10/13/16 @ 12:21 pm EST
A Writer’s Commentary: Fabrice Sapolsky
#1, on sale now from Dynamite
. Cover and interiors by series artist Fred Pham Chuong
. [WARNING: Spoilers ahead!]
Let me start by saying that Intertwined #1 was supposed to be very different originally. What is now issue #0 was supposed to be the beginning of the story, but after talking about it with my editor, we changed the way the story was told. Instead of making it a linear story in a Once Upon a Time in America manner, we started following the hero’s journey from Hong Kong to the U.S., from random student to hero. But the first 13 pages were already written, drawn and colored. So I decided to cut it from the rest of issue #1 and make it a #0. The good thing about this is now issue #0 can be read before or after reading issue #1 without spoiling anything.Page 1
In the original version, we start with a cool noir action scene. But, since we changed the menu, we couldn’t serve the same dish twice in a row. I opted for a dream sequence, for readers to have a peek at the cool world of the Spirits of WuXing in the first pages. The series now follows Juan’s POV. Starting in his head became obvious because, as you’ll see later in the series, the “astral” plane plays a big role. See… That’s what I like about Intertwined: it has different influences and layers. We have Noir, we have Kung Fu, but we also have pulp, Chinese folklore, magic, social justice and spiritual vibes. For issue #0, my inspiration was the opening scene from the first episode of the Batman Beyond cartoon and The Big Boss, the first Bruce Lee movie. In issue #1, I had to find something else, hence the dream sequence. But I didn’t want it to be an action scene. I wanted something showing Juan Jin’s personality and how we’d be more than just and action/kung fu series. You’ll see here and there, in each episode, some social background. In Intertwined, a lot is happening behind the scenes.
There’s a panel I rewrote multiple times, to get the right tone. It’s the one where Juan compares himself to Peter Pan, or an Asian version of Peter Pan. I like that nod to the J.M. Barrie hero who inspired many comic book writers. And I always found the Disney version, by far the most popular, conveyed some… let’s say questionable designs for the main character: he has almond eyes and rabbit teeth. Which is typical of ethnic sterotypes in caricatures and some comics of the 20th century (Ming in Flash Gordon, Egg Fu, Fu Manchu,…). This is a very sensitive and important matter for both Fred, my co-creator, whose family comes from Vietnam, and myself. Juan Jin is a positive, powerful, Asian modern superhero. He’s not sorry for who he is. He wasn’t born in the United States so he has a lot of problems understanding how the American society puts the “race factor” front and center. He doesn’t see himself as Asian or Chinese first. He’s a human being before anything else. With great values. But representation, inclusion and diversity are major topics in Intertwined.Page 2
We’re introduced to the Spirits of WuXing for the first time. At least three of them (out of five). They have a problem. One Spirit is dead (the Spirit of the Earth) and they have to find a solution. How the Spirit died is what triggers a chain of events that will involve Juan Jin. This is a game-changer in the History of Spirits. Usually, when a Spirit dies, he’s replaced by someone he or she chose. But here, the Spirit died with no replacement and the remaining Spirits are freaking out. They feel they need to find that person themselves. They’ll, sort of, play the sorcerer’s apprentice and there will be consequences for that. But for now, they set their sights on Juan.Page 3
Juan wakes up to “I Got You” from Sonny and Cher. It’s just me loving that wake-up scene from Groundhog Day and paying homage to it (laughs). It’s not easy to present a character in very few panels. Fred and I discussed that page a lot. I came up with the idea that he was so obsessed with his martial arts tournament, that he was practicing all the time. So he’d even practice in the shower. Fred even put impacts on the walls in that panel. That’s how much of a fighter Juan Jin is! Last panel, there’s also a poster for The Big Boss. Fred added that. He’s the ultimate Bruce Lee fan. I am, for sure. But Fred is the biggest fan ever. One of the reasons that brought us together is Bruce Lee. And with Intertwined, we’re also paying homage to those movies we’d rent at the video club and see in VHS when we were kids. From that perspective, Intertwined is a labor of love. And believe me when I say that Bruce Lee’s words and philosophy helped me a great deal making this book happen and trying to find my way, as an “alien worker” in America. I can’t stress enough how Intertwined is important for me as a writer and as a human being. It’s fiction, but it’s the kind you can relate to. Because, and even if a lot of people in the United States have forgotten that, we all come from somewhere else. And we have to find keys to happiness in a society that works differently than the one we were raised into. It’s like living in a parallel universe! It looks familiar, but it’s not.Pages 4-5
