Asylum Press and Night Owl Productions announced today that Chopper, a gritty new five-issue horror comic book mini-series with a tie-in to a live-action web series, will debut online and in comic shops nationwide on October 5, 2011, just in time for the Halloween season. The books will be distributed through Diamond Comic Distributors as a “day-and-date release” in both print and digital formats on the same day.
Written by screenwriter Martin Shapiro and drawn by Dark Horse artist Juan Ferreyra (Falling Skies, Rex Mundi), Chopper is a modern-day reimagining of the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow fame. After taking a strange new drug with supernatural side effects at a party, the rebellious teenage daughter of a police officer starts seeing ghosts and is stalked by the Reaper, a headless Hell’s Angel on a motorcycle who collects the souls of sinners in the afterlife.
The story has elements of Nightmare on Elm Street and Candyman. Instead of being killed in your dreams, you’re vulnerable while you’re high on the drug. The target audience for this book is mature readers, horror hounds, and motorcycle enthusiasts. It will appeal to fans of Rob Zombie, Steve Niles, and Garth Ennis.
“When Martin Shapiro showed me the first two issues of Chopper on the iPad, I was blown away. The artwork is the same high quality you’d find in a top-of-the-line Marvel or Vertigo book,” says Asylum Press President Frank Forte. “Martin is an enormously talented writer. He has created a dark, truly original world of drugs, outlaw bikers, and supernatural mayhem that horror fans should really respond to. We are thrilled to bring his first comic book to the world.”
“For me, working in comics is very similar to movie making – it’s like the ultimate storyboard,” Shapiro commented. “With Chopper, I wanted to create one of the most beautiful books on the market with lots of attention to detail and cinematic coloring. That’s why I teamed up with Juan Ferreyra. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. His pencils and inks are amazing – very dynamic with lifelike, expressive characters. I couldn’t ask for a better artist to bring the script to life.”
Shapiro added, “The idea for Chopper came to me when I was at the Daytona Bike Week Festival in Florida hanging out with a bunch of bad-ass bikers, getting stoned and telling war stories. I love custom choppers and I love horror films from the 1970′s and ’80s, so I decided to combine the two elements into a hardcore, no-holds-barred, R-rated story. I wrote the script at UCLA Film School in a screenwriting class taught by Mike Werb, the writer of Face/Off. He helped me develop the emotional conflict of a troubled girl being pulled in two directions by two different father figures – one dead and one alive. He also encouraged me not to shy away from the controversy of having a drug-dealing high school cheerleader as the protagonist.”
Shortly after the art team finished issue #2, producer J.C. Christofilis saw a digital PDF of the books and snapped up the movie rights to Chopper. He quickly put together financing to produce an innovative web series to introduce fans across the globe to the Chopper mythology and build awareness for an upcoming movie in 2012. The web series stars Tyler Mane (played Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake, and Sabretooth in X-Men) and Andrew Bryniarski (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Any Given Sunday, Batman Returns). It will feature all-new prequel story material NOT in the comic book. You can view the Chopperteaser trailer below:
Other transmedia components associated with Chopper include an iPhone game app, a music deal with a popular heavy metal band to be announced next month, and a sponsorship deal with Rockstar Energy Drink.
“I realized there was an opportunity to expand Martin’s strong characters and story universe from the comic book by utilizing transmedia storytelling to create original online tales that could further enrich the overall Chopper mythology and entertainment experience for fans.” said producer J.C. Christofilis. “Our goal is to reach massive audiences through all possible media platforms as we unleash integrated, killer content via the comics, web series, social media and ultimately feature films. We are confident this new horror franchise will connect deeply with fans who appreciate a mix of quality storytelling and hardcore horror on the level of Sleepy Hollow and the first Nightmare on Elm Street!”
Chopper #1, a 32-page full color comic book for $2.99, goes on sale in stores in early October, the same month as the web TV series debuts on YouTube.
Check out the special 6-Page Preview at http://www.asylumpress.com/titles/chopper