Kickin’ it with Michael Sarrao – Unmasked: Signal

by Antonio Garcia

4cr: Hello Michael, and welcome to Kickin’ it with. It’s now time for you to give a small introduction about yourself.

Hey, thank you for the opportunity. I’m a Brooklyn based writer who has been working with artists John Broglia and Anthony Gregori on a series I created titled Unmasked. It’s a superhero story that takes a different approach to the genre; I wanted to take a familiar story and flip it on its ear. We start the series not knowing who any of these masked men and women are and it’s up to our main character Paige to reveal their identities. I like the mystery of it and I find that current superhero books don’t do that too often. I’m also a screenwriter and I’m working on not only a pilot script for Unmasked but also original pilots for other projects I have in genres such as science fiction and horror.

4cr: You’ve decided to run a Kickstarter campaign for Unmasked: Signal, a story that is set to bridge the gap between Volumes 1 and Volume 2 of Unmasked. What more can you tell us about Unmasked itself, and about Unmasked: Signal?

Unmasked is about a young journalist, Paige Cruise, who’s on a mission to unmask superheroes that have gone bad. Supervillains have been ruling the world since the turn of the century. The original heroes are either missing or dead. Paige has always hoped that some of her missing idols would return. Instead she gets the ultra-aggressive legacy group known as the New Age Heroes, and they have no problem killing every supervillain they can find. This horrifies Paige as not only are these people staining the legacies of her missing heroes, she also feels that real heroes can find another way. In volume 1 we follow Paige as she unmasks one of the New Age Heroes but also discovers something shocking about their leader, Dagger II. I don’t want to spoil it for new readers but the story definitely raises some morality issues.

Unmasked Signal bridges Volumes 1 and 2 as we get to explore this world ruled by supervillains a bit more as we only touched upon it in Volume 1. We get to see creepy new villains and witness more of the New Age Heroes’ bloody brand of justice. Then there’s the missing 20th Century Heroes. Paige is trying to send a signal to the men and women she so desperately wants to return. Not to give anything away but people that read Volume 1 know the original heroes are someplace extremely far away! Thus the necessity for this “signal” to go out. Plus Unmasked Signal sets up some very important story beats for Unmasked Volume 2 as well. Things that will help set up the evolution of Paige’s character.

Unmasked Protest

4cr: Is the lower goal for this campaign due to Unmasked: Signal being a smaller, stand-alone book?

Yes, Unmasked Signal is a 32 page one shot unlike the first Kickstarter which was a for a full 96 page graphic novel. However, backers will receive a special 60 page Kickstarter Exclusive edition which will include the 32 page Signal but also include a short origin story titled Unmasked Protest which I wrote with writer Matt Kelly and artwork by Stan Kubica. The rest of the pages will include interview pages featuring our backers giving us their opinion on whether superheroes should kill or not. There will also be a gallery section as well as a thank you page to all of our backers. Signal is a short story but I feel it explores this world ruled by supervillains a bit more and it paves the way for volume 2.

4cr: Have you thought of any stretch goals for the campaign if you end up going well over your main goal?

I definitely have a few ideas for stretch goals and fun rewards that can continue the campaign until its conclusion. As mentioned in the project video, any further funding past our goal will go to finishing Unmasked Volume 2 which John Broglia is currently working on and the further funding will help fund future Unmasked stories. I have quite a few really fun, thought provoking and action packed stories that I want to tell and backers will help make those a reality. Some stretch goals include a complete Unmasked story PDF package where all backers will receive every story written for Unmasked thus far! Plus there are other fun rewards I have in mind but potential backers should visit the kickstarter page for more information.

Unmasked Original Art

4cr: Can people secure some of the original art for this project by backing the Kickstarer campaign?

Original art is available for our more hardcore collectors. The Ultimate Unmasked package includes every reward offered in addition to original artwork pages by Anthony Gregori and John Broglia. John is providing us with an awesome wrap around cover for Signal and we hope to make that original art available to a potential backer. A similar reward like this was offered during our first Kickstarter and someone did pledge.

4cr: Is Volume 1 being considered as a reward for this campaign?

Yes it is and so far it’s been a very popular reward! I wanted to make sure that anyone that had missed the first project wouldn’t miss out on getting their hands on a copy of Volume 1. Unmasked is only available in print via the kickstarters right now and many people are jumping at the chance to get it in print since its only had a limited print run so far.

Unmasked 1

4cr: Thank you for doing this. Do you want to say something else before we go?

Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to get the word out. Unmasked is a great series and has been a passion project of mine for years and I’m glad that it’s gaining momentum, building a fan base and proving that indie creators can put out quality and successful work.

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