AMERICAN GOTHIC PRESS SIGNS “NICE” DEAL WITH ECHO LAKE ENTERTAINMENT
The independent comic book publisher of Famous Monsters will adapt Echo Lake’s startling new screenplay by Dagen Walker and Joseph Ettinger into a four issue mini-series.
May 24, 2018 – Los Angeles – The increasingly direct link from comic book to film property has prompted at least one studio to go straight to comic books with their best new story. Echo Lake Entertainment has partnered with American Gothic Press for its new assassin mystery NICE.
Originally penned as a pilot with Rockne S. O’Bannon to showrun and John Terlesky to direct, NICE is about two hipster assassins who begin to realize the organization they kill for is attempting to take over the United States. When the grizzled, gun-slinging female detective hunting them down realizes there is a greater evil at play, they join forces to topple the most powerful syndicate in the world.
The writers are Dagen Walker and Joseph Ettinger. Walker was one of the original contestants on Project Greenlight for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, then went on to write and direct BENEATH for Paramount and other feature films like BROKEN HILL, MURDER IN THE DARK, and ATOMICA for Syfy Films. Ettinger recently worked in editorial on Netflix’s FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE and SANTA CLARITA DIET, as well as Hulu’s SHUT EYE.
American Gothic Press is the publisher of world-building genre series such as KILLBOX, BROKEN MOON, and MONSTER WORLD. They frequently collaborate with screenplay writers as part of their yearly Silver Scream Film and Comic Festival, and they recently published adaptations of the original unaired teleplays for Irwin Allen’s classic show LOST IN SPACE (rebooted by Netflix in April).
“Following the notable success of KILLBOX and its sequel KILLBOX: CHICAGO, it became clear that grim city stories are very much at home at American Gothic,” says Philip Kim, Publisher. “Intense crime noir has the potential to be just as edgy and scary as any horror book.”
“We are thrilled to have a template with American Gothic Press that will allow for further collaborations with our clients. This new relationship will provide another interesting avenue clients to bring their ideas and work to life,” says Amotz Zakai, literary manager at Echo Lake Entertainment.
American Gothic Press and Echo Lake Entertainment Present
Welcome to NICE. We’ve got assassins, bored hipsters, deranged detectives, and the electric glow of an LA smog sunset. The transport is a ’69 GTO and the drinks are upright Manhattans, with a cherry. Blood and death are just part of a normal day, man.
Jose and Kevin, a couple of bar-hopping hipster dudes, are running errands for a massive crime organization in Los Angeles, and they’re a little bit in over their heads. It’s clear they’re not quite at the top of their game when they drive a masked man to his hit point and take off for drinks after five minutes of waiting.
Meanwhile, said masked man’s attempt at a quick break in and snuff job has gone to hell because the target, Detective Hanin, is a slightly psychopathic, drug-addicted ball-buster who’s set a trap. Much blood later, the
asked man is a pulpy corpse, and Hanin has one more clue to unlocking the mystery of NICE.
Jose and Kevin are a kind of unlikely assassin-aiding odd couple. Kevin is an obsessive, bizarre, socially awkward sociopath who tries to pick up Grace, one of NICE’s top assassins, at a bar before understanding that she’s basically his boss. Jose is a down to earth musician wannabe who thinks Kevin’s methods are a bit too unconventional when he botches a clean up job by
blowing the victim’s head off. But something about the way Kevin works is attractive to NICE, because Grace keeps meeting him for coffee, giving him new assignments.
Precinct blood worker Phil catches on to Hanin when he realizes the crime scene with the masked man doesn’t fit her claim of self-defense. After leaking a piece of information that has Hanin slamming him against a bathroom wall in rage, Phil decides to join her in an off-duty crusade to try to find the guys who sent the masked man and what organization they work for.
Hanin is hiding some serious secrets, and not even witnessing people get their heads blown off point blank is going to set her off course. She’s a bit of a beast, hardly human anymore, would rather pass out in an impounded car than do anything the old fashioned way. But nobody escapes NICE – not cops, not innocent old men who lose their heads for talking too much, and certainly not Jose and Kevin, who are not going to make it through their initiation unscathed.
ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Detective Hanin has seen some things. Her mental and physical scars from previous assignments and personal trauma become apparent in the opening panels of the first issue: she’s had a double masectomy, hardly gives a thought to her appearance, and boasts a roundhouse kick strong enough to disarm a top NICE assassin. But she doesn’t stop there: Hanin has a brutal streak in her five miles wide, and before the masked hit man can get a punch or a word in, she’s pounded his face to mush.
