[ECCC ’14] Dark Horse Presents Building Better Characters: Project Black Sky.

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Frank Barbiere, Josh Williamson, Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Christopher Sebela, Fred Van Lante, Josh Hale Fialkov gathered today at Emerald City to talk about their new creator owned revival of old pulp superheroes in Project Blacksky. The initiative gathered to talk about creating a new shared universe of superheroes not bound by the same confines that larger publishers impose.

Project Black Sky was invented through the Captain Midnight book, and evolved from there. The project was a secret government operation lead by Midnight. It’s how he built his wings and most of the technology behind that makes him a hero. The aim is to have socially conscious superheroes with a smaller line where you the story and the universe is easily digestible.

Joshua Williamson started the panel off by talking about the Better Tomorrow arc of Captain Midnight. A story where he doesn’t confront his enemy head on, and has to resort to other means. Williamson noted with issue nine the book gets set on a different course. Something happens in issue 12 that makes Midnight debate quitting and dropping the mantle of the hero all together.

Skyman spun out of Captain Midnight in an attempt to unify the golden age stuff. There has been a series of men under the name of Skyman. In Captain Midnight Skyman went insane and took this jingoistic attitude and went crazy for America. After he is taken off the streets, his story begins. He is a bigot, he sees America through warped 1950’s values. The government puts a black man in the suit, just to diversify things. He was chosen for the wrong reasons, but somehow becomes the right guy in the suit. He brings honor to the title.

What is Project Black Sky? Dark Horse is building to free comic book day, where much more will be revealed.

Brain Boy has wrapped its first arc. The series is comprised of a collection of short arcs. The Men from G.E.S.T.H.A.L.T. are this group who try to capture all the psychics in the world. This is a massive conspiracy that involves the dudes from Black Sky.

The Occultist was a mini before Project Black Sky. Tim Seeley says its a very peripheral tie in. Dr. Strange if he were Peter Parker. Telling a story with a framing device that ties in into Project Black Sky. The protagonist is being watched.

Christopher Sebela is going solo on the Ghost. The book is just starting to deal with Project Blacksky. The first arc rebuilt her world and this is where things start to align, it will be enjoyable on its own. Ghost versus the local TV horror host who is gathering a cult to…. Murder.

Blackout is the first brand new character for Project Black Sky. Making someone up is terrifying and fun. Seeing someone dragged into the Black Sky world. He can open blackholes and walk through walls and objects and then emerge back into the world. There is no safety net, but the book is a lot of fun, featuring an every man who uses this suit to get what he needs.

Research is a joy, all the writers are scattered throughout the United States, but they are trying to interconnect the books as much as possible. Mike Richardson has a bible that is a tome of the rolling changes. It serves as a guidebook that helps create the connective tissue between the books. Growing the universe from the inside out.