Canadian author Blake Northcott launched her second Kickstarter campaign for the novel Assault or Attrition – a sci-fi superhero tale set in a dystopian future, featuring art and character designs by Marvel, DC, and Image Comics artists.
Northcott’s previous novel Arena Mode – which followed the same novel/art book format – is the most-funded project in Kickstarter’s ‘Publishing: Fiction’ category this year (as of October, 2013).
“The storyline, if I were to pitch it to a movie executive, would probably boil down to ‘What if Lex Luthor succeeded in killing Superman?’,” said Northcott, explaining the world and concept of Arena Mode. “In my previous book the main character, Matthew Moxon, enters a no-hold-barred fighting tournament reserved for those with superhuman abilities. Unfortunately for Moxon, his only ability is that he’s a genius. Outsmarting the competition, he narrowly survives and ends up winning, but en route to the finish line he kills the equivalent to this world’s Superman – a flying, nearly-indestructible man who some believe is the Second Coming.”
As one might expect, offing a beloved superhero, and for some a messiah figure, might not sit too well with the faithful. “This book, Assault or Attrition, is a continuation of that storyline several months later. Moxon has all the money he’ll ever need, and he’s an international celebrity – but a religious sect wants him dead, and the movement is growing,” Northcott said.
Regarding the many illustrations, from several top comic book artists, Northcott said “I wanted to blur the line a little between novels and graphic novels. The concept of flipping to the back and seeing character illustrations is something that really excited me. I’d seen similar concepts in children’s and young adult books, but never anything targeting a more mature audience.”
Northcott’s view of the worlds of heroes and villains is informed by several comic authors she feels are among today’s best. There are very human motivations behind actions, and even the most virtuous characters have, in the end, feet of clay. “I’ve always been influenced by Joss Whedon – not just for his characters, which everyone loves, but his gift for continuity and attention to detail. I read a lot of comics as well, and lately I’ve been extremely impressed with Matt Fraction, and I’ve always loved Brian K. Vaughn and Brian Michael Bendis.”
As for one of Northcott’s major influences, she said, “Some people are surprised by this, but the book that made me really want to go for it as a writer is Kick-Ass. Mark Millar thinks outside the box like no one I’ve ever read before.”
Steve McNiven (Guardians of the Galaxy, Civil War, Uncanny Avengers – November 2013)
Dave Johnson (Superman: Red Son, Deadpool, Punisher, 100 Bullets)
Dan Panosian (Spawn, X-Men, John Tiffany)
Mark McKenna (Star Wars: Old Republic, Justice League, Combat Jacks)
John ‘Roc’ Upchurch (Rat Queens, Vescell)
Derek Laufman (World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria, Marvel vs. Capcom)
The Kickstarter Campaign for Assault or Attrition begins today at 9:00 AM. You can find out more at the campaign’s page by clicking here.