On page 4, we see Juan going head to head with the Triads (the Chinese mob). There’s a little Triad emblem on the door of the mini-van one of them is driving (panel 3). This is real! The Chinese mafia has its own logo. It’s fascinating. These pages also have a Spider-Man feel to it. I guess I couldn’t help it. Can’t hide my Spider-Man Noir origins (laughs).Pages 6-9
This is a classic! The scene between the master and the student. We’ve seen this one too many times in Kung Fu movies and even in Hollywood-made martial arts movies. The Master is important. But the student can also be as talented as he’s reckless, which is Juan’s case.Page 10
In panel 1, Yuki is introduced. He’s one of the 6 real-life characters who are part of our series. Yuki is a Kickstarter backer of ours. Making him a character was part of his package. I decided to make him the hero’s best friend in Hong Kong. This is a challenge also for Fred as he wasn’t really used to draw likenesses. But I believe Yuki was pleased. This page also shows us the beginning of a funeral service in Hong Kong. When I was researching for the series, I came across all sorts of article which pointed out how difficult and expensive burials were in the little Chinese territory. At some points, you had to wait months until you could organize and decent funeral for your relatives. This is one of the many real life issues I like to talk about. I don’t read a lot of fiction, but I’m a huge news reader. Reality is, of course, an incredible source of inspiration for comic book writers.Page 12
Lady Xia is in the house! It’s no mystery that I love writing strong female characters. And even more if they’re mysterious too. I have a female-centric comic book that I’ve been working on for years with Leila Leiz called Harem. Leila is now doing Alters at Aftershock and I’m doing Intertwined at Dynamite, but I’m confident that, at one point, we’ll be able to go back and finish Harem together.
For this one page, I simply said to Fred : “I want an Asian Audrey Hepburn”. And he designed the beautiful and deadly Lady Xia. In this issue, you don’t really understand who she is. You see her with mysterious men in the chapel. Then you see her with mobsters in the streets. She’s the unofficial leader of the Spirits. She’ll play a MAJOR role in the issues to come. Stay tuned!Page 14-16
This scene has been very tough to write but I’m very pleased with the result. It seems very simple, but it’s not. It’s an ordinary scene. An interaction between Juan and his mother. There’s a lot there. I tried to capture the relationship between a mother and her son in 1970s Hong Kong society. She’s tough. She’s cold. She never makes physical contact with her son. But you can see how much she cares. Fred is more comfortable with action scenes than with emotional ones. But there, he completely knocked it in conveying the right level of emotion. Oh, and since we’re in the 1970s, the mom smokes. It has become rare in modern comics. Not that I’m promoting cigarettes, quite the contrary, but it’s what the character does. You know, just like Wolverine back in the day… Just sayin’.Page 19-23
I wrote this big street fight scene while watching one of my favorite movies, IpMan, with Donnie Yen. For fight scenes, I loosely write and the heavy lifting is done by Fred. First, he LOVES drawing fight scenes, and he’s the Kung Fu expert! His father and grandfather were already practicing and teaching Kung Fu. And the Spirit of Fire character is based on his brother Alex who’s also invested in martial arts. Fred often told me he’d draw positions as accurately as possible, based on his own moves, mixed with the main Kung Fu stars styles (such as Bruce Lee, of course. But also Jet Li or Donnie Yen).Pages 24-26
These pages are also very dear to me. It’s obvious, but Intertwined is deeply rooted in Asian culture. I got the idea while I was on a trip in Beijing in 2015. And I’ve been exposed to the Chinese world for a long time. My sister-in-law is Chinese and my brother, who’s a talented director, is fluent in Mandarin. He was even able to direct a movie, a web-series and many TV spots in that language with locals. That said, New York has always been a multi-cultural town. And the series was always going to reflect that. When page 24 opens, we’re on a boat. Juan has been dropped by sea pirates paid by Lady Xia on a boat that came from Haïti. Living in Brooklyn, I could realize how much the Haïtian community is generous, united and warm. I have Haïtian friends. We come from different countries, of course, but most of them speak French too, so we can easily communicate in a friendly way. And, just as there’s a lack of positive Asian heroes in comics, there’s a lack of Haïtian heroes too (because frankly, Marvel’s Brother Voodoo is so cliché). When I started talking about it with my friends, they were very happy and just said: “thank you”. They were honored. I intend to respect their culture and their personalities, just like all the characters in my books. I want to publicly thank my friend Roobens for helping me with Haïtian Creole too! There’s also a character named Antwan who’s based on Haïtian-Canadian stand-up comedian Anthony Kavanagh. Anthony is an old friend of my family. His career is in France now, but he always has been a comic book fan too. Antwan is set to become a new kind of hero. Hopefully, with success, I’ll be able to tell his story and show that Haïtian heroes are much more than voodoo-inspired characters!Next?
