I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the MINDSET by Zack Kaplan & John J. Pearson Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!
Authors: Zack Kaplan & John J. Pearson (Illustrator)
Pub. Date: June 6, 2023
Publisher: Vault Comics
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads, Books2read
Black Mirror meets The Social Network in the mind-bending, sci-fi technothriller Mindset, where mind control is only an app away. For fans of Dave Eggers’ The Circle and The Every.
The Cult of Control
When an introverted tech geek accidentally discovers mind control, he and his friends do something unexpected – they put the science into a meditation app to help users break their technology addiction. But as their Mindset app achieves a dangerous cult following, lies, conspiracies, and murder come to light. Are they helping people or controlling them?
Free your mind.
Who’s in control?
Collects the entire, smash and super-hot, best-selling 6-issue series!
From in-demand writer Zack Kaplan (ECLIPSE, PORT OF EARTH, THE LOST CITY EXPLORERS, JOIN THE FUTURE, BREAK OUT, METAL SOCIETY, FOREVER FORWARD) and star artist John J. Pearson (2021 Eisner Award winner along with Anand RK for BLUE IN GREEN (Image Comics))
For fans of Black Mirror, Halt and Catch Fire, graphic novel The Department of Truth, and for fans of technothriller writers Dave Eggers (The Circle, The Every), Blake Crouch (Recursion), and Douglas E. Richards (The Enigma Cube), for readers interested in the CIA’s two decade-long MK Ultra mind control experiments, and readers interested in the impact of tech on society.
“This twisty and cynical thriller cleverly situates itself at the intersection of heated debates about social media, tech giants, and social inequality.” — Publishers Weekly
“What an AMAZING, disturbing first issue this was! Every godd*** book @thevaultcomics puts out is a must-read.” — Patton Oswalt (actor, comedian, writer)
“Mind-blowing art. A chilling concept. The perfect technothriller…” —Cavan Scott (New York Times bestselling author: Star Wars: The High Republic)
“Mindset …is an uncompromising and engaging vision. A terrifying look in the dark mirror we all need. 10/10.” — Comics Bookcase
“Fans of The Social Network and tales of corporate espionage will snap this up.” — Publishers Weekly
“For my money, Mindset is one of the best books being published. 10/10” – Big Comic Page
“… a stunning combination of The Graduate and Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade, blending the ethical implications of revolutionary technology with a murder mystery rooted in that same tech. – Comic Watch
“Mindset … is a form of brainwashing itself, drawing one in and leaving one with a desire for more. 10/10” – Comic Watch
“Mindset isn’t your standard psychological thriller. In fact, it turns the entire genre on its head, introducing a wildly fresh take on mind control and the dangers of social media and influencer marketing. ” – ComicBook.com
“Mindset … is a terrific science fiction tale, creepier because it hits so close to home.” – Major Spoilers
“Mindset would’ve been on the list of best series of the year on the strength of its art and premise alone. The theme of cell phone and internet influence over our free will is incredibly important to our modern-day life. But, coupled with the thrilling story of big tech mystery and the multilayered exploration of existential themes, I would argue that Mindset is the very best comic series of the year.” – AIPT
“Mindset is … an imaginative, unrestrained triumph.” – CBR
“One of the most compelling and relevant books on the stands.” – Comics Beat
Q&A with Zack Kaplan (writer/co-creator) & John J. Pearson (artist/co-creator)
List your favorite graphic novels from last year and why you like them.
I absolutely love James Tynion’s work this past year, especially Department of Truth and Nice
House on a Lake. I love the social commentary of Public Domain and I love the film noir of The
Good Asian or That Texas Blood and Scott Snyder’s Clear.
Talk about your favorite (and least favorite!) type of character to create/write about.
I think my favorite type of character to create is the protagonist of Mindset, Ben Sharp, because he is morally conflicted, he’s trying to achieve two objectives that are at odds with each other, and so the protagonist becomes the central crux of the conflict. One minute you are rooting for him to get a chance and win some success, and then when he does, you worry about how he’s handling it and wish he could go back. It creates a lot of drama and suspense. I definitely do not like to write stereotypical one-dimensional villains. Take over the world for power, meh, it’s just not something I like to explore. I like villains to be written like heroes of their own stories, and heroes to be potential villains of their own stories. You don’t know who’s going to pull through.
