07/18/15 @ 1:07 pm EST
This is a Writer’s Commentary for Reanimator
#4 by Keith Davidsen
. Here he focuses on the first seven pages of the issue that wraps up the miniseries based on the work ofH.P. Lovecraft
and features the classic character Dr. Herbert West
PAGE 1: SUSAN’S VOICE
Whenever narration appears throughout the REANIMATOR series, it’s always from the point of view of Susan Greene, the young assistant working for Herbert West. It’s an intentional nod to the original source material, H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West – Reanimator,” which is told from the point of view of an unnamed male assistant.Originally, I thought about having Herbert West be the narrator, to really get inside the head of this cold, calculating man… but part of the fun of this series, I think, comes from the fact that no one really knows what the Reanimator’s ends are until the third and fourth issues. If you get inside his head too early, you lose the big reveal that he’s been manipulating everything from Day One.PAGE 1: BONE DADDYSamedi, the Voodoo-practicing hitman who serves as Dice’s lieutenant, is based on Baron Samedi, the skull-faced Loa (spirit) of Haitian Vodou – or, more accurately, the popular perception of the traditional figure.What would eventually become the REANIMATOR series originally began as a brainstorming session at the Dynamite home office. The staff had wanted to get a weekly event series off the ground, and I’d recommended that we’d do a horror-themed crossover in the month of February, coinciding with Mardi Gras. The pitch involved one-shots dedicated to Vampirella, Reanimator, Evil Ernie, and Eva: Daughter of the Dragon, with each of them fighting a different New Orleans-based villain. The supernatural Baron Samedi was going to be one of the key villains, and as the project changed and became more focused as the REANIMATOR series, he changed from Loa himself to a fearsome individual assuming his namesake.Samedi appears for the first time in REANIMATOR #4 wearing the face (and body) paint that’s so closely tied to the traditional Baron Samedi look. He’d had a moment of inspiration in issue #3, when Samedi came across paint at Big Will’s convenience store. War paint is cool, y’know?
PAGE 1: ELDRITCH KREWE VS. GRIS-GRIS BOYZ
I’ve always loved stories where the protagonist is targeted by several different parties, and the climactic battle involves those various parties showing up in the same place and going to war. Intentionally or accidentally, when the protagonist pits his enemies against each other, it’s fun to watch.The Eldritch Krewe is a criminal organization whose name combines something very Lovecraftian with something very Louisianan. “Eldritch” is perhaps one of Lovecraft’s favorite words, referenced so frequently in his stories that it’s either irritating or charming, depending on your appreciation of his work. It simply means “spooky” or “weird”. Meanwhile, a “Krewe” is an organization dedicated to creating a parade, which ties back into my original Mardi Gras-themed crossover pitch.I wanted a drug war to feature in the REANIMATOR series, so I needed to create two sides that were visually and philosophically different. While the Eldrith Krewe was elitist and tied to the Cthulhu cult, the Gris-Gris Boyz were more street-level, with Haitain ties. “Gris-Gris” is a reference to the type of charms or amulets used in traditions of Vodou and African religion. I wanted this gang to feel more like those that currently operate in the United States, so giving it a name like “posse” or “familia” seemed right. I settled on “Boyz” despite how it made me think of very dated 1990s hip hop.
PAGES 2-4: KING OF THE ZOMBIES
Herbert West’s original intent – as conceived of by H.P. Lovecraft – was never to create zombies. He wants to restore the dead to perfect life, to undo the very act of death. Let’s say you’re fine one day, but you die the next. In his perfect vision of the world, the Reanimator would then injects you with his solution, and by Day Four, you’d be fine again. Shambling corpses were the by-products of his failed experiments. In the original “Herbert West – Reanimator”, he eventually starts performing rather unnecessary experiments. As Lovecraft put it, “his once normal scientific zeal for prolonging life had subtly degenerated into a mere morbid and ghoulish curiosity and secret sense of charnel picturesqueness. His interest became a hellish and perverse addiction to the repellently and fiendishly abnormal; he gloated calmly over artificial monstrosities.”Because we’re making comics, I wanted Herbert West, the Man of Science (if not Reason), to have several moments as an unexpected Man of Action. With a shotgun in his hand, facing down the Krewe lackies who’d dared to enter his laboratory… it’s a very “hero” thing to do. However, while he did on occasion shoot people in this series, I did try more often than not to create alternatives to direct violence. He’s a puppet master, so it’s fitting that he “cuts the strings” on his zombie hordes, letting them drop on his enemies, rather than shooting the enemies himself.