You probably ask yourself this question: the creators said Intertwined was “Kung Fu Noir”, but it’s more Kung Fu than Noir. Yes and no. As I said, this is a journey. If you look closely at the Intertwined logo, you’ll see New York on the left and Hong Kong on the right. Juan Jin goes from “Happy HK” to “Dark Chinatown”. This doesn’t happen in an episode. Issue #2 is definitely more Noir-infused, with half the issue taking place in a rude prison facility. And it’s getting darker as we delve into the series. Be prepared. This is just the beginning!
02/21/20 @ 2:04 pm EST
Dynamite is proud to once again celebrate an artistic luminary with a set of special variant covers, as Juan Gedeon homages Jim Lee's iconic covers.
Artist Juan Gedeon (Venom, Ghost Racers) returns for another fun set of covers following his zombie infected pieces from March - in stores soon - that connected and told a story. This time he's paying homage to one of the most influential artist of all time, Jim Lee. Involved issues include Vampirella #11, Red Sonja #16, Vampirella/Red Sonja #9, Dejah Thoris #6, Killing Red Sonja #3 and Death to the Army of Darkness #4. All are respectively based on Superman #204, Batman #608, X-Men #1, Captain America #700 (or originally a splash page from Uncanny X-Men #268), All-Star Batman & Robin #9, and WildC.A.T.s #1. Each one is colored by Carlos Cabrera.
"I started looking at Jim's work with Hush and then went back to his Marvel work, as I was young when that all was coming out," said artist Juan Gedeon. "I think he's done the definitive versions of both Batman and Cyclops, two awesome characters. His poses are strong and beautiful, and of course his design work for both X-Men and WildC.A.T.s is cool as hell! I drew a story a while ago where I was asked to use his work as reference, and it really made me appreciate his craft."
Each of these variants homaging Jim Lee will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' March Previews for May on-sale. Comic fans are encouraged to preorder copies with their Local Comic Shops.
Gedeon couldn't help ...
02/20/20 @ 4:55 pm EST
Dynamite announces the first of many collections compiling Christopher Priest's redefining run on Vampirella, due out in April.
Titled Seduction of the Innocent, this first trade paperback will collect issues #1-6 as well as the Free Comic Book Day 2019 #0 that kicked off the 50th-anniversary celebrations. Join writer Christopher Priest (Black Panther, Deathstroke) and Turkish artist Ergün Gündüz for their "Kelvin Universe" or Netflix-inspired take on the Daughter of Drakulon. Opening in media res and moving along the timeline, as only a Priest written tale can nail, the series serves a perfect jumping-on point, pushes countless new ideas to the forefront, while also subtly pulling pieces from across Vampi's five glorious decades. Nuns with guns, scandalous love triangles, psychotherapy, and every classic villain teaming up against our heroine, and it all centers around a mysterious, tragic plane crash!
"This book has been a remarkable surprise for me, the most fun I’ve had in years, thanks mainly to the sheer genius of Ergün Gündüz, whose vivid imagination and abandonment of the superhero house style in favor of Euro-animation has not only added enormous depth to my questionable writing but has inspired me to even deeper explorations of nonconventional creative approaches to a classic character who has most certainly been-there-done-that," said Christopher Priest. "For Vampirella’s 50th we are shaking up the Etch-A-Sketch, breaking every rule Dynamite will let us break, yielding a fun and poignant work that’s greater than the sum of its parts. I’m genuinely excited and energized to explore this character, redefining her voice as Vampi begins her next 50 years."
Ergün added, "I hope fans enjoy this book, as they read this deadly gorgeous lady's thrilling adventures and marvel at these dozens of variant covers by all-star artists"
"This retooling of ...
02/20/20 @ 4:46 pm EST
Discover sacredsix, a new ongoing series this May as Christopher Priest expands his take on the wider Vampirella universe.
Enter: a tale of two towns in rural Georgia. One is Ashthorne, an impoverished farming town with a deadly secret. Otherwise known as "Vampire Valley," most of its citizens are vampires and sundry other ghouls, though not by choice or blood. These once-human victims are now shunned by society in the open but live peacefully and just want to be left alone to live their lives in peace. Meanwhile, the bright and shiny Sacred is a recently “manufactured” community lorded over by staunch conservatives for the express purpose of oppressing and ultimately destroying Ashthorne’s residents. This tension will escalate as the series progresses, and instigate the arrival of the group of heroines…
Priest’s new take on the DRACULINA character, real name Victory, is joined by fellow Vampi vixens PANTHA, NYX, and the surprise inclusion of fellow conflicted vampire CHASTITY, of Chaos! fame. Led by LILITH of Drakulon, the Cersei Lannister of space vampires and recruited by her son DRAGO, mayor of Ashthorne. The sixth and final core member will be a surprise… The one and only Vampirella will make some appearances as well. These women will go undercover in the exclusive rarified air of Sacred as students and fight against injustice by night against THE SIX.
In a thematic mashup of True Blood and Sons of Anarchy, sacredsix is a multifaceted morality play and tale of two cities examining the conflict between human and inhuman, science and magic, agnosticism and faith, war and peace. Good and evil can be found all around, often coexisting. With this cast of complex characters with ...
02/06/20 @ 3:29 pm EST
ComicsPRO is excited to announce that Nick Barrucci, CEO/Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, will be the Keynote Speaker for the 2020 Comic Industry Conference sponsored by ComicsPRO. The Conference will be held in Portland, Oregon from February 20-22, 2020.
“I’m thrilled that Nick is speaking at our event,” said Marco Davanzo, Executive Director of ComicsPRO. “He’s been in the business for 37 years and has a great knowledge of the comics industry. His enthusiasm is second to none. And he’s worked as both a retailer and a publisher. I’m really looking forward to his speech.”
“It’s an honor to be chosen this year to be the keynote speaker at ComicsPro, such an integral event to our industry that we all love so much.,” said Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO and Publisher. “At Dynamite we’ve been fortunate to have great successes recently on The Boys, Vampirella, Red Sonja and becoming a Premier Publisher. This is all thanks to stellar work from our creators and staff, trust from retailers and fans, and additional important industry factors that I hope to discuss at the conference with peers.”
Raised on the streets of South Philadelphia, Nicola (Nick) Barrucci has long been a fan of the comic book art form and credits them for helping develop his English. After buying packs of comics with ripped covers and being given Marvel’s Pope John Paul II promotional comic, he finally found a store to buy as many comics as he could afford. Starting off as a weekend warrior traveling around the country from convention to convention as a reseller, Barrucci soon started up Dynamic Forces. Working with some of the top creators in the burgeoning independent boom, as well as established publishers big and small, DF to this day continues to be ...
01/23/20 @ 10:52 pm EST
Known to many a fan and collector for his exquisite style, Luis García's work is fully compiled and introduced for fans both new and old in this new deluxe hardcover art book.
Luis García was among the cream of the crop within the "Spanish Invasion" which transformed Warren Publishing's comic magazines in the 1970s. Contracting artists from the Barcelona-based art agency Selecciones Illustrada such as García, Jose Gonzalez, Esteban Maroto, José Ortiz, Auraleon brought an unparalleled new dimension to the painted covers and intricate interiors of Vampirella, Creepy and Eerie.
This new volume written and curated by artist and historian David Roach follows each stage of García's career in a first-of-its-kind comprehensive retrospective. From his early seductive romance strips, to contributions to legendary French publication Pilote, to his pioneering autobiographical and political work in the graphic novel format. In addition to of course his horror stories for Warren and later painting.
Really bringing the package together is the commentary and notes from Luis García himself. Recounting such wide-ranging memories as modeling for romantic fotonovelas, meeting such cultural icons as Salvador Dali and John Lennon, hanging out at Studio 54 and more.
In addition to the historical writing, the 230-page book is loaded with artwork, almost entirely shot from the original pieces. Additionally, there are several complete short stories included, some never before translated and published in English.
“As a lifelong Vampirella fan I first discovered the artwork of Luis Garcia when I was very young, and it has stayed with me ever since,” said editor David Roach. “His entire life been notable for his never ending drive to push himself and evolve as an artist. I believe this book contains some of the very greatest ...
01/23/20 @ 4:57 pm EST
For a set of special variants on releases for April, Dynamite and Adam Gorham are tributing the endlessly influential Todd McFarlane.
Adam Gorham (New Mutants, The Violent) is joined by colorist Michael Garland on six covers using Dynamite characters to homage classics from McFarlane's career. Releases featuring these covers honoring the Toddfather will include Dejah Thoris #5, Red Sonja #15, Vampirella #10, Vampirella/Red Sonja #8, Death to the Army of Darkness #3, and Killing Red Sonja #2. Each issue is respectively paying homage to Amazing Spider-Man #328, Spider-Man #1, 7, 12, 16 and Spawn/Batman. The Spider-Man inspired issues even include neat corner box sketches, something that McFarlane innovated.
For Adam Gorham, it's a somewhat personal project. "Growing up in Canada in the '90s, comics were huge and Todd McFarlane was a Canadian icon of the medium. His work was some of the first comic art I was exposed to. I'm thinking of his Amazing Spider-Man anti-drug special covers. They were practically government issued to Canadian children," said Gorham.
Colorist Garland shared, “Todd McFarlane broke my brain at a very early age. To return to that work - and the work of some legendary colorists like Steve Oliff - and build off of it was a childhood dream come true. I tried to incorporate the spirit of the original color palettes and compositions into my reinterpretation wherever I could."
Each of these variants homaging McFarlane will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' February Previews for April on-sale. Comic fans are encouraged to preorder copies with their Local Comic Shops.
"It was a really fun series of covers ...
12/19/19 @ 4:15 pm EST
Dynamite announces the first Repairman Jack original graphic novel to be released in March 2020. The graphic novel is the first published within the franchise by a comic book publisher.
Following the San Diego Comic Con 2019 licensing announcement, Repairman Jack: Scar-Lip redux will be released as a 120-page hardcover graphic novel. Fully written by Jack's creator himself, the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson. He's joined by acclaimed artist Antonio Fuso (Wyrd, GI Joe Cobra), colorist Pippa Bowland and letterer Crank!
Got a problem? He can fix it. He thought he’d seen the last of the Rakoshi, but one has survived. A particularly
cunning and deadly Rakosh known to Jack as Scar-Lip. Now, Jack faces the fights of his life as he seeks to end
the creature once and for all, before it ends him!
Wilson said, "Love comics. My earliest reading materials were Vault of Horror and Uncle Scrooge. I became a Ditko fan with This Magazine is Haunted. The visual medium is great for a sock in the gut in the final panel. I’ve always found the comics world easier to deal with than Hollywood."
First appearing in 1984's The Tomb, Wilson's Repairman Jack has today featured in more than 20 novels. Working as a fixer, Jack works independently to solve problems for people in his near-future world. Ranging from issues familiar to us today to supernatural creatures and scenarios. Wilson's library of books has sold over 8 million copies to date.
F. Paul Wilson and his famous hero are a natural fit at Dynamite, through interesting connections. Some of Wilson's earliest writing in the 1970s was a couple comic shorts published by Warren in Vampirella's sister titles. He also enjoys explaining the uniqueness ...
12/19/19 @ 4:13 pm EST
Dynamite's March 2020 variant covers have been infected with a zombie plague!
