05/27/16 @ 11:21 pm EST
David F. Walker has brought one of the iconic characters of the seventies back to the spotlight with his first Shaft mini-series for Dynamite. He continues that work with the latest series, Shaft: Imitation of LIfe and we have his writer’s commentary for issue #4 that came out this week. The cover below was done by Matthew Clark and interiors byDietrich Smith.
The first issue of Shaft: Imitation of Life started with a sequence from the original Shaft novel by Ernest Tidyman, and I wanted to make sure that this final issue of the story made some kind of passing reference to where it all started. Hence, the flashback in Panel 3. This actual scene never occurred in the book (or the movie), but I needed a way to explain how Shaft would have so much cash on hand, and it made sense (at least while I was writing it).It’s also important to note that in every issue of Shaft, his first person narration was an integral part of the story. But with this issue, it was very difficult for me. The first draft had no narration, and I struggled with what to have Shaft say, because it just felt like this issue didn’t need him blabbering on an on. But at the same time, the precedent had been set, and not have him narrate would be weird. Some of you may notice that there is less narration in this issue.
The supporting character of Tito didn’t start out as important as he ended up being. In fact, in the original outline, he was only in the first two issues, but as the story grew and evolved, so did the character. I specifically asked Dietrich to draw a Volkswagen Beetle for this scene, because it seems like the least badass car Shaft could be driving. I find it funny, but I don’t know if anyone else will appreciate the humor.
I loved working with Dietrich Smith on this series. He had an incredible way of bringing my scripts to like, but the thing I like best is the way he captured the little details that were very important. On this page, the single most important detail is that Tito is taking the gun from the bag. There is nothing else that the reader absolutely has to know, but they need to know this, and they need to know that Shaft doesn’t know. Dietrich made this one bit of information truly sing.
In the original script, there was only dialog in the giant panel. After seeing Dietrich’s art, I felt that there were missed opportunities on this page, if I left the remaining panels silent. I struggled with what to have the characters say. I knew I wanted Tito talking to himself in Spanish. The problem was that the character is Puerto Rican, and I wanted to make sure that what I had him saying “sounded” right for someone from Puerto Rico, because not all Spanish-speaking languages say things the same way. I think (or hope) that I got it right. If it is wrong, I apologize. As for what Shaft says, I just wanted to play around with the idea that he knows this case was a bad move.
This mini-series has an odd history. Originally, I had written a self-contained Shaft story that was supposed to be some kind of annual, but it never got published. When Dynamite asked for a second story-arc, I decided to use material from that other script, and combine it into a second story. Essentially, Shaft: Imitation of Life is a combination of a one-shot style story, that was repurposed and combined with a second story. What we are seeing here is one of the few scenes from that original one-shot that made it into this series completely unaltered. There’s actually a certain amount of symbolism on this page, mostly in the last panel, as it represents Shaft about to enter a very absurd world.
To the best of my knowledge, this was not how porn movies were made in the 1970s. To be honest, I have tried to keep Shaft somewhat grounded in fact, and with this, my tenth issue of the character, I have ventured into a complete and total land of make believe. That’s part of why this series is called Imitation of Life.
If you’ve been reading this story from the start, you know that Shaft was originally hired to find this kid, Mike Prosser. The case involving Mike, and the introduction of Tito, was all part of secondary story that came about when the one-shot story was expanded. The original one-shot story was nothing more than Shaft working as a film consultant. This particular scene was never in that story, because the character of Mike wasn’t in that story. I needed away to bring both of those cases together, and thanks to the sleazy world or porn…here it is.
The character of Lou “Lollipop” Peraino is fictional. In real life, however, there was a mobster name Anthony “Big Tony” Peraino, who was a huge player in the porn industry. Big Tony was part of the Columbo crime family, and he financed the porn film Deep Throat, which changed the world of pornography. In the world of Shaft, Lollipop Peraino is the nephew of Big Tony, which is how he got into porn.
I try to give my artists reference material for when they have to design key characters. I don’t expect them to make the characters look exactly like the reference, but it helps the artist to get an idea of what a character can look like. For Lollipop Peraino, I sent Dietrich photos of several actors, including John Saxon, Jack Palance, and Henry Silva. To me, Peraino looks like a cross between Palance and Silva.
It’s hard to believe that originally, Tito was a throwaway character that only appeared in the first two issues. At some point, I grew attached to him, recognized that he had a lot of potential, and even came to understand that this story is as much about him as it is Shaft.
