The Threat To All Humanity…

Project Title: The Threat Issue 1 Reboot. Creator:  Mark Schmidt and Vince Chuter – Creators, Writers Jose Fernandez – Illustrator (pencils and inks) William Anderson – Colorist

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Mankind has witnessed the end of the world as we knew it. The time of humans being the dominant species is dwindling as a new species is rising. No one knows where the “Virals” have come from – are they a byproduct of our continued abuse of nature or the result of genetic manipulation? Not everyone who gained special powers use them selfishly, some just want to survive.

Mark Schmidt writes,

I love this business. To me, there is nothing like it in the world, and I truly believe that some of the greatest stories to have ever been told have been put out to the world through comic books. Then you get to top that off with artwork that is in my personal opinion the greatest in the world. I honestly feel that 100 years from now Kirby, Adams, Capullo, McFarlane, and many, many others will be looked at with the exact same awe that the classic painters are looked at now.

I look at the things I get to do being in this industry and there are times when I am awestruck that I’m on the other end of some of that fan appreciation. The first convention we ever attended as a publisher, we had one issue of our title The Threat in black and white and one t-shirt to sell at the show. We didn’t have a banner, our logo was horrible, and we had several images from the issue on Styrofoam boards sitting on easels behind us. I remember the first guy that bought our book asked us to sign it and it was a surreal moment.  We’re writers of a creator owned self-published comic, we didn’t do any of the artwork in the book and the freaking cover is horrible.  Yet someone wanted our autograph? Seriously?

Since then we’ve published four more issues, attended at least 2 dozen comic conventions in Texas, and we’ve gotten to sit next to and chat with the likes of Ben Templesmith, Rob Liefeld, and Mark Bagley, and I even got to have dinner with Matt Hawkins and the crew from Top Cow (most surreal moment of my life, it was amazing).

But while all of that is amazing to me, hearing what the fans of our comic (and there are way more than I ever expected to have) have to say about it. They love it and when we make the con circuit back around to their city, they seek us out to get the next issue.

I feel like that is because of the heart and soul that Vince, my co-creator and co-writer, have put into the writing and collaboration of the book.  There are times when we are working together and ideas are just rolling out and each new idea spawns little tweaks that make the idea even better and those tweaks spawn more and so on and so on.

I feel like The Threat takes a serious look at some possibilities that could happen to our world.

How many times do you hear on the news or at the watercooler that corporations are taking over this country? Well, what would you do if that really happened?  What would you do if tomorrow you woke up and the governments around the world crashed and the only thing that could save us was corporations buying cities to run as they saw fit?

There are so many diseases out there that are always causing havoc around the world.  What if one of those diseases was so bad that it truly threatened to wipe mankind off the face of the earth?

What about water and food? Those things aren’t inexhaustible and with population growth, they are depleting faster and faster.

What if all three of those things happened one right after the other, as a result of one another?

That is basically how the world of The Threat is set up. World resources begin to dwindle, causing a major disease to break out, which leads to economies collapsing, leading to global takeover by corporations, and all of this takes place in the next 20 years.

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The cure that was found to stop the disease was designed to rewrite the human genome in such a way that the disease basically stopped affecting us.

Such a drastic modification in the human genetic structure isn’t without its consequences though. Many people died, the deformity rate increased, and some very odd changes began to show up.  People began showing attributes only previously seen in animals, insects, and plants. Most of these changes were useless like having grass for hair, or even detrimental to the person, like having gills instead of lungs, but every so often someone would have the ability to camouflage themselves like a chameleon, or an extra strong skeletal structure. All of the people that show mutations of any kind are called “Virals”.

One thing you’ll find in the comic is that most of the powers come from a scientifically plausible standpoint. Something that if we were to force hundreds or thousands of years of human evolution into the next 10 years, might be something actually possible.

Our first arc is eight issues and concentrates on a group of people living in Houston, Texas. A young man is attempting to help a young girl who is having issues with the way the changes are affecting her to the point that she could die. He discovers a possible cause for the changes that have occurred and takes his research to the one person he shouldn’t have. This event changes his life and the lives of those around him forcing them to move from an existence of just trying to survive in the world they live in, to a situation they never thought they’d find themselves in and could possibly affect the rest of their lives.

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So why take this to crowdfunding? As independent creators it is one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal that allows us to distribute our book worldwide in far greater numbers than we could if we attempted to publish our book without it. In previous incarnations of indie publishing it was really just local shops that would carry the books (maybe) and the only fans that picked them up where either locals or found them at a convention. Now through the use of crowdfunding and social media we can spread the word about our comic around the world in a matter of seconds with the touch of a few buttons (like this article being written for Bleeding Cool which is one of the largest comic book websites in the world). Crowdfunding has given everyone the ability to have a shot at making their dreams come true.

It’s not all peaches and cream of course and our first two attempts at Kickstarting our comic were met with less than desirable results. Our first attempt was truly a poor showing on our part. We barely got any funding at all. We didn’t know what we were doing and had a horrible write up. Honestly, I’m surprised that Kickstarter even approved the project it was so bad.  Our second attempt was much better as far as the write up and our efforts, but we still didn’t completely understand the process and didn’t properly support the project with the proper marketing plan.  So we took a step back, gave it some time and came up with a much better write up, much better rewards, added a video trailer, and vastly decreased what we asked for and made almost double what we were going for. Our next project did a little better than that. Now we are at it again with our next project. At this point we are 19 days into the project, we have 21 days left, and 29 backers have pledged $1,053 dollars towards our $1400 goal.

We are also going to give a set of our character buttons (shown below) to any Bleeding Cool readers who back The Threat Issue 1 Reboot. Just pledge $25 or more and then send us a message with the CODE: BCTHETHREAT.

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People can find out about us at

www.stratumcomics.com

https://www.facebook.com/stratumcomics

https://www.facebook.com/thethreatcomic

and view the Kickstarter campaign here.

 

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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