CONCRETE PARK IS RETURNING WITH A NEW SUPERHERO, AND HIS NAME IS KURTZBERG

13 Jul Kurtzberg's fisrt appearance in Concrete Park Vol.2 Chapter 2

JULY 14, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Concrete Park Is Returning With A New Superhero, And His Name Is Kurtzberg

Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander are bringing Concrete Park back to Dark Horse Presents, and this time, their award-winning graphic novel series features an immortal hero with a very familiar-sounding name.

San Diego, CA – July 10, 2015 –

Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear today announced their new, multipart story arc for Concrete Park, their sci-fi graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics.  To be called “The Legend of Kurtzberg”, the story will feature an immortal Jewish hero who shares a name with The King of Comics, Jack Kirby (real name, Jacob Kurtzberg). The story will be serialized in Dark Horse Presents, the Eisner Award-winning anthology where Concrete Park got its start. Dark Horse Presents is edited by Dark Horse Founder and Publisher Mike Richardson.

The overtones and echoes of both comics history and Jewish mysticism are striking. In Concrete Park’s fictional “Scare City”, the mysterious “Kurtzberg” functions as something of a otherworldly savior, but is also a potentially evil, almost Dybbuk-like figure. Like a Dybbuk, he is a dislocated spirit of a dead person made flesh. Puryear and Alexander named him in honor of Kirby, comics’ greatest creator, but say that until they developed the immortality angle, the character was almost doomed to be a one-shot.

“Kurtzberg first appeared in Chapter 2 of Concrete Park, Volume 2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T” says Puryear. “We had a gate our hero had to pass. It was just an opening in a wall. The real gate was the opening’s guardian, a giant of a man. I was lucky enough to meet Jack Kirby when I was a kid, and his work inspired me. For us as new comics creators, Kirby’s massive work and enormous influence stood athwart our path as something to be dealt with. As the old gospel song says: ‘So high, you can’t get over it, so low, you can’t get under it, so wide, you can’t get around it, you must come in at the door’. That’s Kirby for us.”

“So we called this human gate of ours, this huge guy you have to deal with, ‘Kurtzberg’” Alexander continues, “and he’s famous all over Scare City as ‘The Kurtzberg Gate. Then we killed him off at the end of Chapter 2, or almost did, until we thought better of it! He was such a great character, we couldn’t kill him off. We left it just vague enough so that we could later claim ‘actually he’s not dead, he just looked that way, he’s um, immortal, yeah, that’s the ticket.”

Once the “immortality bit”, as Kirby would have called it, fell into place, the character snapped into focus, and demanded his own story arc.

Puryear says “He’s immortal, he’s damn near indestructible, why? What happened to him? It makes for a character with a great duality. He may be helping people, today, but there’s this dark, possessed side of him that’s always there. We’re going to have so much fun exploring that duality. I can only hope Jack Kirby would approve.”

The Legend of Kurtzberg” will be serialized monthly in Dark Horse Presents.

Kurtzberg's fisrt appearance in Concrete Park Vol.2 Chapter 2

Kurtzberg’s fisrt appearance in Concrete Park Vol.2 Chapter 2

About Concrete Park
Set in a disturbing near-future, Concrete Park is a gritty science-fiction epic that deals with issues of race, poverty and exile. Concrete Park has garnered critical and fan acclaim for bringing color and controversy to sci-fi. The ongoing series was co-created by actress Erika Alexander (Living Single, DejaVu, Elsa & Fred) and her husband, the screenwriter Tony Puryear (Eraser, Fahrenheit 451) and her brother, writer Robert Alexander. It is published by Dark Horse Comics.

The Berkeley Graduate called Concrete Park “Brilliant” for its epic scale and its sweeping, multi-ethnic cast. Concrete Park first appeared in the Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse Presents, edited by Dark Horse Comics founder and Publisher Mike Richardson, from 2012 to 2013. It was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013 and appeared in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book of that name. Concrete Park appeared in its own monthly Dark Horse series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T in 2014 and 2015. A hardcover collection Concrete Park Vol.1: You Send Me, was published by Dark Horse Books in October, 2014. The series’ second hardcover collection, Concrete Park Vol.2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, was released in May, 2015.

Concrete Park tells a dark and provocative near-future story that takes place in a turbulent city on a distant, desert planet (think Cairo or Rio in space). Young human exiles from Earth must fight to make a new world there. They are “young, violent and ten billion miles from home”. Amid the struggle to survive this harsh urban environment there is also hope and beauty. Erika Alexander co-writes and Puryear co-writes and draws, inks and colors the book.

