Have you ever asked the question, "who would win... ?" And have those pair-ups been ridiculous and intriguing? And did you secretly wish to see that battle played out in a comic book? Then VERSUS is for you.
VERSUS is a world where every "who would win... ?" question can be explored and answered.
VERSUS Volume 1 will be five individual comic issues that will be available at comic shops and leading digital platforms across the world, and later collected in a trade paperback including the full five issue story arc, plus bonus material.
VERSUS was created and written by Paul Ens (Star Wars: Evasive Action, Neozoic, Afterburn, Midnight) and David Ziebart (Foster Broussard). Pencils and inks by Glauco Silva, colors by Adriano Augusto (Green Hornet, Red Sonja) and letters by Troy Peteri (Witchblade, Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man).
The project will be released by Red 5 Comics, the publisher behind titles like Atomic Robo, Bodie Troll, Neozoic, Abyss, Afterburn, Haunted and many more.
VERSUS is set in a world of independant lands, each occupied wholly and exclusively by a single trope… like Wizardland, Apeland, Surferland, Robotland and so on. You'd think these lands could each live in peace, but they don't. Neighbouring lands are constantly at war with each other and many of these conflicts go back centuries, longer than anyone can even remember.
Our story is centered on PIRATE and NINJA, two life-long enemies who end up lost and wandering their way through land and after land looking to find their way home. They've never encountered any of these cultures before, so every land they discover, they end up tipping the delicate balance of power, causing a disturbance, discovering clues and generally leaving things much worse than when they found them.
In the first volume of VERSUS, we see the land of the ninja and the land of the pirate, then we make our way into the land of APES vs CHEERLEADERS. These cheerleaders are eternally obsessed with winning nationals and have the talent and drive to do it. They live almost their entire lives on the practice field, but that's where the problem lies. The practice field blocks the favorite food source of the apes… a great grove of banana trees. So every day, cheer practice is disrupted by a stampede of hungry primates. This conflict has escalated as the decades wear on, but our PIRATE and NINJA find a way in their ignorance to make things much worse for everyone.
Next, PIRATE and NINJA stumble into the conflict between SAMURAI and COWBOYS. The wild west and the honorable east are already incompatible, but adding an outlandish thief and a deadly lone assassin to the mix won't be bringing anyone together in understanding.
The heart of the project is really our lead characters, PIRATE and NINJA. In the tradition of any buddy story, they don't understand each other and don't like each other. They need each other, but they'd rather kill each other than cooperate. The dynamic is like the best of R2-D2 and C-3PO, Murdock and Riggs, Penn and Teller, Abbott and Costello… but if those people were trained killers.
The Endless Possibilities
Part of the joy of VERSUS is the huge world that we will be able to explore. Any trope out there is fair game to be a land in the VERSUSverse. It need only be paired with the combination that provides the greatest smile, exciting visuals and storytelling potential. What do you suggest? Feedback from our fans will definitely drive the direction for future volumes.
As of the time of kickstarter launch, the series bible and outline are complete. Concept art for the characters in the first three issues is complete and approved. The script and layouts for the first issue are complete, and pencils and inks are well under way. We will post sequential pages from the first issue as they become available.
Risks and challenges
As with most comic projects, the most significant source of delay is in the creative process... delayed scripts, art, or colors. (I won't include letters here, because Troy is a freaking machine.)
Red 5 Comics has been publishing comics on a monthly basis since 2007 (including the prestigious Free Comic Book Day event each year), and while some of our titles have had delays, we've learned over the years to see them coming and mitigate them or minimize them.
Issue #1 of VERSUS has already been submitted to the Diamond Previews catalog for October, so it has already been promised to comic shops across North America... not just our Kickstarter backers. We have every incentive to keep up our schedule.
That said, this is the first time this particular creative team has done a project together and challenges can happen. If they do, our Kickstarter backers will be the first to know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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