COMIC BOOK CROSSOVER PROJECT ‘EPIPHANY ENGINE’ UNITES BLACK ICONS

March 14, 2024

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES ON JUNETEENTH
Featuring famous Black characters from over 30 publishers and a massive all-star Black
creative team, the graphic novel will be launched by Advent Comics’ Tony Kittrell, editor Joseph P. Illidge, and writer Brandon Thomas

Graphic by Vince White; Epiphany Engine logo by Deron Bennett/AndWorld Design

New York—Feb. 27, 2024—Over 70 Black creators are teaming up with Advent Comics and over 30 comic book and graphic novel publishers for the cosmic crossover project Epiphany Engine, a 192-page graphic novel. The project is led by publishing legend Tony Kittrell and acclaimed editor and creator Joseph P. Illidge, who will serve as the Executive Story Editor. Epiphany Engine will feature an epic multiverse story, assembling iconic Black heroes and villains and original characters in an adventure that spans several chapters. Each chapter will showcase the work of a different creative team, giving Black creators from across the publishing world the opportunity to combine their powers. Readers and fans can back Epiphany Engine on Kickstarter when the project launches on Juneteenth, featuring a variety of exciting reward options.

Superstar scribe Brandon Thomas (Excellence, Batman: Black and White, Hardware: Season One)will be launching the book by writing the first chapter; the book will also feature the work of popular creators such as Rodney Barnes (Killadelphia, The Boondocks), Chuck Patton(Justice League of America, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn), John Jennings (Kindred, The Blacker the Ink), Jamal Igle (Molly Danger, AHOY! Comics’ The Wrong Earth), Colleen Douglas (Cthulhu Invades Wonderland, SHOOK! Horror Anthology),Chriscross (Blood Syndicate, Edge of the Spiderverse), and many more. Publishers involved in the project include 4th Wall Productions, Griot Enterprises LLC, Konkret Comics, and Second Sight Publishing, among many others.

Art by Sean Damien Hill & Tarik Holmes

Continuing the legacy of multiverse crossover stories such as DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and the family drama of Fantastic Four, Epiphany Engine follows the McKalis, a family of brilliant but grief-stricken scientists searching for their missing member Todd, who was lost in the multiverse after a botched experiment. However…their rescue attempt has accidentally ruptured the fabric of the multiverse, causing universes to bleed into each other and sending all four members into scattered destinations. The rupture has released a cosmic-level threat, the mysterious Abzylom, who wants to collapse and mold a new universe while destroying the McKalis. In order to save the multiverse and defeat their cosmic foe, the family must find each other and build an army of superheroes.

Art by Stanley Weaver Jr.,
LeBeau Underwood, & Chris Sotomayor

The McKali family is led by father Prof. Dwayne McKali, who is an incredibly brilliant explorer, but often myopic and overcontrolling, and mother Dr. Jackie McKali, a world renowned physicist who is the balanced yang to Dwayne’s ying. In order to save the multiverse, the parents team up with their gifted kids, 19-year old Jett McKali, an impulsive tech genius who is unafraid to jump into the fray, and 17-year-old Octavia McKali, a chemist and theorist who keeps the family together and on task. The family is inspired by historical and fictional icons like comics legend Dwayne McDuffie, iconic comic creator Jackie Ormes, Disney’s “The Famous Jett Jackson,” and award-winning Afrofuturist writer Octavia Butler.

Octavia McKali concept art by Chris “Chriscross” Williams; character design by JaVon Stokes and Chriscross

Dwayne and Jackie’s son, 10-year-old Todd McKali, is a child prodigy who incorporates all of the specialties of his famous family. It’s Todd’s experiments with multiversal travel that accidentally cause the incident that loses him in the multiverse and creates the chaos that must be solved. The family is hunted by the villainous Abzylom, who has cosmic abilities beyond their understanding. Unhinged, sociopathic, psychopathic and incredibly brilliant, Abzylom has been traversing the multiverse and his body has become infused with the chaotic energies that bind and separate universes.

Abzylom concept art by Chuck Collins

Along with these original characters, Epiphany Engine will share the stage with legendary Black characters such as:

·           Danny J. Quick ‘s 4th Wall Productions MMA ninja Aceblade

·           Lonzo Starr & Konkret Comics cosmic hero Akolyte

·           Dorphise Jean/Spirits Destiny Studios Haitian heroine Spirit Destiny

·           Andre Batts Urban Style Comics mystical protector Dreadlocks

·           Michael Watson’s Freestyle Komics powerful Hotshot

·           Ray Height/Studio Skye-Tiger’s heroic vigilante Midnight Tiger

·           Jiba Molei Anderson/Griot Enterprises African deities superteam The Horsemen

·           Tony Kittrell/Advent Comics powerhouse Titan the Ultra Man

·           Quinn McGowan & Legends Press highflyer Wildfire

·           Vince White & The Powerverse’s classic hero Will Power

Each of these characters resonates with fans due to their relatability and heroic spirit, making them true icons in the comic book industry. These fan-favorite heroes and heroines are just the tip of the iceberg of the characters that will be appearing within the pages of the Epiphany Engine graphic novel.