PAGE 5: CTHULHU REX
Croceus Rex, the drug-addicted elitist who runs the Eldritch Krewe, appears in all his mutated glory on this page. “Croceus” means “yellow” or “gold”, and “Rex” is Latin for “king”. While Lovecraft had been a fan of Robert W. Chambers’ “The King in Yellow” and referenced it throughout the Cthulhu mythos, I wish I could say that this Lovecraft fact informed the naming of this villain, but the name came from a completely different line of thought. The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold, and green – which represent justice, power, and faith. Croceus Rex cares nothing for justice, and while he is a devotee of Cthulhu, his faith is really more about positioning himself for the acquisition of power than anything else.Over the course of the series, Croceus Rex has increasingly used Herbert West’s Eunique drug, which the Reanimator warned would have negative side effects. Overindulgence had made Rex “psychically hypersensitive”, a phrase coined by Lovecraft in his classic tale, “The Call of Cthulhu”, and therefore the villain was susceptible to the dream-like influence of the Elder God. In issue #3, Rex then acquired and injected a sample of West’s blood… and ever since, his body had mutated into more and more of an abomination. It’s important to note that the upper and lower halves of his metamorphic body have very different physical attributes. His torso, arms, and head are covered in writhing tentacles, while his legs are tumorous. There’s a very distinct reason for that, revealed a little later in the issue.
PAGE 6: THE AGONY FONT
It’s a subtle change, but when Croceus Rex says, “This… is… agony”, there’s a font switch for that last word. Throughout the remainder of the issue, all of his dialogue reflects the new font, a visual cue to the character’s continuing physical changes. He’s still transforming into something inhuman, inside and out.
PAGE 7: SUSAN GREENE, REANIMATOR
Susan Greene wears a practically identical outfit to Herbert West in this issue, assuming his trademark lab coat and satchel. As revealed in the third issue, everything that has happened in this series has been carefully orchestrated by the Reanimator to groom Susan into his perfect assistant. She’s his experiment. It’s important that here, in the final issue, we can see that his experiment has been largely successful, and that visually she’s become much more like him.Susan still needs to cross certain moral boundaries, however. When she confronts Dice, the gangster who murdered her fiancé, she says, “I came out here to see you dead.” That’s a pretty clear indication that she’s willing to cast ethics aside. However, she’s driven by a need for justice or revenge, where West could kill coldly as a means to an end (which, in his case, is to further his scientific pursuits, as anyone who dies here becomes a body to perform experiments on). Still, forsaking the moral path is a slippery slope… one which West hopes to exploit.
07/10/20 @ 10:19 pm EST
We're very excited to announce the first stretch goal for Mindy Wheeler's Vampirella variant exclusive! If you haven't joined the club already, head to the campaign and make sure you're getting this drop-dead gorgeous collectible cover. Only a limited number will be produced, based on how many backers support it.
When the campaign hits $7,000, every backer will have a sweet promo trading card featuring Mindy's art added to your package. We're not far away, so make sure to tell all your collector buds about this exclusive campaign. Now is also a great time to review your own pledge and see what extra goodies you might be interested in. In turn, raising the total and getting closer to an awesome stretch goal!
Help Unlock the Stretch Goal!
07/10/20 @ 4:56 pm EST
Dynamite unveils the Cosplay Celebration of the year on Indiegogo! Up right now, fans can get deals and bundles on cosplay collectibles and more.
As one of the only publishers prominently featuring cosplayers consistently on covers, Dynamite is proud to work with these talented members of the comics and geek community. There are few ways for someone to express their fandom and craft at a higher level than some of the top cosplayers, who spend countless hours on costuming, hair, makeup and more, sometimes to wear and portray it for just a single day. The art of cosplay is in the roots of Dynamite and its biggest characters, with signature 1970s Red Sonja artist Frank Thorne hosting look-a-like contests at early conventions and Barbara Leigh gracing the cover of Vampirella back in 1978. The cosplay cover has always been tied to Vampirella, with models like Sascha Knopf, Julie Strain, Maria Di Angelis and more representing the character in the Harris era.
This new celebration of that legacy tips its hat to all the great cosplayers who work with Dynamite today, month in and out. Names such as Ashley Du, Jackie Geohner, Joanie Brosas, Jenifer Ann, Shannon Kingston and many more have featured on covers as Vampirella, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, Sheena, Barbarella and others.
