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.

EyeOfStonePage09

 

Cy Dethan

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Eye of Stone Pencils Finished

We’ve made great progress on another of our upcoming comics. This time it’s Eye of Stone, the story of how Demon Stalker Napoleon Stone lost his eye! It’s not going to be a nice, light, fluffy story from Cy Dethan, you can expect bloody squelchy bits and the odd monster. Plus… EYEBALLS!

Pencils of pages 2 and 3 are from our phenomenal artist Heather L Sheppard.

EYE_OF_STONE_0002

EYE_OF_STONE_0003

We’ll also have an exclusive video coming soon of Heather drawing page 11 from the book. A great one for all you budding artists, out there to see her technique up close in real time. We’ll let you know when it’s available.

Cy Dethan Finishes Script for ‘Whatever the Cost’

I’m pleased to announce that Cy Dethan, who has already penned four comic scripts for Unseen Shadows, has not only agreed to tackle a fifth but the script is already complete.

‘Whatever the Cost’ is a story centred around Luther Washington, who is an agent of T.O.R.C.H. Luther will be no stranger to those who have read the novel as he is one of the major players in the story. In Cy’s script we see Luther on a mission which goes somewhat awry and forces him to take a long hard look at the choices he has made.

Nic Wilkinson, Cy’s partner in crime will be handling the lettering duties and Sara Westrop will be over seeing the project as its editor. We are however still looking for an artist and colourist for the project. If you’re interested in getting involved then please check the submission pages for further details.

 

 

Behind the Shadows: Prose to Script to Comic Page – Wrath of God ‘ A Dark Hero’s Rebirth’

Last week saw the digital release of Wrath of God on ComiXology but what some of you may not know is the Reverend, the two gun wielding vigilante who stars in the comic, made his debut within the pages of the Fallen Heroes prose novel. I thought it might be interesting to give you a little insight on one of the pivotal scenes from the comic and its relationship to the novel.

The Rebirth

reverend

When Jonathan Bishop aka The Reverend  awakens from his coma with a new face  it was one the most important scenes for the character in Fallen Heroes and yet most people have never read the scene. I cut it from the final draft because I was scared that by revealing too much of the Reverend’s past it would diminish the mythic quality I was trying to instill in  the character.

Cy Dethan who wrote the script for the Wrath of God comic was the first person I let read the  scene and the moment he read it it gave him the central themes he wanted to explore with the Reverend.

The subject of the Reverend’s training is never address in the novel because it was not needed to be. I wanted The Reverend to arrive  immersed in his crusade and at the top of his game. Now, however, I have the wonderful luxury of being able to say to people “If you want to know how he was trained and learn more about his past then here’s Wrath of God.” this notion of making the comics 100% canon as far as novels are concerned has been something that has become more and more embedded with each new Unseen Shadows project.

What we get in Wrath of God is Cy doing a brilliant job of expanding on the Reverend’s past without diminishing any of the power or mystery of the character. It was also a delicate balancing act because we wanted a story that could stand alone and apart from the novel but at the same time reward readers of both. For me personally it was great to work with Cy on fleshing out the Reverend’s past and answering a few of the questions I never tackled while working on the novel.

Here’s  Cy had to say about how he see’s the Reverend.

“To me, the Reverend represents the purest form of personal commitment – an implacable crusader with every outward trace of humanity literally burned away. No act is too monstrous or sacrifice too great in pursuit of his understanding of justice. I needed to know what could do this to a man, and whether the madness was always in him. Hopefully, we’ve gone some way toward answering those questions in Wrath of God.”

reviscoming

The Prose

So without further ado here’s the original scene  from Fallen Heroes.

Irene had talked one of the other nurses into making her rounds for her, and now here she was for the first time in the restricted wing.  She admitted to not being very impressed; a couple of armed guards and that was about it. She walked gingerly into the room where the unknown patient was being kept. It was hospital policy to check on all patients, even those under government protection.  He was just laying there, his face hidden behind a thick layer of bandages.  There was no doubt in her mind that he was still in a coma; feeling a little cheated by the anti-climax, she moved to the door.

“Maria.”

Too shocked to speak, Irene slowly turned round to find the patient she thought comatose now sitting bolt upright, his unusual eyes, the only hint of what lay under the bandages, scrutinising her every movement.

“What day is it?” he asked, his voice no more than a whisper, but for some reason, it sent shivers through her, and the desire to be anywhere else but here was foremost in her mind.

“It’s…It’s…Sunday,” Irene stammered.  “Sunday the third of September.”

The patient sighed heavily and slowly climbed out of his bed.  “I am alive,” he said, staring out of the window.

