This Week in Crowdfunding – Jason Alexander’s Empty Zone Returns

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

I’ve been writing this column for quite a while now, bringing you Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns that I think are worth your hard earned money. This week though, it’s personal.

I don’t remember where I was when I first discovered an issue of Empty Zone. As a teen who was into punk rock, industrial, and science fiction, the comic screamed at me from the shelf, “PICK ME! PICK ME! I’M PERFECT FOR YOU!”; I did, and it was. Empty Zone was the story of Corrine, the beautiful cyborg mercenary, her team dead, on the run from bounty hunters, trying to find the man pulling the strings. It put the “punk” in Cyberpunk, taking the genre that William Gibson and others had created and making it angry, violent, and just a little bit sexy. It lasted through a few mini-series’, and I devoured them. Each series was better than the last, and watching Eisner nominated creator Jason Shawn Alexander’s art and writing mature and evolve was so exciting. And then, it was done. Not because Alexander didn’t want to do it anymore, but because of a selfish publisher.

I’ve waited for years for more Empty Zone, and watched Alexander go from indie comic artist, to not only working for the majors, but becoming a full-on fine artist with gallery showings all over the world. I have asked him many times at conventions if it would ever return, and been told every time that it probably would not. I finally gave up on the idea of more adventures with Corrine and company. Then one day, about a week ago, Jason announced a Kickstarter campaign for… EMPTY ZONE, to be published in time for its 20th anniversary! I was beyond excited, and new exactly what my next column would be about. So, without further ado…

The Story: Corinne White is waiting. Waiting for the next drink, the next fight, the next job (which typically includes both). Waiting for something to change, waiting to die.

0332749d0c1c068ec05e8a65529a3eaa_largeSet in the 58th ward of lower Pittsburgh in 2119, former military spy and only surviving member of her team, Corinne exists merely to exist. Working for an independent contractor, Corinne jumps from job to job as a body guard, private investigator, and data specialist. With billions of microscopic implants in the pores of her skin, military enhancements, years worth of government combat training, and one ugly cybernetic arm (kept for reasons known only to her), there are none better at what she does. But that’s small consolation on the day her past mistakes catch up to her. Through a series of orchestrated events, Corinne is startled to be reunited with the squad she left almost a decade ago. The problem is they’re dead….or undead.

EMPTY ZONE is the heart wrenching ghost story of a woman confronted by her complicated past, and forced to choose between redemption or damnation. Set in the future of a visually rich, fragmented world of corrupt privatized governments, amidst everything from street gangs modified with deadly animalistic implants, to reanimated corpses stalking the streets like remote controlled toys, EMPTY ZONE’s world is grimly ethereal and haunting.

a982b84330a358656dd7652695cbee4a_largeAlexander has been working in comics for almost two decades, on such titles as Queen and Country, Abe Sapien: The Drowning, Hellboy, The Escapists, Dead Irons, Damnnation and more for Dark Horse, Dynamite, DC, and others. The chance to see him do a creator owned book again is fantastic. Empty Zone will be Alexander unleashed, and able to do anything he wants to, which is a good thing.

The funds will go toward production of the first issue of the new ongoing series, and with your pledge you can get a copy. A publisher will be announced in the spring, to package and distribute the books, but being 100% creator owned means no financial aid. And that’s where you come in. Your pledge will get you a signed copy of the comic, but that’s not all.

Alexander has some pretty amazing backer rewards in the offing, including signed exclusive art prints, an Evolution of Empty Zone digital behind the scenes book, signed copies of the Abe Sapien: The Drowning trade paperback, Empty Zone t-shirts, original comic art from many of the series he has done over the years, a portfolio review, an appearance in the comic, and exclusive original painted artwork. Alexander has pages available from Batman, Superman, Hellraiser, Queen and Country, Gotham Central, Abe Sapien, and more.

You’ll not only help bring back a series that I’ve pined for for over a decade, but you’ll get some pretty amazing stuff out of the deal. If you like gritty cyberpunk action with a hefty dose of industrial styling, Empty Zone is the book for you.

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