This scene is wrong on so many levels, and I wrestled with keeping it. I knew it would offend some people. And then I thought, “Well…f*ck ‘em.” I always wanted to take this story someplace outrageous, sleazy, over-the-top, and exploitative. I wanted to evoke the balls-to-the-wall aesthetic of some of the more outrageous grindhouse films of the 1970s, and this is how I decided to do it. I love this page. I love this scene. Dietrich captured it all beautifully.
Of all the things in this issue that I could be worried about, this is the page that concerns me the most. I worry that people will miss the fact that Shaft is reaching for his gun in the bag, and that is not there. Perhaps I should be concerned that we are implying that Shaft is about to anally assaulted with a sausage, but that doesn’t matter to me. I just want people to realize the gun is missing.
I love how Dietrich brought the action to life on this page. As I pointed out, there is much less narration in this issue, and I knew that at some point Shaft would have to start telling his story again. The point of the narration has always been to give the reader insight into Shaft that works either in conjunction with what is on the page or, in some cases, beyond what is on the page.
And here we are essentially where Issue #2 started. This scene is directly from the original one-shot that never got published.
Here we see the two different cases of this story coming together, but also a bit more than just that. Once again, Shaft: Imitation of Life was originally supposed to be a self-contained one-shot. It was the story of Shaft working as a film consultant, and was meant to be absurd, over-the-top, and, quite possibly, a bit offensive. The second storyline, the one that came about when I was asked to write another series, was the missing persons case involving Mike Prosser. That story was about Shaft failing on the case, with someone else finding the person he was looking for. That story went through many changes—especially considering that Mike was originally a teenage girl, and the character of Tito didn’t exist. But things change and stories evolve, and in some cases, two stories come crashing together in more ways than one.
I don’t do much lettering (because I’m not that good at it, and because I don’t have the time). But I love lettering Shaft, because it allows me to play with the dialog (and even the story) up until the very last moment. This page is pretty much as I wrote, except for the second panel. The dialog was slightly different, and when I saw the emotions on the characters’ face as Dietrich had drawn them, I saw a great opportunity to add just a bit more to the story.
I absolutely love what Dietrich did with this page. In the original one-shot story, I never showed how Shaft and Rockman escaped. But when the story expanded, and Tito was brought in, I had to have some kind of action-packed ending. I also love the use of Volkswagen. Much of this story was in response to the announced Shaft film reboot, which was announced last year, and was reported to be comedic in nature. I don’t think Shaft should be done as a comedy. But if it is going to have comedic elements, it should be him killing a warehouse full of pornographers, then jumping out of a window, and landing on the hood of VW. That is comedic gold, my friends.
This is what we call an “expository dump.” You’ve gotta wrap up a story some way. I just wanted to end on a note that held some kind of promise of more adventures with Tito. Honestly, I’d love to write a story just about him.
Here we have not one, but two homages. The first is to the film Midnight Cowboy. The second is to Taxi Driver. In my own twisted mind, this entire story is a bizarre mash-up of Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, starring John Shaft. No one else may see it, but I know that it is there.
This page may or may not be some kind of thinly veiled commentary on the upcoming Shaft film, or it may be some kind of deeper commentary on how film portrays black masculinity, or it just may be the end of the story.
I love this page. I really do. At the same time, I recognize that I used the character of Honee in a way that was lacking in originality or complexity, which is a sign of my shortcomings as a writer. If there is one thing about this story that I look back on with any regret, it’s the fact that I didn’t try harder to make Honee more than just a sex object. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t see these things until after they are done, and then all you can do is work to grow as a writer, so that next time, you don’t do it again. That said, I really love this page.
01/24/23 @ 11:46 am EST
Dynamite's delightful deluge of hotly anticipated Disney comic books continues this March with a reprint of the highly sought after first self-titled Darkwing Duck comic with a special facsimile edition.
Featuring the writing and art of John Blair Moore, alongside inker George Wildman, colorist Carl Gafford, and legendary letterer Gaspar Saladino, this release originally came out in 1991. Disney Darkwing Duck #1 was released as part of the then Disney Comics dedicated publishing outfit that launched in 1990.
