Preview of artwork for Shaft: Imitation of Life #1

Comic Book Resources have put up an exclusive preview of 5 pages of artwork from the upcoming Shaft: Imitation of Life written by David F Walker. The artwork, by Dietrich Smith, seems to depict the conclusion from Ernest Tidyman’s novel Shaft, where Shaft rescues Beatrice Persons from her Mafia kidnappers. The first issue of this second series is due out from Dynamite Entertainment on 3 February.

Details and cover for Shaft: Imitation of Life Part 2

Shaft-Imitation-02-Cov-A-ClarkeThe Bleeding Cool website has published details of the Part 2 of Shaft: Imitation of Life, David F. Walker’s new Shaft comic book series. The cover A for Part 2 is again courtesy of Matthew Clark and the blurb reads as follows:

Having grown tired of dangerous cases that lead to violence, private detective John Shaft decides it’s time to earn some easy money. His first job? Working as a consultant on a film about a black private dick. Award-winning author David F. Walker (Cyborg, Power Man & Iron Fist) proudly delivers the second chapter, entitled “Easy Money”, of the hard-hittin’, tough-talkin’ John Shaft’s latest case!

Part 2 is due out on 9 March, with Part 1 set for release on 3 February.

David Walker talks Shaft: Imitation of Life

David Walker was recently interviewed by Byron Brewer for Bleeding Cool about the new Shaft comic book series Imitation of Life for which the first issue is due out on 3 February 2016.

Sample letteringIn the interview Walker says: “Shaft is still in a bad place mentally following the case he worked in the original Tidyman novel—which is detailed in the first issue. He needs to get back to work, and he takes a missing persons case that he knows probably can’t be solved, but is easy money.”

For this series Walker is working with a different artist for this particular series, with Dietrich Smith replacing Bilquis Evely, of whom he says: “Dietrich has a much grittier style, and it serves the story and the character, because John Shaft is in a much grittier place.”

Walker also recently posted some samples of the original ink work and his own lettering (see above) to his Twitter site.

Shaft: Imitation of Life issue #1 cover unveiled

Shaft-Imitation-01-Cov-A-ClarkeA preview of the Matthew Clark’s prime cover for Shaft: Imitation of Life #1 (of 4), sub-titled Part One: Before and After has been released by Dynamite Entertainment along with the following blurb:

After a high profile case that put him in the headlines, private detective John Shaft is looking for something low profile and easy that will keep him out of the spotlight and out of danger. Shaft takes a missing person case that proves to be more difficult than he initially thought. At the same time, he is hired to be a consultant on a low budget film that may or may not be based on his life, and proves to be as dangerous as any job he’s ever had. But when there’s danger all about, John Shaft is the cat that won’t cop out — even if it means squaring off against sadistic gangsters that want him dead.

The second Shaft comic book series is again written by David F. Walker with art work this time in the hands of Dietrich Smith. Issue #1 is due for publication in February 2016 alongside Walker’s novel, Shaft’s Revenge.

Graphic Novel Review – SHAFT: A COMPLICATED MAN (2015)

SHAFT: A COMPLICATED MAN (28 October 2015, Dynamite Entertainment, 176pp) ∗∗∗∗∗
Shaft Created by Ernest Tidyman
Written and Lettered by David F. Walker
Illustrated by Bilquis Evely
Coloured by Daniela Miwa
Cover by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz
Collection Design by Geoff Harkins

BlurbWho’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine with all the chicks? Shaft! (You’re damn right!) Created by author Ernest Tidyman and made famous in a series of novels and films, iconic hero Shaft makes his graphic novel 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? Recently arriving home from his tour of duty in Vietnam, his first case – tracking down a missing person for his girlfriend – quickly turns into a matter of life and death, making him a target of gangsters and the police!

This trade paperback release of David F. Walker’s 6-part Shaft comic book is well presented. I have reviewed the comic book through each individual issue, so I will not repeat that here other than suffice to say this is a must for Shaft fans and comic book fans alike. Extras include Bilquis Evely’s Shaft profile designs; alternative covers as well as a potential cover drawn by Walker; script page extracts and accompanying final panel versions; and cover variant artwork for each of the original issues.

A second series of comic books, Shaft: Imitation of Life, has already been commissioned and Walker has his novel, Shaft’s Revenge, published in February next year.

Shaft: A Complicated Man – Trade paperback released today

The trade paperback version of David F Walker’s 6-part Shaft comic book series, with art by Bilquis Evely, was released today. Alongside the comic book there are an introduction by Shawn Taylor, character sketches, a look at the making of the series, a complete cover gallery featuring art by Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Francesco Francavilla, Sanford Greene, and more.

Early reviews are also in…

“Overall this is an excellent contribution to Shaft’s legacy. More than just a tie-in to what’s already been established, it actually enhances the character by giving him a well-developed origin story. What might be the most surprising thing about A Complicated Man is how good it actually is.” – BigComicPage.com (read full review).

“This is a straight-forward R-rated type of drama with excellent artwork from Bilquis Evely, and a book very much deserving of attention. It’s realistic but still very artistic, with some great city scenery making for the perfect backdrop and really nice depictions of the various characters that inhabit it. There’s a depth to the illustrations that suit the dark ‘R-rated’ storytelling style Walker employs and the coloring from Daniela Miwa gives things the right sort of seventies flavor that a good Shaft story needs.” – Todd Jordan and Ian Jane, RockShockPop.com (read full review)

“Most Shaft stories have him already pretty well established, but I definitely thought this fit as a strong origin story for the character. You can tell David Walker has a lot of respect for the character, and a strong desire to make him into a complex, heroic figure. He managed to pull it off brilliantly.” – Mike Maillaro, CriticalBlast.com (read full review)

Shaft #2 Preview on Google Books

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#3 Cover Art CowanShaft#2 snippet

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.