Concrete Park creators Puryear and Alexander travel constantly to speak and teach about comics and graphic novels, and they are becoming known for their ongoing “Concrete Park Earth Tour”, where they combine real-world appearances with radio, podcasts and video to spread their gospel of a colorful future. Past stops on the tour, which began in 2012, have included a now-legendary radio appearance in Karachi, Pakistan, and a whirlwind tour in which they spoke at every high school and university in the Central American country of Belize at the invitation of that country’s government. In their most recent appearance, they were invited to speak at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center.

About Erika Alexander

Erika Alexander is a television trailblazer and a comics maverick. Bill Cosby created the role of “Cousin Pam” for her on The Cosby Show.  She starred for five years as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw”in the hit series Living Single, winning two NAACP Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy.  She recurs on the ABC Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing as Carol Larrabee, “the black Sarah Palin”.

She recently co-starred in the film Elsa And Fred with Academy Award-winning actors Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, directed by Michael Radford. Erika is the co-creator and co-writer of the critically acclaimed, Best American Comic 2013, graphic novel Concrete Park, published by Dark Horse Comics. www.concretepark.com. @Concretepark.

Erika is married to screenwriter and comic book illustrator Tony Puryear. She’s recently added ‘online star” to her resume as the writer/producer of the hit New York Times-recommended, original, online comedy series, The BFF Chronicles with Erika Alexander and Kim Coles.

About Tony Puryear

Tony Puryear is a screenwriter, an artist and designer, and the co-creator of the Dark Horse Comics graphic novel seriesConcrete Park.

Tony grew up in New York City, attended The Bronx High School of Science and majored in Art at Brown University. He worked in advertising at J. Walter Thompson, NY under its then-creative director, the novelist James Patterson. Tony directed hip-hop videos for such legendary acts as EMPD, K-Solo and LL Cool J.

In 1996, Tony became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million-dollar summer blockbuster with his script for the Arnold Schwarznegger film Eraser. The film went on to gross nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. Tony has written sci-fi and action scripts for A-listers Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith.

He was honored as a designer when his 2008 presidential campaign poster for Hillary Clinton was added to the collection of The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

With his wife, the actress Erika Alexander, Tony co-writes and draws Concrete Park. This sci-fi adventure series was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013.

Contact:     Tony Puryear tony@concretepark.com
http://www.concretepark.com
Phone: 310-913-1245

Harvard Discovers New Universe: Concrete Park Creators Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear Take Their World To The Ivies.

7 Apr BlokhedzPanelSmall

April 7, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Harvard Discovers New Universe: Concrete Park Creators Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear Take Their World To The Ivies.

With an appearance at Harvard’s prestigious Hutchins Center Friday, April 10th in support of the show “Blokhedz: Music Magic & Mayhem”, Team Concrete Park is taking their “Earth Tour 2015” to college in Cambridge.

Los Angeles, CA – April 7, 2015 –

Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear, creators of the award-winning new sci-fi graphic novel series, Concrete Park, will appear at Harvard University’s Hiphop Archive / Hutchins Center For African & African-American Research Friday, April 10th, as part of the show “Blokhedz: Music Magic & Mayhem”. The show celebrates Blokhedz, the independent graphic novel series created by the Madtwiinz, Mark and Mike Davis. Alexander and Puryear will topline a panel at the show called “Visual Translation: Crafting Sonic, Signifying and Visceral Imaginary In Graphic Novels” along with the Davises.

Concrete Park is published by Dark Horse Comics. Its creators’ appearance at Harvard is a key stop on their “Concrete Park Earth Tour 2015”, a tour that will  take in traditional Comic Cons, as well as high schools, colleges and book fairs.

The show begins with a gallery tour at 5PM, followed by the panel discussion at 6PM. The Hutchins Center is located at 104 Mt. Auburn Street, 3R Cambridge, MA 02138. http://www.hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu. The event is free and open to the public. The gallery show will debut a new Blokhedz animated short as well as featuring the entire Blokhedz animated collection, digital graphic novels, urban vinyl toys and art.

Erika Alexander said “We are so honored and proud to have been asked to participate in this program featuring the groundbreaking Blokheads series and its creators Mike and Mark Davis. That The Hutchins Center at Harvard is recognizing their work combining music, animation, and storytelling in a world of color is a testament to their imaginations and to their vision.”

“Blokhedz is not only ambitious and genre-bending,” said Puryear, “it’s also a lot of fun. Like Hip-Hop itself, it’s not just meant to be admired, it’s meant to be danced to. Seeing the Davis’s work at Harvard is a tremendous validation for comics creators of color like us, and we couldn’t be happier to support and honor them there.”

About Concrete Park
Set in a disturbing near-future, Concrete Park is a gritty science-fiction epic that deals with issues of race, poverty and exile. The ongoing series was co-created by actress Erika Alexander (Living Single, DejaVu, Elsa & Fred) and her husband, the screenwriter Tony Puryear (Eraser, Fahrenheit 451) and her brother, writer Robert Alexander. It is published by Dark Horse Comics.

