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JEDDAH: Three comics that will shape the form’s storytelling have been announced at the Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah.

Arab News spoke to the brilliant minds behind these comics – Mike Bundlie, Clive Standen and Aleks Paunovic, who worked on ‘Reactor 2042’, ‘American Carnage’ and ‘GenZeroes’ respectively.

The team decided they wanted to announce the comics’ release in Jeddah as fans marked Stan Lee’s 100th birthday at Super Con.

“Since Stan and his projects were so intrinsic to the movies, it felt natural to do it at Stan Lee Super Con,” said Mike Bundlie, co-founder of Super Con and creator of “Reactor 2042.”

Bundlie said breaking the news at a relatively quieter forum than Comic Cons in the United States also made sense to them. “The fans in Jeddah were so happy and excited, the response was just amazing. The Saudi fans aren’t as jaded either, because there aren’t as many hits as at Comic Con in San Diego.

He described Super Con as a place where people discover new things. To raise the level of the Saudi convention, it was necessary to let the world discover world-class projects through Saudi Arabia, he said. “The way to do that is to make the Stan Lee Super Con a platform where big news happens.”

Each announced project is created with the intention of making it into a TV show or movie.

Standen, who starred in the hit series “Vikings” as an axe-wielding Rollo and the lead actor in the TV series “Taken,” coined the graphic novel “American Carnage.” He explained how his fascination with the cowboy and Indian culture of the American West sparked the idea of ​​turning America’s history upside down.

Set four years in the future, the plot takes place in a world where a nuclear war has been waged against America and the United States has lost. Mexico, Cuba and Colombia form a coalition and attack the South to reclaim land from Mexico. “What happened to America in the conspiracy makes the Chernobyl incident look like a science experiment,” he said.

Standen said, “For me it’s all about originality, I really feel like I’ve come up with something original. I mean nothing is really original these days, you take the best bits of stuff, but I got really bored doing the same thing and even if it’s good it’s a copy. What I’m really looking forward to is someone going, I’ve never seen anything like this before.

The other two comics announced alongside “American Carnage” have a pre-existing fanbase as they are an expansion of two NFT games and support those storylines.

NFT in games allows players to use non-fungible tokens to own certain parts of video games. It also allows people to play games as an investment.

“Reactor 2042” is the exciting first comic book series based on the hit NFT 2022 release “Reactor Motors”, with the artwork and storyline developed by Bundlie and published by Abstract Comics.

Bundlie describes the plot as “‘Fast and Furious’ meets ‘Tron’.” The story follows a young geologist who discovers crystals that react with metal and energize it. “So instead of just running, you now have real emotions behind it and now the world will be owned by characters you care about.”

“GenZeroes” is set 200 years in the future when the world is attacked by aliens who come to rob the earth of its resources. Humanity is divided into 10 factions and players can choose which one they want to join.

According to Paunovic, the team involved in creating the NFT space are passionate about giving back to their community. “It’s not just pictures, it’s utilities, it’s story, it’s characters, and falling in love with characters.”

Paunovic, actor and producer, is known for his roles in series such as Marvel’s “Hawkeye”, “Van Helsing” and “Snow Piercer”.

“The NFT space is so art-driven, it’s something that’s at the next level of anything I’ve experienced so far,” Paunovic told Arab News.

The creators and crew of “GenZeroes” regularly host podcasts to see what fans need and strive to incorporate that into the storyline.

With an existing passionate fan base, developing storylines can be quite a challenge for creators. However, that was not the case for Bundlie and Paunovic.

Bundlie said, “Audiences are very critical of every part of it, and I love that because it pushes us on every aspect to do our best. The way we see it is that their pressure is not to lay down the property, it is them who want to maintain it.

All three comics will propel storytelling into the future of comic writing.

Bundlie said, “When these comics were announced, Stan Lee would have been 100 years old, and these three comics represent the future of comics direction; it’s not just about making comics anymore and maybe it will get bigger.

The Stan Lee Super Con showed that fans in Saudi Arabia are just as “crazy and wonderful” as in other parts of the world. On top of that, they’re also polite, passionate and loving, Bundlie said. The creative team is ready to pass on the love they received in Jeddah to other places around the world, he said.

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