Until a few months ago, very few comic-book enthusiasts had ever heard of Black Alpha; a coming of age tale that splices together ancient mythology, traditional heroes and an oppressive evil force. The comic-book is set within an expansive universe populated with exotic worlds, intriguing creatures, and characters that are, at their core, easy for the reader to identify with.
Black Alpha is Tom Rasch’s Star Wars: a pop culture phenomenon in the making, and despite the first issue of his series having only been on sale for a mere couple of months, it has taken the internet by storm. A plethora of enthusiastic and excited reviews have followed its release and despite being independently distributed, Tom is unable to meet the demands of his fans.
Fans, now dubbed ‘Alphans’, have been so enthralled with the comic-book series that they are buying multiple copies for their friends, requesting specially signed copies, and in many cases taking to social media to celebrate that they are some of the lucky few to own a copy of the comic-book.
A recent and high-profile addition to the Alphans is the astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Aldrin has been on social media himself to share pictures of various pieces of memorabilia and a chance meeting with series creator Tom Rasch.
Black Alpha’s posters, prototype toys and t-shirts have become regular features on the US smash-hit comedy series The Big Bang Theory. Tom’s spaceships, powered suits and comic-book art mingle on the television series sets alongside Tie-Fighters, vintage Star Trek toys and Marvel’s iconic heroes.
Taking note of the series’ growing domination within the comic-book industry, USAToday struck a deal to publish the first issue on their website. Each week, the media giants have progressively revealed new pages. Black Alpha has become so popular on USAToday that it promptly became the second most read article on their website and has since been shared on social-media by thousands of newly engaged fans.
While many parallels can be drawn with the Star Wars franchise, what is notable is that readers of the online publication have been far more interested in Black Alpha. While Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Episode VII continue to be popular on social media, they have only managed to conjure a few hundred shares on USAToday; a mere pittance in comparison to Black Alpha. It is therefore easy to conclude that Black Alpha has become more popular than Star Wars.
In truth, the comic-book has some way to go before it can challenge the likes of Star Trek, Doctor Who or Guardians of the Galaxy. However, movie producers, animation studios and video game companies have taken note of Black Alpha. Viewing the property as a potential franchise and financial juggernaut, there are numerous animation tests and 3D rendered models that have leaked online, further building anticipation and hype for the series.
It’s surreal and exciting to think that in a few years from now, few will remember a world without Black Alpha.