Concrete Park first appeared in the Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse Presents, edited by Dark Horse Comics founder and Publisher Mike Richardson, from 2012 to 2013. It was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013 and appeared in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book of that name.

Concrete Park appeared in its own monthly Dark Horse series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, in 2014. A hardcover collection Concrete Park Vol.1: You Send Me, was published by Dark Horse Books in October, 2014. The series’ second hardcover collection, Concrete Park Vol.2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, will be released on April 29th 2015.

Concrete Park tells a dark and provocative near-future story that takes place in a turbulent city on a distant, desert planet (think Cairo or Rio in space). Young human exiles from Earth must fight to make a new world there. They are “young, violent and ten billion miles from home”. Amid the struggle to survive this harsh urban environment there is also hope and beauty. Erika Alexander co-writes and Puryear co-writes and draws, inks and colors the book.

About the Concrete Park Earth Tour 2015

The Earth Tour http://www.concretepark.com/EARTH-TOUR/EARTH-TOUR-2015-1.html will take “Team Concrete Park” – co-creators Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear, as well as other special guests – to locations on the planet both real (Harvard, various ComicCons and in-store appearances) and virtual (podcasts, radio stations all over the world, etc.) to promote the release of their upsoming new hardcover collection, Concrete Park Vol2.: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Each stop on the tour will be marked by appearances, signings, panel discussions, swag giveaways (swag is a must) and local promotion. Past stops on the tour, which began in 2012, have included a now-legendary radio appearance in Karachi, Pakistan, and a whirlwind tour of every high school and university in the Central American country of Belize.

About Blokhedz
Blokhedz is an independent graphic novel series created by The Madtwiinz, Mark and Mike Davis. Since the release of Issue #1 in 2004, the 4-book comic series has developed a small but dedicated underground fanbase. It is characterized by a gritty style, and its unflinching look at the harsh realities of inner city life.

In 2009, the creators announced a partnership with Gatorade to create an animated web-series for Blokhedz.[2] You can watch the trailer and webisodes on Gatorade’s Mission G website. Talib Kweli plays the main character, Young Blak. Lauren London plays Essence, Blak’s love interest. Bobbito García plays Eatho, the smart Puerto Rican b baller. Gary Sturgis plays Biskit, the leader of the biker gang, Wild Dawgs. Dorian Harewood plays King Tubby, the Rastafarian store owner technician.

About the Show at Harvard’s Hutchins Center:

Blokhedz; Music, Magic, & Mayhem is an interactive exhibit featuring art, animation, and urban vinyl figures based on the graphic novel. Blokhedz fuses American graffiti with Japanese anime aesthetics and draws from a world that seamlessly blends sci-fi with magic and draws from traditional African, Afro-Latin and African diasporic spritual mysticism, Hiphop and science fiction.

About Erika Alexander

Erika Alexander has the kind of life story that only happens in the movies. The child of two orphans, Erika grew up in the mountains of Arizona. Through an amazing series of “discoveries” by a who’s who of film, theater and television she was propelled into a remarkable career.

Famed producers Merchant and Ivory “discovered” her in a basement theater in Philadelphia and cast her as the lead in My Little Girl. “Discovered” again by theater legend Peter Brook for his epic Royal Shakespeare Company production, The Mahabharata. Public Theater founder Joseph Papp “discovered” Erika and cast her in his last play, The Forbidden City. As if this weren’t enough, TV icon Bill Cosby then “discovered” Erika, and created the role of “Cousin Pam” for her on The Cosby Show. Alexander starred for five years as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw”in the hit series Living Single, winning two NAACP awards for Best Actress in a Comedy.

Erika’s recent film work has been equally distinguished. She co- starred opposite Denzel Washington in the late Tony Scott’s Deja Vu. She also starred in director Steven Soderbergh’s independent feature, Full Frontal with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. She appeared opposite the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in Love, Liza and starred with Benjamin Bratt in La Mission .

On stage, Erika has starred in six plays at New York’s Public Theater, most recently garnering accolades in The Story opposite Tony-winner Phylicia Rashad. The New York Times called her work “a nervy, spot-on performance.” Another highlight was her appearance in the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Erika was a National Surrogate for Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign, and a 2008 William J. Clinton Foundation delegate to Africa. She is an advocate for at-risk youth and for women and girls.

Erika recently recurred on the AMC drama series, Low Winter Sun and she can currently be seen  on the ABC Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing. She stars alongside Oscar-winners Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Marcia Gay Harden in Elsa & Fred, directed by Michael Radford.

She is co-creator and co-writer of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Concrete Park, published by Dark Horse Comics. www.concretepark.com.

She is represented by Jennifer Levine at Untitled Entertainment and     Michael Greene at Greene & Associates.
She is married to Concrete Park co-creator and screenwriter Tony Puryear.

