There is a Reddit post as of August 2013, in which an alleged time traveler shared a dystopian future caused by the proliferation of Bitcoin in the year 2025. “It looks bleak here, and some of you will have blood on your hands,” the time traveler warned readers, telling them of a world of immense inequality and economic decline. The “former” bitcoin lives in fortified cities, as governments are no longer there due to the difficulty of enforcing taxes.
This is the inspiration of the setting created by ENCODE Graphics, a comic book publisher dedicated to “express the myths of the crypto scene and the metaverse in narrative form.”
Part of the vision is to revive the comics industry, which took a crypto blow last month after DC Comics barred her artists from creating NFTs with DC Comics intellectual property. This means that they cannot hit art with Batman, Wonder Woman or Superman.
Despite this, ENCODE can be seen as the artists from both DC and Marvel join forces with crypto artists around the world to create a new “universe of well-designed characters, which will in turn form the basis for many more sub-projects”. Everything will be based on the concepts of crypto in a style that can be referred to as ‘cryptopunk’. An ENCODE spokesperson tells Magazine:
“The vision to create a comic project that provides a wonderful foundation for cartoonists to create artworks in the spirit of Bitcoin, CryptoArt and our crypto community. This universe, with its beautifully designed characters, offers a potential that goes far beyond the creation of comic literature. “
Who is behind the mask?
ENCODE Graphics is led by an Austrian artist under the pseudonym PR1MAL CYPHER, who started out as an individual artist, but is now better described as the artistic director of his project.
Originally adept at oil painting, he focused on digital CryptoArt with an element of social criticism. He has taken an interdisciplinary approach to combine text with digital art on the SuperRare, MakersPlace and Nifty Gateway platforms, and has also produced a range of silver coins, funded with 0.01 BTC, in a style reminiscent of SATOSH1. Are five-part NFT series “RIOT DAYS” with George Floyd is an example of his socio-political approach.
According to PR1MAL, ENCODE’s goal is to “provide a glimpse into the future – a project that still guarantees the professionalism of the old publishers, but aims to live up to the symbols of CryptoArt and the Metaverse with new technologies.”
While PR1MAL is clear that it does not intend to compete with the big names in the comics world, he says the company is “eager to be a pioneer in the field” by leveraging the “capabilities of blockchain and the digital world in general”. . We will succeed in that. This could certainly introduce a unique advantage in compiling a new generation of crypto-native comic book fans – and collectors.
While the rest of the lineup of writers and visual artists is not yet fully public, it includes a number of notables within the DC and Marvel experience. Some writers include the winner of the Eisner Award Mike Baron; Chuck Dixon, known for Batman and The Punisher; Aaron Lopresti, who has written extensively for both Marvel and DC; like Scott Beatty, who has written encyclopedias based on DC Comics characters, in addition to his work for the publisher.
Comic artists Will Conrad and Mark McKenna are represented on the visual side along with a number of new talents. McKenna is already known in the NFT scene, with released digital artworks at MakersPlace in December 2020. Despite the impressive line-up, there are hints more to come as the project organizer states that “Many of the already involved artists of rank and name remain secret at the moment.”
The aforementioned title of the time traveler, also known as 2084, focuses on the recently returned Satoshi Nakamoto. Here, SATOSH1 explores a “distant dystopian future version of our Earth after the ‘Big Reset,’ where the big corporations and citadels are in power,” said PR1MAL. The ongoing series is intended to be “an epic of CryptoArt” set in a fictional, polarizing future, filled with symbols and figures related to cryptocurrency culture intended as a recurring theme. 2084 expected to remain in production phase until summer 2021.
“At the heart of ENCODE is the publication of stories that contain the symbols and memes of crypto culture on the one hand, but also the vision of the present that will be the reality of the future.”
Another title, METALS, is a graphic black and white anthology consisting of a number of short stories by various artists. Some of these are about crypto, while others are “more socially critical and represent our society in terms of technological developments.” The publication is scheduled for the beginning of June.
METATALES – a comic anthology https://t.co/myelPiqDJR
Curious what our anthology is about #nftcommunity?
– ENCODE Graphics (@ENCODE_graphics) April 10, 2021
The distribution of the comics has not yet been announced, but an NFT drop is being mentioned GENESIS related to 2084 took place on April 17th at Nifty Gateway. The drop of four open edition works with SATOSH1 generated 148 sales, bringing in nearly $ 97,000 for the project.
“The GENESIS drops help us with financing. Artists want to get paid, ”says PR1MAL. A second related drop is scheduled for June 4th.
Owned by the Winklevoss twins, the Nifty Gateway platform was previously chosen as the main platform for Michael Winkelmann better known as Beeple, for its drops because it allowed anyone to participate by credit card or bank transfer, rather than being strictly on-chain.
The launch of the GENESIS NFT series ahead of the actual comic’s launch is interesting from a crypto history perspective, as the setup appears to echo the pre-initial coin offering phenomenon that was common in 2017. Pre-ICOs were opportunities for investors to do participate in a “ground floor” project where the money raised is used, at least in theory, to make a valuable product. In this sense it is GENESIS NFT drop was sort of a pre-offer or kickstarter for the art project.
According to ENCODE, it is helping emerging young artists to access the NFT scene. PR1MAL explains that a portion of the NFT proceeds will go to an ‘artist fund’ to support young talent, gain access to the NFT scene and get fair shares of ENCODE releases. “
“We would love to give a scholarship to the Kubert School in Dover at some point every year for a young talent,” added PR1MAL, referring to a New Jersey school of cartoons.
Are you interested in what is really behind our mask design? Is it a Guy Fawkes mask? All answers can be read here: https: //t.co/sNRixgYSoT
– ENCODE Graphics (@ENCODE_graphics) March 30, 2021
Visualizing the future
Physical comics are part of the picture, of course, but with a modern twist. Some next-generation physical comic books will include “NFCs with ETH key pairs and NFTs” that “harmonize with Web 3.0”. NFCs refer to near-field communication devices used in applications such as tap and go payment cards. The covers of each comic will also be available as NFTs.
According to PR1MAL: “This is also a specific goal of ENCODE Graphics – innovatively building bridges between physical works and the new digital capabilities of the blockchain.”
The vision to create comics representing the 21st century appears to be supported by plans for an exclusive set of 21 founder tokens. “The tokens are like a three-year contract. Holders get a lot for what they pay, digital items and analog items: all numbers and variants, including a special founder variant. Plus partial potential movie rights, limited founder NFTs, a physically printed ‘yearbook’ after a year, prints, original art, and so on, ”PR1MAL lists among other swag. There are also plans for a trading card game called CITADELS featuring characters from 2084.
However, with so many plans, it’s worth wondering if launching two recurring publications in such a short amount of time is too big a bite to chew on. Despite the workload, PR1MAL says that “Everything is on track” and that Issue # 2 of both comics is in progress.
As ENCODE Graphics becoming a success to the point where the characters become representative of the global epic of crypto, the possibilities are quite significant. PR1MAL hopes to expand in five years 2084 “So much so that it would even be ready for a film adaptation.” There is also the potential to somehow integrate the storyline with the actual Metaverse, using platforms such as Decentraland or Cryptovoxels to name a few.
PR1MAL concludes that: “ENCODE guarantees the professionalism of the old publishers, but wants to live up to the symbols of CryptoArt and the Metaverse with new technologies.”