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!
09/14/19 @ 8:35 pm EST
We've catapulted past $50,000! Now let's pass $75,000? We can do it! What are you waiting for? Jump on board and get yourself over 130 issues of Red Sonja comics old and new! Over 3,500 pages for just $18 or less! And supporting charities the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the National Coalition Against Censorship!
Click here! - RED SONJA BUNDLE
Let's focus on some of those more recent gems!
First, the ultimate inclusion for a Red Sonja bundle is the most recent material! The first five issues of the flagship ongoing series by Mark Russell are included. This series launched in February 2019 and features interior art by Mirko Colak Read More Here
09/12/19 @ 8:24 pm EST
Don't miss the celebration and this rare collector's item! The Indiegogo campaign for Billy Tucci's exclusive Vampirella & Shi cover ends tomorrow night! Copies are limited and will ship as soon as the campaign ends!
The Daughter of Drakulon and Ana Ishikawa share this stunning cover, as only Tucci could draw them. Underneath the cover is the fan-favorite and critically acclaimed first issue of Christopher Priest's new flagship series which has already sold a whopping 130,000 copies!
On Indiegogo, fans can order the cover in multiple versions and with add-ons depending on their budget and desires. There are multiple variations of the comic book and one can also get an 18 by 24-inch lithograph print. Also available are editions of almost everything signed by Tucci himself. As well as combination packages with multiple items.
Tucci and his creation Ana Ishikawa (aka Shi) have a long shared history with Vampirella. The characters have crossed over in stories multiple times, even being written by industry legends Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar. Tucci has done covers for those as well as high profile Vampirella projects including Death & Destruction, Vampirella & the Scarlet Legion and the just collected Roses for the Dead.
Don't miss your chance to get these beautiful exclusive covers! Available for a limited time and in limited quantities on Indiegogo!
09/10/19 @ 9:05 am EST
The Red Sonja Humble Bundle has been a roaring success so far, but we know some folks haven't seen it yet or are still on the fence. So here's the deal... 131 issues, 3,797 pages, all for just $18, with options as low as a buck! That's 95% off a huge haul of digital comics that would normally tally up to almost $350! Get a ton of sweet comics and support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the National Coalition Against Censorship by pushing the total over $50,000! What are you waiting for? Support these great charities and get comics!
Click here! - RED SONJA BUNDLE
The content in the bundle gets you big scoops of Red Sonja from every important era! Maybe you're more of a classic Marvel era fan and love Frank Thorne's sensual art. Or you love that historic return to comics with Dynamite's first She-Devil with a Sword run. Did Gail Simone hook you in with her revolutionary take on the fiery-haired heroine? You might want to check on the recently finished run by upcoming Amazing Mary Jane artist Carlos Gomez. Could even get caught up to right now with the first several issues of Mark Russell's current historical epic-inspired portrayal. But why pick favorites? ALL of these classic stories can be yours! Plus even more!
A portion of all proceeds will be contributed to the charities the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the National Coalition Against Censorship. These organizations serve the important mission of defending writers and artists that face threats of silencing and worse.
As a cherry on top or perhaps the chocolatey core filling, current writer Mark Russell has crafted an in-continuity yet standalone issue-length story which can only be found ...
09/04/19 @ 8:24 pm EST
Dynamite and Humble Bundle announce the launch of a Hyrkanian-sized bundle deal with over 120 digital issues of Red Sonja and supporting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! AND ongoing Red Sonja writer Mark Russell has written a new standalone tale exclusive to Humble Bundle!
The bundle will only be available for a short time, so check it out here! - RED SONJA BUNDLE
Humble Bundle's innovative pricing scale allows fans to pay what they want to fit their budget exactly. Their purchase will fall into one of four tiers, unlocking more and more comics with each tier and including those from the previous ones. At the top tier, one can get the equivalent of 131 issues for only $18, which is 95% off what would normally be approximately a whopping $350! In terms of page count, that all adds up to an insane 3,797 pages of comic books.
Stories from top writers and artists are included in this bundle, including but not limited to Gail Simone, Peter David, Frank Cho, Mike Carey, Amy Chu, Lucio Parrillo, Luke Lieberman, Michael Avon Oeming, Marguerite Bennett, Walter Geovani, Carlos Gomez, Mel Rubi and countless more!
The exclusive story, titled "Petitioning the Queen," is a fun special story of Red Sonja struggling to prepare for a massive war while juggling her other new duties as Queen of Hyrkania. A pair of "magical" dwarves cause havoc in the streets and force Sonja to confront powers far beyond her understanding. It's not to be missed, as story elements here will reverberate in the flagship and something else coming up...
