SHAFT #6 (20 May 2015, 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 Bill Sienkiewicz
David Walker’s excellent prequel to Ernest Tidyman’s Shaft comes to an action-packed conclusion as Shaft goes head to head with the killers of his girlfriend, Arletha. Walker has deftly managed the mixture of plot and character development as we see Shaft finally transform into the self-confident and angry man of Tidyman’s novels. He has managed his “origins” tale with skill and created a colourful cast of supporting characters. The artwork by Bilquis Evely has been exquisite and she has captured the spirit of late 1960s Manhattan. The series has been a triumph and a credit to Walker’s determination to re-introduce a beloved cultural icon to a modern audience.
It remains to be seen what next for the character under Dynamite’s stewardship. There is still Walker’s novella, Shaft’s Revenge, serialised to readers of the comic-book via QR code to be released in paperback. There is also the promised re-print of all seven of Tidyman’s original Shaft novels. However, Walker has moved on to DC and a new comic book series featuring Cyborg and continues to pursue his many interests. Time will tell, but with interest in the franchise increasing through Dynamite’s and in particular Walker’s foresight and with John Shaft due to hit the big screen again in New Line’s planned re-launch, the future should be rosy.