He was inspired by a set from comic book publisher ENCODE Graphics, who wanted to express the mythos of the crypto and metaverse scene in narrative form.
PR1MUS and ONESHOT characters
Part of that vision is to revitalize the comic book industry, which received a cryptographic jolt last month after DC Comics banned its illustrators from creating NFTs using any DC Comics intellectual property. That means they can’t touch artwork depicting Batman, Wonder Woman or Superman.
Either way, in ENCODE, DC and Marvel cartoonists team up with cryptographers from around the world to create a new universe with well-developed characters that will in turn serve as the basis for many other subplots. Everything will be based on cryptographic concepts, in a style that could be described as crypto-punk. A spokesman for ENCODE tells the magazine:
The vision is to create a comics project that provides a great foundation for comics so that artists can create art in the spirit of Bitcoin, CryptoArt, and our crypto community. This universe, with its beautifully crafted characters, offers a potential far beyond the creation of comic book literature.
Who’s behind the mask?
ENCODE Graphics is led by an Austrian artist under the pseudonym PR1MAL CYPHER, who initially acted as a solo artist but is now better described as the art director of his project.
Initially specialising in oil paintings, he turned to digital CryptoArt with a socially critical element. He took an interdisciplinary approach of combining text and digital art on the platforms SuperRare, MakersPlace and Nifty Gateway, and produced an edition of silver coins funded by 0.01 BTC in a style reminiscent of SATOSH1. His five-part NFT RIOT DAYS series with George Floyd exemplifies his socio-political approach.
According to PR1MAL, ENCODE wants to show a glimpse of the future – a project that still guarantees the professionalism of the old editors, but wants to live with new technologies under the signs of CryptoArt and Metaverse.
While PR1MAL says it has no intention of competing with the big names in comics, the company says its ambition is to be a pioneer in this field by harnessing the power of blockchain and the digital world at large. We’ll get there. This could certainly provide a unique advantage to a new generation of fans – and collectors – of crypto-comics.
The rest of the roster of writers and illustrators has yet to be fully revealed, but it includes some notable DC and Marvel characters. Writers include Eisner Award winner Mike Baron, Chuck Dixon, known for Batman and The Punisher, Aaron Lopresti, who has written extensively for Marvel and DC, and Scott Beatty, who has written encyclopedias on DC Comics characters in addition to his work for the publisher.
Comic artists Will Conrad and Mark McKenna are visually represented, along with a host of new talents. McKenna is already a familiar face in the NFT scene, having published digital work on MakersPlace in December 2020. Despite this impressive list, there are hints that there is more to come, as the project’s organizer claims that many artists are already involved in grades and names that remain mysterious for now.
The aforementioned time travel title, also known as 2084, focuses on the recent return of Satoshi Nakamoto. Here, SATOSH1 explores a distant, dystopian version of our post-Big Reboot Earth, where big business and citadels call the shots, reports PR1MAL. The current series aims to create a CryptoArt epic in a fictional, polarizing future, filled with symbols and characters related to the culture surrounding cryptocurrency, designed as a recurring theme. The 2084 series is expected to remain in production until the summer of 2021.
ENCODE is based on the publication of stories that, on the one hand, contain the symbols and memes of cryptocurrency, but on the other hand, also provide a vision of the present that will be the reality of the future.
Another title, METATALES, is a black and white graphic anthology consisting of several short stories by different artists. Some of these revolve around cryptography, others are more socially critical and portray our society in relation to technological development. The release is scheduled for early June.
METALLS – A Comics Anthology https://t.co/myelPiqDJR.
Curious to see what our #nftcommunity anthology will include?
Mike Baron @BloodyRedBaron
Chuck Dixon @dixonverse Aaron Lopresti @aaronlopresti and many more…#comics#NFT #NFTs#nftcollector #cryptoart pic.twitter.com/cJ5chV5J7b
– ENCODE Graphics (@ENCODE_Graphics) 10. April 2021
No comic book distribution has been announced yet, but there was one on the 17th. April on Nifty Gateway an NFT flip titled GENESIS, which refers to 2084. During the four public editions of SATOSH1, 148 works were sold, raising nearly $97,000 for the project.
GENESIS helps us with the financing. Artists want to get paid, says PR1MAL. A second decline, related to the first, is expected in the fourth quarter. June is expected.
SATOSH1 holds Lady Liberty
The Nifty Gateway platform is owned by the Winklevoss twins and was previously chosen by Michael Winkelman, better known as Bipple, as the primary platform for his drops because it allowed anyone to participate via credit card or bank transfer instead of staying strictly on the blockchain.
The launch of the GENESIS NFT series before the actual launch of the strip is interesting from a crypto history perspective, as the setup seems to echo the pre-Initial Coin Offering phenomenon that was the order of the day in 2017. A pre-ICO is an opportunity for investors to participate in a project, using the money raised to create a valuable product, at least in theory. In this sense, the GENESIS NFT deposit was a kind of preliminary design or kickoff for the art project.
Giving young emerging artists access to the NFT scene is important, according to Encode, and PR1MAL explains that some of the NFT funds will go towards an artist fund to support young talent who will have the opportunity to access the NFT scene and receive a fair share of releases under Encode.
We would very much like to offer a scholarship at some point to the Kubert School in Dover for one young talent per year, adds PR1MAL, referring to the comics school in New Jersey.
Wondering what’s really behind the design of our masks? Is that a Guy Fawkes mask? You can read all the answers here: https://t.co/sNRixgYSoT.
Come see @LuchoPoletti #NFTart #comics#NFTcommunity#NFTcollector#cryptoart #bitcoin pic.twitter.com/sAJGDWzqmD
– ENCODE Graphics (@ENCODE_Graphics) 30. March 2021
Visualising the future
Physical comics are of course part of it, but with a modern twist. Some next-generation physical strips will incorporate NFC technology with ETH and NFT key pairs that will tie into Web 3.0. NFC refers to short-range communication devices used in applications such as smart payment cards. The covers of each comic will also be available as NFT.
According to PR1MAL, ENCODE Graphics also has the specific goal of bridging the gap between physical work and the new digital possibilities of blockchain in innovative ways.
The vision to create comics that will define the 21st century. Representation in the 21st century appears to be underpinned by plans to create an exclusive range of 21 founding brands. The chips will be like a 3 year contract. Owners get value for money, digital and analogue: all editions and variants, including the founder’s special variant. Plus potential partial film rights, limited rights for NFT founders, a physical yearbook printed in one year, printing, original art, etc. – mentions PR1MAL among other gimmicks. There is also a card game planned, called CITADELS, featuring characters from 2084.
AVA FROST of 101
With so many projects, however, one has to wonder if two recurring publications in such a short time is not too much of a good thing. Despite the workload, PR1MAL says everything is going according to plan and they are working on issue #2 of both comics.
If ENCODE Graphics is so successful that its tokens become representative of the global cryptocurrency era, the opportunity will be significant. In five years, PR1MAL hopes to have developed 2084 to the point where it can be adapted for cinema. It’s also possible to somehow integrate the script into the real Metaverse, with platforms like Decentraland or Cryptovoxels, to name a few.
PR1MAL concludes: ENCODE guarantees the professionalism of the old editorial staff, but wants to respond to the symbols of CryptoArt and Metaverse with new technologies.
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