Rogue State, the new activist comic book series by Matteo Pizzolo and C. Granda for Black Mask Studios is out on the 9th of November, with a special image drawn by the Public Enemy co-founder Chuck D and woven directly into the storyline, as a street-art mural within the comic itself, in an homage to the Mission District's history of socially-engaged public art.
"The concepts Matt is presenting here are so familiar they should be terrifying" says Chuck D. "I thought the concept that there are good people out there but are surrounded by adversaries, even though they might look normal, was radical. Plus, it had a throwback to the last century kind of vibe mixed in."
"Chuck's illustration so perfectly captures the book's vibe of feeling trapped in a cauldron of turmoil but not giving in to the chaos, still rising against it," says Pizzolo. "Chuck is the preeminent incendiary storyteller, for decades through music and visual art as well, so to see the world of Rogue State through his eyes is mind-bending. Of course it's powerful and booming and bold and fearless, it's Chuck D. We set out to make Rogue State a comic that's politically charged but is optimistic and celebrates the history of radical art and street art. At first, Chuck was going to do one cover, but he went far beyond with this panorama of our modern hellscape, and as soon as I saw it I realized that it needed to be part of the story world itself. It's like the most raging street art, and it conveys the inferno of horrors we all have burning away in our minds. The story is about staying hopeful enough to keep fighting, and Chuck captures that too. His work is never about wallowing in the turmoil, it's a call to arms."
And the comic itself? "What if a contested Presidential election plunged America into turmoil? What if political violence consumed the streets? And what if a raging Supreme Court, in a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment, legitimized and deputized all militias—transforming the entire country into a paramilitary police state? What if a freedom fighter emerged from the chaos, raised a civilian army, and carved out a territory across the United States–pushing out police, militias, and National Guard… enforcing its own laws… sovereign. What if Americans refused to be governed? In Rogue State, a crew of young vigilantes will rise against a paramilitary police state robbing Americans of their rights. The ongoing series tells the story of Vya of Brightstars, a mysterious figure rising from the unrest, and Clara Cruz (aka Dust Girl), who becomes activated in Vya's movement when her fiancée Taylor Sanchez is disappeared as militias take over their Mission District neighborhood. But are Vya and Dust Girl freedom fighters or terrorists? Either way, their rogue state will not just blaze a path across America, it will also inspire others to raise their own armies… some in solidarity, others in opposition."
Rogue State is a new ongoing graphic novel series that marks writer Matteo Pizzolo's return to comics for his first new series since 2017's Calexit, reuniting with artist C. Granda and cover artists Soo Lee and Ashley A Woods.