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The Lab Press Releasing Essentials

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  • The Lab Press Releasing Essentials

    A Graphic Novel from Actor and Novelist Luke Arnold and Emmy-Nominated Writer Chris “Doc” Wyatt
    With All-Star Art by DaNi, Glenn Fabry, Jason Howard, Vince Locke, Brendan McCarthy, Andrea Mutti, M.K. Perker, and Bill Sienkiewicz

    The Ambitious Sci-Fi Original Graphic Novel is Headed to Kickstarter,
    Featuring Exclusive Editions Not Available Anywhere Else

    (April 17, 2024) Luke Arnold — the novelist and actor of the Emmy-winning Black Sails — and Emmy-nominated writer Chris “Doc” Wyatt (Rocket and Groot) are co-writing an all-new graphic novel, ESSENTIALS. The ambitious 140-page sci-fi epic is the debut offering from THE LAB PRESS, a new graphic novel publisher helmed by founder and CEO Nicholas Kalikow, who is joined by Editor-in-Chief Dagen Walker, Vice President of Business Development Diane Richey, and Chief Creative Officer and partner Mike Zagari. ESSENTIALS will debut this spring on Kickstarter and fans can follow the pre-launch page now, to get an email when the project launches in the coming weeks.

    The original graphic novel features a stunning array of all-star comic artists: DaNi (Sandman The Dreaming), Glenn Fabry (Preacher), Jason Howard (Transformers), Vince Locke (A History of Violence), Brendan McCarthy (Spider-Man: Fever), Andrea Mutti (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), M.K. Perker (Air) and a cover by legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz (New Mutants). ESSENTIALS features colors by Jordie Bellaire, Brad Simpson and Wesley Wong and lettered by DC Hopkins of AndWorld Design. The book’s design and logo were created by Emma Price (Barnstormers).

    “At THE LAB PRESS, we search the world for creators, writers, and artists who are looking for a space to be audacious with their wildest ideas, subversive stories and compelling art,” said THE LAB PRESS Editor-in-Chief Dagen Walker. “We love human moments in unhinged worlds; tales that entertain while illuminating some experiential truth. As our first book to market, ESSENTIALS will capture readers with its wild sci-fi adventure themes and compelling characters.”

    In ESSENTIALS, mathematician Harris Pax predicted the end of the world but failed to prevent it. Now he’s living alone in a bunker and his niece’s favorite toys have started talking to him. The good news? He’s not the world’s sole survivor. The bad news? The other survivors are trapped in alternate realities — imprisoned in imagined worlds full of zombies, robots, mythical creatures, and chaos. And now Harris Pax and an unlikely ally must travel the country on a quest to restore reality, save humanity, and defeat his new interdimensional nemesis: Snuggles.

    “ESSENTIALS was born out of impossible questions: what matters most in a well-lived life? Is joy more valuable than truth? Does mortality give meaning to our existence? At what point do our perceptions become our reality?” asks co-writer Luke Arnold, who has played iconic roles including Long John Silver in the Emmy-winning Black Sails and Michael Hutchence in Never Tear Us Apart-. His first novel The Last Smile in Sunder City was released in 2020, launching the popular, ongoing series The Fetch Phillips Archives. He is making his graphic novel debut with ESSENTIALS.

    “We’ve managed to assemble a staggeringly talented group of artists to explore these ideas with us, creating a story that traverses a post-apocalyptic reality, multiple subjective projections, an interdimensional collective consciousness, and the kaleidoscopic labyrinth of our own minds,” said Arnold. We wanted to tell a story that could only be fully realized in this medium, and this incredible team has taken it beyond our wildest dreams.”

    An all-star roster of seven artists brings Luke Arnold and Doc Wyatt’s wild, sci-fi adventure to life, with each artist illustrating a different alternate reality. Vince Locke unveils a zombie apocalypse. Andrea Mutti depicts tragedy in outer space. MK Perker illustrates a stunning banquet for the gods. Glenn Fabry pulls back the curtain on a creepy collector of classical art And DaNi and Jason Howard play with an ever-changing “untethered” reality, which threatens to swallow our hero and everything we have ever known.

    “My goal for the ESSENTIALS cover was to give a bit of a twist to the classic super hero lineup,” said Bill Sienkiewicz. “Premiere issue covers usually introduce the series’ heroes as a group of badasses. The idea of doing that with an adorable trio of children’s toys was too good to pass up.”

    “We're proud to be working with THE LAB PRESS, a company that has given us total creative freedom and total support, even when we say things like – ‘our vision is to switch between seven different artists on this book to do the different realities, and you have to coordinate everything.THE LAB PRESS is all in. They make it happen,’” said co-writer Chris “Doc” Wyatt, who has produced eight indie feature films including the cult hit comedy film Napoleon Dynamite and the multi-festival award-winning drama Coyote. Wyatt shared an Emmy nomination for the animated project Marvel’s Rocket and Groot and has worked on numerous popular series including Lego Ninjago: Dragons Rising.

    “I want to create books that surprise at every turn – whether you're a die-hard comic aficionado or just dipping your toes into this wild world,” said Richey. "Our books are ignited by the raw uncensored perspectives of creators like Cecil Castellucci, Gene Ha, Nihaarika Negi, and José Villarrubia, all of whom will be involved in upcoming original graphic novels.”

    In addition to its core staff, which includes THE LAB PRESS Editorial Assistant Lindsay Musil, THE LAB PRESS is working with talented publishing freelancers, including Lillian Laserson, John J. Hill, Ryane Lynn Hill, Olivia Ngai, Emma Price (Barnstormers), and David Hyde and Dustin Holland of Superfan Promotions.

    THE LAB PRESS’ Chief Creative Officer Mike Zagari is a twenty year comics veteran, who has worked at Marvel, Disney, and DC Comics and, most recently, as the head of AMC Networks Publishing. “It’s no secret that the comics industry is in a period of tremendous, transformative change,” said Zagari. “THE LAB PRESS is prepared to meet those challenges and opportunities head-on. We’re dedicated to publishing fearless storytelling, with unique styles and perspectives. THE LAB PRESS is focused on creating high end, original graphic novels with stories that challenge, surprise, and engage readers.”

    For more updates on THE LAB PRESS and its first Kickstarter, visit them on Bluesky, Facebook, Instagram and X.
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