More reviews of Shaft #4

Shaft04-1-859fdReviews continue to be largely positive toward the Shaft comic book series, which has now seen four of the initial six-part tale released. Here are some of the latest:-

Dan Pennacchia, “One of the most understated aspects of Shaft is the art direction and set design of the series. Evely does an absolutely stunning job depicting New York City in this era. The backgrounds are never simply shaped around the characters. Instead, the setting always feels as considered as the facial expressions on the leads. Shaft #4 brings readers back into the world through a return to Harlem, as John reflects on the city and his history with his hometown.” (4/5)

Gary Quigley, “Walker does an effective job in portraying the younger version of everyone’s favourite no nonsense Detective, John Shaft. Enough here to please loyal fans and those who are less familiar with the character.” (3/5)

Aaron Halverson, “The story and the art are solid, even if it has been… inspired by other, better, stories.  If you haven’t read those other stories but are a fan of gritty ‘urban’ stories (I hesitate to use the word Blaxploitation since that implies a bit of a camp element that this does not contain, it takes itself very seriously) then there is a lot here for you.” (3/5)

Comic Book Review – SHAFT #3 (2015)

IMG_0492SHAFT #3 (4 February 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 Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ivan Nunes

Shaft has been arrested under suspicion of the murder of his girlfriend, Arletha Havens and one of Sal Venneri’s men. Shaft’s boss, Butch Buchinsky, persuades Lt Vic Anderozzi to let Shaft back on the streets to track down the real killers and Arletha’s former flatmate, Marisol Dupree, is the key.

This issue sees the series continue to meet the excellent standard set by the first two. There is some intriguing use of the construction of the World Trade Center as a setting and the plot thickens as Shaft goes head to head with the syndicate looking to track down Marisol. We’re at the half-way point in the series and it will be interesting to see where Walker leads us having set up the characters and Shaft’s motives for getting involved.

Part 3 of Walker’s novel Shaft’s Revenge is available as a QR download and Walker also supplies another eclectic playlist including Telly Savalas’ “Who Loves Ya Baby.”

Shaft #3 Review Round-up

Shaft03-Cov-B-FrancavillaSome positive early reviews are in for the third issue of David Walker and Bilquis Evely’s Shaft comic book: “Shaft continues to be a great read, one that should have a steadily growing fan base, because if you’re not reading this you’re crazier than he is. It’s going to hit the fan really soon when Shaft confronts Arletha’s killers, and I can’t wait to see the blast radius.” (8/10) “So this is another solid issue, which reads like an illustrated crime novel. There’s also a sequence where we read Shaft’s inner-thoughts about Arletha, who he cared for more than he wanted to admit. Since this series is basically “Shaft Begins,” I think we’re seeing the reason behind Shaft’s legendary Ladies Man attitude, what happened to Arletha and how it effects him must be what made him wary of emotional attachments going forward. It’s very insightful. And, as always, I continue to enjoy Bilquis Evely’s artwork on this title.” (A) “It’s a solid book but it’s hard to retain.  It’s kind of like vanilla pudding, which is ironic given that the character is anything but vanilla pudding.  I read this and it just kind of passed through me, not in a bad way, just kind of like a ghost.  It was there and then it was gone and I had to keep referring back to it as I wrote this because there just wasn’t a lot of meat on these bones.  I’m curious to see how it plays out though, I’m not dying to see what happens next but if it’s available next month I might pick it up.” (3/5)

Shaft #3 out today

IMG_0492The third issue of David Walker and Bilquis Evely’s Shaft comic book series is out today from Dynamite Entertainment.

Blurb: John Shaft didn’t go looking for trouble; it came looking for him, and in the process, a lot of people died. 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.

As usual my copy will arrive in a week or so and I will post a review then.

Shaft #3 – first review

IMG_0492Nerd Span has published an advanced review by Keith Hendricks of the third Shaft comic book written by David Walker with art by Bilquis Evely.

In his review the Hendricks notes: “Shaft #3 is an exemplary model for TV shows and movies looking to make the leap to the comic book medium. It’s also a great story, with heart and feeling that have enough staying power not only to get in your head but to be remembered later.”

Shaft #3 will be published on 4 February 2015.

Comic Book Review – SHAFT #2 (2015)

Shaft #2 CoverSHAFT #2 (7 January 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 Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ivan Nunes

The second issue follows John Shaft as he starts his career as a private detective working for National Investigation and Security Services. He is immediately assigned to work undercover in a department store to apprehend shoplifters. In doing so he draws the attention of Arletha Havens. The couple quickly build up a close relationship, but when two hoods come searching for Arletha’s former flatmate, Marisol Dupree, Shaft is drawn into a search that will end in multiple deaths.

This second issue continues the excellent standard set by Shaft #1. Walker has mined Shaft’s background from Tidyman’s novels and fleshed out the story. By adding a love interest and a tragedy, Walker lights the fuel under Shaft’s anger with a cliffhanger finale and sets him on a road for revenge. The artwork is again mostly excellent with its endearing retro feel taking us back to the late 1960s. The result is a comic that will delight enthusiasts of Ernest Tidyman’s novels.

Part 2 of Walker’s novel Shaft’s Revenge is available as a QR download and Walker also supplies another fantastic playlist.

Shaft #2 released today

Shaft #2 CoverThe second issue of David Walker and Bilquis Evely’s Shaft comic book is released today. A couple of early reviews are already in and are just as positive as those for Shaft #1.

David Melton at Coming Up Comics says, “This is Walker’s rendition of the well-known story, and it’s fantastic.”

Jimi Longmuir at The Big Comic Page say, “In short, everyone is earning their cheques on Shaft #2 so I would gladly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the genre and of comics in general.”

I will post my review when my copy arrives from Forbidden Planet, which will likely be in about a week’s time.

Comic Book Review – SHAFT #1 (2014)

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

Shaft01-Cov-A-Cowan-cfb1c (1)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.

Shaft's RevengeThis 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 Comic Book released today

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:-

STK658012Cover 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?

Shaft's RevengeCoverThe 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 the Bleeding 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.