The Writers and Actors Strike is getting a boost from the world of comics and a new superhero called General Strike.
Independent publisher Black Mask Studios, run by Matteo Pizzolo, is preparing a comic anthology to be written by WGA members with the company matching the writers’ fees with donations to the entertainment community fund safety net organization.
The announcement comes as the writers’ strike enters its 100th day. No new contract negotiations are expected to begin anytime soon.
Noble General Stike: Calexit and Other Tales of Fighting the Good Fight, the collection of new stories is themed around confronting economic inequality and, like any good superhero story, introduces new characters fighting the good fight against injustice. A gum-chewing labor organization character named General Strike will act as the comic book host, tying the stories together.
The book is in pre-release mode on Kickstarter nowwith an official release set for August 15.
WGA writers involved include Judalina Neira, who has worked on the CW The flash and the one from amazon Boys and its spin-off Generation V and who is also the WGA’s NBCU Lot Coordinator; winning time and the boondocks writer Rodney Barnes; and Brian Michael Bendis, longtime comic book author and creator of the Miles Morales Spider-Man character.
Black Mask is paying writers fees equivalent to those paid by Marvel Comics or DC Comics. He will also match those fees with donations to the ECF. The creators will also retain ownership of the intellectual property of their stories and characters.
“I am a member of the WGA and my wife is at SAG, so we know firsthand the cost of this strike. It is impacting many people: writers and actors and their families, for sure, but also everyone who works in the community and culture,” said Pizzolo, who is overseeing the General Strike. “Hopefully we can use our comics platform to help members of the creative community cover costs during this crisis while also telling inspiring stories about Truth, Justice and Collective Action.”
Pizzolo co-created Calexit, an independent series set in a California that breaks away and goes to war against a United States invaded by fascism. It was his reaction against the politics of the time, debuting in 2018. Initially, he wanted to think of General Strike as a series of short comics set in the world of Calexitbut the idea grew into a platform for WGA writers to tell their activism stories.
Other writers on board include Tamara Becher (Doom Patrol, Star Wars: The Bad Batch), Charley Feldmann (X-Men ’97, Teen Titans Go!) and Daniel Dominguez (Six Hands, Gen:Lok).
“This is a crucial time for our business and it is projects like this that show our solidarity in the most difficult of circumstances,” Barnes said in a statement.
Becher stated: “This strike is not just about writers in Hollywood, it is about sweatshops. As such, we cannot and will not stop fighting until we are fairly compensated for our work.”
The project still has room for a few more participants and those interested are welcome to contact Black Mask. More writers and the first team of artists will be announced as the campaign builds on August 15.
Black Mask and the creators of Calexit they have used the comic medium for activism on several previous occasions. Other initiatives included raising money for families separated at the US-Mexico border during President Donald Trump’s administration’s border crisis, conducting voter registration on the show floor of San Diego Comic-Con, support Indivisible’s Get Out The Vote campaign and donate to rescue funds during the George Floyd protests and use comic royalties to form a SuperPAC called Become The Government.