Remember when we interviewed Joshua Williamson about his work as writer on Dark Horse's superhero series Captain Midnight and he mentioned again a "Project Black Sky" that's been hinted at and name-dropped by Dark Horse for some months now?
It really should have lit a fire under our feet to figure out what was coming up for Dark Horse, but they were happy to keep things fairly mysterious–until now. There were some hints at things to come in December, but it doesn't render their next move less of a surprise.
As I was about to be told to switch off all electronic devices on a plane from New York to London on New Year's Day, I saw a post from Dark Horse on Facebook entitled, "Skywatchers: Concerned Citizens Monitoring Unexplained Phenomena" listing "projectblacksky.net" as the source. It's certainly true that I may not have been as up on this evolving masterplan as others, so for me this was a big revelation and quite an experience. As it was designed to be. When you click on the link, it takes you to a blog.
It's a fully formed blog written from a fiction perspective written within the Dark Horse universe(s). The perspective is that of a kind of "the truth is out there" society noticing and watching strange occurrences that in the real world we might dub conspiracy theories but in this fictional world is more than justified. It's so meta it's masterful. The blog is convincing as a standard free access WordPress account in every way (probably because that's exactly what it is, albeit blended into fiction). As a blogger myself, it did give me an eerie feeling that stuck with me. And a few genuine moments of awe at the elegant simplicity of it. So what is Project Black Sky according to the fictive blog?
Poster "SkyWatcher1" on the blog asks the question, and points out a recently sighted black folder with a Project Black Sky logo to start the mystery rolling. Other recent posts by the same administrator/blogger branch out into specific comic threads. One talks about an inexplicable image of beings meeting up near the large array of satellite dishes in New Mexico, others about a flying man in New York City, mysterious aircraft over DC, strange lights in Seattle, and "weird weather" off the Florida coast. Each of these are, of course, teasers about upcoming plot elements for various comics that will be part of the Project Black Sky tie-in. Though Project Black Sky will eventually have a specific crossover event (see their Free Comic Book Day offering), there's a more subtle weaving going on too, it seems. These books, from what I've heard, books with superhero elements, are going to be loosely threaded together in a way that points out similarity and unity of purpose without forcing disparate titles into a mega-crossover straitjacket.
It's a very interesting start for the Project Black Sky line. The blog is a particular stroke of genius. The poster gets tips, images, e-mails from all over the country, and perhaps the world, and helps spread the information to his or her community to enlist their aid in putting the pieces of the puzzle together. How cool. And how Bleeding Cool, even. I will definitely be Watching the Skies for further developments.
Hannah Means-Shannon is EIC at Bleeding Cool and @hannahmenzies on Twitter