About Tony Puryear

Tony Puryear is a screenwriter, an artist and designer, and the co-creator of the Dark Horse Comics graphic novel series Concrete Park.

Tony grew up in New York City, attended The Bronx High School of Science and majored in Art at Brown University. He worked in advertising at J. Walter Thompson, NY under its then-creative director, the novelist James Patterson. Tony directed hip-hop videos for such legendary acts as EMPD, K-Solo and LL Cool J.

In 1996, Tony became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million-dollar summer blockbuster with his script for the Arnold Schwarznegger film Eraser. The film went on to gross nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. Tony has written sci-fi and action scripts for A-listers Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith.

He was honored as a designer when his 2008 presidential campaign poster for Hillary Clinton was added to the collection of The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

With his wife, the actress Erika Alexander, Tony co-writes and draws Concrete Park. This sci-fi adventure series was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013.

Contact:     Tony Puryear tony@concretepark.com
http://www.concretepark.com  310-913-1245

BlokhedzPanelSmall

Photo of Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander at the 2012 SDCC panel "Dark Horse - Powered By Creators" by Nicole Sixx

Photo of Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander at the 2012 SDCC panel “Dark Horse – Powered By Creators” by Nicole Sixx

Concrete Park co-creator, co-writer and artist, Tony Puryear

Concrete Park co-creator, co-writer and artist, Tony Puryear

Concrete Park co-creator and co-writer, actress Erika Alexander

Concrete Park co-creator and co-writer, actress Erika Alexander

Concrete Park Vol.1 You Send Me

Concrete Park Vol.1 You Send Me

Concrete Park Vol.2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Concrete Park Vol.2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T is in stores April 29, 2015

Team Concrete Park Rocks Harvard April 10th, 2015 as part of their Concrete Park Earth Tour 2015

Team Concrete Park Rocks Harvard April 10th, 2015 as part of their Concrete Park Earth Tour 2015

CONCRETE PARK IMAGE BY TONY PURYEAR SELECTED AS “BEST ART EVER (THIS WEEK)” BY COMICS ALLIANCE

20 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONCRETE PARK IMAGE BY TONY PURYEAR SELECTED AS “BEST ART EVER (THIS WEEK)” BY COMICS ALLIANCE

(March 20, 2015 – Los Angeles, CA) A cover image from Concrete Park Vol.2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T is featured in this week’s Best Art Ever (This Week)” column in Comics Alliance. Drawn by Concrete Park artist and co-creator Tony Puryear, the image features Isaac™ and Luca™, the series’ two leads, locked in a bloody, post-combat embrace.

Isaac™ and Luca™ from Concrete Park™ as featured in Comics Alliance's "Best Art Ever (This Week) 3-20-2015"

“It’s a real honor to be featured in this week’s “Best Art Ever”, Puryear said. “To be included with heavyweights (and friends) like Francesco Francavilla and Afua Richardson, not to mention Dark Horse stablemate Phil Noto and comics legend Walt Simonson is also very humbling.”

Concrete Park is the new graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics. The series is written by actress Erika Alexander, star of Living Single, The Cosby Show and the new #The BFF Chronicles with Erika Alexander and Kim Coles. Puryear handles penciling, inking and coloring chores.

Concrete Park Vol.2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T is the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to the series’ award-winning first volume, which was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013. The new book is in comics shops April 29th, 2015, and is available now for pre-order from Amazon.com.

Puryear and Alexander will be appearing at WonderCon in Anaheim, Friday, April 3rd at 7pm in room 209 on the panel “The Witer’s Journey: Breaking Into Comics and Hollywood Scriptwiting”.

About Tony Puryear

Tony Puryear is a veteran screenwriter best known for the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster, Eraser. He has written films for Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith. His 2008 national campaign poster for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run is in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery. He co-writes (with Erika Alexander) draws and colors Concrete Park.

About Concrete Park

Set in a disturbing near-future, Concrete Park is a gritty science-fiction epic in graphic novel form that deals with issues of race, poverty and exile. The ongoing series was co-created by actress Erika Alexander (Living Single, DejaVu, Elsa & Fred) and her husband, the screenwriter Tony Puryear (Eraser, Fahrenheit 451) and her brother, writer Robert Alexander. It is published by Dark Horse Comics.

Concrete Park first appeared in the Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse Presents, edited by Dark Horse Comics founder and Publisher Mike Richardson, from 2012 to 2013. It was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013 and appeared in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book of that name.

Concrete Park has appeared in its own monthly Dark Horse series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. A hardcover collection Concrete Park: You Send Me, was published by Dark Horse Books in October, 2014. A second hardcover collection, Concrete Park Vol. 2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T will be published in April 2015.