In the campaign on Indiegogo, collectors can get several special packages. For just $5, the cosplay covers for all three latest first issues of Vampirella, Red Sonja and Dejah Thoris can be had, with assorted extra issues too! Or choose your favorite character and get a big helping of cosplay covers for them. Special edition trading cards signed by Ashley Du, Jackie Goehner, Shannon Kingston and Jenifer Ann make an appearance as well. ...
07/09/20 @ 1:46 pm EST
The clock is ticking! Just five days remain to get Lucio Parrillo's breathtaking crowdfunded Vampirella cover. Make sure you don't miss out on this exclusive collectible of the Daughter of Drakulon. A limited run of this cover will be produced based on the number of backers.
We also did some digging and we've got some sweet add-ons added to the campaign for collectors to check out. We were able to find extremely limited quantities of some of Lucio's rare virgin covers from recent bestselling issues. We're talking Vampirella, Vengeance of Vampirella, Sacred Six, Red Sonja: Age of Chaos, Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil, Dejah Thoris, and more. Some of them only had two copies available, so they're already off the shelf. But if you go to the campaign right now, there are still a few left.
Get Yours Today! 5 Days Left
07/09/20 @ 10:01 am EST
Dynamite announces its trio of exciting, newsbreaking virtual panels for this year's virtual San Diego Comic Con. Fans can tune in across three days in July for deep dives on the latest series announcements, teases for future plans, and commentary on their favorite comics from some of today's top creators.
Though circumstances are different this year, with fans having to engage with a "virtual" convention experience, Dynamite is showing up in full force to this seminal annual event in comics, with heavy-hitting reveals and more. This marks exactly a year after Dynamite kicked off celebrations for Vampirella's 50th anniversary with the debut of the new series written by Christopher Priest and a star-studded panel. It was an anniversary extravaganza, with Dynamite as a publisher also celebrating 15 years in business. And last but certainly not least, Executive Editor Joseph Rybandt sat down with legendary artist Darick Robertson to discuss a massive career in comics and the then around the corner release of the streaming adaptation of his co-creation The Boys.
This year anniversaries officially come to a close, but the party never stops. Across three stacked panels featuring a diverse lineup of talent, Dynamite fans will get the scoops and enjoy discussion of their favorite titles.
On Thursday July 23 at 11 AM PST, all things Bond, James Bond 007 in comic books will be discussed by a deep roster of writers. Current writer Danny Lore (Ironheart) is joined by preceding 007 chronicler Greg Pak (Star Wars, Incredible Hulk) and Reflections of Death contributor Mark Russell (Red Sonja, Swamp Thing). Editors Nate Cosby and Matt Idelson chime in as well. And the real surprise guest is... Steve Orlando of Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman ...
07/08/20 @ 8:05 pm EST
You still have a chance to get your copy of the new Miss Fury: Joy Division
graphic novel from Billy Tucci and Maria Laura Sanapo! Yes, we extended the campaign for another month, for all those fans who have been on the fence, waiting for their budget to work out, and especially everyone who hasn't yet seen it. We've been so inspired by the support already shown for the project that the party just couldn't stop yet!
And that inspiration brings us to the other exciting piece of news. If you've backed this campaign, you've probably seen all the great interviews, livestreams, and more that Billy and Maria have been doing to help promote the book. And not just them, but we're incredibly grateful to have a stellar creative team top to bottom with colorist Ceci de la Cruz and letterer/designer Mindy Lopkin as well. When the campaign hits $100,000, we're incredibly excited to announce that Maria, Ceci and Mindy will all get an additional bonus for the project. This is what the support of fans means to comics publishers and creators, and we can't do it without you. We aren't even that far off either!
So join the party, tell your friends, and let's push this awesome campaign higher and higher!Get Yours Now! And Check Out All the Great Add-Ons!
07/08/20 @ 8:03 pm EST
Artist Mindy Wheeler is going live on Youtube tonight for a relaxed stream. She'll be coloring some of her current comic book work, talking about her new crowdfunded Vampirella cover, and hanging out with fellow fans like you.
You can click right here to join Mindy tonight. She plans to go live at 8 PM EST. That's 5 PM for you west coasters and the wee hours across the pond. But if you miss out, can always catch up and watch the archived video later.
What do you want to ask Mindy? Maybe what artists inspired her take on Vampirella. Or how she recommends aspiring creators to get into the industry. Perhaps just how she's doing through all the turbulent events in the world right now. Join us and Mindy tonight for a fun time, and make sure to support her latest project on Indiegogo!