Darkwing Duck is the terror that flaps in the night — and he’s working overtime to keep the city of St. Canard safe! But if there’s one thing Drake Mallard wants, it’s to face off against a really big villain. Enter Taurus Bulba, an oversized criminal who’s planning to steal the mysterious weapon called the Ramrod from a heavily armed train. Darkwing has one chance to foil Bulba’s plans — and whether his new pal, Launchpad McQuack, will be a help or a hindrance is anyone’s guess.
Now over 30 years later, fans of all ages can get their hands on this hard to track down comic! Like countless other comics featuring the timeless characters and stories from the Disney library, collectors all around the world are after this beloved series. Dynamite is excited to give the chance for it to make its way into the collections of those who have been searching for years, and young fans who have never experienced the adventures of Drake Mallard before.
Cartoonist John Blair Moore was perhaps best known for his prolific contributions to the Disney library, across both the US Disney Comics line and Danish publisher Egmont which handled the massively popular Disney comics stories across Europe.
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01/10/23 @ 3:13 pm EST
Dynamite is excited to announce another exciting collaboration with cosplayer, host, and writer Ani-Mia! Following a special crowdfunded Vampirella variant cover, and her writing contributions to Bettie Page, Mia is back channeling the She-Devil With a Sword! Red Sonja: Pearls Before Swine is a prestige project featuring the legendary sword and sorcery heroine, available now exclusively on Indiegogo!
"Red Sonja was a wild adventure not only for the character but also for myself as a writer," said Ani-Mia. "After writing Bettie Page, getting the chance to create a story with such a powerful and commanding female lead was honestly empowering. Red Sonja holds nothing back and doesn't care about pleasantries. She's that inner warrior we all have inside, just waiting to burst out and mess some $*&% up."
Red Sonja just wanted to take a breather between her perilous adventures. The Hyrkanian heroine has been up the snow covered mountains, through the wind-swept valleys, across scorched deserts, and felled an endless number of foes of man and beast. Even the hardest working adventurers deserve some rest and recuperation. No chance for that though in the life of Red Sonja!
She discovers a band of soldiers, most dead the rest quickly bleeding out. They tell her of a fabled vicious mermaid that watches over a captivating and valuable pearl. With the promise of gold and glory, Sonja sets out to take on this foe - and this isn't any bright cartoony mermaid! Will she be able to survive this deadly underwater battle? And could there be more to the pearl than its shiny visage lets on?
Mia's writing is complemented by the art of Igor Lima (Pantha), colorist Adriano Augusto, and letterer Carlos M. Mangual. Of ...
12/23/22 @ 8:33 am EST
This Friday, December 23, 2022 at 7PM EST/4PM PST, the Original Art Experience Show hosted by Nick Barrucci will be featuring a diverse range of original comic book artwork for sale and auction, with all proceeds from select pieces going to benefit comic store Fat Jack's Comicrypt of Philadelphia, which is in need of assistance.
Fat Jack's Comicrypt is coming up on nearly 50 years of continuous business, ranking as one of the country's oldest and most celebrated direct market comic book stores. Owner Mike Ferrero grew up reading and collecting comics, buying doubles to keep top condition copies and for trading, which was fortuitous as he began a journey that as a collector he never imagined he would take. Later he was able to start one of the first direct market comic stores in the country when the first brick and mortar location for Fat Jack's opened in 1976 at 20th and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia's historic Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Over its history, Fat Jack's has expanded, moved, and even gotten into distribution for periods, at one time boasting five locations. Today the two storefronts are located in Philadelphia on Sansom Street and in Oaklyn, New Jersey.
A who's who of industry luminaries on and behind the printed page have frequented the store such as Matt Wagner (Batman, Grendel), Bill Willingham (Fables), Michael Avon Oeming (Powers), Shelly Bond (Vertigo, Black Crown), Diana Schutz (Dark Horse), Bob Schreck (DC Comics, Dark Horse), and Dynamite Entertainment and Dynamic Forces owner Nick Barrucci, among others. Many major names have come through the store for signings and events as well.
Fat Jack's can use the help of fans and those in the industry, as the staff have set up a GoFundMe ...
12/20/22 @ 3:56 pm EST
Dynamite is excited to announce the hotly anticipated third and final book in the Red Rising: Sons of Ares graphic novel series from New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown, coming out this March.