JOHN J. PEARSON
List your favorite graphic novels or comics from when you were a child and talk about how you see them as an adult.
Return of the Jedi (Marvel) – I was very young when I first read the adaptation of ROTJ by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson, and fell in love with how the story was adapted and drawn. I would spend a long time drawing the pages, especially the Sienkiewicz cover, before I even knew who had worked on it. As an adult, it still holds up excellently, I still flick through it from time to time a pour over the artwork.
2000 AD – I started reading 2000 AD just before prog 900 when I was 10 years old. Before that I grew up reading the Beano, so seeing 2000 AD for the first time was a revelation. This was really a turning point for me and my perception of what comics could be, seeing a lot of weird, violent and sexually charged stories in a wide range of gritty styles still stays with me to this day.
Aliens: Labyrinth – I would go to the local library with my Mum and read a lot of the comics there, which is where I read a lot of the Aliens comics, including Labyrinth by Jim Woodring and Kilian Plunkett. The storytelling and art really hit me as a kid, and stood out as having a little more nuance than some of the other Aliens comics around that same time in the 90’s. Looking back, I think the narrative elements of the covers is something that really stayed with me, they seemed to feed into the comic in a very direct way, which is something I always try to do.
List your favorite graphic novels from last year and why you like them.
The Nice House on the Lake – Superb Horror and gorgeous artwork from James Tynion and Álvaro Martínez Bueno, but also a dwelling on our connections with others in a unique way.
It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth – Zoe Thorogood’s sensational auto-bio, that shifts from heartbreaking to unhinged absurding in a heartbeat.
Reckless: The Ghost in You – Brubaker and Phillips Reckless series manages to hit a lot of my buttons, tying in heaving cinema influences, hard boiled noir and flavours of the horror and occultism, all wrapped up on an effortless art style that hits some interesting emotive notes.
List the graphic novels and/or prose books that you’re looking forward to this year.
Just announced Ram V and Filipe Andrade’s Rare Flavours is currently top of my list.
relatable to an audience, but also have the flexibility to be used to explore the themes of duality and conflict. We went through a lot of iterations before we settled on the character in the book, stripping back and trying to create someone who an audience could potentially see themselves reflected in. On the flipside of that, I’m less interested in working on characters who don’t have the capacity to resonate with an audience on an emotional level, either characters who are not well developed in the writing, play into stereotypes or simply don’t have enough scope of a visual identity to be interesting.
About Zack Kaplan:
Zack Kaplan is a break-out science fiction comic writer and creator of such comics and graphic novels as ECLIPSE, PORT OF EARTH, THE LOST CITY EXPLORERS, JOIN THE FUTURE, BREAK OUT, METAL SOCIETY, FOREVER FORWARD and MINDSET. He has worked with publishers such as Image/Top Cow, Dark Horse, Aftershock, Vault, Humanoids, Scout Comics and DC Comics. His first three series were all optioned for TV adaptation, with PORT OF EARTH currently being developed by Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and Amazon TV Studios. Zack has taught screenwriting and storytelling at the International Academy of Film and TV, located in the Philippines. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub
About John J. Pearson:
John J. Pearson is an Eisner Award-winning artist and illustrator based in Leeds, UK. John has built a reputation as an inimitable talent through his varied portfolio producing work for clients as diverse as Vault Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Z2 Comics, Heavy Metal Magazine, Netflix, WWE, Rue Morgue Magazine, The Ray Harryhausen Foundation, Burning Witches Records, and Arrow Video amongst many others. He is also an award-winning comic book artist, receiving the 2021 Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (Interior Art) alongside collaborator Anand RK, for the work on Blue in Green (Image). John fuses traditional drawing techniques, digital painting, and collage to produce highly-detailed and darkly compelling images across a range of printed media. Combining elements of photorealism, popular culture, abstraction, and psychedelia to create a unique style and versatility in approach that appeals to a wide spectrum of audiences. John has exhibited in the UK and US, organized extensive art experiences across the country, and produced live murals at high profile events both independently and as part of Leeds-based art collectives.
2 winners will receive finished copies of MINDSET, US Only.
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