Update on New Line’s Shaft reboot… a comedy !!!???

According to a report today states that New Line intend to have a “much more comedic tone” to their Shaft reboot, bringing on board writers Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow. This is a huge disappointment to fans of the character who had hoped for a treatment sympathetic to Ernest Tidyman’s creation.

David F Walker, who made Shaft’s return to the printed page in the recent comic book series and the novel Shaft’s Revenge (the first since The Last Shaft in 1975) has written an open letter to New Line protesting at their proposed approach. I would urge any fans of Shaft and of cinema in general to support his letter and Twitter campaign.

A creatively bankrupt Hollywood strikes again.

Comic Book Review – SHAFT #6

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

Shaft #6David 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.

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.