A prequel to the smash hit Red Rising novel series, Pierce Brown's graphic novel trilogy comes to an epic finale with Forbidden Song. The Sons of Ares saga is an indispensable cog in the grand machine of Brown's storytelling. Volume three, Forbidden Song, is co-written by Rik Hoskin (Star Wars, Brandon Sanderson's White Sand) and drawn by Kewber Baal (Red Sonja).
On the new volume, writer Pierce Brown shared, “All rebellions mythologize their beginnings. The French stormed the Bastille. The Americans tossed their tea. The Reds of Mars have their very own god of war in Ares. While the first two volumes of the Sons of Ares trilogy explored the genesis and evolution of Fitchner au Barca into the rebel leader who would lead the revolt against the color-coded Society that rules from Mercury to Pluto, the third and final installment in the trilogy focuses on the first great act of rebellion. Finally, the Rising explodes out from the shadows into the light of day."
"That is why I am so excited for fans to return to this series and dive into its third installment. As Fitchner’s actions begin to shake the foundations of his civilization, he’ll come closer to the halls power where fan-favorite heroes and villains will obstruct his path or join his cause. The new volume offers fresh opportunities to explore unseen facets of the Red Rising world while supplying enough twists and turns to make Fitchner and his friends piss their gravity boots. I can’t wait for readers to go along for the ride."
12/01/22 @ 9:33 pm EST
Just when fans thought it was safe to return to the comic shop... the grossest of crossovers continues! Everyone's freaky favorites, Cloudco's Madballs and Topps' Garbage Pail Kids, are back for their next bout to determine the ultimate winner starting February 2023 in Time Again, Slime Again!
The critically-acclaimed creative team from the first series is back for this rematch full of slime, sludge, and worse! Writer Sholly Fisch (Superman, Scooby-Doo) brings his all-ages expertise to these beloved franchises originating in the 1980s and enjoyed by all generations. Interior artist Jason Crosby returns with his celebrated take on these awesome characters.
"We're absolutely upping the ante in the second series — by carrying the feud through time and space!," said writer Sholly Fisch. "Ever wonder what these guys would be like as cavepeople? Or pirates on the high seas? Or 1950s drag racers? Here’s your chance to find out."
Artist Jason Crosby added, "I’ll also be doing my best to add more snot, louder explosions, and an overall irreverence to the proud medium of comic making."
This time around, the chaos simply cannot be confined to a single neighborhood, as the crew traces the entire history of the infamous feud as it oozes across the ages! The first issue jumps all the way back to the dawn of time — chronicling the initial one-upmanship of the Cro-Madballs and Neanderthal Pail Kids.
This is no ordinary comic, and each issue comes packed with stories, puzzles, and activity pages that invite kids to dumpster-dive in and get their hands dirty as they play alongside their favorite creepy characters. Cloudco's Madballs and Topps' Garbage Pail Kids will continue to enthrall readers of all ...
12/01/22 @ 1:52 pm EST
11/17/22 @ 6:42 pm EST
Superstar creator Stjepan Šejic's characters Ally and Lisa from the smash hit mature romance comic book series Sunstone
make their way into the third dimension for the first time, as Šejic and Top Cow team up with Dynamite to offer a stunning statue available to order now on Kickstarter!
For this first ever statue of the central protagonists, it was vital for Stjepan Šejic to be involved in each step along the way as the creative force. He oversaw the overall design, every paint color, each eyelash and strand of hair. The highly detailed piece stands at 11.75 inches total, with two nearly 10 inch tall figures and a 5.25 inch base. Each piece is hand painted.
Few creators are so heralded both within comics and beyond as Stjepan Šejic. From his jaw-dropping artwork on major titles like Harleen
, and Suicide Squad
, to his extensive viral fan art pieces, fans of all types are obsessed with his luscious style that straddles photorealism with genre elements. Yet in addition to all that, Šejic may be most celebrated for his independent creation Sunstone
. The title has been a trailblazer in bringing the mature romance genre to mainstream comics, following a legacy of most of that material existing somewhat "underground." An LGBT romantic comedy story with BDSM elements, Sunstone has been met with incredible sales, critical acclaim, a legion of fans, and spinoffs and titles inspired in its wake.
At the heart of Sunstone stands Ally and Lisa, the fan-favorite couple that started this still running and evolving franchise. Lisa is an aspiring writer with submissive kinks but limited experience exploring them. Ally is a successful programmer with a dominant side. The two cross paths online when Ally discovers Lisa's erotic ...
