Steve Ellis is one of those artists that you can admire in many ways. The easy way is to just admire his lovely art. Everything he creates has such emotion and passion. A couple of years ago I purchased one of his convention sketchbooks and I was enthralled – his stuff looks great in black and white. During the pandemic, he was doing live drawing sessions online, and it was a treat – and an education – to see his illustrations come to life.
The other way to admire Steve Ellis is through his thoughtfulness and ability to find ‘the next thing’. He’s always evaluating the business landscape and working to find the next opportunities. (I teach entrepreneur classes and that’s always one of the key mindsets we try to imbue into the students’ mindset.)
I was thrilled to find out that Ellis is part of a new project called The Nine. It’s from a forward-thinking group called InterPop. Here’s their official description:
InterPop is a digital comics, gaming, and collectibles company building the next generation of fan experiences. InterPop works with leading creatives, gamers, artists, musicians, and brands to redefine fandom through digital collectibles and experiences. InterPop is the publisher of Emergents, a new comics universe with three original series (Emergents Presents; The Nine; and #ZoeMG), and the creator of a new TCG based on the Emergents universe. InterPop is also the creator of Play with Brio, a skill games platform, and MinterPop, an NFT marketplace. For more information, please visit interpop.io
This is an ambitious group and there’s a lot here. Emergents is a new comics universe from President & Publisher of InterPop, Brian David Marshall and Group Editor, Rachel Gluckstern. Writer Will Pfeifer provides the story. The comic’s cover and interior art is by the aforementioned Steve Ellis. The zero issue will kick off the ongoing series for The Nine and introduce some of the characters in this new shared universe.
And there’s a lot more top talent involved. Artists for variant covers include Amanda Conner, Colleen Doran, David Lapham and Bill Sienkiewicz.
A Creative Launch
The team is trying something new. Again, this is from the press release:
Issue #0 of The Nine, the first NFT comic book in the Emergents universe, will premiere at InterPop Block Party on July 17th and will be available for free to attendees via the InterPop e-reader. All of the ongoing titles will be made available as Free-to-Read comics in the e-reader as they are released and also offered as NFT editions.
True digital ownership of an Emergents comic series issue unlocks new experiences for comics fans. NFT collectors and readers will be able to vote on the future of the Emergents universe on topics ranging from the cosmetic to the cosmic. This means fans may choose which characters live and which ones die — and what costume they are wearing when it happens. It also means that fans can trade or sell their NFT copies of InterPop’s comics just like they can with physical comics.
It’s a fascinating overlap of comics, gaming and crypto currency. Of interest? There’s more info available at Interpop.
Here are some preview pages of the comic: