Official Press Release
Oni Press is pleased to announce the March release of the trade paperback collection of its acclaimed 2002 series, SKINWALKER. Written by comics newcomers Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, and illustrated in an innovative pencils/digital graytones style by Brian Hurtt (QUEEN & COUNTRY: DECLASSIFIED) and Eisner-nominee Arthur Dela Cruz (KISSING CHAOS), the four-issue miniseries follows an FBI agent, and a Native American reservation police officer on a cross-country manhunt, chasing a killer who doesn’t just slay his victims, but takes over their bodies, as well.
“The hook of this comic is we wanted to show very human characters against the horror of some very grisly murders,” DeFilippis explained. “The killer is perverting an already forbidden ritual among the Navajo, and it makes for a pretty nasty crime scene. On top of that, we add Officer Adakai’s desire to see her people represented fairly and Agent Haworth’s clashing career ambitions and interest in helping his friend, and you have a pretty complicated crime story to wrap your head around.”
“In many ways, the story ends up being less about the crimes themselves, and more about the character issues Nunzio touched upon,” Weir added. “We realized there were a lot of ‘buddy cop’ and ‘fish out of water’ clichés we could fall prey to, but we relied on the realness of the characters to help us avoid those pitfalls. The idea was to get the readers to care about the pair, to cheer them on to realize their goals and make the right choices.”
To capture the balance of the very real setting and the more supernatural elements of the story, Oni turned to two very different artists for one very unique collaboration. Penciller Brian Hurtt had debuted on QUEEN & COUNTRY near the end of 2001, around the same time that Oni released the first issue of Arthur Dela Cruz’s KISSING CHAOS. Dela Cruz crafted his comics using a combination of traditional and digital methods, whereas Hurtt took a straightforward approach to the comic book page. The result is a combination of stark realism and foreboding darkness.
“I learned a lot on this series,” Hurtt commented. “Working with Arthur, I found new avenues of expression and also saw how things translated from original art to printed product. It was a fun challenge. Nunzio and Christina threw a lot of curveballs at me, and the scripts required a lot of research and a lot of imagination. Hopefully, that all translates and is visible in the final result.”
In addition to giving the already existing fans the story under one cover, Oni is hoping to hook new readers with this SKINWALKER edition.
“There was a real buzz to this book,” said Oni publisher Joe Nozemack. “We’ve experienced it before with books like WHITEOUT, THE COFFIN, and KISSING CHAOS-fans reading the series and then going to friends and online and talking about it. The people who picked up the comics were excited about them, and they wanted to see what was going to happen next. The collected version gives us a whole new opportunity to reach the readers that didn’t pick up the series but who heard about it and want to see the comics behind the talk.”
To further this end, the creators are promising some extra-special bonus features. “I love DVDs for all the goodies you get,” Hurtt concluded. “If you look at Arthur’s KISSING CHAOS collection, he approached his extras with an eye for doing something different. I want to match that in SKINWALKER. Expect some cool surprises.”
SKINWALKER ships to comic book stores on March 26, 2003. It contains 120 pages of black-and-white story and art. Due to violence and strong language, it is recommended for mature readers. It will retail for $11.95. SKINWALKER will feature a new cover by Durwin Talon, the author of PANEL DISCUSSIONS.
Readers looking to preview the story can see four pages of the comic here: http://www.onipress.com/titles/titles.php?id=SW1
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