Renowned graphic novel and art book publisher Magnetic Press has announced the upcoming premiere of their first original production in partnership with Horrible Future: BLACK BOX CHRONICLES, a science-fiction anthology that spans multiple generations in mankind’s expansion into space and beyond the stars. Developed by Horrible Future founders Mark Schey and Chris Northrop, the anthology serves as an introduction to the sprawling drama and high-concept fiction that will be explored in a multi-media plan that includes print, digital, audio, video, and interactive elements.
BLACK BOX CHRONICLES is set in the future age known as The Great Outward Expansion wherein mankind has not only left earth to colonize other planets but other star systems as well. Humanity’s natural instinct to explore is given free reign through exponentially advancing technology, reaching new plateaus of knowledge faster than anyone could have imagined. But regardless of how much data and processing power civilization achieves, there remains one barrier that can only be crossed in one direction: the one separating life and death. But one Scavenger believes he may be able to solve life’s biggest mystery by assembling scraps of data from a variety of Black Boxes recovered from several centuries’ worth of spacecraft that all share a secret connection, one that may answer the question of what happens in our final moments when we pass into “The Great Dark.”
Told by a creative team of some of the comic industry’s most talented artists and writers, this collection of 15 interconnected short stories set the historical groundwork for the BLACK BOX Universe. Horrible Future founders Mark Schey and Chris Northrop have gathered a roster of seasoned talent from around the world, including David Mack (Daredevil, Kabuki), Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Bulletproof Monk), Zach Howard (Hellboy, Wild Blue Yonder), Eryk Donovan (Memetic, Quantum Teens are Go), Marco Fodera (Nathan Never), Gavin Smith (Star Trek: Mirrorverse), Toru Terada (Small World), David Messina (Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca, 3Keys), Giovanni Rigano (Global, Artemis Fowl), Drew Moss (The Crow, Red Sonja), Christian Dibari (Revolvers, Providence of Madness), Taki Soma (Sleeping While Standing, Bitch Planet), and Mario Alberti (Spider-man and the Fantastic Four, The Wall).
In addition to the anthology, a world-building Art Book entitled BLACK BOX DESIGN SPACE will be released featuring an encyclopedic look at the various devices, locations, and technologies that make up this new future setting. Fully illustrated by concept artist Shane Molina, this supplemental volume will further immerse readers into the world of BLACK BOX through rich cutaway schematics and lore that add further dimension and layers to the mysteries explored in the anthology.
“We love hard sci-fi like The Expanse and thought pieces like Black Mirror. If Black Mirror is a shadowy reflection of humanity using technology, the Black Box is what happens after the technology kills you,” says Schey. “We wanted to create stories of that caliber but focused on a destination that few have dared to explore: the barrier between life and death. We wanted to take a scientific – albeit fantastic – approach to a subject that is normally seeped in the supernatural, exploring some alternate ideas about what happens in the last moments of a person’s life from a hard sci-fi perspective. While we don’t pose any concrete answers, our stories follow future explorers committed to figuring it out once and for all.”
In addition to the anthology and encyclopedia, additional supplementary content is in development, including original music by one of the fictional characters, longform prose short stories, and tabletop roleplaying materials using Magnetic’s D6MV System based on the classic D6 System by West End Games.
BLACK BOX CHRONICLES will debut on Kickstarter on Tuesday May 16th with special limited hardcover editions of both the anthology and the Design Space art book. The campaign-exclusive hardcover edition of the anthology will feature artwork by David Mack, while the general trade paperback edition will feature artwork by Shane Molina. A limited, deluxe slipcase set will feature both hardcover books inside a blue foil-laden slipcase with magnetic closure. Other campaign exclusives will include resin miniatures of some of the ships and drones featured in the series, a deck of premium playing cards featuring design motifs and artwork from inside the universe, and other unlockable bonus items that will be revealed at launch.
“On its surface, BLACK BOX is a cool collection of dark, character-focused snapshots,” says Mike Kennedy, Magnetic Press’s Publisher, “but when taken as a whole and looked at together from an altitude, BLACK BOX becomes a unique sci-fi series about the one thing technology and science can’t concretely explain: what happens after death. While Mark and Chris aren’t trying to make any theological claims with this series, the journey the characters take in their individual search for answers opens up some fascinating possibilities and intriguing reading.”