the word."

The book is written by Gossett and Kayl, with covers colored by Red Star comrade Snakebite and it features the professional comics debut of artist Aaron Horvath.

"Aaron's a trained animator from the Animation Academy in Burbank, CA, an amazing school really," said Gossett. "Aaron's animation background gives him the perfect range for 'Buddha Master & Angst Man.' It's all very, very Toon-style. Bubbly and curvy and hilarious. He won't be in comics long, 'cause he's too good of an animator, so we're happy to have him."

As for how many pages, issues and all those other little details of "Buddha Master & Angst Man" we'll let the guys tell you about it.

"We're going for the ol' black and white 32 page format here," said Kayl, "completely and diametrically opposed to that of 'The Red Star.' This book's brimming with bubbly, goofy, stony style. The stories themselves (if you can call them that) will be quick rabbit-punch gags aimed at the solar plexus of hilarity that are no longer than six pages in length, with many being much, much shorter (one page gag-ads and quick one page plotless free-for-alls of fun). As far as number of issues is concerned - we're planning for a good run that is designed to last as long as people can stomach our outwardly cantankerous and premeditated vile humor."

Gossett added a few more details, "I don't want to claim anything on Evan Dorkin's modern classic 'Milk & Cheese,' (admitting with glee here that Dorkin is highly influential to 'Buddha Master & Angst Man'), but the comparison is accurate in that the issues will be collections of very quickly resolved gags. Our goal is to fill each page with as much wacky shit as possible. Superdeformed stuff, one page gags, stabs at popular figures in the media, stabs at the comics biz, we're gonna make fun of just about everything there is to make fun of."

None of the CGI artwork you've come to expect from Team Red Star will be found in "Buddha Master & Angst Man."

"'Buddha Master & Angst Man' is pure comics, baby," said Gossett. "Animation style characters, inked pencils and Bristol Board. Like most everyone that associates or collaborates with Team Red Star, Aaron is very talented on a computer, so I may be able to talk him into doing some Adobe-Illustrator style linework, but only in certain cases. The goal is to get simple."

What readers might be surprised to discover is that the long, intense hours working on "The Red Star" directly influenced the creation of "Buddha Master & Angst Man."

"Well, barring the drugs," explained Kayl, "the genesis of this book lies heart-and-soul in the deep bowels of heavy story writing; while risking sounding really, really, annoying sometimes writing the deep emotional shit that is 'The Red Star' is simply too much for Christian's and my hamster brains to handle. It is at this point that some funny, sorrow-breaking, moment bubbles up from the recesses of our said brains, gets spluttered out, and we crack up laughing like mad men. Every character, from Pinata Boy to The Dude In The Van has been created in such a moment. So after compiling tons of notes that span backs of envelopes to notepads we decided it was time for the nuts that are 'Buddha Master & Angst Man' to break out into the world and cause as much havoc as possible."

The decision to publish "Buddha Master & Angst Man" with Oni Press instead of Image Comics, the publisher of "The Red Star," simply comes down to the fact that this new project is a very different one and the team felt it was best to set it up at a totally different publisher.

[The Red Star]"Jim Valentino and [the Image] gang kick serious ass when it comes to the publishing game, but this is a heavily subversive book," explained Kayl. "I mean, we plan to get into a lot of trouble with this one. We just didn't have the heart to subject Jim to the tons of hate mail that will inevitably come rolling in."

Gossett continued, "There are two reasons for us approaching Oni:

"I was supportive of Oni since way back in the Bob Schreck days and really was impressed with what Jamie Rich did when he became EIC. There's a devilish part of me that grew up listening to old Richard Pryor records and fell in love with dangerous comedy. Politically incorrect, profane, corporate-bashing kind of humor seems to me to fit perfectly at Oni.

"Secondly, I just really wanted to work with Jamie. Brad and I have always just kinda gotten along really well with Jamie whenever we'd see each other at Cons, and as a bit of a connoisseur of new experiences, it seemed the perfect time to launch the Masters of Angst.

"It really gets back to our childhoods," continued Gossett. "Brad and I were constantly ramming heads with the contradictions of our teachers. This is the kind of project that pisses off your your parents, your teachers, your principal, your counselor, your congressman, everyone. Oni has a diverse line of books to be sure, but in addition to that, the kind of 'Man, fuck school! I got suspended! My counselor's a bitch!' kind of work seems to be a particularly perfect fit there!"

"For me, the great thing about these guys coming over to Oni, is that they were already grooving to the Oni philosophy," Oni Press Editor-In-Chief Jamie Rich told CBR News. "They basically said, 'This book is as different to what we are known for as 'Fortune & Glory' was to the rest of Bendis' books, and so we think Oni is the ideal home.' That's incredibly flattering. Essentially, Goss and Brad could walk in anywhere and get a deal, and it let's Joe Nozemack and I know we're doing something right that they set their eyes on Oni."

Brad Kayl sees "Buddha Master & Angst Man" appealing to a large and, well, varied group of readers.

"All such denizens of the wacky and the para-schizo-nutty," said Kayl "In other words: stoners, anarchists, cheese-heads, dipsy doodles, ultra hipsters, uh.......stoners, people who really, really, really need a good laugh, ravers, hell just about anybody really. EVERYBODY, READ THIS BOOK! (sorry had to do it, just had to)."

The series makes its debut this July in the "Oni Press Color Special 2002" before launching as a series later this year. Some of you may remember that in the "Oni Press Color Special" from last year Brian Bendis took some jabs at Team Red Star in a story that starred those detectives from "Powers" investigating the murder of Mike Allred's Madman. Team Red Star came under the hilarious magnifying glass of Bendis, who ripped on the team for the huge logo sported on the cover of every issue of "The Red Star." So, do Gossett, Kayl and company plan to give Bendis a taste of his own medicine?

"Heh-heh-heh... I'll at least return Brian the favor he did us last year by calling and asking us if we didn't mind before he included us in that hilarious Roast of the industry," said Gossett. "Comics people can take themselves too seriously sometimes, and we were excited about showing people that it's cool to be able to laugh at yourself. He was very cool about that. We just sat there on the phone laughing about how funny it could be. I'll never forget him squealing with joy as he said, 'You should see what I'm gonna do to [David] Mack!' But once honor is served and he hopefully gives his blessing, he will then go down. 'cuz NO ONE brings down the hammer of sarcasm like 'Buddha Master & Angst Man!' You hear me Bendis!? You better polish that dome and put down the tape recorder 'cause we're comin' for ya' baby!"

For Oni's Jamie Rich, debuting "Buddha Master & Angst Man" in the "Oni Press Color Special 2002" is just the headliner he was looking for.

"It was perfect timing, because I was casting about for ideas as to what to put in this year's color special. We've done two now, and in many ways, we feel like we need to up the ante each year. We can't just keep doing the same old thing. Plus, we need a little star power to anchor it, and I think the phrase 'By the creators of 'The Red Star'' speaks for itself."

Rich also shared a few more details about the 2002 Color Special.

"In addition to 'Buddha Master & Angst Man,' the 'Oni Press Color Special 2002' is going to be full of whacked-out Oni features. The creators we have lined up include Gail Simone, Ted Naifeh, Neal Shaffer and Daniel Krall, Christine Norrie, Bryan O'Malley, and Steve Rolston. The new Phil Hester/Mike Huddleston creation, 'Deepsleeper,' will make its debut in the book. Mike Allred is returning for the third year in a row to do covers. Plus, there are still a couple of surprises we can't quite release yet - but they'll really knock people's socks off."

The "Oni Press Color Special 2002" will hit stores this July.

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