Concrete Park tells a dark and provocative near-future story that takes place in a turbulent city on a distant, desert planet (think Cairo or Rio in space). Young human exiles from Earth must fight to make a new world there. They are “young, violent and ten billion miles from home”. Amid the struggle to survive this harsh urban environment there is also hope and beauty. Erika Alexander co-writes and Puryear co-writes and draws, inks and colors the book.

Contact: Tony Puryear tony@concretepark.com

http://www.concretepark.com

Phone: 310-913-1245

LIVING SINGLE ACTRESSES ERIKA ALEXANDER & KIM COLES ANNOUNCE NEW WEB SERIES, “THE BFF CHRONICLES”

11 Feb

Promotional image for "THE BFF CHRONICLES" WITH ERIKA ALEXANDER and KIM COLES, the new weekly web series featuring the former co-stars of the hit Fox series, "Living Single" .

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

LIVING SINGLE ACTRESSES ERIKA ALEXANDER & KIM COLES ANNOUNCE NEW WEB SERIES, “THE BFF CHRONICLES”

(February 11, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA) Actresses Erika Alexander and Kim Coles, affectionately known as “Maxine Shaw” and “Synclaire James” from FOX’s classic hit sitcom “Living Single,” reunite for a new weekly web series, The BFF Chronicles. The show highlights the duo’s quirky and authentic friendship as BFFs (best friends forever). Directed by Vine comedy director Wes “WuzGood” Armstrong, The BFF Chronicles premieres on YouTube Wednesday, February 11 at 9a PST/12p EST on Kim Coles’ official channel, TheRealKimColes. A new episode will be released every Wednesday at 9a PST/12p EST, with a very special Valentine’s Day episode on Friday, February 13th at 9a PST/12p EST.

Bringing their personalities and wisdom to their fans, The BFF Chronicles will address current events and showcase their hilarious experiences as best friends. Whether it’s love, family, trends or sex, Erika & Kim will give their comedic take on their real-life adventures in Hollywood. A mix of Garfunkel & Oates and Key & Peele, The BFF Chronicles brings a fresh spin to comedy duos.

On Wednesday, February 18th Erika Alexander and Kim Coles will join fans for an interactive Google Hangout at 9:30a PST/12:30p EST. For updates and promotional details on social media, follow: The BFF Chronicles – @BFFChronicles (Twitter), @TheBFFChronicles (Instagram); Erika Alexander – @EAlexTheGreat (Twitter), @ErikaAlexanderTheGreat; Kim Coles – @KimColes (Twitter & Instagram).

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Angela McCrae at BFFChronicles01@gmail.com

ERIKA ALEXANDER is a television trailblazer. Bill Cosby created the role of “Cousin Pam” for her on The Cosby Show. She starred for five years as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw”in the hit series Living Single, winning two NAACP awards for Best Actress in a Comedy. She recurs on the ABC Tim Allen comedy, “Last Man Standing” as Carol Larrabee “the black Sarah Palin”. She recently co-starred in the film “Elsa And Fred” with Academy Award-winning actors Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, directed by Michael Radford. She is the co-creator and co-writer of the critically acclaimed, Best American Comic 2013, graphic novel “Concrete Park”, published by Dark Horse Comics. http://www.concretepark.com. @Concretepark. She is married to screenwriter and comic book illustrator, Tony Puryear.

KIM COLES is best known for her five-season turn as the unforgettable “Synclaire” on FOX’s ground-breaking comedy series, Living Single. She has starred in numerous hit television programs including Frasier, Six Feet Under, In Living Color, One on One and the uproarious TBS comedy series 10 Items Or Less. She added game show host to her resume once again last year as the co-host of “Are You Normal, America?” on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Her new solo piece called “Oh, But Wait… There’s More!” which chronicles the ebb and flow of her Hollywood life has been touring all over the country and was called “riotous & fresh” by backstage.com. With her latest venture, Kim has added speaker to her resume and is taking that same guiding spirit and empowering people, combining comedy and inspiration a transformational program called G.I.F.T.S, designed to inspire you to discover your own true “gifts” so you may share them with the world. http://www.openthegifts.com

Actress And Comics Creator Erika Alexander, Flying High In Two Worlds

6 Nov

November 6th, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Actress And Comics Creator Erika Alexander, Flying High In Two Worlds

With new film Elsa & Fred in theaters Nov. 7, and acclaimed graphic novel series Concrete Park, the Living Single star is hitting career highs and seeing double.

Los Angeles, CA – November 6, 2014 –

“So there’s this planet, see…” Actress Erika Alexander, the star of landmark sitcoms The Cosby Show and Living Single, had a very high-class problem. Working on a script of her own on the New Orleans set of her new film Elsa & Fred, she was trying to explain to her three Academy Award-winning co-stars, Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Marcia Gay Harden, that she had co-created and was writing one of the most ground-breaking and acclaimed new graphic novel series of the last several years, the sci-fi epic Concrete Park from Dark Horse Comics.

