CalExit is a comic book now.
"Calexit" -- written by Matteo Pizzolo and illustrated by artist Amancay Nahuelpan -- launched last week with a print run of 25,000 for its first issue. But within 24 hours, the book had sold out at the distribution level and at most major comic book retailers. Publisher Black Mask Studios immediately initiated a second printing.
The series, which includes a total of five issues for Volume 1, follows citizens of California as they struggle to seize power back from an autocratic government. It takes place after America's president signs an executive order to deport all immigrants, and California responded by making itself a sanctuary state.
Though the comic book shares its name with the political movement for California to secede from the union, Pizzolo said they were inspired by Brexit, but if it happened in California.
Specifically, the idea came to him while he was driving past the reservoir in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and noticed that it was completely empty amid California's drought. In the foreground, he spotted kids playing in a meadow.
"It looked shockingly apocalyptic, just these kids playing in front of a completely dried-out reservoir," Pizzolo told CNN while en route to San Diego Comic-Con. "So we've been working on this since before the election, so it's not a direct reaction specifically to the Trump presidency. It's more a reaction to the kind of events that were going on that gave us the era we are in now."
The story centers on Jamil, a 25-year-old courier, and Zora, a 27-year-old leader in the Pacific Coast Sister Cities Resistance, who escape together from a prison camp in Occupied Los Angeles, where martial law has been in place for the past year.
The President in the series is a Trump-like figure.
"It's not supposed to literally be Trump," Pizzolo said. "But we're not hiding from the similarities, clearly. The tough thing is originally, it was just going to be a silhouette of the president, and then when I was writing the voiceover of the president in it, it was fun to write in the cadence of Trump. He just speaks in this bombastic way ... there's no internal editing. It was fun to write."
Pizzolo hopes to encourage people to take more active roles in their local communities. He's using royalties earned from "Calexit" to start a super PAC called Become The Government. The overall goal is to support first-time candidates from non-partisan backgrounds in the 2018 midterm elections.
The end of each issue of "Calexit" will feature non-fiction material about local sustainability and grassroots campaigning for 2018 elections. For example, Pizzolo said, for one issue he interviewed Amanda Weaver, who is part of a group called Reclaim Chicago, which aims to rid local government of corporate interests.
"The message of the series is pretty broad: celebrating the spirit of resistance and people getting over contentiousness to be able to work together," Pizzolo said. "We're hoping that message shines through beyond the story being a timely dystopia."