Skating on Black Ice
Neil Kofsky bets his buddies he can jump his motorcycle over a pile of bikes behind a bar. He clips the last cycle in the bunch, and has to escape from its owner through the alleys. He tries to hide in a coal chute when the bottom vanishes and he finds himself falling onto a floating man of war 15,000 feet in the air.
This is no ordinary floating boat. It’s battling fighter planes.
All this happens in the first three pages of Black Ice, the new graphic novel from the legendary Mike Baron and Nick Runge, a new artist whose first work was Mike Baron’s Detonator (October 2005).
Mike Baron has been one of the most innovative and honored creators in comics since he broke into the field with Nexus fifteen years ago with artist Steve Rude.
Mike has written numerous mainstream comics, including Marvel’s The Punisher and DC’s The Flash and Deadman. He is also the co-creator of Badger, Feud, Spyke and a number of other renowned titles.
He has been nominated for Best Writer in the Kirby, Harvey and Eisner Awards numerous times, and has won several Eisners for his work on Nexus. In his spare time, he writes novels, short stories and screenplays, works out, and rides his motorcycle through the countryside.
Nick Runge is 22 years old. His parents are both artists – his father teaching painting, drawing and design at a local college, and his mother is a graphic designer. He was studying art in Fort Collins, CO in 2004, when he met Baron, who saw Runge’s paintings in a gallery. His other work includes inking Gene Simmons’ House of Horrors for IDW and Fear Agent for Image. He’s also penciling and inking the covers for IDW’s new Badger mini-series.
Here’s what the boys have to say about their new project.
CM: Tell us about Black Ice.
MB: Black Ice is a heroic fantasy about an American teen who falls through a wormhole into an alternate universe. Two civilizations are at war: the sky-dwelling Luftar, and the militaristic Helmut. Young Neil finds himself in the middle of the fight, attracted to the captain’s daughter, and forced to fight to the death against a jealous prince. And that’s just the first issue. The series is really about how alien technology (Neil’s) affects civilization. It’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for the space age.
NR: Black Ice is the story of a great tribal war in a past (alternate) universe. The tribe of the Luftar are being wiped out by another, more technically advanced group known as the Helmut. Back on earth, when 17 year old Neil Kofsky finds himself on the run from thugs, he has no idea that he’s about to become an unlikely hero. After being sucked into a wormhole and being transported through time and space, he falls right into the lap of the Luftar, bringing with him his dirtbike and his alien knowledge. Will his presence turn the tide of war? Will he ever get home? Will the planet of Obsidian survive? Find out soon!!
CM: Mike, tell me about Nick Runge. How did you find him?
MB: I spotted a couple of Nick’s oil paintings in a downtown gallery in Fort Collins. They popped in a Frazetta-like way. I left my card with the owner and Nick called me. He had no idea what he was going to do for a living and had never thought about comic books. I told him to think about them and he came back with his first comic page, which frankly was better than a lot of professional work. Once I pointed him in the right direction, he took off.
CM: Nick, what’s it like to work with Mike Baron?
NR: Working with Mike is awsome! To be collaborating with the co-creator of Nexus is nothing short of a dream come true. He has an imagination that continues to amaze me. What else can I say? He’s a great, great writer!
CM: Does the Internet change the way you create your stories?
MB: The only affect the Internet has on my writing is the ease with which I can send words around the world. Remember all the fed-exing back in the day? We sure are saving heaps of money! If the story gives me joy, it will give others joy. Big Head Press has already posted two of my graphic novels online, The Architect and The Hook. They’re up there now.
NR: I don’t change anything about the way I draw for an online comic. I’m very excited to know that people will be able to view Black Ice this way. I’m thrilled to be a part of ComicMix.
CM: What’s next?
MB: My magnum opus. (ComicMix E-I-C) Mike Gold knows. It’s called Lord of the High Country.
NR: I’ve been illustrating covers for Baron’s new Badger series, so those will be hitting stores in November. Black Ice will be my main focus for the months to come.
Black Ice, by Mike Baron and Nick Runge, will debut in color on ComicMix Thursday, October 4.