The Story …
It is April in the year 1775. War is only weeks away – maybe even days. The British know it and so do the members of the newly formed colonial Continental Congress. Only through the use of a vast network of spies can either side hope to keep one step ahead of the other. Nowhere is this struggle more intense than in New York City, the bustling headquarters for all of Britain’s activities in the colonies. Like Berlin during the height of the Cold War, New York is a city of pivotal importance. It is a place where colonists and those loyal to the crown are equally represented and an uneasy tension fills the air.
In the last several weeks, the British have become desperate to maintain their control over the colonies and have secretly enlisted the services of a powerful and mysterious group of individuals who call themselves ‘The League.’ Unbeknownst to the British, the League is a maniacal and treacherous organization whose members possess dangerous supernatural powers that threaten to bring chaos to the land and ultimately destroy the colonies themselves.
Nathaniel Finch is a budding scientist, a successful business man, and the editor of a weekly newspaper in New York City. An exceptionally intelligent and hard working man, Nathaniel could easily have found himself to be one of the most influential men in the Colonies, knee deep in politics, along side men like Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin. But as much as Nathaniel might be tempted to lead what some would call an ‘ordinary life’, he has a different set of priorities. Perhaps better than anyone, he knows that there are things in this world – mysterious, unexplainable, deadly things – that represent more of a threat to life and liberty than taxation without representation.
To combat these threats and to keep those around him safe, Nathaniel Finch has become the masked spy known as The Black Coat. Even as a revolutionary war is burgeoning around him, The Black Coat, assisted by a network of agents, fights another kind of war – a war unseen by most men. His determination, skill, and wits are his only defenses against ancient curses, mythical creatures, and enchanted science.
The Black Coat faces his greatest challenge in the form of The League. All of his intelligence, all of his strength, all of his courage will be put to the test in a battle for the survival of not just him and his men, but for a new nation!
“A Call to Arms”:
In the First Series…
The Black Coat faces off against a brilliant scientist and maniacal killer known as The Butcher who has been murdering helpless women and targeting agents of the Black Coat’s spy network – The Knights of Liberty. As he tries to put a stop to this unstoppable and seemingly unkillable killer, the Black Coat begins to discover that these murders are just the beginning of a much larger plot against the Colonies – and there’s more at stake than the lives of a few innocent women. The future of a new nation may be hanging in the balance!
The Cast :
The Black Coat/ Nathaniel Finch – The resourceful leader of a network of spies for the Continental Congress. Nathaniel Finch is a respected business man and the editor of a weekly newspaper in New York City. As the Black Coat, he takes on the assignments that are too dangerous for other agents. To aid in his work, he has created a vast array of tools, weapons, and gadgets that give him the edge in most situations. More often than not, however, the Black Coat relies primarily on his wits, luck, and skill with a sword to get him home in one piece. The Black Coat is incredibly brilliant and is ahead of his time in many ways although his natural curiosity and self assuredness can often lead him to make hasty decisions.
Ursula Morgan – Ursula is the Black Coat’s second in command. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the Knights of Liberty (the Black Coat’s Spy Network). She is a headstrong woman that often finds it necessary to get her hands dirty in the fight against the British. Her husband, Josiah, is on assignment in Europe, but has not been heard from in some time. While she continues to work for the cause of Liberty at home, Ursula and the Nathaniel share a special but difficult relationship as they support each other through the many trials they face.
Ben Franklin – A friend of Nathaniel’s and the Continental Congress’ Ambassador to England at the beginning of the war. He and Nathaniel share many common interests in the sciences and frequently swap theories and ideas.
The Knights of Liberty (The Black Coat’s Agents) – Colonial supporters, men and women that volunteer their services in gathering information on the British and their movements. Most of them are common citizens around town that have access to the British military and its officers in some way. The nature of the business means that not all of the agents can be trusted and there is always the threat of a potential double agent in their midst. Despite the risks, the Black Coat finds most of the agents to be trustworthy and an invaluable resource in his battle against The League.
Lt. General Savidge – General Gage , Governor of New York City and commander over all British military in North America, has returned to England and left Lt. General Savidge in charge. Savidge is a reasonable man, but took a chance out of desperation and called upon The League to help get the colonies back under control. Feeling a bit like Pandora, he made a decision he is already beginning to regret.
Constable Griffin – A typical British lower officer who deals with much of the everyday conflict that goes on in the streets of New York. He is a simple man and is a sympathetic character in many ways, but he is also arrogant and close-minded. He will not hesitate to follow orders, and though he tries to maintain peace in the city, he doesn’t like having to feel subservient to those he considers to be traitors to the crown.
Captain Blithe – Captain of the pirate ship ‘The Graveyard’. Blithe is a ruthless pirate but works as a privateer for the English under the direction of Lt. General Savidge. He and his crew are often called in to do the crown’s dirty work on the open seas. Captain Blithe loves money, and will side with the British as long as they provide it for him.
The Mummy – The Leader of the League. He hides a mysterious past and since his entire body underneath his clothes is wrapped in bandages, it’s almost impossible to tell his age. The Mummy is a quiet leader but has great power that inspires fear in The League’s other members. None of them really know the limits of his power and he uses that uncertainty, combined with their fear, to control them.
The Butcher – A.K.A. Wilhelm Krauss. A German scientist obsessed with the field of reanimation. When it was discovered that he was killing innocent townspeople in order to have fresh test subjects for his experiments, he was sentenced to hang for his crimes. Before the execution, Wilhelm convinced his brother Fredrick to use his reanimation techniques on his body after he was dead. The experiment was a horrifying success bringing Wilhelm back to life but turning him into a monster in the process. A side effect of the technique however is that Wilhelm is now immortal. He needs no food or water or air to breathe, broken bones heal, and severed limbs regenerate.
Fredrick Krauss – Wilhelm’s brother. Fredrick and Wilhelm were forced to leave Germany after Wilhelm’s crimes destroyed their family name. Left with nothing and having been party to his brother’s dark experiments, Fredrick turned to the occult. He is now partnering with his brother in an attempt to win the favor of the League and achieve an elite status within their ranks.
Ben Lichius (Co-Creator/Co-Writer)
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Adam Cogan (Co-Writer)
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Francesco Francavilla (Co-Creator/Artist)
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Dean Kotz (Artist)
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Chris Studabaker (Letterer)
Jeremy Colwell (Inker/Letterer)
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Jim Charalampidis (Colorist)
Euan Mactavish (Colorist)