'All Systems San Diego' takes a startlingly realistic look at life among the detention camps of a seceded California
Black Mask Studios is bringing political comics to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The studio behind Sam Esmail’s just-announced Mr. Robot comic is also the publisher of Calexit, a comic that envisions life in a near-future America where California has all but seceded from the United States. Black Mask is marking this year’s Comic-Con with a special issue, Calexit: All Systems San Diego, with all profits being donated to the San Diego Rapid Response Network to aid immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region.
All Systems San Diego is written by Matteo Pizzolo and illustrated by Carlos Granda, with colors by Lauren Affe. It takes place in the same universe as the other Calexit comics (there’s even a specific reference to the young rebel Zora) but features all-new characters. The most prominent character in the story is a young girl named Emmie who’s trying to make the most of her life in military-occupied San Diego. When Emmie’s makeshift record store gets seized by government agents who need more facilities to hold detained immigrants (not too different from real-life immigrants being detained at former Walmart stores), she pivots to pirate radio, broadcasting newly outlawed music instead of government-mandated right-wing talk radio. In doing so, she befriends a Homeland Security troop with good taste in music — but wonders if she can convince him to actually rebel against his fascist government masters.
“All Systems San Diego is more about resistance than revolution,” Pizzolo said in a statement. “Calexit’s main ongoing comic is a high-octane war-story, so it was refreshing here to have the opportunity to slow things down and focus on characters who aren’t shooting their way through urban street warfare but instead are peacefully resisting and inspiring their neighbors to stand beside them against tyranny.”
Each episode of Calexit includes a non-fiction interview between Pizzolo and real-life activists and local candidates for political office. For the upcoming third issue, he spoke with organizers from the San Diego branch of Indivisible, who told him the San Diego Rapid Response Network would be a good organization to work with and donate the profits from this secret issue.
Black Mask Studios will be selling copies of Calexit: All Systems San Diego at booth 5536 at Comic-Con this weekend, as well as helping Indivisible activists do voter registration work. For those who can’t make it to the convention, the issue will soon be available digitally on Comixology, and can be ordered from Black Mask either directly or through local comic shops.
Check out a preview of All System San Diego below.