LACC 2018: Tom Bilyeu (Impact Theory Comics), In Conversation with Dan Berry (October 2018)

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The second of three interviews I conducted at Los Angeles Comic Con was with the Tom Bilyeu, Co-Owner of Impact Comics about the first issue of a comic book they were showcasing at the con. 

The series titled NEON FUTURE  was created by Steve Aoki, Eisner Award winner Jim Krueger, and Tom Bilyeu and is about a future where all advanced technology has been banned, and a civil war is on the cusp of starting between two groups. One of whom opposes technology, while the other side have integrated technology into their bodies. 

We would once again like to thank Tom Bilyeu for setting some time aside for us, and to Fred Paik of FPPR for arranging the interview. 

The full press release about the comic book series is below. 

FROM THE IMAGINATION OF GRAMMY-NOMINATED CREATOR STEVE AOKI

EISNER AWARD WINNER JIM KRUEGER AND IMPACT THEORY FOUNDER TOM BILYEU

SET 30 YEARS IN THE FUTURE IN AN AMERICA RAVAGED BY MASS UNEMPLOYMENT BROUGHT ON BY AUTOMATION AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THE GOVERNMENT HAS OUTLAWED TECHNOLOGY TURNING BACK THE CLOCK UNDER AUTHORITARIAN RULE

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today two-time Grammy-nominated international producer and DJ Steve Aoki released the trailer to his highly anticipated NEON FUTURE comic book series which features musical elements from the next installment in the album series, Neon Future III.  The futuristic sci-fi series was created by Aoki, Eisner Award winner Jim Krueger (DC Comics “Justice,” Marvel “Earth X,” “X-Men, “The Avengers”) and Impact Theory founder Tom Bilyeu.   The first issue will be released by Impact Theory on October 4th at the 2018 New York Comic Con.

NEON FUTURE is set roughly 30 years in the future in an America that has outlawed advanced technology. A civil war is brewing between the Augmented, an oppressed class of people who have chosen to integrate technology into their bodies, and the Authentic, who have not.  The resistance movement “Neon Future” is led by the mysterious Kita Sovee (a character modeled after Aoki), who strives to bring peace, by showing the world a brighter future in harmony with technology.  “I’m so excited to be part of NEON FUTURE,” said Krueger.  “It has all the elements of a dynamic story, with compelling characters who evolve into true heroes by overcoming suffering.  Working closely with Steve Aoki’s extraordinary imagination our team has built something really special.”  The series is a compelling, character-driven sci-fi story that chronicles the dangers of unchecked power and the limitless nature of human potential.

“My obsession with mixing science and tech all started when I was a kid reading comic books.  It took me on a ride to see how far the imagination can go, seeing ideas crossing the threshold from science fiction to fact,” said Aoki.  “That’s the foundation of Neon Future, where we’re headed as we evolve, our downfalls, our victories and breakthroughs to find a way to survive and thrive through it all.”

NEON FUTURE will be available to pre-order online at http://neonfuturecomic.com/.  Free digital copies will also be made available exclusively for all who sign up for the newsletter. A free physical copy of Issue 1 Cover A (and all other variant covers for purchase) will be available at the Impact Theory Booth #236 at New York Comic Con October 4th-7th. 

The first issue features collectible variant covers designed by creator Jheremy Raapack (“Injustice: Gods Among Us,” “Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight,” and “Hulk Smash.”) and South Korean artist Kim Jung Gi (Marvel “Civil War 2,” Blizzard “Siege of Lordaeron”), known around the world for illustrating by photographic memory.  Supplemental collectible key art created by legendary concept artist Maciej Kuciara (feature films “Ghost in the Shell,” “Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) will also be made available in limited quantities. 

Impact Theory’s primary mission is to tell wildly entertaining stories that focus on themes of empowerment, and bring together some of the most talented creators, writers, and artists in the industry.  “With the team of Aoki and Krueger, we could really explore the genre to build a sci-fi world that hasn’t been seen before,” stated Tom Bilyeu, founder of Impact Theory. “Coming out of the gate we wanted to show what Impact Theory is capable of as a studio.  NEON FUTURE lets us explore relevant themes of culture, technology, and where we’re headed as a species at a much deeper level.”

The comic book is an extension of the overarching visionary world of Neon Future, which strives toward the singularity in a utopian convergence of technology and humanity. Coupled with the release of Aoki’s “Lie to Me” music video and “Be Somebody” single with DJ/producer Nicky Romero ft. Kiiara,  fans see a shining a light into the world of Neon Future, showing Aoki making both a physical and a musical transition approaching the debut of the newest album chapter in the series.

NEON FUTURE SERIES SYNOPSIS

Nearly thirty years from now, in response to a global economic crisis, the U.S. has enacted Article 10, commonly known as “The Return,” which made all advanced technologies illegal.  The Return promised to create jobs by eliminating the technology that had displaced so many workers through automation.  But the lasting result has been an increase in the class divide, blatant bigotry, and a war between the Augmented, who have chosen to integrate technology into their bodies, and the Authentic, who have not. Out of the systematic oppression of the techno-class, a resistance movement known as Neon Future was born.

Led by the mysterious Kita Sovee (inspired by Steve Aoki), they strive to bring peace by showing the world a brighter future in harmony with technology.  When Neon Future brings TV star, Clay Campbell, back from the dead with a rare technology, the uneasy balance between the government and the techno-class is threatened. Clay learns from the elusive rebels about the true nature of his past and his unexpected role in a brewing civil war. From Steve Aoki, and Eisner Award-Winning writer Jim Krueger, comes an innovative and compelling story of the dangers of unchecked power and the limitless nature of human potential. Approved NEON FUTURE artwork for media available here.

ABOUT STEVE AOKI

STEVE AOKI is a 2x Grammy-nominated international producer/DJ and founder of the trendsetting record label, events/lifestyle company and apparel line Dim Mak. Aoki is a tastemaker, entertainer, designer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. In 2012, he started THE AOKI FOUNDATION whose primary goal is supporting organizations in the brain science and research areas. Musically, Aoki is known for his genre-spanning collaborations ranging from BTS to Migos, Linkin Park, Louis Tomlinson (One Direction) and more. His debut artist album was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Electronic/Dance Album category. His follow up albums Neon Future I and Neon Future II were certified Gold. In 2017, Aoki released Kolony (via Dim Mak Records / Ultra Records), which debuted at #1 on the Electronic Album charts and marked his first full turn into rap music. Most recently, Aoki released his singles “Azukita” with Daddy Yankee, Elvis Crespo and Play n Skillz and “Pretender” with AJR and Lil Yachty. With his second Grammy nomination in the Best Music Film category as the subject of the 2016 Netflix Original documentary “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” countless awards, including holding the Guinness Book of Records title for ‘Most Traveled Musician in a Single Calendar Year’ and TV appearances from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner to X Factor (UK), Aoki is a truly a global force.

ABOUT IMPACT THEORY

Impact Theory is a content studio made up of some of the most accomplished and exciting producers, writers, and artists in entertainment.  We believe that stories have the power to change people’s lives in the most profound way possible.  Our goal is to tell stories that are wildly entertaining, but also empower at the same time.  Our stories will inspire you to take action and push yourself to your limits.  No matter what Impact Theory story you read, at the end, win or lose, you will have changed as much as the character.  That’s our mission: that you walk away with the conviction that anything is possible if you’re just willing to pay the price of change.

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