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Dynamite Teams Alex Ross & Chris Roberson for ‘Masks’ Pulp Crossover Event [SDCC]

In one of the first major announcements to come out of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Dynamite Entertainment has confirmed Masks, a new mini-series that not only sees the first team-up of classic pulp heroes like the Shadow, the Spider and the Green Hornet, but also sees Alex Ross’ first full interior work on a comic in years. The book is written by Chris Roberson (MonkeyBrain Comics, iZombie).Although he’s contributed pages to other Dynamite projects like Project Superpowers and Kirby: Genesis in recent years, Ross — who made his name with the photo-realistic work on classic projects like Marvels and Kingdom Come in the 1990s — hasn’t handled the art chores for an entire comic since 2009′s Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Superman, and even then, he wasn’t providing fully-painted art as he does in the first issue of Masks. In fact, his last solo painted project was JLA: Liberty and Justice, way back in 2003. What brought him back, he explained in a statement, is the chance to be part of history:

For years now, Dynamite Entertainment and I have desired to unite all of the varied pulp characters they’ve been publishing into one big crossover event. When the Green Hornet and Kato paved the way for a successful relaunch of the original masked duo characters, we knew that the grand prize of revivals should then be the ultimate original, the Shadow. Now, to be able for the first time in history to have these legends meet, along with fellow mysterymen; The Spider, Zorro, Black Bat, and others, makes this project a unique accomplishment. I always thought that illustrating the first hero archetypes like The Shadow would be a milestone in my career. I’m thrilled to touch upon the legends that began the very concept of the superhero in Masks with a crossover that is literally the longest overdue.

The series takes place in the late 1930s, as the newly-established Justice Party sweeps into political power in New York and quickly establishes a corrupt police state. With the authorities out for their own reward, it falls to costumed vigilantes to defend the powerless… and maybe make a change for the better in the way things are done, as well.

Masks not only brings together characters who have their own Dynamite series like Zorro, the Green Hornet, the Shadow and the Spider, but — as Ross hinted at above — other pulp heroes from the same era, including the Black Bat, Miss Fury and more. The man responsible for writing all of this? None other than MonkeyBrain Comics’ Chris Roberson, who calls the series “the comic I’ve wanted to write since I first discovered the pulp heroes in the 1970s.”

“When we were exploring writers, I emailed Chris and we spent a couple of emails back and forth and in that short span, he laid out a basic framework that was pitch-perfect for what we were looking for,” Dynamite Editor Joe Rybandt said in a press release, explaining what made Roberson the right fit for the project. “Alex had initially laid out a character list and high concept, but Chris added the flesh to the bonesand we’ve got something really cool coming together here.”

Masks launches later this year from Dynamite.

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