The Provocative New Comic Book Series from Black Mask Studios Is Released on November 9, with a Special Image Drawn By the Public Enemy Co-Founder Himself Woven Directly Into the Storyline 

LOS ANGELES, CA–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 with a special variant cover drawn by hip hop legend and higher thought leader Chuck D of PUBLIC ENEMY next month 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.

Photo by Michael Dubin, New York Comic Con 2022
“The concepts Matt is presenting here are so familiar they should be terrifying,” says Chuck D. “I thought the concept that there are good people out there but are surrounded by adversaries, even though they might look normal, was radical. Plus, it had a throwback to the last century kind of vibe mixed in.”

“Chuck’s illustration so perfectly captures the book’s vibe of feeling trapped in a cauldron of turmoil but not giving in to the chaos, still rising against it,” says Pizzolo. “Chuck is the preeminent incendiary storyteller, for decades through music and visual art as well, so to see the world of ROGUE STATE through his eyes is mind-bending. Of course it’s powerful and booming and bold and fearless, it’s Chuck D.”

Photo by Michael Dubin, New York Comic Con 2022
In addition to appearing as a cover, Chuck D’s illustration will also be inside the book itself as a street-art mural, in an homage to the Mission District’s history of socially-engaged public art.

“We set out to make ROGUE STATE a comic that’s politically charged but is optimistic and celebrates the history of radical art and street art. At first, Chuck was going to do one cover, but he went far beyond with this panorama of our modern hellscape, and as soon as I saw it I realized that it needed to be part of the story world itself,” says Pizzolo. “It’s like the most raging street art, and it conveys the inferno of horrors we all have burning away in our minds. The story is about staying hopeful enough to keep fighting, and Chuck captures that too. His work is never about wallowing in the turmoil, it’s a call to arms.”

In ROGUE STATE, a crew of young vigilantes will rise against a paramilitary police state robbing Americans of their rights. The ongoing series tells the story of Vya of Brightstars, a mysterious figure rising from the unrest, and Clara Cruz (aka Dust Girl), who becomes activated in Vya’s movement when her fiancée Taylor Sanchez is disappeared as militias take over their Mission District neighborhood. But are Vya and Dust Girl freedom fighters or terrorists? Either way, their rogue state will not just blaze a path across America, it will also inspire others to raise their own armies… some in solidarity, others in opposition.

The first issue of ROGUE STATE will be available from Black Mask Studios on November 9, with a special variant pulled directly out of the pages of the comic and drawn by Chuck D himself exclusively from your favorite comic book shop in extremely limited quantities. Retailers, consult your Diamond rep to find out how to order ahead of the book’s Final Order Cutoff on October 17.

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