Lance Briggs' Very Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel

Over ten years ago, I wrote a small piece about someone called Lance Briggs starting a new comic book line. And that he was an American Football player, and that I was clearly none the wiser. I stated he was something called a linebacker for somewhere called the Chicago Bears and I was already lost. I'm not sure what happened to that line, but he is now kickstarting a new 120-page graphic novella called The Trap with Kyle Higgins and some Amazing Friends. The Trap is drawn by Danilo Beyruth, coloured by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, with book design by Sasha E. Head.

They have prints from Declan Shalvey, Rod Reiss, and Elsa Charretier as part of the campaign, and Bleeding Cool gets a look at Declan Shalvey's process. Okay, okay, I am on far firmer ground now.

 

 

The kickstart ends tomorrow, so you still have time…

In THE TRAP, Jaylen Robinson is a rising sports star from a not-so-great part of the galaxy: Earth. He's worked hard his whole life. Everyone's saying that Jaylen is the Next Big Thing for the interstellar sport of the future: surfriding. The future is his. This is his chance. Until it's not.

Days before a big race, everything changes. Jaylen's surfrider board needs to be repaired but he doesn't have the money and he doesn't have very many options. He's desperate — desperate enough to agree to boost the ship belonging to one of Earth's Interstellar Senators. But when the job goes wrong and Jaylen Robinson accidentally shoots the Senator, his once-promising sports career threatens to succumb to The Trap.

Lance Briggs' Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel

For former NFL star Lance Briggs, THE TRAP is a passion project, inspired by his life before becoming a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker. "Before I played professional football, my life was very different," says Briggs. "I grew up in Sacramento, CA during the 1980s and 1990s, with my mother and two older sisters. But while many people hear "Sacramento" and associate it with a place of power and decision making in the state of California, the reality— for many of its residents— is anything but. Our family struggled no differently than most in the south area. There were times when the pantry was bare and the fridge was empty. Days or weeks without power. Waking up to cold showers before school. For those of us who came of age in an environment like this, we have a simple name for it: The Trap. Put simply, the name translates to a community that has been failed by its governing bodies. The Trap is both a neighborhood and a resulting way of life— a system designed to keep you from succeeding."

Lance Briggs' Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel

"The best science fiction is allegory," said # 1 New York Times bestselling writer Kyle Higgins. "And while the world of THE TRAP has many extraordinary elements— technology, sports, species and interstellar status quo— at its core it is very much an opportunity to explore the different challenges that we face, as we try to save those who come after us from repeating our mistakes."

Lance Briggs' Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel

Briggs and Higgins have been working on the story of THE TRAP for the last year and a half and have assembled an amazing creative team, co-creator and artist Danilo Beyruth, superstar colorist Tamra Bonvillain, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and designer Sasha E. Head. THE TRAP will be presented in an oversized, deluxe format hardcover (8 ¾ x 11 ⅝ ).

Lance Briggs' Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel

THE TRAP is a fast paced epic about making mistakes and the need for second chances, set in a world where hard work and talent is anything but a guarantee for success.

Lance Briggs also issued the following statement regarding The Trap.

Before I played professional football, my life was very different.

I grew up in Sacramento, CA during the 1980s and 1990s, with my mother and two older sisters. But while many people hear "Sacramento" and associate it with a place of power and decision making in the state of California, the reality— for many of its residents— is anything but.

Our family struggled no differently than most in the south area. There were times when the pantry was bare and the fridge was empty. Days or weeks without power. Waking up to cold showers before school.

For those of us who came of age in an environment like this, we have a simple name for it: The Trap. Put simply, the name translates to a community that has been failed by its governing bodies. The Trap is both a neighborhood and a resulting way of life— a system designed to keep you from succeeding.

Living in an environment like this comes with an inherent sense of hopelessness. It feels like no one cares about you, like you have no voice, because when you try to use your voice it's met by common refrains like "just work harder," or "comply with the police and you won't get hurt." But the truth is far more bleak, made up of liquor stores on every corner, drugs at every turn, constant police stereotyping, shootings, siblings in the house suffering from addiction and eviction notices because your brother stole everything your mother had.

In The Trap, there are very few ways to make money. As a result, residents resort to selling drugs or gang life, which leads to jail time, which then leads to even fewer job prospects. And so, the cycle repeats.

Fortunately for me, I was able to escape. A path towards professional football and a mother who refused to let me fall through the cracks helped me to stay focused. In no small order, both saved my life.

But I am the exception rather than the rule.

The reality is, that few people really understand how easily their lives could have gone a different direction had they simply been born in a different situation— environments, after all, breed influence. When you grow up in The Trap, you do what you have to and become who you have to be, purely to survive.

I've spent the last several years, post-retirement, wondering how we give context to issues that too many people disregard, because they don't apply to them? If you've never lived this life, how could you possibly understand it? How do we show people that the lives of the economically and marginally oppressed are just as valid as their own?

It's time more people understood what THE TRAP really means.

And we even have some designs for The Trap by Danilo Beyruth to share.

Lance Briggs' Very Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel Lance Briggs' Very Political Journey From Football To Graphic Novel

 

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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