“Something for you to act in?” they asked, capital-A Actors and SAG lifers all. “No. Something to own,” she replied.

A fixture on stage, screen and television for more than 20 years, Alexander has, for the past two years, been performing a creative high-wire act, shuttling between two demanding jobs, actress and graphic novel creator. Now the hard work is paying off, in critical kudos and new opportunities in both fields.

The chance to work with screen legends Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, and with Elsa & Fred’s Oscar-nominated Director, Michael Radford (Il Postino)  capped off a year of strong performances in venues as disparate as the edgy and critically-lauded AMC series Low Winter Sun and the hit ABC comedy Last Man Standing with Tim Allen. Critics and festival audiences are already singling her out for her ability to stand toe-to-toe with Elsa & Fred’s veteran scene-stealers. It wasn’t easy, at first.

Alexander says “I’ve been in love with Christopher Plummer my whole life. It took two days for me to get up the courage to look at Christopher Plummer. I think I even proposed to him. Yep. I did. Several times. I’m wearing him down. Shirley loved to give me camera and lighting tips, she also liked to tell me stories about all her leading men. Awesome. Elsa & Fred is a funny love story set in New Orleans, one of the most magical places in the world. It was a passion project for all of us, and Shirley and Christopher make falling in love look easy.”

It was while filming Elsa & Fred that Alexander began finalizing the script for the latest installment of her other passion project, Concrete Park. With the success of its initial 2012-2013 run in the Eisner Award-nominated anthology, Dark Horse Presents, Dark Horse founder and Publisher Mike Richardson had asked Erika and her husband, screenwriter Tony Puryear (Eraser),  who co-writes and draws the series, for more of the sci-fi adventure, a lot more. Richardson’s plan was for a mini-series of comics, beginning in the Fall of 2014, to be collected in a hardcover edition for Spring 2015.

The near simultaneous release of that mini-series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T and a hardcover collection of the Dark Horse Presents material, Concrete Park: You Send Me, heralded Alexander’s arrival as a new voice on the graphic novel scene. With its multi-ethnic cast of characters and its multi-cultural and gender-bending look and feel, Concrete Park was something different in the world of sci-fi comics. Alexander and Puryear appeared at Comic-Cons from San Diego to New York, the word spread and comics shops reported sell-out business on the new series. Suddenly Alexander’s second career was a real going concern, and significantly, as she told her co-stars, it revolved around a property she owns.

Concrete Park is a creator-owned graphic novel series” says Alexander. “From Mike Mignola’s Hellboy to Frank Miller’s Sin City, Mike Richardson and Dark Horse have been pioneers in publishing great properties owned by their creators. We’re proud to be part of that tradition, and glad that our hard work on Concrete Park, and whatever success it may achieve, belong to us.”

The graphic novel seems to be striking a chord with comics buyers. “I am so gratified by the fan response to Concrete Park” Alexander says. “We thought we had something new to say in science fiction, and that people might enjoy the colorful future we’ve envisioned, but when fans tell us the diversity  of our world sticks with them or inspires them, when college professors tell us they’re teaching it in their writing classes, it’s exciting and humbling all at once.”

Asked how she moves between her two creative worlds, Erika says, “vitamins.” As awards-season buzz about her work in Elsa & Fred grows, and as Concrete Park continues to blaze new trails in comics, it looks like she’ll need them.

About Erika Alexander

Erika Alexander has the kind of life story that only happens in the movies. The child of two orphans, Erika grew up in the mountains of Arizona. Through an amazing series of “discoveries” by a who’s who of film, theater and television she was propelled into a remarkable career.

Famed producers Merchant and Ivory “discovered” her in a basement theater in Philadelphia and cast her as the lead in My Little Girl. “Discovered” again by theater legend Peter Brook for his epic Royal Shakespeare Company production, The Mahabharata. Public Theater founder Joseph Papp “discovered” Erika and cast her in his last play, The Forbidden City. As if this weren’t enough, TV icon Bill Cosby then “discovered” Erika, and created the role of “Cousin Pam” for her on The Cosby Show. Alexander starred for five years as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw”in the hit series Living Single, winning two NAACP awards for Best Actress in a Comedy.

Erika’s recent film work has been equally distinguished. She co- starred opposite Denzel Washington in the late Tony Scott’s Deja Vu. She also starred in director Steven Soderbergh’s independent feature, Full Frontal with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. She appeared opposite the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in Love, Liza and starred with Benjamin Bratt in La Mission

On stage, Erika has starred in six plays at New York’s Public Theater, most recently garnering accolades in The Story opposite Tony-winner Phylicia Rashad. The New York Times called her work “a nervy, spot-on performance.” Another highlight was her appearance in the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Erika was a National Surrogate for Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign, and a 2008 William J. Clinton Foundation delegate to Africa. She is an advocate for at-risk youth and for women and girls.

