Z2’s 2016 Slate Reveals Murder Ballads, A Comic Featuring an Original Soundtrack from Dan Auerbach

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Dan Auerbach isn’t one to waste time. The Black Keys frontman only released “Yours Dreamily,” the debut album from new venture The Arcs alongside The Shins’ Richard Swift, last September. And Cage the Elephant’s “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” which features Auerbach’s deft analogue touch, unleashed its svelte twang last month. But later this year, the garage rock deity will join up with publisher Z2 for a joint comic/music project reveling in the vintage tones of the minor pentatonic scale.

Announced by Vulture today, Auerbach and Z2 announced the new upcoming miniseries Murder Ballads, which will also feature an original soundtrack from the blues rock laureate this fall. Written by Gabe Soria with art from Paul Reinwand, Murder Ballads “follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failing record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter, fleeing the wreckage of his business and trying to save his crumbling marriage,” according to Z2. Theodore then trips across Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two sonic harbingers of “doom-laden country blues” who could potentially offer the label head a reversal of fortune.

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Auerbach and Soria, who’s written for Mojo, The Guardian, The Oxford American and Blender, crossed paths back when The Black Keys were touring to concoct the project. Auerbach told The Guardian that the project “was pretty fully formed in Gabe’s mind. The music that he was talking about seemed—well, I could wrap my mind around it. He knew I was really big into northern Mississippi music, so I understood the reference points when he was talking to me about it.”

The record will be released by Nonesuch Records and also feature Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs and the Gories.

Aside from this cross-media gem, Z2’s upcoming three-title lineup expands nicely on the creator-owned foundation it’s built, which has included some genre-crossing books including Ian McGinty’s raucous, manga-tinged Welcome to Showside and Chris Hunt’s inky Euro noir, Carver: A Paris Story.

Here’s the rundown from Z2:

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Hyper Force Neo by Jarrett Williams
April, 2016

HYPER FORCE NEO, from SUPER PRO K.O.! creator Jarrett Williams takes readers along on the adventures of Dean Masters, a 9th grader tasked with leading a group of tech-savvy teens called Hyper Force Neo. Their Mission? Save New Sigma City and their high-school from the sinister, intergalactic vagabonds known as the Dark Edge. With the use of their Hype Suits, Neo Keys, High-tech weaponry, and over-sized Neo Mechs, Dean and his friends just may get the job done. The first issue of HYPER FORCE NEO will be a super-sized 48-pages.

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The Sweetness by Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden
May, 2016

Set in the future, the first collaboration from the husband and wife creative team of Miss Lasko-Gross (HENNI) and Kevin Colden (FISHTOWN) follows two badass female intergalactic smugglers of a mysterious controlled substance who cater to the unique tastes of Alien drug addicts.

Legend by Sam Sattin and Chris Koehler
June, 2016

What if a biological terror agent wiped out most of humanity, and our domesticated animals were left in charge? How would our dogs and cats set about ruling and rebuilding the world? LEGEND is the story of animals uniting to fight mutant creatures and attempting to restore the world their masters destroyed.

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