“Last August, a rallying cry was sent over social media to fellow Black publishers and the comic book community for us to come together to do a giant crossover graphic novel featuring iconic Black characters. This all-star collaboration came to fruition in the form of a dream project that has become known as Epiphany Engine,” said Project Manager Tony Kittrell. “This once-in-a-lifetime crossover has never been attempted on this scale within the Black comic book community. It became very evident that there was a need and desire for this type of project, so we’re excited to bring it to life.”

“I remember seeing Tony’s rallying cry to the Black comics community. The vast number of creators and publishers who signed on spoke volumes about the importance and timing of the event, so when he called me to come on board as Executive Story Editor, it was an automatic ‘yes,’” said Executive Story Editor Joseph P. Illidge. “Having started my career and life mission at the groundbreaking Milestone Comics 31 years ago, I knew it was cosmically fitting to work on Epiphany Engine, the ultimate crossover event of Black comic book publishers and creators to happen this year. I’m both proud and honored to be a member of the crew with the editorial duo of Brian J. Lambert and Marcus H. Roberts.”

“Put a group of Black creators in a room for more than five minutes, and an opportunity like Epiphany Engine is guaranteed to get discussed,” said writer Brandon Thomas. “For years, we’ve all wondered ‘what if’ our fantastic creators and characters joined forces, and told the kind of story that made us fall in love with comics in the first place. I’m honored and grateful to be involved and to have the chance to spark something we’ve been imagining at cons and dinners for a long, long time.”

Continued Illidge: “Having Brandon Thomas on board as the writer kicking off Epiphany Engine was the final ingredient for success. His work on the Image series Excellence, DC’s Future State: Aquaman, and Milestone’s Hardware: Season One, among so many other stories, showcase his tremendous talent. Everyone involved is committed to making this an event more fantastic than anyone will expect. In this story, we’re dealing with a mission of cosmic proportions, with a human story at its center and themes that will resonate with our readers.”

Epiphany Engine logo by Deron Bennett/AndWorld Design

Fans can now follow and save the Epiphany Engine page on Kickstarter in order to get reminders and updates. Rewards will include an option for fans to get a 1:1 creative consultation with Epiphany Engine producer Tony Kittrell and representatives from the creative and editorial teams. Other rewards will include original artwork, exclusive variants, boxed sets, and more. The Kickstarter will officially launch on Juneteenth (June 19) of this year. Fans who purchase the graphic novel will be mailed the book later in 2024. For the latest information on everything Epiphany Engine, follow the Kickstarter page and Advent Comics’ Facebook and Instagram social media pages.


ABOUT ADVENT COMICS

ADVENT COMICS was founded in 2009 by Tony Kittrell on the belief that the fans and readers satisfaction is of the utmost importance. ADVENT COMICS is focused on creating high-quality comics and will do everything to exceed fan expectations as the entire team is committed to delivering first-rate entertainment. ADVENT COMICS elevates Black storytelling by promoting gifted Black/BIPOC Creators from across the globe to tell their stories and introducing powerful Black heroes like Titan, Ether, Dalton Malone, Nia X, and others in its many different titles such as TITAN THE ULTRA MAN, SOUTHSIDE, SOULMATE, STREETZ and more. ADVENT COMICS will continue to strive to provide a place for all creators to feel comfortable in working on amazing characters and concepts.

With genres ranging from superhero stories to action/adventure, horror, romance, fantasy, science fiction, religious, and crime noir/thrillers, ADVENT COMICS features a wide variety of original storytelling for readers to enjoy. As ADVENT COMICS makes its way towards its fifteenth anniversary in August 2024, the team looks forward to continuing this journey and setting the stage for the next fifteen years and beyond.

ABOUT JOSEPH P. ILLIDGE:

Joseph is the writer of the newly-announced HARRIET TUBMAN middle-grade graphic novel for Harper Collins, co-author of the JUDGE KIM AND THE KIDS COURT series of children’s graphic novels from Simon and Schuster, and the MPLS SOUND historical fiction graphic novel about Prince and 80s music, published by Humanoids. Joseph’s production company, ILLUMINOUS, announced a deal with 50 Cent’s G-Unit Film and Television company for a film franchise based on XERO, the DC Comics spy series created by BLACK PANTHER writer Christopher Priest.