The urge to run screaming from the room and call someone, anyone was almost too great for Irene to ignore, but before she did, there was one question she needed answering.

“Sir, I need to know, we’ve all been waiting to know since you got here, who are you?”

The patient turned from the window, and Irene found herself looking into the strangest eyes she had ever seen.  They were an unnatural colour; Irene tried to put a name to the colour…jade, that was it, jade.

The patient walked up to her and removed the bandages from his face.  “I am wrath,” he said sadly.

The Script

The “deleted scene” from the Fallen Heroes novel that inspired this layer of Wrath of God’s flashback structure served as both a partial explanation of Jonathan Bishop’s metamorphosis into the Reverend and an open question in its own right. It follows on from Bishop’s literal “baptism of fire” at the hands of the drug lord, Vincent Gonzalez, and essentially charts the agonising process of a lost and fallen man being born again.

The whole concept of Bishop’s conversion is drenched in Christian mythology in the novel, and yet framed in a profoundly alien and threatening light. I’d go so far as to say that most of my understanding of the character was informed by reading this scene in the information pack Barry sent me. The sadness, the disconnection, the violence – the essential core of the Reverend is all at work here. – Cy Dethan (Writer)  Wrath of God

1) Cut to a close-up of the Reverend, his face a freshly healed wound. There are bandages, recently removed from his face, hanging loosely around his neck and shoulders. We’re in a hospital room, by a washbasin with a large mirror set above it. The Reverend, looking notably younger than in the previous scene (with more and darker hair), is gazing at his reflection with an expression somewhere between sadness and amazement. He’s dressed in a hospital gown.

We’re going to have several timelines running through this story. As a suggestion, it might be worth emphasising each strand with its own, unique colouring style or other easily distinguishable visual device.

CAPTION

THIS IS NOT MY FACE

2) Pull back. The Reverend turns away from the mirror, looking lost and hopeless. A nearby nurse (Irene Dickinson, for continuity fans) steps toward to help him. She looks genuinely concerned. There are two “spook” types in dark suits, armed with handguns in the room with us, but we needn’t see them both in this panel. Just a hint of one of them partially in shot would be plenty.

CAPTION

ONLY THE EYES BETRAY HIM, AND AS I LOOK INTO THEM ONE LAST TIME I BELIEVE I FINALLY UNDERSTAND…

3) One of the spooks steps forward to intercept the nurse. He raises his weapon to threaten her. The Reverend notices, looking up sharply.

CAPTION

THIS IS THE FACE OF A DEAD MAN—

4) The Reverend gets up in the spook’s face, his expression instantly hardening to a frightening degree. He presses the spook’s pistol down firmly with one hand. Both the spook and the nurse look taken aback.

The Page

All of this work led to this final page of art bringing together that fantastic work of Cy Dethan (Script), Steve Penfold (Art), Nic Wilkinson (Letters) and Gat Melvin (Colours).

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Hope you enjoyed this this little look behind the scenes.

About Wrath of God

The Reverend: a holy weapon forged in tragedy and flame – a murderous martyr whose cold judgement strikes with the force of a vengeful God. Despair, for the Reverend walks among you. He is the right hand of vengeance. He is Wrath.

From the twisted brain of Cy Dethan comes this 22 page story following Fallen Heroes favourite The Reverend; a cold blooded and ruthless killer hell-bent on a path of righteousness and destruction.

 Wrath of God cover

Published by: Barry Nugent
Written by: Cy Dethan
Art by: Steve Penfold
Colored by: Gat Melvyn
Lettered by: Nic Wilkinson
Edited by: Barry Nugent
Price: 0.69p

Available at Comixology

Wrath of God Comes to Comixology

So finally Unseen Shadows smashes it’s way onto the ComiXology store with Wrath of God. So what are you waiting for pick up the Comixology app and get your copy today before the Reverend pays you a visit.

69p of high octane pulp fueled action..what more could you ask for?

Get your copy here.

About Wrath of God 

The Reverend: a holy weapon forged in tragedy and flame – a murderous martyr whose cold judgement strikes with the force of a vengeful God. Despair, for the Reverend walks among you. He is the right hand of vengeance. He is Wrath.

From the twisted brain of Cy Dethan comes this 22 page story following Fallen Heroes favourite The Reverend; a cold blooded and ruthless killer hell-bent on a path of righteousness and destruction.

 Wrath of God cover  

Published by: Barry Nugent
Written by: Cy Dethan
      Art by: Steve Penfold
Colored by: Gat Melvyn
Lettered by: Nic Wilkinson
Edited by: Barry Nugent
Price: 0.69p