Erika recently recurred on the AMC drama series, Low Winter Sun and she can currently be seen  on the ABC Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing. She stars alongside Oscar-winners Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Marcia Gay Harden in Elsa & Fred, directed by Michael Radford.

She is co-creator and co-writer of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Concrete Park, published by Dark Horse Comics. www.concretepark.com.

She is married to Concrete Park co-creator and screenwriter Tony Puryear.

About Elsa & Fred

Elsa & Fred is a 2014 romantic comedy directed by Academy Award-nominee Michael Radford (Il Postino, 1984) and starring Academy Award-winners Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment, The Apartment), Christopher Plummer (The Sound Of Music, The Last Station, The Insider) and Marcia Gay Harden (Miller’s Crossing, Mystic River). It was adapted by Michael Radford and Anna Pavignano and based on the 2005 Argentinian film Elsa y Fred. It was produced by Cuatro Plus Films, Defiant Pictures, Creative Andina, Rio Negro, Riverside Entertainment Group and Media House Capital. It was released by Millennium Entertainment.

Synopsis: Two people who are at the end of the road discover that it’s never too late to love, After losing his wife, Fred feels disturbed, confused and alone, so his daughter helps move him into a small apartment where he meets Elsa. From that moment on, everything changes. Elsa bursts into Fred’s life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that the time he has left to live – be it more or less – is precious and that he should enjoy it as he pleases.

About Concrete Park

Set in a disturbing near-future, Concrete Park is a gritty science-fiction epic in graphic novel form that deals with issues of race, poverty and exile. The ongoing series was co-created by actress Erika Alexander (Living Single, DejaVu, Elsa & Fred) and her husband, the screenwriter Tony Puryear (Eraser, Fahrenheit 451) and her brother, writer Robert Alexander. It is published by Dark Horse Comics.

Concrete Park first appeared in the Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse Presents, edited by Dark Horse Comics founder and Publisher Mike Richardson, from 2012 to 2013. It was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013 and appeared in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book of that name.

Concrete Park appears in its own monthly Dark Horse series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. A hardcover collection Concrete Park: You Send Me, was published by Dark Horse Books in October, 2014. A second hardcover collection will be published in April 2015.

Concrete Park tells a dark and provocative near-future story that takes place in a turbulent city on a distant, desert planet (think Cairo or Rio in space). Young human exiles from Earth must fight to make a new world there. They are “young, violent and ten billion miles from home”. Amid the struggle to survive this harsh urban environment there is also hope and beauty. Erika Alexander co-writes and Puryear co-writes and draws, inks and colors the book.

Contact: Tony Puryear tony@concretepark.com

http://www.concretepark.com

Phone: 310-913-1245

Erika Alexander and Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine in Elsa & Fred

Erika Alexander and Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine in Elsa & Fred

Erika Alexander and Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer in Elsa & Fred

Erika Alexander and Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer in Elsa & Fred

Erika Alexander and Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine in Elsa & Fred

Erika Alexander and Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine in Elsa & Fred

The hardcover Concrete Park Volume 1: You Send Me by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

The hardcover Concrete Park Volume 1: You Send Me by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

1@144

Concrete Park Vol.2 R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1 by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

Concrete Park Vol. 2 R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2 by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

Concrete Park Vol. 2 R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2 by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

Concrete Park Vol. 2 R-E-S-P-E-C-T #3 by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

Concrete Park Vol. 2 R-E-S-P-E-C-T #3 by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

Concrete Park Returns With New Monthly Mini-Series, Only-In-Print Bonus Stories

21 Jul

July 21st, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Concrete Park Returns With New Monthly Mini-Series, Only-In-Print Bonus Stories

Award-winning graphic novel from Dark Horse is in stores September 3.

Los Angeles, CA – July 21, 2014 – Concrete Park, the critically-acclaimed sci-fi graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics, will return in a five-issue, monthly mini-series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, debuting September 3. The series is drawn and co-written by Tony Puryear (Eraser), and co-written by Erika Alexander, and will be announced by Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson at Comic-Con in San Diego on July 24. In addition to 22 pages of all-new story material, each print issue will carry an exclusive, only-in-print bonus story featuring “Talladega™,” a mysterious new character whose exploits will impact the main drama in unexpected ways.

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T continues and expands the world of the gritty science-fiction epic. Set in a disturbing near-future, it chronicles the adventures of a group of young human exiles on a distant desert planet. The first volume of the story, Concrete Park: You Send Me, was selected as one of The Best American Comics 2013 and appeared in the pages of Dark Horse Presents, the Eisner Award-winning anthology. Concrete Park was created by Puryear, Alexander, and her brother, Robert Alexander.

