Black Mask Studios announces the incendiary and provocative new comic book series CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY.

The press release follows:

Media Release -- Theme parks have already become political battlegrounds, but what if they became actual battlegrounds? What if the culture wars became actual wars? As mass demonstrations consume Hollywood, the comic book CALEXIT considers the question: What if California refused to be ruled?

This is the world of CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY, the new comic book series launching this July from Black Mask Studios, the Los Angeles based indie publisher of acclaimed titles including BLACK, SPACE RIDERS, DESTINY NY, ALICE IN LEATHERLAND and 4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK. Together writer Matteo Pizzolo and artist C. Granda, the creators of ROGUE STATE, have created a timely title about young rebels willing to risk it all for freedom of thought.

“This is a special moment in the history of comics. Passionate creators from all storytelling spheres are being drawn to the freedom of thought offered by the indie comic market like never before, and they’re racing to tell their authentic, provocative, most personal, and just plain coolest stories in comic books and graphic novels,” said Matteo Pizzolo, co-founder of Black Mask Studios and the writer of CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY. “It’s not by accident that iconic talents from Chuck D to Keanu Reeves are choosing comics as the medium to tell the stories they’re most excited about, or that new audiences are supporting indie comics in stores, on Kickstarter, and across the web to an unprecedented scale. As politics and finance have created headwinds for independent expression in other media, indie comics are engaging with bigger and more passionate audiences than ever before.”

In CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY, it’s total war on the streets of Los Angeles as rebel leader Zora rallies her Mulholland Resistance to seize freedom or die trying. The battle rages all the way to the iconic Hollywood theme park in Universal City where Zora’s Resistance fighters make a last stand against Homeland Security’s Occupying Forces. Warzone courier Jamil has been hired to spirit Zora away from the firefight to a Resistance stronghold, but Zora won’t be dragged to safety without a fight.

“Pizzolo and Granda have crafted a high-octane war story in CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY that focuses on character and wild action but also rhymes with our historical moment of culture battles being waged through intellectual property, from DeSantis v. Disneyworld to J.K. Rowling to the WGA strike,” said Brian Giberson, head of publishing development for Black Mask. “Black Mask Studios has always focused on stories that are adventurous and also have a real message driving them. Starting with OCCUPY COMICS, we published stories about inequity and the struggle for financial justice. Since then, we published stories about gentrification (THE DREGS), LGBTQIA+ self-discovery and found family (ALICE IN LEATHERLAND) and empowered Black superheroes fighting racist plutocrats (BLACK). The fact that the comic market continues to support and provide a platform for such authentic voices is a striking reminder that comics play a crucial and important role in our cultural dialogue."

CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY is the latest mini-series in the CALEXIT comic book universe created by Pizzolo and illustrator Amancay Nahuelpan, which launched in 2017 as one of the most widely acclaimed comic book series of the decade and spawned spinoffs CALEXIT: ALL SYSTEMS SAN DIEGO and CALEXIT: OUR LAST NIGHT IN AMERICA, both illustrated by Granda. In 2019, CALEXIT character Emmie-X was the poster image for one of INDIVISIBLE CALIFORNIA’s Voter Outreach Campaigns that helped flip several House seats in the midterm elections. Blurring the line between fiction and political commentary, every issue of CALEXIT features non-fiction backmatter devoted to real-world applications of the topical ideas in the storyworld.

The first issue of CALEXIT: THE BATTLE OF UNIVERSAL CITY is set for release from Black Mask Studios at Comic Con International, followed directly by your favorite local comic shop.


C. Granda is a freelance comic book creator and teacher with more than 20 years of self-study and more than 16 years dedicated to the creation and promotion of comics in his homeland of Medellín-Colombia, where he founded and was the associate director of the National Comic And Manga Hall cultural corporation, and one of the leaders of FICCO (Independent Colombian Comics fair) and the creator of COMICFAN a small press publisher specialized in creating comics for the Colombian market and creating content aimed at the teaching of comic book creation in Latin America including a Youtube channel with more than 250 videos about the making and analysis of comics for and in the Latin Market. He is also an experienced comic book artist with more than 10 years of experience in professional work with several US and UK publishers such as Heavy Metal, Black Mask, Zenescope, Markosia and others, with titles including ROGUE STATE, PIROUETTE, GRIMM FAIRY TALES, ESCAPE FROM MONSTER ISLAND, THE JUNGLE BOOK, HEROES OF HOME ROOM C, and ARACHNA, as well as handling his own self published titles. Currently Granda lives in Medellín with his wife Cindy and their four cats; Shazam, Mister Darcy, Totoro and Achu.

ABOUT THE WRITER: An Amazon #1 bestselling author, Matteo Pizzolo was named Wired Magazine's "World's Most Wired Comics Creator," one of Bleeding Cool’s Top 100 Most Influential People In Comics, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, and FOX News. While living out of a backpack as a teenager in NYC’s Lower East Side, Pizzolo got his start as a playwright in Hell’s Kitchen’s Ensemble Studio Theatre's Youngblood program. At 19 he wrote and directed THREAT, an independent feature financed with credit cards and set in NYC's hardcore punk & underground hip hop scenes, which premiered at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, won a Best First Time Filmmaker award at the Rome Independent Film Festival, and was distributed by Sony. He then wrote the comic book GODKILLER (selected as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books Of The Year) and directed its animated film adaptation, distributed by Warner Brothers. He wrote the comic books YOUNG TERRORISTS (second only to Lumberjanes as the highest selling indie graphic novel of the year) and ROGUE STATE (Black Mask’s all-time top-selling comic), and co-founded Black Mask where he's championed “subversive, provocative, and just plain awesome comics and creators.” Utilizing his background in political organizing, Pizzolo created the Occupy Comics project and devotes himself to supporting and creating some of the bravest comics on shelves.


Bringing the punk rock ethic to comics c/o co-founders Brett Gurewitz, Steve Niles, and Matteo Pizzolo, Black Mask supports creators telling awesome and important stories.