Behind the Shadows: Eye of Stone

In this latest edition of’Behind the Shadows’ where we take a look at some of the Unseen Shadows projects a little more closely. Today’s the turn of comic ‘Eye of Stone’ and here to take us into the shadows is its writer Cy Dethan.

By my count, Eye of Stone is the fourth of my five scripting journeys into the Unseen Shadows, but it’s probably safe to say it’s the one I’ve been working on the longest.

For me, the character of Napoleon Stone is the Unseen Shadow at the heart of Barry Nugent’s occult-noir universe – a powerful fulcrum whose influence can be felt even in his absence, in the shapes and currents of the stories that form around him. Teacher, peacekeeper and weapon of last resort, his existence has galvanised bitter enemies into unwise alliances against him and reunited estranged brothers to fight by his side.

So… no pressure, then.

When Barry first approached me with the idea of writing expanded universe material for Unseen Shadows, Stone was one of the options he presented. Although I took a circuitous route via the Reverend and Bob Kelsey one-shots, characters I’d loved from the original novel, Napoleon Stone has been embedded in everything I’ve written for the project from the outset. The understanding of The Reverend that drove me through Wrath of God was grounded in the way Stone psychologically dissects him in Fallen Heroes. The Broken Heart cult that I devised for The Immaculate Abortion of Dina Leigh (and then returned to in Blood Cries Out and Eye of Stone), owes its political organisation and strategies almost entirely to the awe in which it holds the “Demon Stalker”. In fact, if you’re writing for Unseen Shadows at all, the hand of Napoleon Stone can probably be felt somewhere in infrastructure of your work.

Eye of Stone itself is designed both to shine a light on Napoleon and to preserve the central mystery he represents. I wanted to get inside the character’s workings a bit, but to emphasise the way his very existence informs the world he operates in. The Broken Heart’s predisposition toward the search for “saviours” made them a good fit for the one-shot, and having them find a relic of the Demon Stalker’s former life seemed like a strong frame for a story about his origins to hang in. At the same time, it provided an opportunity to demonstrate the sheer weight of the man’s influence in the radical upheaval a single encounter with him brings. The Children of the Heart fall and the Broken Heart is born.

While the backstory offered in Eye of Stone is neither exhaustive nor necessarily reliable, I’d like to think it does at least argue one point: that the best measure of stature is not the height you stand from the ground, but the length of the shadow you cast.

Eye of Stone will be out soon later n the year as part of the third Unseen Shadows comics anthology.

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Cy Dethan

Behind the Shadows: The Heart Which Makes Us

In this latest Behind the Shadows Lizzie Boyle talks about her work on the upcoming Unseen Shadows graphic novel ‘The Heart Which Makes Us’ and its heroine Kathryn Monroe.

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You know that moment when you open a box of chocolates and you don’t know which one to have first? That’s how it felt when Barry asked if I would write for Unseen Shadows.

“Choose a character,” he said, “and write the story you want.”

There are so many great characters in the Unseen Shadows universe, but – as if instinctively reaching for the orange cream among the chocolates – I knew which one was for me.

Kathryn Monroe.

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Behind the Shadows: Knights of Cademus

In this latest look at what’s going on in the world of Unseen Shadows we take a walk down a darker path with Virgil Yendell as he takes us through his work on the recently completed story ‘Knights of Cademus’ which will feature in the third Unseen Shadows trilogy.

Writing the Knights of Cademus

Finding Barry Nugent’s Unseen Shadows project at Thought Bubble one year, I was immediately intrigued by the modern take on the fantasy/pulp themes, and the different ways of accessing the story gave so much potential. After making my way through all the Unseen Shadows material I began to get a view of the mixed angles and characters from which to approach the Unseen Shadows world. In amongst the main and supporting characters that were already central to the novel and associated graphic novels I saw a chance to chase and expand on an idea I’d seen other writers touch on before. I pitched it to Barry and he gave me the green light to start work on the Knights of Cademus story.

There’s more to it but essentially the Knight of Cademus are Star Trek red shirts for the bad guys (as Barry would say) or are the Putties from Power Rangers (as my partner would say). They are the cannon fodder, the anonymous henchmen of the big bad. The red shirts have been the focus of their own novel by John Scalzi looking at how they view their cannon fodder status etc Grant Morrison paid his dues to his anonymous henchmen in The Invisibles series with a swan song story about the life that would lead someone into such a role. I loved Grant Morrison’s take and we have a few nods to it in our story but I also wanted to do more. I wanted to know how an army deals with the losses these henchmen always face in such stories. How do they deal with it personally and as strategic force? How is such a force developed?
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