To read the premise of the new comic book tale Calexit, coming this May from Black Mask Studios, it’s easy to see why this series will be a prescient and significant series in a time in the United States where uncertainty and exhaustion at the political climate and existential fear of what’s next have become a daily occurrence.

What if a fascist, autocratic President took over the United States? And what if that President lost California, the sixth largest economy on Earth, by nearly 2-to-1…a margin of almost 3 1/2 million votes? What if the day after that President took power, the largest mass demonstration in history occurred, and the state with the largest turnout was California. And then, the following week, two of the largest international airports in the world, California’s LAX and SFO, were blockaded by protesters? What if California refused to be ruled?

While the comparisons to what’s going on in America and Europe at the present aren’t exactly one-to-one, the subject matter Calexit certainly touches on a feeling of unease of that’s flowing through many corners of the United States and other parts of the globe.

“I can’t think of a time when confronting the status quo with progressive, political art has been more important,” said Brett Gurewitz, co-founder of Black Mask Studios.

Art, including comic books, have a long history of touching on social and political themes, from March to Maus to Perseopolis. Calexit looks to join good company and add its own indelible voice to that tradition.

Calexit, written by Matteo Pizzolo with Amancay Nahuelpan on art, hits comic shops this May from Black Mask Studios.

From the official press release:

What if a fascist, autocratic President took over the United States? And what if that President lost California, the sixth largest economy on Earth, by nearly 2-to-1…a margin of almost 3 1/2 million votes? What if the day after that President took power, the largest mass demonstration in history occurred, and the state with the largest turnout was California. And then, the following week, two of the largest international airports in the world, California’s LAX and SFO, were blockaded by protesters? What if California refused to be ruled?

This is the world of CALEXIT, the new ongoing comic book series launching this May from Black Mask Studios, the Los Angeles based indie publisher of acclaimed titles including SPACE RIDERS, WE CAN NEVER GO HOME, KIM & KIM and BLACK. Together writer Matteo Pizzolo and artist Amancay Nahuelpan, the creators of YOUNG TERRORISTS, have created a timely title about resisting oppression, punching Nazis, protecting each other, kicking ass, and demanding liberty for all.

“This is a special moment in the history of comics. We’re experiencing a real renaissance of progressive and political comic books and graphic novels,” said Matteo Pizzolo, co-founder of Black Mask Studios and the writer of CALEXIT. “It’s not by accident that the first comic to win a National Book Award is the incredible MARCH by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, or that images of anti-fascist superheroes are capturing the imaginations of people around the world right now. There’s never been a more diverse range of comics that speak to our politics here at home or to the unrest around the world.”

In CALEXIT, the citizens of California will struggle to seize power back from an autocratic government. The ongoing series tells the story of Jamil, a 25-year old courier (aka smuggler), and Zora, a 27-year old leader in the Pacific Coast Sister Cities Resistance, who escape together from a prison camp in Occupied Los Angeles, where martial law has been in place for the past year —  ever since America’s demagogue President signed an executive order to deport all immigrants, and California responded by proclaiming itself a Sanctuary State. Each issue of CALEXIT will also include non-fiction material about local sustainability and grassroots campaigning for 2018 elections.

“I can’t think of a time when confronting the status quo with progressive, political art has been more important,” said Brett Gurewitz, co-founder Black Mask. “Black Mask Studios has consistently focused on stories that are both entertaining and have a real message driving them. With OCCUPY COMICS, we published stories devoted to the goals and themes of the Occupy movement. Since then, we published stories about living under a fascist state (GODKILLER), about fighting celebrity politicians (YOUNG TERRORISTS) and gentrification (THE DREGS). We’ve published the 2017 GLAAD nominee KIM & KIM, and the creators of the breakout hit BLACK have donated proceeds to Black Lives Matter. The fact that the comic market is supporting brave voices like these is a real testament to comics’ crucial role in our national and international cultural dialogue.”

The first issue of CALEXIT will be available from Black Mask Studios in May 2017.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Amancay Nahuelpan (pronounced Aman-kay Na-well-pan) is a comic artist who was born in Vancouver, Canada and grew up in the south of Chile. He graduated from University with a Major in Interior Design. He began his career working with independent Chilean publisher Caleuche Comics before breaking into the US market as a participant in the Zuda Comics Competitions. His first US published work was in OCCUPY COMICS. He has worked on ROBOCOP for Boom!, BOY-1 for IDW, co-created YOUNG TERRORISTS and created the tale of revolution CLANDESTINO for Black Mask which he writes, draws, colors, and letters.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Named Wired Magazine’s ‘World’s Most Wired Comics Creator’ and included in Bleeding Cool’s Top 100 Most Influential People In Comics, Matteo Pizzolo is a comic book writer-creator (his GODKILLER was listed as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books Of The Year and his YOUNG TERRORISTS was second only to Lumberjanes as the highest selling indie graphic novel of the year), an award-winning filmmaker, and the co-founder of Black Mask where he’s championed SPACE RIDERS, BLACK, THE DREGS, WE CAN NEVER GO HOME, KIM & KIM, 4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK, and more. Utilizing his background in political organizing, Pizzolo created the Occupy Comics project and devotes himself to supporting and creating some of the bravest comics on shelves.

ABOUT BLACK MASK STUDIOS: Bringing the punk rock ethic to comics c/o co-founders Brett Gurewitz, Steve Niles, and Matteo Pizzolo, Black Mask supports creators telling awesome and important stories.

About The Author

Managing Editor

Jed W. Keith is managing editor for FreakSugar and has been a writer with the site since its start in 2014. He’s a pop culture writer, social media coordinator, PR writer, and technical and educational writer for a variety of companies and organizations. Currently, Jed writes for FreakSugar, coordinates social media for Rocketship Entertainment and GT Races, and writes press copy and pop culture articles for a variety of companies and outlets. His work can also be seen in press releases for the Master Musicians Festival, a Kentucky event that drawn acts such as Willie Nelson, the Counting Crows, Steve Earle, and Wynona Judd. His work was featured in the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con convention book for his interview with comic creator Mike Mignola about the 25th anniversary of the first appearance of Hellboy. Jed also does his best to educate the next generation of pop culture enthusiasts, teaching social studies classes--including History Through Film--to high school students.