A preview of the second Shaft comic book, due to be published on 7 January 2015 is available on Google Books. The preview also highlights author David Walker’s playlist and a look at the cover art for Shaft #3 by Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz & Ivan Nunes (below right), which will be published on 4 February 2015.
SHAFT #1(3 December 2014, Dynamite Entertainment) ∗∗∗∗∗ Shaft Created by Ernest Tidyman Written and Lettered by David F. Walker Illustrated by Bilquis Evely Coloured by Daniela Miwa Cover A by Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ivan Nunes
I’m not a regular reader of comic books – I own a handful of graphic novels and compilations of such newspaper comic strips as James Bond, Garth and Modesty Blaise – but being a huge fan of Shaft I was excited to hear about the launch of this series. It is not widely known that Tidyman himself did plan to launch a daily Shaft newspaper strip in 1972/3, but failed to secure interest from the syndicates. I will be covering this in a chapter of my book The Complete Guide to Shaft. David Walker’s new comic book series, courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment, is therefore the first representation of John Shaft in comic form.
David Walker is also a Shaft fanatic and he has done Ernest Tidyman’s creation justice with this “origins” story set before Tidyman’s first novel. Walker calls on the snippets of Shaft’s history referenced in the books – his Harlem foster parent childhood, his service in Vietnam where he also boxed – and built them into a re-introduction to the character for a new readership. The plot is geared around a boxing match, which Shaft is expected to throw. When Shaft refuses he incurs the wrath of the fixer, Junius Tate who works for Harlem gangster Knocks Persons and Italian gangster, Mr. Sal. We are also introduced to Shaft’s former mentor, Bamma Brooks, who now works as Tate’s strong arm man.
This issue is primarily designed to set up the circumstances leading to Shaft becoming a private detective and does an admirable job of this. The art work by Bilquis Evely is beautifully detailed, notably the snowy street scenes. She has made Shaft’s likeness close to Tidyman’s description in the novels rather than base him on Richard Roundtree. Walker’s script and lettering is economical and wonderfully captures the essence of Tidyman’s John Shaft, whilst delving deeper into his psyche. All this makes for a first issue offering great promise for the series ahead.
As a bonus readers can download via a QR code the first few chapters of Walker’s prose novella, Shaft’s Revenge, which is set between Shaft’s Big Score! and Shaft Has a Ball. The remaining chapters will follow over the next five issues and the full book will be published in Spring 2015. Walker also suggests and eclectic playlist featuring artists as diverse as Curtis Mayfield and AC/DC.
Shaft #1 written by David Walker with art by Bilquis Evely is published today. The 32-page comic is available in a variety of covers:-
Cover A Main: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz (right)
Cover B Variant: Francesco Francavilla
Cover C Variant: Michael Avon Oeming
Cover D Variant: Ulises Farinas
Cover E Variant: Matt Haley
Dynamite’s publicity reads: Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine with all the chicks? Shaft! Created by author Ernest Tidyman, and made famous in a series of novels and films, iconic hero Shaft makes his comic book debut in an all-new adventure. He’s gone toe-to-toe with organized crime bosses, stood up to the cops, squared off against kidnappers, and foiled assassination attempts. But who was John Shaft before he became the hardboiled investigator with a reputation as big as New York City itself?
The comic also includes a free download of part one (of six) on Walker’s novella Shaft’s Revenge. A link to a download can be obtained at theBleeding Cool website.
The first reviews are in and ComicBookRoundUp collects these in the same way Metacritic does for films. As of today the comic has an average rating of 8.9/10 from 7 reviews being amongst the highest rated of the week’s releases so far.
Comicosity says: “I did not consider myself the target demographic for this story, but I found myself in love by the ending credits. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves characters with depth and a taste for realistic plots.” awarding a rating of 8/10.
RhymesWithGeek says: “First issues are often either heavy on action or build up a foundation of characters and situations on which to tell future chapters. Shaft #1 does both so well and with such assured art, that it should be used as a reference for creators planning out their debut comics.”
My copy will be winging its way across the Atlantic with the Christmas post, but as soon as I receive and read it I will post my review.
Covers by Francesco Francavilla and Sanford Greene for the third issue of Dynamite’s Shaft comic book series written by David Walker and due out on 4 February 2015 have been released.
Blurb for the issue gives an exciting summary of the plot: Devastated by the murder of a friend, Shaft wants answers and revenge-though not necessarily in that order. With vengeance on his mind and cold steel in his hand, Shaft finds himself caught up in a brewing gang war that threatens to consume the city. Everyone from the Mafia to the police wants Shaft to do their dirty work, but no one realizes that’s all part of his plan.
Each of Dynamite Entertainment’s six Shaft comic books penned by David F. Walker will contain a download link, via a QR reader, to a short novel by Walker entitled Shaft’s Revenge. This is the first original prose work to feature Ernest Tidyman’s creation since the original books went out of print in the late 1970s.
As yet there are no details of plot or setting, but Walker’s desire to portray his Shaft in line with the character seen in Tidyman’s novels suggests fans of the books are in for a treat. Shaft #1 comic book is on sale on 3 December 2014 and #2 on 14 January.
Google have published preview pages from Shaft #1 in their Books section.
Denys Cowan has published cover art he has worked on with Bill Sienkiewicz for Dynamite Entertainments second issue of Shaft, their new comic book series based on Ernest Tidyman’s novels. Issue #2 goes on sale on 14 January 2015.
Dynamite Entertainment have updated their site promoting the first edition of the Shaft comic book, due to be published on 3 December 2014. The sample panels show Shaft in a boxing bout and also flashbacks to his service in Vietnam.
David Walker has been doing the promotional rounds talking about his new comic book series featuring John Shaft. A couple of podcasts – one with Publishers Weekly and another with Cold Beer and Comics give Walker the opportunity to talk about his work on the books and his enthusiasm for Ernest Tidyman’s novels, which are the basis for the stories Walker is developing.
The series is due to kick-off from Dynamite Entertainment on 3 December with six issues in total planned to date.