In tandem with Comic-Con International: San Diego 2011, IDW Publishing has announced its newest graphic novel title, Baja, written by acclaimed transmedia artist Ben Wagner and illustrated by Nathan St John.

Baja recounts the story of a young couple whose road trip down the remote Baja Peninsula is interrupted by an ominous stranger whose fate is closely tied to their own. The film version of Baja was developed in Film Independent’s selective screenwriters and producers labs and in 2010 made it to the quarterfinals for the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting.

While becoming an accomplished storyteller working in film, television, graphic novels and the interactive online experiences he calls “transmedia art,” Wagner studied film at Northwestern University and received an MBA from UCLA Anderson business school. In his most recent film 6:00, a cop confronts a gang who done her wrong in a non-stop fight through busted alleys, abandoned houses, and in a speeding car—all in one shot. This visually arresting and technical work epitomizes Wagner’s outlook on storytelling: “Good stories should challenge, captivate, and entertain.” The film won Best Action Sequence Short 2010 at Action on Film. Wagner also wrote and directed the feature film Southbounders, which premiered in competition at the 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival and successfully screened at festivals worldwide.

A second upcoming graphic novel Glory Days — written by Wagner and illustrated by Jake Allen (Brownsville, NBM) — draws on raw emotions to tell a story set in a small town in Maine where you can’t escape the transgressions of your past. In addition, Matthew Bradford (Night and Fog) and Wagner partnered to create Hot Tongues From Hell, a genre-bending comedic tribute to the sex comedies and splatter horror movies of the ’80s and ’90s, which will see publication soon.

Wagner (as director) and Bradford (as screenwriter) also collaborated on What Remains, a psychological horror film about a man and woman who have survived six months after a mysterious outbreak by isolating themselves in a remote cabin. Starved for resources, they must confront the horrors that threaten them from outside — and from within. The film just wrapped production and aims to be in theaters early next year.

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