Thrice-Nine took Sasha’s brother, and it took Maria’s heart.

Plagued by the ramifications of a techno-magic world now thirty years gone, Thrice-Nine is a dirty folklore world that limps along, degenerating into a place filled with paranoia and poison. Sasha Vasnetsov thought he’d escaped all that, but when news comes that his younger brother has been kidnapped by the secret police, he finds himself dragged back into the madness with a simple goal—to find his brother.

But Sasha is going to need help to do this, and he enlists Maria Kamenaya, a former warrior with hundreds of enemy kills to her name, who was betrayed by the very country she served. This quest is how they get both of those things back, in the lawless land of decapitated states…the land of DEAD KINGS.

Written by Steve Orlando (Batman/Shadow, Crude, Midnighter, VIRGIL) and drawn by Matthew Dow Smith (October Girl, Suicide Squad, X-Files) DEAD KINGS is an in-depth exploration of retribution, in all its dark, complex forms.

 

STEVE ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY HE’S EXCITED FOR IT TO COME OUT:

“DEAD KINGS is a Post-Post-Apocalypse. The human spirit, and species, is enduring, even after we’ve invoked science and sorcery to drive ourselves to global war. In DEAD KINGS, there is no mystery to magic, it’s simply assets and technology, and like any other type of dangerous technology, we’ve abused it to create massive diesel-punk war machines that nearly destroyed the world. But the world’s crawling back, and in Thrice-Nine, the kingdom that used to be the Slavic Empire, anarchy rules. The Oprichniki, Secret Police without a Captain, run the loose nation as a police state, the Wild Wild East…rounding up anyone who disagrees with them or lives against their standards. The worlds been burnt and born again, but these human drives remain. Sasha Vasnetsov is on a quest to free his brother Gena from a work camp for the socially regressive. He never accepted Gena until he was kidnapped, and now Sasha has promised to liberate his brother and return with him to their mother before the end of her fiftieth year. He’s going to need help…and he finds it in Maria Kamenaya, an abandoned iron soldier and survivor of the Great Iron War that almost killed the world.

This is Russian Folklore to the tune of Blade Runner 2049, and it’s going to take you to a world you’ve never seen…the world a generation after the end of the world, where the first sprouts of goodness are fighting to grow up through the cracks.

Please, come with us, and help them thrive.”

 

STEVE AND MATTHEW ON THEIR EXPERIENCE SO FAR WORKING WITH AFTERSHOCK AND THE CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND THE BOOK?

(Steve) “It’s been fantastic! AfterShock has been nothing but supportive of Matt and I building this expansive, next-generation world in mashing up oil, steel, and folktales. Working on the project has been energizing, using the “Marvel Method,” a plot and art first method of producing a comic, has engendered so much raw creativity that I almost can’t imagine working an original concept any other way. Matt’s making me better with his creativity and inventiveness (and tolerating my eccentricities…actually, that goes for the entire crew). Working with Thomas Mauer again is a dream, someone who has stood by me through over a decade of comics, both aspirational and realized. And to have Lauren Affe on board couldn’t be more exciting, someone who works hard and adds so much to every page she touches.”

(Matthew) “Working with Aftershock is a bit of a homecoming for me, in that one of the founders, writer and editor Joe Pruett, actually gave me my very first job in comics back in the early ‘90s, so it’s a thrill to work for him again, not to mention getting to work with Steve, who is not only an old friend of mine, but also one of the best writers working in comics today. We’ve been talking about teaming up on something for a long time and when he brought this concept to me, I knew I had to do it. Strong concept, strong characters, a unique visual language, it’s exactly the kind of material I got into comics to work on. And I think we’ve built a great team to bring it to life. Steve, me, Thomas, Lauren, we’re all bringing a little piece of ourselves to this one, and for me, that’s were the really interesting books come from, and I can’t thank Aftershock enough for giving us a home for it and for supporting us every step of the way.

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MATTHEW ON SOME OF HIS FAVORITE AFTERSHOCK TITLES AND WHY:

“Honestly, I have yet to see an Aftershock title I haven’t loved. It’s such a diverse roster of talents, concepts, and genres, from Bennet and de Latorre’s Animosity to Ellis and Hester’s Shipwreck to Layman and Kieth’s Eleanor and the Egret. Any time I see an AfterShock book on the shelf, I know there’s going to be something new and fresh and unexpected inside, and it’s one of the reason I was so excited this project is coming out under their banner. They’ve built something special and it’s a thrill to get to be part of it.”

STEVE ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC BOOK FANS SHOULD ADD THIS TITLE TO THEIR PULL LIST:

1 – The Retribution Series! Welcome to the present day, where tensions are high and we need catharsis more than ever! What began with CRUDENAMESAKE and VIRGILcontinues here as we give you cold, unrelenting, endorphin flushing REVENGE. No matter who you are, you’ve faced injustice. We’re hungry for worlds where those who abuse us get what they deserve. DEAD KINGS picks up that thread on the biggest canvas yet.

2 – The Scale! This is the biggest original series I’ve ever done, it makes the worldbuilding inNAMESAKE look like flash fiction. Matt is realizing these massive moments with such a deft and innovative hand, that the world ofDEAD KINGS has become one of the most tonally rich books I’ve been lucky enough to take part in. The pure ethos of struggle, of the cold, dark, enrapturing world of Russia’s great authors like Bulgakov and Gogol is there! But it’s painted with action scenes and devious foes right out of Pacific Rim and True Grit.

3 – The Love! DEAD KINGS is a book that springs to life through pure enthusiasm, for the story, the characters, and the collaboration itself. There is no behind the scenes mandate to be found here, just co-creators in me and Matt that are dedicated to the unique, risky, surprising collaboration that is comics and have been hunting for a way to work together for years. This is a labor of love – a violent, thrilling, theatrically grand one, but a labor of love still. It’s in every page, every word, and that’s what you deserve.

 

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DEAD KINGS #1 / $3.99 / 32 pages / color / on sale 10.24.18

Writer: Steve Orlando

Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

Colorist: Lauren Affe

Letterer: Thomas Mauer 

Cover A: Matthew Dow Smith

Cover B: Michael Gaydos

 

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