Ongoing Red Sonja writer and multiple Eisner nominee Mark Russell (Wonder Twins, The Flintstones) is joined by co-writer Bryce Ingman (Read More Here
08/29/19 @ 11:45 am EST
Dynamite announces a strengthened licensing deal with creator Joseph Michael Linsner to help celebrate his iconic indie creation Dawn's 30th anniversary!
This bolsters the already strong relationship that Dynamite and Linsner have shared for years. Including the existing Dawn statue, which Linsner's dedicated fans showed out in droves to support. Additionally available this fall in time for the holidays are collections of Linsner's Dynamite published series, collectible promo trading cards and a premium quality giclée print.
Linsner continues to be one of Dynamite's most treasured and fan-favorite cover artists, with ongoing contributions to the Red Sonja flagship series as well as other recent covers for Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Bettie Page. 2014 saw the release of the smash-hit crossover series Dawn/Vampirella, written and drawn by Linsner. The paperback edition of that collection will hit store shelves this November. Together with his writing partner and Vampirella super fan, Kristina Deak-Linsner, he created the critically acclaimed Vampirella: Roses for the Dead limited series which brought the Daughter of Drakulon's cousin Evily the witch back to prominence. The Roses for the Dead hardcover collection released this August.
"I am thrilled to be working with Nick Barrucci and the great folks at Dynamite to help celebrate Dawn’s 30th anniversary," said creator Joseph Michael Linsner. "I’ve known Nick ...
08/29/19 @ 10:52 am EST
Diabolical! Everyone and their mother has watched The Boys on Prime Video by now! If they haven't, they need to get on that ASAP! Dynamite is treating new The Boys fans and those going back over a decade to an avalanche of awesome collectibles and merchandise - just in time for the holiday season!
As the new paperback omnibus editions of The Boys sell like crazy, Dynamite is reprinting them as well as making sure retailers have everything they need to satisfy today's supes-hating Boys. Including trading cards, enamel pins and even some limited edition collectible currency!
Right off the bat, the hotly anticipated fifth omnibus is out right on time for the gift-giving season! The longrunning plot comes to a head in this volume, as the main story reveals backstory on The Boys as an organization and teases the upcoming conflicts. Also included in this book is the essential origin story of Billy Butcher in his spinoff miniseries Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker. Featuring writing front to back by master Garth Ennis and art by co-creator Darick Robertson and co-conspirators John McCrea, Russ Braun and Keith Burns. This penultimate volume is available with a cover by Robertson spotlighting Frenchie or a photo from the show with his crush The Female. Additionally, the first three volumes of The Boys omnibuses art covers are available signed and remarked by artist Darick Robertson, while the photo editions will be available signed by writer Garth Ennis.
On the collectibles front, first are two 7-card sets of trading cards. One features the eponymous Boys squad of Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother's Milk, Frenchie, the Female, The Legend, and Billy's trusty bulldog Terror. In a world where costumed heroes soar through ...
08/29/19 @ 10:45 am EST
Dynamite announces the first collection of Mark Russell's acclaimed run on Red Sonja for release in November.
The volume, titled Scorched Earth, reprints issues 1 through 6 of the currently ongoing series and the Lord of Fools one-shot special. This tale of metal and blood chronicles the She-Devil of the Hyrkanian Steppes through becoming queen of her homeland, political and physical bouts with Dragan the Magnificent of Zamora, the introduction of her nephew Kryon, past and present tangles with supernatural forces and much more!
At nearly 180 meaty pages of storytelling, Scorched Earth is a great value at only $19.99. The creative, editorial and marketing teams all agreed that of course the first entire arc needs to be kept together. Fans are getting a sweet deal on this book to start their collection of these volumes off right!
This story is delivered as only the Eisner-nominated writer Mark Russell (Second Coming, The Flintstones) and artist Mirko Colak (Conan) could deliver. Not to be discounted for their similarly acclaimed contributions are colorist Dearbhla Kelly (The Wild Storm: Michael Cray) and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, Lone Ranger) - also an Eisner-nominated critic by night! Artists Bob Q and Katie O'Meara make additional contributions in the special and in critical flashbacks. The tome is all wrapped up in Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts's breathtaking cover from the second issue.
Writer Mark Russell shared, "What I wanted to do with the first six issues of this story is to show Sonja, not only as somebody who’s good with a sword, but a warrior of the mind as well. Somebody who’s capable of leading people through the darkest danger they’ve ever faced. "
"This first volume (of many!) is designed for the reader that’s familiar with Sonja The Red, ...
08/26/19 @ 1:24 pm EST
Vampirella has dominated the comic book page, and now sets her sights on collectible coins! Dynamite is releasing two unique 4-coin sets, with the exclusive world premiere available through Sideshow. Each coin features a stunning artistic take on Vampirella by top artists Alex Ross, J. Scott Campbell, Stanley "Artgerm" Lau and Lucio Parrillo!