11/17/22 @ 6:34 pm EST
Dynamite is excited to announce a new collectible trading card series based on the 1980s toy sensation, Boglins® shipping in February for fans!
The famous creatures are exiting the swamp and invading the collections of fans once more with their first-ever official trading cards set. Creator Tim Clarke debuted a line of brand new toys last year, reviving the beloved franchise. Now Dynamite and Clarke are working hand in hand to develop a fun-filled throwback trading cards set to deliver rare artwork, unique photography, and rare chase cards to everyone's Boglins® collection.
Boglins® Trading Cards Series One is an amazing walk down the bog of yesteryear combined with beautiful photography of some of the rarest Boglins® ever seen. This unique series is stuffed with wonderful Boglins® trivia, stories, and secrets from the creators themselves. Packed into this 120 card set are subsets to collect and amazing sights from the Bog that have been buried for decades.
The full set features 120 unique base cards, 9 Foil Card chase cards and 9 Old-Fashioned Card Stock chase cards! A random chase card is guaranteed one in every pack! Plus Box Topper Incentive Cards, one of six special behind the scenes production model cards and one hand-drawn full color sketch card guaranteed in every box! Boglins® fans can now collect trading cards representing their favorite characters and much more from this comprehensive collection of art and design that was taken straight from the Boglins® Studios archives. And some of the pledge levels include limited edition Boglins® toys with collector pins & exclusive trading cards!
Boglins® are a series of toy puppets co-created by Tim Clarke, Maureen Trotto, and Larry Mass and distributed by Mattel starting in 1987 and now available by TriAction Toys. They were released ...
11/17/22 @ 12:14 pm EST
Today videogames are arguably one of the dominant forms of media and art, with the global industry generating nearly $200 billion in sales each year. Younger and older people of all backgrounds are playing games of diverse types and on countless platforms. Videogames have gone through many evolutions to get to this point, and Dynamite Entertainment is proud to present the all-new coffee table book Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1985-2001 to cover one of the most pivotal eras in their story. This hotly anticipated tome is an insightful and indispensable read for gamers of all ages, releasing in February.
Writer and curator Van Burnham has lovingly crafted this 500-plus page tribute to everyone's favorite games and hardware of the time period, with high quality screenshots and photographs joined by research and commentary on the significance of each entry to the industry at large and those gamers who played them. This book follows a previous volume covering the time span of 1971-1984. That era was the initial explosion of the medium, especially in the homes of families with releases from Atari and others. But due to various complicated factors, the industry infamously crashed around 1983. This new release covers the era many today will be most familiar and nostalgic about.
When asked about the inspiration for the book, Burnham said, “After the original Supercade was released, I was asked by readers and game fans when I’d do a sequel and I honestly didn’t feel it was important until now. The next generation of gamers have since come of age, raised in the aftermath of the crash, and over the past two decades they’ve expressed a passion for ...
11/17/22 @ 11:49 am EST
Dynamite Entertainment is working with CGC Comics to arrange for an exclusive Signature Series graded option for the upcoming Darkwing Duck #1 1:250 Retailer Incentive cover signed by writer Amanda Deibert (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Star Wars, DC Super Hero Girls). Retailers are able to order this ultra-rare variant based on orders placed through Final Order Cutoff. This variant features art by George Kambadais (Gargoyles).
Each signed copy of this ultra-limited edition of Disney's Darkwing Duck #1 will ship with a CGC Certificate of Authenticity that allows buyers to have their copies graded and returned with a yellow CGC SIGNATURE SERIES LABEL. Any fees associated with grading remains the responsibility of the customer.
CGC will have an authorized witness at the signing with Deibert, and to further protect the authenticity and security of each signature, advanced measures have been taken so the COA cannot be replicated.
If the retailer or a customer wish you have the book graded, in order to receive a Signature Series grade the following instructions MUST be followed:
Become a CGC member if you are currently not.
Email the Signature Series team that you will be submitting your signed Darkwing Duck #1 1:250 Retailer Incentive with COA to CGC. They will supply you with a simple form to fill out.
Get your copy or copies ready for shipment. IMPORTANT: keep the COA and Darkwing Duck #1 submitted for signing together. The COA MUST be present to receive a CGC Signature Series grade. Don’t forget to add the form from the Signature Series team!
On the outside of your shipping box put the initials A D on all sides.
Ship directly to the Signature Series team’s attention.
ATTN: Signature Series
5501 Communications Parkway
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