As we reported from the Dynamite Entertainment panel at WizardWorld, Phil Hester has been tapped to write the coming Masquerade miniseries, which, along with Black Terror and Death-Defying ‘Devil will spin off from the publisher’s initial Project Superpowers to begin to fully flesh out the “Project Superpowers Universe.”
We spoke with Dynamite President Nick Barrucci for more details on the expansion.
Newsarama: Nick, you’ve never made any secret of the fact that you’re looking at you’re planning on using the initial Project Superpowers series to launch a family of titles and projects with these revived characters.
Nick Barrucci: Right – Project Superpowers was definitely meant as a primer to launch characters out of the series on their own. What we want to do is slowly build up our roster of characters so that we’re organically launching them out of Project Superpowers.
NRAMA: Overall, what’s the response to Project Superpowers been?
NB: I do believe that Project Superpowers was more successful than any superhero launch (not including Sci Fi, Sorcery or any other genre – just pure superhero) in the last 15 years. I would even argue that we have had the most successful superhero launch since the start of Image Comics – we launched at #4 in the Top 100. We’re still doing Top 50 in rankings, which is gangbusters these days. It’s a Marvel/DC world, but we have the third largest superhero universe around.
So what we’re doing is take our initial success and launch the Black Terror, the Death-Defying ‘Devil and Masquerade in their own series. All three will be launching with four-issue story arcs, and Black Terror will be ongoing (though there will be a break between issue #4 and #5). We’ve taken the characters that we feel are either the most compelling for a larger fanbase, or have the most interesting backstory to tell, and focus on them.
NRAMA: Death-Defying ‘Devil and Black Terror are pretty understandable, as they’ve become iconic within the story, but why Masquerade?
NB: Well, female-driven character titles have always been a tough sell, but we’re going to give it our shot at making it work. We’re bringing Phil Hester in on it, and though he may not be widely known as a writer, we know, as do the readers of Darkness and his other work, that he’s got the chops to pull this off.
Basically, with Project Superpowers – there is a larger story that hasn’t been told yet, and we’re starting to peel away at the onion. Black Terror and Death-Defying ‘Devil are looking at the present and the future; Black Terror more so to the future, and that title will lead to the next Project Superpowers storyarc. Death-Defying ‘Devil will look at the present, the future, and touch on his past; and Masquerade’s story will be looking at the past and will explore what led up to Fighting Yank capturing all of the superheroes of the Golden Age.
I can honestly say that when you start reading the first four story arcs, Project Superpowers will be fully in the present. Though we started off with issue #0 set mostly in the Golden Age, and issues #1-#7 having the characters appearing today and finding themselves in a new world, once we get through these arcs, the heroes will start to look at the problems that they’ve encountered in today’s world.
NRAMA: What’s your ballpark timeline for the rollout of these coming titles and expansion?
NB: The tentative plan is to have the $1.00 Project Superpowers: Prelude launch in September. The $1.00 book worked well before and we’re doing it again, as it’s the best point of entry for fans to pick up the next story arc. The Black Terror - written by Jim Krueger and drawn by Mike Lily - is scheduled for October, then Death Defying ‘Devil in November or December and then Masquerade will be in the month that the ol’ triple D is not in.
NRAMA: And then, when will the next Project Superpowers miniseries launch?
NB: It will be hot on the heals of Black Terror #4 shipping. And it’s going to go to a level that very few, if any, superhero books have gone before. Stay tuned for more information!
Check back later this week for an interview with Lily about Black Terror and more going on with the artist.