Dynamite's limited-edition coins use an innovative colorization technique over a base of an authentic US John F. Kennedy Half-Dollars, with the original artwork prominently displayed on the obverse side of each coin. Packaged with a full-color Certificate of Authenticity, featuring the artwork of each artist and encased in an acrylic capsule to protect the coin, this currency is in fact legally able to buy a newspaper or bag of chips - but you won't want to do that!
The Vampirella 50th Anniversary Main Set will feature genuine John F. Kennedy Half-Dollars with Vampirella cover art from legendary artists Alex Ross, J. Scott Campbell, Artgerm and Lucio Parrillo. The Vampirella 50th Anniversary Gold Set adds a layer of gold plating in real 24-karat gold to enhance the vivid cover art.
The retail price for the Main 4-coin Set is $79.96 USD per set.
The Gold 4-coin Set is available for $120 USD per set.
To celebrate Vampirella's big 50th anniversary Dynamite is premiering these new collectible coins exclusively through Sideshow.com. Sideshow is one of the leaders in specialty manufacturing and distribution of the most highly sought-after licensed and original collectible products, and Dynamite is thrilled that Sideshow is premiering these limited edition coins.
"In our 15-year history, Dynamite has always strived to offer fans not only the highest quality comic books, but also collectibles of all types," said Nick ...
08/22/19 @ 2:35 pm EST
Dynamite announces the second entry in Pierce Brown's Red Rising: Sons of Ares graphic novel trilogy - Volume 2: Wrath!
Creator Pierce Brown returns for this entry, alongside co-writer Rik Hoskin (Brandon Sanderson's White Sand) and artist Eli Powell (Yakuza Demon Killers). Toby Cypress (Omega Men, The White Suits) contributes another beautiful cover. Rounding out the team are colorist Dee Cunniffe (The Wicked + The Divine, Paper Girls) and letterer Tom Napolitano (Justice League, Aquaman, Red Sonja). Brown's cosmic tapestry expands further in this chapter continuing the prequel to the New York Times bestselling novel series. Fitchner's quest for revenge continues as he and the Sons of Ares seek out the Golds who have wronged his family. Though their actions will come with repercussions and a back and forth will evolve into battles and the seeds of revolution.
The Red Rising saga depicts a future wherein mankind has explored and expanded across the cosmos. The ruling class has established a rigid caste system based on colors to stratify society, with "Golds" at the top. The eponymous first novel follows the tribulations of a Red joining a resistance movement and infiltrating Gold society to dismantle the entire system. The Sons of Ares graphic novels build the foundation for those threads by depicting the beginnings of their titular rebel organization.
"I’m excited to reunite with Rik to further expand the world of Red Rising, and to see Eli render the seething cities and mythical violence of the Society with his savage inks," said creator and writer Pierce Brown. "This is a tale of madmen and romantics. Fortunately, I’ve got two of the best to help me tell it."
"It's been a pleasure to return to the Red Rising world, with Pierce once again steering the ...
08/22/19 @ 2:12 pm EST
Dynamite announces the next epic chapter in the comic book chronicles of the legendary rock band, KISS: Zombies!
After all, what can possibly happen after "The End" than a full-blown zombie apocalypse? That is the screwed up status quo that writer Ethan Sacks (Old Man Hawkeye, Star Wars) and artist Rodney Buchemi (Death of Hawkman) will tackle in this new limited series. Assisted on colors and letters by Dijjo Lima (Assassin's Creed, Doc Savage) and Troy Peteri (Amazing Spider-Man, Witchblade).
Picking up decades after the fall of civilization, humans are now an endangered species isolated to strongholds such as the central New Detroit. These undead are attracted to sound, so music and all related iconography have been banned. Especially that of the greatest band in history. However, a group of teenagers are not going to live this way and set out on a quest to track down KISS! Who may ultimately be the ultimate weapon to turn the tide against the zombies! Sacks has described the series as a cocktail of Land of the Dead, A Quiet Place, Seven Samurai and even Footloose!
This marks the first comic book work for Sacks outside of Marvel, where he's expanded the "Old Man" franchise to Hawkeye and Star-Lord to much critical and fan acclaim. He's got history with the band though, through his previous career as a journalist.
"In my two and a half decades as an entertainment journalist, one of my most proud achievements was interviewing Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley for a 40th anniversary retrospective of KISS," said writer Ethan Sacks. "After all, this was a band that had provided the soundtrack for much of my life, and their eerie black and white makeup aesthetic seared itself in my brain during my childhood when ...