Brian Stelfreeze & Doug Wagner Launch ‘Thomas River’ Kickstarter Campaign

by James Ferguson

Sometimes things line up for a creative team and a comics project that you just have to jump at. Such is the case with Thomas River, a spy thriller from 12-Gauge Comics exploring racial identity and politics through the lens of a white-knuckle blockbuster. That sounds intriguing enough, but the creators seal the deal. It’s written by Doug Wagner, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze, colored by Michelle Poust, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire. The team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the comic’s release.

Thomas River #1 introduces the title character, a construction engineer who also serves as the top spy operative of the United States. The comic flows between River’s past and present to dig into the man’s brutal efficiency and drive while navigating horrendous acts of destruction as his foundations of truth crumble away.

“This book is a taut thriller about exploring perceptions, and how each person’s perceptions of fact cannot only warp their beliefs and build a false set of truths, but how they can influence one’s life,” Stelfreeze says.

“I’ve always been fascinated by how two people can read the same sentence and come away with two separate interpretations,” Wagner elaborates. “Thomas River explores those extremes and how they operate after the United States suffers a devastating terrorist attack—an event that will lead River into a descent of violence and ambiguous ethics.”

“I love Jason Bourne, John Wick, and James Bond, but I wanted a character who reflected my own upbringing and those of anyone who didn’t grow up in international chateaus. I wanted a black super spy who could speak to that American identity,” Stelfreeze added.

The Kickstarter campaign is intended to fund the release of the first issue. Future publishing plans for the rest of the series will be announced at a later date. Rewards for the campaign include digital and physical copies of the comic itself with a number of variant covers. The campaign runs through October 15th, 2020 and is already closing in on its funding goal.

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