Artist Juan Gedeon is contributing 7 special connecting covers across the Dynamite line, depicting everyone's favorite protagonists trying to survive and fight against the apocalyptic virus, or succumbing to it themselves. Fans can collect them all and imagine the untold connecting narrative between them. For even more Dynamite undead action, readers can check out the currently running KISS Zombies, Red Sonja: Age of Chaos and of course the inside of Death to the Army of Darkness - and each Vampirella title for that matter! Dynamite is proud to be the home for kickass horror-action comics.
Gedeon shared, "I always see Vampirella and Red Sonja portrayed as beautiful women, so I wanted to do the exact opposite for this! I'm glad that I got away with all this gore I drew. My biggest inspiration for this was Spawn and the Argentinean comic Cazador drawn by the beast Mauro Cascioli, his art was like Simon Bisley gone Super Saiyan."
Gedeon colors himself on the covers for Death to the Army of Darkness #2 and Red Sonja & Vampirella Meet Betty & Veronica #10. Carlos Cabrera comes in with the grisly palette for Vampirella #9, Vampirella/Red Sonja #7, Red Sonja #14 and Killing Red Sonja #1. Colorist Mike Spicer bats in the last one with Dejah Thoris #4.
All of these Dynamite Zombie Variant Covers will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ January 2019 Previews catalog, ...
12/19/19 @ 4:10 pm EST
Meet the boy who will kill Red Sonja, as Dynamite announces a new companion limited series to Mark Russell's epic Red Sonja saga.
In Killing Red Sonja, fans will be taken on an unforgettable trip through the dimly lit corners of the Hyborean Age. Readers who've been keeping up with the series know the first year of the run has concerned Sonja the Red waging war against emperor Dragan The Magnificent. They may even recall in issue #2 when the warlord bid goodbye to his young son Cyril. Now with his family and birthright gutted, he will stop at nothing to exact his revenge on the fire-haired savage queen. Including dabbling in dark magics beyond his comprehension.
Writers Mark Russell (The Flintstones, Year of the Villain) and Bryce Ingman (Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter Of Terror) are joined by artist Craig Rousseau (Impulse, Batman Beyond) to follow this rage-filled boy's trail of vengeance. Dearbhla Kelly and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou contribute colors and letters respectively, maintaining visual consistency with their work on the flagship series. Each issue will be graced with a striking cover by the one and only Christian Ward (Thor, Black Bolt).
Though able to be read entirely standalone, this series is a vital piece of Russell's overall tapestry. It sets up the adventures and tragedies of characters who will become prominent in the next arc of the main series. Killing Red Sonja is more fantasy-based, with talking boars and gruesome monsters, contrasted with the sword and sandals warfare in its sister title. Ultimately, both serve to explore Mark's thesis that we are the sum of our stories and also changed by them. What happens when the "evil" emperor is felled?
"Killing Red Sonja is a chance to offer readers a different sensibility ...
12/13/19 @ 6:43 pm EST
Dynamite, the 2019 Ringo Award winner for Favorite Publisher, is proud to announce its newest imprint, Dynamite Books! This exciting new line of prose novels will delve deep into the company’s world-famous collection of characters to produce sensational new stories for readers to enjoy. And what better place to start than with Bram Stoker Award-winning author Nancy A. Collins as she returns to Vampirella as part of the character’s 50th-anniversary celebration.
The Dynamite Books line kicks off with Vampirella: Blood Invasion by Collins, which is available in print, e-book and audiobook right now! The line will also include newly created audiobooks for previously published novels starting with the original Shaft novel by Ernest Tidyman, also available today. January will see the return of the popular SEAL Team Six No More series with subsequent months to feature Purgatori and more Vampirella stories. The eventual goal is to release at least one novel every month, inspired by classic pulp novels.
In Vampirella: Blood Invasion, Vampirella left her planet of Drakulon on a desperate quest to find another source of blood that her people need to survive. After years out of contact, the skies of Earth fill with an armada of ships from her home planet. Thrilled at first to see her people, Vampirella is horrified to learn of General Orlok’s plan for her adopted planet. She must choose between her own kind or to take up arms with her partner Pantha and join a rebel army led by Count Dracula, Evily the Witch and Doctor Frankenstein and his patchwork monstrosities.
Writer Nancy Collins shared, “It’s nice returning to Vampi. The book is my own take on the 1950s invaders from outer space trope. To paraphrase Mark Twain: ‘Those reading this book and expecting hard science ...