'Black Hammer' Spinoff Comic to Launch Timed to LGBTQ Pride Month

Barbalien Cover - Publicity - H 2020
Gabriel Hernández Walta/Dark Horse Comics
'Barbalien: Red Planet,' co-written by property co-creator Jeff Lemire, will tell the origin of the closeted gay hero Mark Markz.

The full origin of the hero of Spiral City will be revealed for the first time in a new five-part miniseries spinning out of the critically acclaimed Black Hammer this summer, The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively reveal. Dark Horse Comics’ upcoming Barbalien: Red Planet will shed new light on the inner life of the former warlord of Mars.

Set during the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, Red Planet sees Mark Markz — a martian shapeshifter who splits his time on Earth between being a superhero and disguising himself as a human cop — struggle with his closeted sexuality and his growing relationship with Miguel, an activist who makes him question his own actions. To make matters more complicated, as all of this is unfolding, Markz is being hunted by an old enemy from Mars who’s determined to bring him back to the red planet, dead or alive.

The series will be co-written by Black Hammer co-creator Jeff Lemire and writer Tate Brombal (The God of Roadside Memorials), with art from Gabriel Hernández Walta (The Vision, Magneto).

Barbalien: Red Planet is the latest in Dark Horse's Black Hammer releases, expanding the superhero property created by Lemire and Dean Ormston for the 2016 series of the same name, and follows the announcement of Colonel Weird: Cosmagog, a four-part series launching in April. Beyond Dark Horse's multiple comic projects, Black Hammer is currently being developed as a trans media franchise by Legendary Entertainment.

The release of the first issue of Barbalien: Red Planet is timed to LGBTQ Pride month, and will debut in stores and digitally June 24. Check out Walta’s cover below.