Scout Comics is Proud to Present…. MINDBENDER!


Writer James Pruett (X-Men Unlimited, Black Mist, Negative Burn) and Italian artist Federico De Luca introduce the psychological thriller MINDBENDER premiering from Scout Comics in May 2017.

SCOUT COMICS: MINDBENDER marks your return to writing comics after a detour into the corporate world. How long’s it been and what brought you back to comics?

JAMES PRUETT: There are a couple of answers to that if I want to be completely honest. The first is probably a bit of sibling envy. I saw how much fun my twin brother, Joe Pruett, was having as the Publisher of Aftershock and the positive response he was getting for his series BLACK EYED KIDS, that it really made me miss the process of writing and my inner creative beast was clawing to get back out after being buried for 15 years. Also, we are very competitive and I couldn’t let him hold this over me, not that he was, it was just understood. It’s a twin thing.

After I left Caliber around 2000 and did some writing for Marvel, I moved to Florida and started a career in Compliance in the Financial Securities industry. I honestly, had neither the time nor the energy to continue writing, but talking to Joe everyday as Aftershock built up and the late Gary Reed telling me that he was starting Caliber Comics back up rejuvenated the creative side of me and, so, here we are.

SCOUT COMICS: What can you tell us about MINDBENDER without giving too much away? What’s it’s basic theme? How would you describe the story to people you meet on the streets?

JAMES PRUETT: You’re seven years old. You unleash the ultimate weapon- your mind. What happens next? Everyone around you dies. You go insane. You awaken 16 years later. The government wants you as a weapon. The world wants you dead. You just want your life back.

Imagine a world where Nuclear energy is no longer the ultimate power. Imagine a world where the mind has more potential destructive capability than any man-made weapon.  Imagine that there are those that want to harness the mind as a weapon that can’t be detected by any devices, any searches, or any man. There would be no defense, no escape and nowhere to run. This is the world of MINDBENDER. 

A few years ago, I would have described MINDBENDER as a cross between UNBREAKABLE and INCEPTION. I think the current association would be that it is a what if LEGION met THE OA.

SCOUT COMICS: I know you’ve told us that this isn’t the “actual” first appearance of this character. Care to elaborate on that?

JAMES PRUETT: Well, it is and it isn’t. I guess I should explain that. I’ve had this initial concept since around 1993 or so when we first came up with the concept for NEGATIVE BURN at Caliber. In fact, it was originally going to be my second series after THE APPARITION. Ironically, the artist I was working with at that time was Matthew Dow Smith. I believe it was going to be his 2nd or 3rd published work. I had a short story written up as a stream of consciousness experiment and Matt was set to draw, but something came up on our schedules and it never was completed. We even had a trading card printed up as a promo piece by Caliber that we were giving away at comic conventions in 1995.  I still have a box of those in my garage. That short story eventually was illustrated by another artist, Andy Bennett, and was published in NEGATIVE BURN #48 by Caliber with an ad in the issue announcing STRAIT JACKET, which is what I was calling the concept at that time, coming in 1997. Well, that never happened either as my time was taken up as the Managing Editor of Caliber Comics and writing another series called BLACK MIST that became Caliber’s biggest selling title in 1998.

Which brings us here, 20 years after the initial preview of what is now MINDBENDER. Of course, the story has changed dramatically since that initial story, but the main character and the supporting character Mr. Balloon were initially created in that short story. It’s fun to go back and look at it now to see how far the concept has come since then.

SCOUT COMICS: You have a lot of contacts from your time at Caliber and I noticed that you are calling on some of them to help with the covers for MINDBENDER. Who is involved in the variant covers and do you have pictures of them that are helping you get their help in launching MINDBENDER?

JAMES PRUETT: Nope, no pictures, just great friends. As you know as a smaller publisher it is sometimes difficult to be seen and heard, so I thought to myself “why not get some of your friends from your Caliber days who have gone on to become much bigger stars than myself to help me promote MINDBENDER and get it noticed.” So, my first thought was to contact Matthew Dow Smith, because he was the first artist to work on my initial concept, and he said “yes” and he did a variant cover for MINDBENDER 1. After that Phillip Hester agreed to do the retailer variant edition of issue 1 and my old KAOS MOON and current collaborator, David Boller, gave me the cover that we used on the ComicsPRO preview edition that was presented at their annual conference a couple of weeks ago.  For future issues, I’ve lined up Francesco Francavilla for the retailer incentive cover for issue 2 and today we just got a commitment from Andrea Di Vito to do a cover for issue 3, though I can’t take credit for that one as the artist, Federico De Luca, arranged that one. It’s going to be a great trip!

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