David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely's Shaft: A Complicated Man was one of the best comics of the past couple of years. Focused on the first case for the legendary private eye, it was the origin story that I never knew I wanted, an engaging and very, very personal revenge case that set the stage for the character in a brutal and highly entertaining way and left me wanting to read a whole lot more.

Fortunately, that's exactly what we're going to get. Today, Dynamite announced that Walker would not only return to Shaft with Imitation of Life, a new comic with artist Dietrich Smith, he'll also be writing Shaft's Revenge, the first new prose novel about the character in over forty years.


Shaft designs by Dietrich Smith


Imitation of Life, the new six-issue comic book miniseries, has a premise that's already amazing. Here it is, courtesy of Dynamite's PR:

After a high-profile case puts him in the headlines, private detective John Shaft searches for something low-profile to keep him out of the spotlight and out of danger… and takes a missing person case that proves to be more difficult than he 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 about, John Shaft won't cop out - even if it means squaring off against sadistic gangsters that want him dead.

The idea of the "real" Shaft working on the movie version of Shaft is pretty fantastic.

As for Shaft's Revenge, the story was originally serialized as a digital download that was available to readers of Dynamite's first miniseries via a QR code, but its upcoming release represents the first time that it will be available in print:

When the Godfather of crime in Harlem reaches out to Shaft for a favor, the hardboiled detective finds himself caught in a web of violence and murder. No one is safe as the bullets start to fly and the bodies start to drop, leaving Shaft with only two options: kill or be killed. It's a two-fisted tale of retribution as Shaft cuts a bloody path through city, settling old scores and faces the demons of his past.

"My goal in writing Shaft's Revenge was to craft a hard-boiled work of pulp fiction that would honor the character created by Ernest Tidyman, as well as introduce him to new fans," says Walker. "For those that are already familiar with the exploits of John Shaft, I hope this new book is like a reunion with an old friend."

Both projects are set for a release in February 2016 to coincide with Black History Month.