07/08/20 @ 3:23 pm EST
Dynamite is proud to participate in Humble Bundle's latest industrywide digital comics bundle, with proceeds benefiting multiple organizations involved in fighting injustice in the United States. The bundle is live right now, so check out the deals and support it!
Critically acclaimed and fan-favorite titles from Dynamite included in the bundle feature Black characters and/or Black creators behind the page. Included are both the brilliant Shaft graphic novel A Complicated Man by David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely, as well as Walker's follow up Imitation of Life with artist Dietrich Smith. Superstar writer Vita Ayala's recent run on Xena Warrior Princess joins the lineup, with a take on the character that embraces certain themes known by creators and fans for years. The Alex Ross designed Bring the Thunder completes Dynamite's set. But that's only the tip of the iceberg, as several major publishers chip in to the bundle and totaling a regular value of over 1 thousand dollars. With tiers ranging from just a buck to $20, there is a perfect option for everyone.
Organized by creators and industry leaders like Gail Simone and Karama Horne (TheBlerdGurl), the bundle will support The Bail Project, The Carl Brandon Society, and the National Urban League.
"This is a great program and I was excited when Gail Simone contacted me about Dynamite being a part of this effort," said Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher. "She's a close friend and we've worked well together through the years on Red Sonja and more. I immediately said yes. This country and the world are going through trying times. Every program to help brings us one step closer to a better society. I want to thank Gail and Kelley Allen [Director of ...
07/08/20 @ 3:18 pm EST
Dynamite extends all titles being returnable for retailers through August 2020, as stores across the country continue to reopen, recover and react to the evolving situations in their areas.
In March, Dynamite announced all titles through the pandemic and business shut downs would be returnable for retailers. This was done to decrease risk as retailers navigate through these challenges, and to give them confidence in ordering for a great comeback. The previously announced end date for the returns program was July. As conditions persist and some retailers continue to get back up and running fully, all titles up to those in stores August 26 are now included.
Dynamite stands with the direct market and hard-working comics retailers. In addition to making releases returnable, Dynamite has been continually running sales on graphic novels and other product categories. Release schedules were also shifted to make the pre-holiday July 1 a "Dynamite Day" with issues of five top titles released on the same day on an otherwise quiet week to ensure retailers had comics to generate as many sales as possible.
"The retailers in our industry currently have had it incredibly hard. Many went 2 months, and some more, without being able to have open stores. Fortunately, retailers have been able to stay open, but we know it hasn't been easy for them. We want to help retailers as much as possible, and we've created a few programs. We've been releasing premium variant covers to retailers at the base cost so that they can capitalize to help make money, we've created deep discounts on our collections, and we've had our entire line returnable to date. We're going to extend the returnability through the end of August," said Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO and Publisher. "We're here for our retailers. The industry ...
07/07/20 @ 11:39 pm EST
The She-Devil With a Sword swings onto Indiegogo, courtesy of superstar artist Frank Cho! Right now, fans can get their own! Including a new version of the cover and more options exclusive to Indiegogo!
Initially debuting on Kickstarter, Dynamite and Cho now bring this hot collectible cover to Indiegogo for those fans that are more familiar or connected with the alternate crowdfunding platform. 550 wise fans have already locked in their packages, so it's your time to join the party!
The limited-edition cover is available in three variations. Of course, a standard option includes the Red Sonja logo for a more traditional look. Another version drops the logo for a clean presentation really showing off the combined talents of Frank Cho and frequent collaborator Sabine Rich on colors. For the Cho collectors and art enthusiasts, a black and white edition really emphasizes the fine linework of Cho and his beloved details in the hair, chainmail armor, and more. Special bundle packages with all three covers, signed editions and more are available on Indiegogo right now. Additional options as add-ons include a high-quality lithograph print and collectible coins.
But WAIT! Even for those who already backed this cover on Kickstarter, we have a new fourth version of the cover only available on Indiegogo as part of this campaign. Add the line art virgin edition to your collection today! Frank will also be signing some, with both options limited to only 50 each! PLUS there are CGC graded options for collectors.
If you don't know Frank Cho, we're surprised you're getting this email from us! Just kidding. But Frank is one of the biggest artists in the industry and has grown that reputation from his early independent hit Liberty Meadows, ...
07/03/20 @ 3:33 pm EST