“I’m Talking About…” Shaft’s Upcoming New Comic Book

shaft 1It’s true, almost 45 years after his initial appearance on silver screens, the black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks will be getting his own comic book. Courtesy of publisher Dynamite Entertainment, writer David F. Walker and artist Bilquis Evely, the first issue of Shaft is scheduled for release in December of this year.

The character of John Shaft first appeared in a 1970 novel by writer Earnest Tidyman. The novel was adapted into a screenplay by Tidyman and co-screenwriter John D.F. Black, and the film version of Shaft hit American theaters in July of 1971.

An immediate hit, mostly due to Richard Roundtree’s sharp performance and Isaac Hayes’ unforgettable score – including the iconic theme song, which people who most likely haven’t even seen the film will instantly recognize, the movie while not the first “blaxploitation” film certainly popularized the genre, and was one of only three profitable movies released by MGM in 1971, taking in 13 million dollars on a reported budget of $500,000.

According to a press release by Dynamite, the new comic series will be a prequel to the movie, exploring the character’s origins and his adventures before what we see in the film. On his website, Walker states that the book is being written “with the help and the blessing of his [Ernest Tidyman’s] widow, Chris Clark-Tidyman”.

Walker also says that

My take on Shaft is steeped in Tidyman’s work, and builds on the world created in the original novels. I’m exploring who he is as a man, as a private detective, and as a cold-blooded killer. This John Shaft is much grittier, more badass, with a complexity never seen in the films. The name may be familiar, and some aspects of the character may be recognizable, but at the end of the day, he will be something new and exciting – especially in the world of comics. This is Shaft the way Shaft was meant to be.

As a long-time fan of 70s films and of the blaxploitation genre, I must say I’m quite interested to see where Walker will take the character, and am looking forward to checking this out come December.


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