Joseph started his editorial career at influential comic book publisher Milestone Media, known for creating the teenage superhero “Static Shock” and many other iconic comic book characters of color. Joseph spoke about his experience at Milestone in the HBO Max documentary MILESTONE GENERATIONS. At DC Comics, he had a groundbreaking editorial run on the BATMAN line of comic books as the franchise’s first editor of color, ranging from titles including BATMAN: THE HILL, BIRDS OF PREY, and the Cassandra Cain BATGIRL series. He also led Lion Forge’s CATALYST PRIME superhero imprint, as well as editing for a number of high-profile publishing companies.

Joseph has been profiled several times in The Hollywood Reporter, speaking to his expertise in curating inclusive hero fiction and genre fare in the publishing and entertainment industries. He was also featured in the History Channel documentary series, SUPERHEROES DECODED, discussing popular heroes from Superman to The Black Panther. He has been writing a series of opinion columns about the comic book industry for entertainment news site Popverse, utilizing his experience in the business to educate and inform comic book professionals. Joseph’s next project is THE WINTERFIELDS, a crime noir following a father and son during the Harlem Renaissance featured in FairSquare Comics’ NOIR IS THE NEW BLACK: EXPANDED EDITION and continuing in the full-length graphic novel in 2025.

ABOUT 4TH WALL PRODUCTIONS

4th Wall Productions is the home of Aceblade, King Supreme, LumberJax and many more indie superheroes! Based in North Carolina, Danny J Quick and Morgan Iverson have crafted a universe of connected characters in comics and aim to bring in more creators in the future. 4th Wall Productions has found recent success turning to platforms like Tiktok and Patreon where supporters can follow along with their stories and creators. The company hopes to release a record 6 comics in 2024, including Aceblade #8 and the first LumberJax graphic novel.

ABOUT GRIOT ENTERPRISES

When we began in 1997, we had seen many great African American superheroes in comics, but we never saw an iconic African American superhero team. We didn’t have our Justice League, our Avengers. We, as comic book fans of color, young and old, didn’t have a universe where our heroes reside…Griot Enterprises filled that void. In the 21st Century, what was once a desert has now become a lush and thriving oasis. The comic book landscape has become more diverse, more colorful and more interesting…And we’re still telling great stories featuring characters of color. We’ve remained true to our vision and our work. From the Afrofantastic world of The Horsemen to the diversity the Cypher embraces with 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Digital Mixtape, we still take no shorts. We still create innovative concepts, establish new trends, and produce high-quality products. 25 years old and we’re still pushing the envelope. Griot Enterprises is a vanguard of entertainment…You better recognize!

ABOUT KONKRET COMICS

Konkret Comics is a 5x Award Winning Publishing Company launched in 2019 by creator and writer Derek ‘Lonzo Starr’ Allen. Konkret Comics is a collective of artists, creators, and writers with a passion to create stories through a diverse lens that appeals to all audiences of all ages. There is a lack of diversity in the comic book industry and Konkret Comics plans to fill that void. We strive to break boundaries and stereotypes, giving a voice to creators from diverse backgrounds and telling our own stories.

ABOUT SECOND SIGHT PUBLISHING

Second Sight Publishing strives to bring our fans and readers new and exciting content that represents some of the best the industry has to offer. Second Sight originally established itself as a successful horror publisher with titles such as Mississippi Zombie and Harvest of Horrors; anthologies which it published through Caliber Comics; they have developed other series such as Leave on the Light, Cold Blooded, These Damn Kids, and Orision. We also share our vision of providing quality stories that expands into Fantasy, and Manga.

ABOUT SOVEREIGN COMICS

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Colorado, USA, SoveReign Comics, affectionately known as ‘The SoVerse,’ stands as a beacon of creativity in the world of small press comic book publishing. Founded by Tyrone Jackson in 2009 and established in late 2011, our universe has expanded from three titles to seventeen, with five brought to life. As you step into the SoVerse, you’re invited to shed the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. With each page turned, you’ll be transported to worlds teeming with adventure and emotion. We’re not just a publisher; we’re a community of passionate storytellers. Our mission is to captivate, inspire, and entertain readers with diverse, quality content that exceeds expectations and draws you into a universe of imaginative escape.

ABOUT THE POWERVERSE

The POWERVERSE is dedicated to empowering indie creators and catapulting their visions into the spotlight. On our development side, we specialize in refining the presentation media and professional aesthetics of comics, logos, and branding. On our publishing side, The POWERVERSE is a multiverse of smaller creators. Through the in-world innovation of Weaver-Gate technology, our worlds are interconnected. Creators retain full autonomy over their individual universes, called “DIMES,” and their continuity, while seamlessly joining a larger collective and the opportunity to be part of something bigger.

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