Official Press Release
ORANGE, CA — September 24, 2001 — In celebration of POWERS MONTH, IMAGE COMICS is pleased to announce an all-new series entitled, BASTARD SAMURAI, debuting as a three issue color series in Spring 2002. Created by POWERS and BLUNTMAN AND CHRONIC artist Michael Avon Oeming, animator Kelsey Shannon (Johnny Neutron), and writer Miles Gunter (Weird War Tales), BASTARD SAMURAI is the telling of a modern day Spartacus rebelling against his Masters and his own way of life.
Jiro is a student of the KoZu Sword School, an underground training camp in midtown Manhattan that takes in orphans and twists and transforms them into Bushido warriors. The Yakuza use these kids in death matches staged across the city rooftops where Japanese businessmen gamble heavily on the always-fatal outcome. This killing life is all Jiro has ever known. But a rendezvous with fate is about to change all of that. In one moment Jiro realizes that everything he has lived for is a lie. The Samurai live by the Bushido code, one of which is RECTITUDE: the righting of wrongs. Now with the only ally he has-his sword–Jiro is forced to make the hardest decision of his life.
“I desperately wanted to tell this story myself, but I just don’t have the time to take on all the ideas in my head, so I approached some friends who’s talents I respect and admire.” Oeming said. “Then I got an email from Kelsey. He was just saying how he liked my art, and he sent a link to some of his…I fell out of my seat when I saw it! Amazingly fluid and rich with composition, I knew he could bring my ideas into light. We began to work them out, and I contacted Miles Gunter, a member of the Brian Bendis board who had done some Vertigo anthology work, to take my plot outline and further define it and its characters. The three of us have been working very closely together, with Kelsey and Miles doing the lions share of the work.”
While Oeming is overseeing each step of the book, inking each page, Shannon is also coloring all three issues. Kelsey and Miles work closely together on the visuals. (Coincidentally both live in Texas, only a few miles away from one another.) Both creators have given extra attention to color themes, action, and icons giving BASTARD SAMURAI an exciting visual language.
“Anyone who likes my art in POWERS, BLUNTMAN AND CHRONIC or HAMMER OF THE GODS will love the visual dynamics of BASTARD SAMURAI. While this is clearly Kelsey’s work, we share the same tastes, and Kelsey has invited me to put my own touch on the art and storytelling.” Oeming will also provide the back covers and illustrate a five page back-up story in each issue, also co-written by Gunter.
The December, as part of POWERS MONTH, POWERS #17 will feature an exclusive five-page BASTARD SAMURAI back-up story. This back up serves as a Prelude Story and is the very first appearance of Jiro while setting up the tale that is to come early next year. This story is exclusive to POWERS #17 and will not be reprinted in BASTARD SAMURAI or anywhere else.
After reading the Prequel Story, a very biased Brian Bendis said, “This comic is an accumulation of everything Mike Oeming does better than anyone. The Shannon/Oeming team is completely unique. Every panel is stunning.”
December 2001 is POWERS MONTH. POWERS is a regular, ongoing series about police detectives living and working in a world where super human abilities and powers are an everyday fact. POWERS is written and illustrated by Brian Michael Bendis (TORSO, Ultimate Spiderman) and Michael Avon Oeming and was the winner of the BEST NEW SERIES AWARD at the 2001 EISNER AWARDS. POWERS is one of Image Comics’ most popular titles enjoying rapid sell-outs of each single issue and a book length trade paperback in three printings and two different editions. POWERS MONTH celebrates a second trade paperback collection entitled ROLEPLAY (collecting issues #8-#11), a new story arc entitled THE SUPERGROUP SAGA in POWERS #17, plus the debut of Oeming’s BASTARD SAMURAI, also in POWERS #17.