News of the new multimedia prog epic – Croix-Noire – from Mike Batt and friends.
The last time we saw Mike Batt, he was onstage conducting an orchestra with Hawkwind back in 2018 – the chance meeting with Dave Brock leading to the never-less-than-interesting Road To Utopia album. He’s been busy since though…
Here’s the first single from a new multimedia project by Mike Batt, David Quantick, artist Mike Collins, and songwriter Jean-Charles Capelli. Croix-Noire sees these 4 minds creating a narrative spanning an album, comic book series, and video game.
For 2 years, Jean-Charles and Mike have been developing a prog-rock concept album surrounding a depraved neighbourhood in France, whose protector is on a mission of discovery. Originally inspired by Jean-Charles own life, the neo-steam-punk mythos was taken further by writer David Quantick and comics artist Mike Collins in a 7-issue series (first issue available via Shift mag). A meta-level set in the Roblox game is also set to be released in April.
Here’s the video for A Whole New Day:
Spearheaded by huge names in the comic, game and music industries, the dangerous world of Croix-Noire
will take the form of a 140-page graphic novel, a game hosted on the ROBLOX platform, a full-length music
album and a graphic novel which will be released in 7 monthly comic issues. Prior to the August 1st release
of the album Songs from Croix-Noire (on vinyl, CD cassette and digital), each issue of the comic will coincide
with the release of one new track from the album with the first single, A Whole New Day, welcoming the
listener into the moral kaleidoscope of the streets and clubs of Croix-Noire.
A chance 2020 meeting between top singer-songwriter/producer Mike Batt and singer-
songwriter/entrepreneur Jean-Charles Capelli led to a chain reaction in which EMMY-winning writer and
novelist David Quantick, legendary Marvel/DC comic artist Mike Collins (Spiderman, Superman, Dr Who)
and executives from leading online games corporation DUBIT (Disney, Brit Awards) created a dramatically
interlinked world starring hypersensitive, reluctant protagonist Ace Hansel Jr.
“Ace Hansel Jr is a fictitious, B list, capeless superhero,” says Batt. “He lives in and looks after a dark and
dangerous world based on a real French red light district familiar to Jean-Charles.” When the two met, Batt
was struck by the unusual imagery in Capelli’s notebook and the duo used these pages as direct inspiration
for the project.
Capelli – Collins – Batt – Quantick
While writing the songs for what would become the Songs from Croix-Noire’album, and knowing that they
were creating an entire world that had to be strong in character and plot, Batt and Capelli turned to
acclaimed writer David Quantick. Batt says, “we invited David to write a 50 thousand word novella expanding
the mythology and dramatic range of the characters, so the reality and the fantasy would merge as
seamlessly as possible.”
Jean-Charles adds “Every song on the album is either about, or inspired by someone in my life, either just as
they are, or as developed in David’s novel. At the same time, David was feeding off our album ideas to write
the novel. It was a fascinating process”.
To give fans just a taste of the graphic novel before its full release, a flipbook of the first 13 pages is currently
available for £3.99 in the prestigious Shift compilation magazine issue #10. Unusually, Quantick’s prose
novella chapters will also be bound into the printed comics so that readers may compare the two formats.
Ace’s first single, ‘A Whole New Day’ may also be accessed via a QR code contained within the comic.