That’s Earth Crisis as in the metalcore band, Liberator as in the hit Black Mask Studios comic, and all-star as in “holy crap these are brilliant people”. Not new crisis in DC Multiverse with superhuman Marvel task force spearheaded by All-Star Super-Batman. But feel free to imagine either.
Liberator was one of the top comics from Black Mask Studios this year, a strong writing debut from Matt Miner with art from Javier Aranda and Joaquin Pereyra. Focusing on direct action animal activists Damon and Jeanette, it’s a fast paced action story with a neat punk edge. And importantly, it also brought in a raft of new comic readers from the vegan, punk, and animal rights camps. Along with BMS’s Occupy Comics, it was a welcome return for punk politics in mainstream comics.
So welcome in fact, that now Earth Crisis are teaming up for a new series in March, Liberator/Earth Crisis: Salvation Of The Innocents – the latter part also being the name of their upcoming eighth studio album – where ”different sides of the same story are told in the simultaneously released comic book and concept album”.
When Sarah Mann takes a crappy custodial job at a cosmetics lab, she discovers cold-blooded scientist Dr. Elena Reznik’s secret facility where illegal vivisections are performed on live, conscious animals. Inspired by the stories of Jeanette and Damon’s animal liberations, Sarah pulls on her own mask and sets out to rescue the tortured animals.
“Earth Crisis has wanted to have a comic that went along with an album’s lyrical concept for a while, but we didn’t think one existed that shared the same vision of the band, until now! Liberator and Matt Miner are just what we’ve been waiting for, and we are honored to have him help us tell the story!” -Earth Crisis
“Working with EARTH CRISIS on the comic book side of Salvation of Innocents has been a dream project for me. Our styles, ethics, and ideologies are a fitting match and I’m super excited for folks to read the story.” -Matt Miner, creator of Liberator
“It’s crazy to me that it took twenty years for comics to produce a set of animal-minded vigilantes strong enough to roll with EARTH CRISIS. It’s probably the most perfectly aligned superhero team-up ever.” -Matt Pizzolo, Black Mask Studios
Issue #1 hits the streets on March 5th, while the album drops on March 4th. And okay, admittedly I am a soft-hearted vegan punk metalhead who lives in a house full of rescue animals so this is more than a leeeettle in my ballpark, but what’s not to love?!
Creator: Matt Miner; Producer: Matt Pizzolo; Writers: Matt Miner, Earth Crisis; Illustrators: Javier Aranda (pencils/inks), Joaquin Pereyra (colors).
Then on March 11th we get the first trade paperback collection of the original series, Liberator, Vol 1: Rage Ignition. As well as collecting the four issue mini (with covers from Chris Burnham, Ben Templesmith, Yildiray Cinar, and Tim Seeley), the trade also contains 40 pages of new stories:
“This is You” – Tim Seeley (Revival, Hack/Slash)
“Liber” – Ales Kot (Iron Patriot, Zero) and Morgan Jeske (Change, The Witching Hour)
“Broken” – Ed Brisson (Secret Avengers, Sheltered), Brian Level (Lazarus)
“Politics” – Alex de Campi (Grindhouse), Sally Jane Thompson and Jenn Manley Lee
“What’s a hero, anyway” – Frank Barbiere (Five Ghosts) and Matthew Marks
“Liberation” – Megan Hutchison (Occupy Comics)
“Anchor Point”- Matt Miner (Liberator) and Tess Fowler
“Unlocking” – Fabian Rangel Jr (Doc Unknown), Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and Doug Garbark
“Untouchable” – Matt Pizzolo (Godkiller)
“We Are What We Are” – Matthew Rosenberg (12 Reasons to Die), Patrick Kindlon (12 Reasons to Die) and Ariela Rie Kristantina
“Rage” – Adam Egypt Mortimer (Ballistic) and Ryan Lee
I’m really psyched and honored that so many crazy talented creators have come together, played in the Liberator world, and made all these amazing stories.”
“I’ve always been an advocate of animal rights and a life long dog owner — the majority of which were rescue dogs. I’ve volunteered with animal rescue organizations, so this seemed like a good way to bring attention to the issue.”
“Miner’s Liberator world gave me a chance to write a story straight from the heart, entirely fueled by an emotion, stripped down, sharing the points of view of an alienated young man and his dog. There’s something very beautiful and intense in particular in the relationship I’ve witnessed between people and their rescued animals – I wanted to do a story particular for those people, for people who’ve rescued an animal and who sometimes might feel that the rescue might be the only good thing in their life, the only right choice they’ve made; I wanted to share that magical feeling you sometimes get when everything is chaos and darkness, when the world seems to be exploding with molotov cocktails all around you, and then your non-human friend nuzzles into your hand and everything is alright again.”
-Adam Egypt Mortimer
“I was honored to be asked to contribute to a comic series that could inspire true change. I did it for the bunnies… all the fuzzy bunnies.”
-Tess Fowler (The Rascals)”
With 1/3 of Liberator profits going to animal rescue initiatives and a serious amount of extra material from that roster of creators, it’s hard to argue with parting with $14.99 for this collection.
And let’s be real, an Adam Egypt Mortimer story would sell me on ANY COMIC, regardless of the fact I love Liberator too. And also, as you can perhaps tell from the all-star line-up there, it’s a fabulous book for fans of women in comics – Jeanette is a big goddamn hero.
But just in case you’re still swithering, have a preview of Tim Seeley’s “This is You” story. You’re welcome.