Next month, the world's most famous fictional Private Dick / Sex Machine / Bad MotherSHUTYOURMOUTH will make his first-ever appearance on comic shop shelves, when Dynamite Entertainment releases the premiere issue of Shaft, by the creative team of David Walker and Bilquis Evely. And while John Shaft is a well known figure to moviegoers and soul music listeners worldwide, this title promises to focus on the rough-and-tumble version of the character that originated in Ernest Tidyman's series of novels. We spoke to series writer Walker about the character's long history in multiple media, and his plans for the comic incarnation.
There's a funny thing about superhero movies: Structurally speaking, they're fundamentally different from superhero comics, just by the very nature of how they're presented to the public. Or at least, they used to be. Until fairly recently, the appeal of comics had always been in the continuity, the ongoing sagas that built on each other and were designed to run indefinitely as a long-form narrative. The movies -- even when they were designed to kickstart a run of sequels -- were always meant to be self-contained stories.
That's flipped around the other way over the past ten years or so, with comics often looking to provide low-continuity, self-contained stories to readers picking up paperbacks and hardcovers even as the movies build billion-dollar franchises by creating a shared universe that stretches across multiple forms of media. It's no surprise, then, that if you really want to see where that trend got its start, you can trace it back to Batman '89 and the influence that came to the comics when screenwriter Sam Hamm was tapped to craft a story for Detective Comics #600 and provided the blueprint for the modern Batman event in the process.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Last week it was revealed that the 27 pages of missing Denys Cowan comic art, believed by some to have been stolen, was finally returned to the artist. A short time later, Stephen Bissette -- the artist best known for his seminal work with Alan Moore and John Totleben on Saga of the Swamp Thing -- obliquely connected the Cowan news to an anecdote of his and Totleben's own, concerning Swamp Thing pages that had gone missing from the offices of DC Comics 30 years ago. Bissette posted about the story on Facebook, and when pressed for more information, stated that he and Cowan once had a conversation about the missing Swamp Thing work, and that Cowan implied he was aware of who had stolen the art. According to Bissette, when he and Totleben asked him to reveal who was behind the purported theft, Cowan refused.
Cowan was made aware of the accusations, and calls them baseless, stating in no uncertain terms that no such conversation between the creators about missing Swamp Thing art ever took place. Further, Cowan accused Bissette of slander, and suggested that, should Bissette's claims continue, he may take legal action.
Denys Cowan's missing art is back where it belongs.
Last month it was revealed that Milestone co-founders Michael Davis and Cowan had shipped 28 pages of original art by Cowan to the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, to be included in the “Milestones: African Americans In Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond" exhibit opening in December. But when the package arrived, 27 pages were missing, and it was the belief of many, most notably Davis, that the art had been stolen. But Cowan has announced that all 28 pages have now been returned to him, though some are not in the condition they were in when they were sent out.
Earlier this month, Milestone co-founders Denys Cowan and Michael Davis shipped 28 pages of Cowan's original art to the Geppi Entertainment Museum, to be included in the "Milestones: African Americans In Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond" exhibit being set up at the Baltimore museum. But when the package arrived, it was discovered that 27 pages of art were missing, which Davis believes were stolen while in transit.
I've been black since the day I was born, reading comics since before I could properly read, writing about comics since 2005, writing about the intersection of race and comics since 2006, and purposefully writing about the intersection of race and comics since 2007. I spent February 2008