The five-part bonus story, Talladega in ‘A World of Hurt,’ is unusual in that it follows a fictitious character within the Concrete Park story world. Talladega is the star of a series of movies and videos, watched by everyone in Scare City. She’s a thief, a will-o’-the-wisp  in magnetic boots who rides the skies of the planet Oasis standing, Silver Surfer-style, atop her flying car. Everyone in this rough part of the universe knows Talladega and her bigger-than-life adventures are fake. Everyone is wrong, and as the five-issue R-E-S-P-E-C-T miniseries progresses, Talladega may fly off the screen and into the streets of Scare City.

The bonus story is co-written and drawn by Tony Puryear and co-written by Erika Alexander. Presented in a restrained three-color palette, drawn in a comic-strip style, the bonus story has a different look and feel from Concrete Park’s Technicolor desert hues.

Erika explains the personal appeal of the Talladega character with a reference to her own unique-for-a-comics-creator biography: “As an actress who’s starred on a couple of hit series that are still in re-runs, I know a little something about being a split personality. When the real me walks into a room, she’s preceded by “Cousin Pam” from The Cosby Show, or “Max” from Living Single, as well as all of the expectations fans have for those two characters. I’m always afraid I’m disappointing them. It can be a strange way to live.”

Why a print-only bonus story? Tony Puryear explains:First, we love print, and we fell in love with comics you could hold in your hands, swap with your friends and collect. Second, we love comics shops, and we want retailers to have something special from Concrete Park that you cant’t get anywhere else; you have to come into the store. Third, it’s a chance to play with a different look and feel for our world and to tell story in a different way. Lastly, Talladega is cool, and to build this crazy story in a story is so much fun.”

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T begins its five month run September 3.

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1 Cover

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1 Cover

Image 1: The cover of Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-C-T pages 14-15

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-C-T pages 14-15

Image 2: A spread from Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T Talladega™

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T Talladega™

Image 3: Talladega™, the star of the bonus story

About Concrete Park

Created by screenwriter Tony Puryear (Eraser), actress Erika Alexander (Living Single) and Robert Alexander, Concrete Park was first serialized in the pages of Dark Horse Presents, the Eisner Award-winning anthology. The series was selected as one of The Best American Comics, 2013. A Dark Horse hardcover, Concrete Park Vol. 1: You Send Me will be released October 14.

Concrete Park deals with issues of race, poverty and exile. It tells a dark and provocative story that takes place in a massive city on a distant, desert planet (think Cairo or Rio in space). Young human exiles from Earth must fight to make a new world there. They are “young, violent and ten billion miles from home.” Amid the struggle to survive this harsh urban environment there is also a fight for hope and beauty, that proverbial “rose in Spanish Harlem.”

With its warring factions, its feuds and passions, with its intricate backstory and deeply-elaborated world, Concrete Park has been compared by fans to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but with samba music and cyborgs.

Erika Alexander co-writes and Puryear co-writes and draws, inks and colors the book. Reviews have been glowing:

Technorati says: “Concrete Park should be a stand-alone comic. It’s gorgeous and building in intensity.”

http://technorati.com/entertainment/article/dark-horse-comics-new-release-reviews56/

Inside Pulse calls Concrete Park “fascinating” and adds “I’m appreciating the level of thought and planning on display in this series.” http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/06/the-weekly-round-up-113-with-dhp-planet-of-the-apes-fatale-izombie-sweet-tooth-more/

Comics Bulletin says: Every time I think I know what is going on in Concrete Park, (it) throws me for a loop. I have to read more.” http://www.comicsbulletin.com/main/reviews/advance-review-dark-horse-presents-9

Read About Comics said: “(Puryear’s) art… instantly grabbed my attention. His thick, heavy inks are striking, forming his characters with a great deal of confidence and force. Through his art, you instantly get a feel for this near-future (city); …the swagger of (the) characters and their surroundings just bursts off of the page.” http://www.readaboutcomics.com/2012/01/02/dark-horse-presents-7/

About the Dark Horse Originals imprint

Editor Philip Simon says: “Our goal was to make sure that our more genre-blind, adult-friendly, intellectual, and one-of-a-kind “original vision” projects by artists both renowned and unknown had a special place in the company. It was an idea all of our editors working with eclectic, visionary creators rallied around, and it allowed us to consolidate and showcase a unique and stylish side of Dark Horse.”

Contact: Tony Puryear

tony@concretepark.com
310-913-124
http://www.concretepark.com

or: Jeremy Atkins
Director of Publicity, Dark Horse Comics
jeremya@darkhorse.com
503-905-2315

Concrete Park co-creator, co-writer and artist, Tony Puryear

Concrete Park co-creator, co-writer and artist, Tony Puryear

Concrete Park co-creator and co-writer, actress Erika Alexander

Concrete Park co-creator and co-writer, actress Erika Alexander

Concrete Park co-creator Robert Alexander

Concrete Park co-creator Robert Alexander

Mapping Scare City

7 Jul

Mapping Scare City.

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