Her explanation? Self-defense. The other cops fall for it — but a blood specialist’s curiosity brings him to ask for details. Fascinated, Hanin lets him in on her plans: she’s been researching NICE as an undercover project for years, looking for something… or someone. Hanin’s connection to the organization might be more personal than even she knows, and her past is about to be blown wide open.
Kevin is too cool to have a tragic past. He’s too cool for just about anything, actually, save cigarettes, classic cars, and dive bars; as well as fairly regular, illegal yet extremely lucrative murder assists. It’s easy money and requires no loyalty — only regular transportation and selfprovided
entertainment, usually in the form of trash talking.
Kevin’s only friend in the world is his partner in crime, Jose, and even Jose has a hard time putting up with his bullshit. Does Kevin even have feelings? Does he care about anyone? Grace strikes Kevin’s interest, but she gives him tough love, if any at all, and Kevin’s continuous botching of his assignments — whether it’s driving off too early or getting his car towed — has NICE at the end of their rope. It seems that all they need is an excuse to get rid of him…
Lethal and hard and too smooth for drama, Grace is the shadowcat killer doing a large amount of NICE’s dirty work. She’d just as soon put a gun in your face as look you in the eye, especially if you happen to be in the way of what she considers justified violence. She has little time for Kevin’s attempts at flirting and would rather have him unwittingly pay her bar bill or fish his hit
assignment out of the toilet.
No one understands NICE like Grace does. She truly believes in their mission and carries out mysterious kill orders as earnestly and gracefully as her name indicates. But a secret alliance and unexpected investigation are poised to throw her off course and reveal a truth that even she may not be ready for.
Jose seems chill enough. He does things by the book, doesn’t say more than he has to, and spends a large amount of time babysitting Kevin’s neuroses. He’s the guy who insists you eat the cherry in your drink so it doesn’t go to waste. He’ll take a fall for you, over and over, and not ask for any favors, because that’s just the kind of person he is.
Jose wanted to be a musician, but he’s found himself running errands for NICE instead. He may not understand half of what Kevin does, but he knows he’s invested in whatever this assassin business is — at least moreso than himself. And when the shit hits the fan, he’ll be the one making sure the cards fall in the right place.
NICE ISSUE 1
COVER A (Marc Rene) OCT181357
COVER B (Tula Lotay) OCT181358
(W) Dagen Walker, Joseph Ettinger (A/CA) Marc Rene (CA) Tula Lotay
It’s a nice day for a murder… American Gothic Press’s first series collaboration with Echo Lake Entertainment begins here! Kevin and Jose are twenty-something hipsters crusing through life in a fancy car, drinking at bars and chatting about nothing, except when their mysterious employer sends them on errands that may involve killling people. More often they’re expected to just clean up after the excitement is over. But a deranged cop’s personal investment in the organization they work for is about to change everything.
In Shops: Dec 05, 2018
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
Dagen Walker (Creator/Writer) was one of the original contestants on Project Greenlight for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. He then went on to write and direct BENEATH for Paramount and other feature films like BROKEN HILL, MURDER IN THE DARK, and ATOMICA for Syfy Films. This is his first comic book, adapted from the original pilot script.
Joseph Ettinger (Creator/Writer) is a film editor who recently worked on Netflix’s FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE and SANTA CLARITA DIET, as well as Hulu’s SHUT EYE. This is his first comic book, adapted with Dagen Walker from their original pilot script.
Marc Rene (Artist) is a self-taught artist who began his creative career in animation. His mentors have included Steven T. Seagle and JH Williams III. His most recent work I, HOLMES was published by Alterna Comics.
Dennis Calero (Colorist) is an award-winning writer and artist who helped developed X-MEN: NOIR for Marvel Comics. He has worked on entertainment projects for CBS Films and Weed Road Pictures, as well as famed horror writer Stephen King.
Jenn Pham (Letterer) is a self-taught artist with a degree in digital media and graphic design, specializing in composition, typography, and memes. She is the current Art Director for Famous Monsters of Filmland.
Tula Lotay (Cover Artist) is the pen name of Lisa Wood, a comics artist residing in Yorkshire, England. Her previous work includes SUPREME: BLUE ROSE from Image Comics and BODIES from Vertigo Comics. She also runs the renowned Thought Bubble Festival, the United Kingdom’s largest comic art festival.
David Mack (Cover Artist) is the bestselling author of the KABUKI graphic novels, cover artist for FIGHT CLUB 2 by Chuck Palahniuk, and writer and artist of Daredevil from Marvel Comics. He created artwork for the the opening titles of the JESSICA JONES Netflix TV series, and created the art and concepts for the credit sequence in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.