Meet Niki Tino, title character in The Addiction.
— Vincent Zurzolo
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, October 6, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — A new superhero has emerged, one who can alter her blood chemistry at will and, with a touch, subdue enemies, save strangers and loved ones and fight the evils of addiction everywhere? Her name is Niki Tino… that’s Doctor Niki Tino.
She is the heroine of a new comic book co-created by Vincent Zurzolo, president of Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect, and David Quinn, the comic book writer behind such titles as “Faust” and Marvel’s “Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme.” It’s drawn by Claudia Balboni, the Italian comic book artist and Eisner Award nominee for “Killer Queens” (Dark Horse).
Zurzolo, who knows a few things about pop culture, says, “Niki’s strange powers and character are unique in pop culture. Her mission to use drugs to fight the destruction and pain caused by drugs is heroic in a way we’ve never seen before.”
Besides being smart, sexy and dangerous, she’s also conflicted, in her family background (the adopted daughter of an addicted Italian American mother and Chinese American father) and love (her boyfriend Enzo, to whom she’s reluctant to reveal her full self).
The stories are set in iconic New York City locales and restaurants, along with a cast of evil drug lords and bizarre bad guys who stir in some harrowing flashbacks, creating a tasty Italian-flavored zuppe with enough spice, action and R-rated dialogue to intrigue seasoned comic book readers and newcomers to the genre.
“I think this is going to appeal to a number of people,” Zurzolo says. “People who are into interesting, strange, quirky worlds; female audiences because of the strong positive role model; a broader audience of collectors because of my background in comics and presence in vintage books – and people who haven’t bought a brand new comic book in decades.”
“The Addiction” is more than just a comic book. With Zurzolo’s and Quinn’s connections in the industry, the creators lined up an A-list of contributors and a unique deal with VeVe, the multibillion-dollar digital collectible comic book company. And, for the first time ever, a comic book is being launched in conjunction with a New York restaurant.
VeVe, which produces all the digital editions for DC and Marvel, has chosen “The Addiction” as its first foray into offering an original VeVe variant print comic, along with a digital version.
“We’re working with them to create a digital red cover and digital blue cover, limited to 1,000 copies of each,” Zurzolo says.
Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, a creator of digital comic covers, designed two covers for “The Addiction.” Also participating in the project is artist David Mack, whose character Echo – once a sidekick to Daredevil – is about to have her own series on Disney+. Additional contributors include up-and-coming superstar cover artist Andres Labrada, Eisner Award-winning artist Alitha Martinez, colorist Brad Simpson and letterer Dave Sharpe.
“The Addiction” is also very much of New York City, with scenes set in Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village, and even the corner of Bleecker and Mercer (Enzo’s apartment) and Niki’s condo in the converted Sugar Building at West and Laight. So Quinn anticipates “The Addiction” will have a deep reach into the New York market as well.
“Everyone is addicted to something,” Quinn says, “whether it’s drugs, sugar, food, social media. I want to make a strong point that we are not sensationalizing drug use. We will have ads with 800 numbers for people who are having trouble with drug addiction.”
Food as nourishment and obsession is everywhere in “The Addiction.” Niki must frequently refuel by consuming copious amounts of food. So it made sense to find partners in the food and restaurant industry.”
Grimaldi’s, in the Limelight Marketplace, will feature The Addiction Special Pizza Pie (pepperoni, mushrooms, truffle oil) that comes with a QR code so diners can read part of the comic book and purchase it.
Subsequent issues of the comic will promote MìLà, purveyor of authentic, hand-made frozen Chinese soup dumplings, and Zurzolo’s favorite coffee place in Manhattan, Culture Espresso. He envisions not only product placements, but also possible appearances by Niki Tino herself.
During the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, Zurzolo remembers thinking, how do we know when our number’s up? “And,” he mused, “if I died tomorrow, what is the one thing I would regret never doing?”
The long-time comic book collector and businessman — who’s made million-dollar sales of vintage comic books time and again — had a ready answer: Launch his own comic book, something he dreamed of as a kid from Queens who started collecting comics back when they cost 35 cents.
He and Quinn wrote and drew a comic book in 1997. And there it sat, for 23 years, until the pandemic brought it back to life. Which, when you think about it, is not unlike the hero’s resurrection.
In 2020, Zurzolo got back in touch with Quinn to finish what they had started. Nick Tino, male narcotics cop, became Niki Tino, a doctor and daughter of a heroin addict.
The first three-issue story arc of “The Addiction” will be available at comic book stores and online (TheAddiction.co) starting in November. “If readers enjoy ‘The Addiction’ a fraction of how much we have enjoyed creating it, it will all have been worth it.”
Lekas & Levine PR