Discover more from The New Futurists
Moving Forward with the New Futurists!
Why hello y’all--
Earlier this week, The New Futurists became a 2023 Featured Publication on Substack. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate this distinction. Thank you to the other Substack writers who recognized us and the folks at Substack who amplified our publication. And a HUGE thank you to all of our subscribers-- free, paid, and Visionary. We understand that there’s a lot of other STUFF competing for your attention out there and we are HONORED that you choose to spend some time with us.
And let me tell you: we’re just getting started.
As we’re welcoming some brand new subscribers, I thought it might be helpful to give folks a lay of the land here at The New Futurists. I also thought I’d use this opportunity to introduce our latest ongoing feature: MOVING FORWARD. My aim with MOVING FORWARD is to provide a casual monthly update from our studio like the kind of message I would share with my friends.
But first things first: who are we?
Well my name is Ben Bolling. I’m a writer, illustrator, and the publisher of this Substack. I’m a proud product of Central Appalachia, an omnivorous consumer of nerd culture, and a beagle enthusiast. Some folks are interested to learn that I have a Ph.D. in English literature, but honestly I find it more inspiring that I became a beekeeper in my 30’s.
As for the title of our publication, you can read a little tongue-in-cheek manifesto I wrote about “The New Futurists” moniker here. TL;DR: one of the motivating goals for my art is to engage contemporary problems with solutions that imagine a better future. I am SO done with all the BLEAKNESS that permeates much of the culture I consume at the moment. We may just have to imagine our way out of this one, folks.
I have the immense pleasure of collaborating with some incredibly talented artists, writers, and creators with whom I’m proud to produce our ongoing features. So let’s talk about those.
Our first ongoing feature is an original comic called Southern Gothic that I co-create with Ezequiel Rubio.
Ezequiel is a Spanish artist with a background in comics and visual storytelling. Follow him on social media, check out his work, and buy his original graphic novel, Ray. You can read more about how Ezequiel and I started working together here. Since we began this project nearly TWO YEARS AGO (holy smokes!), I’ve come to realize I could gladly go on telling stories with this guy for the rest of eternity. You’re the best, Ezequiel!
I also want to shout out the entire creative team of Southern Gothic. Rafael Grimaldi has been doing color flats since the start of this project. He’s also done full color on some of the covers that I’ve drawn for Southern Gothic (sparing you my ABYSMAL coloring skills!). If you’re looking for a talented color artist, look no further! Reinhard Buhisan is an exceptionally gifted letterer who brings every issue of Southern Gothic to life. Reinhard’s patience for my... verbosity...knows no limits and I am so grateful for his work! And finally, the biggest shout out of all to Jon Cochran, our chief editor, social media manager, marketing guru— and my husband. Literally NONE of this would be possible without Jon.
So what’s this comic about?
Southern Gothic begins in 1955 when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover coerces writers Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, and Tennessee Williams to investigate a copycat killer who is reenacting some of American literature’s most ruthless murders. But as the writers follow a trail of violence across the American South, they uncover arcane forces bent on rewriting reality to suit their wicked purposes!
You can expect a brand new chapter of Southern Gothic on the third Wednesday of each month. After every three chapters, we have a special feature called The Purloined Letters where the Southern Gothic team responds to your emails, DMs, and comments about the comic. We love to hear from y’all, so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org! Please, for the sake of my increasingly chaotic inbox, include “Southern Gothic” in the subject and if you’re okay with your letter being featured please indicate “OKAY TO PRINT.”
If you’re interested in purchasing a VERY limited-edition ashcan printing that collects the first six chapters of Southern Gothic, you can pick that up over at beagleman’s. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the hot merch in our New Futurists collection!
Our next ongoing feature is Trading Card Tuesday: Into the Omniverse, a series of digital trading cards featuring original superheroes co-created by Luis Valero-Suarez. Luis is a South Carolina-based artist with an astonishing gift for character design and dynamic line and color work. You can read more about the genesis of this project and how Luis and I came to work together here and you should definitely follow Luis on Instagram and Twitter.
Can I tell you, Luis and I just met IRL for the first time at HeroesCon in Charlotte and it was SUCH a treat. After a couple of days chatting about comics, film, TV, and style, I left the convention BEYOND excited to count Luis as a friend and collaborator. He’s another artist I would be honored to continue telling stories with until doomsday!
You can expect a fresh edition of Trading Card Tuesday: Into the Omniverse on the first Tuesday of each month.
In addition to this regularly scheduled programming, you can expect additional dispatches from me and other featured guests in our studio. For instance, the aforementioned Omniverse is a fictional world that we are building from the ground up. You can read some short fiction that establishes the lore of this world here and here. Stay tuned! We have big projects in the works to bring the Omniverse to all of your senses...
When we launched The New Futurists in January 2022, I had been attracted to Substack because I saw some of my favorite writers moving onto the platform and using it to work on innovative, compelling projects.
In the year and some change that I’ve been publishing work on Substack, my perspective on the potential of the platform has only brightened. I’ve connected with readers from ALL OVER the place, reconnected with friends from all phases of life, and developed relationships with a slew of phenomenal artists and collaborators. I’ve also been productive as a writer and enriched as an artist in entirely new ways because of my responsibility to you readers.
So thank you. I think we’ve got a good thing going here, folks. And I look forward to the future.
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