Official Press Release
This coming May, Oni Press will begin a brand-new comic book series, SKINWALKER. Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, SKINWALKER is a crime comic with a supernatural twist. It follows an FBI Agent and a law enforcement agent from a Native American reservation police force as they track a serial killer who has learned the sacred tribal ritual of skinwalking, and had distorted it into something more-the ability to jump from body to body, a handy trait when one is attempting to elude capture. The four-issue miniseries will be penciled by QUEEN & COUNTRY artist Brian Hurtt, with digital inks and tones by KISSING CHAOS creator Arthur Dela Cruz. Covers are by Durwin Talon, the cover artist for the “Officer Down” story line in last year’s BATMAN titles.
“Outside of an issue of DETECTIVE COMICS DeFilippis wrote in 2001, he and Weir are new to comics,” said Oni Press publisher Joe Nozemack. “Before this, they had primarily worked in television. When we saw the proposal for SKINWALKER, we realized that, in addition to being an excellent comic, it would have other benefits as well. We could once again work with new talent, and we could also finally capitalize on the reputation for intelligent crime comics that we earned with WHITEOUT. We haven’t really done anything else like our Greg Rucka books, despite the fact that we enjoy those types of comics. With SKINWALKER, as well as with Gary Phillips’ SHOT CALLERZ, that will all change.”
“We had several things we wanted to accomplish with SKINWALKER,” Weir commented. “We wanted to tell an intelligent mystery story with supernatural elements, preying on the imagination and teasing out the suspense to keep the readers coming back issue to issue. We also wanted to show a realistic view of Native American culture, which often gets shoddy, clichéd treatment in mainstream entertainment. We wanted Officer Adakai to be a real person, a real police officer, and not just some excuse to have someone spout pseudo-mystical wisdom.”
“We took our time searching for an artist on this project,” DeFilippis added. “We wanted someone who took a realistic, traditional approach to the material, to give a ‘real’ feel to the investigation, whereas Oni was hoping to find an artist that could play up the creepier, darker elements of the crimes. I think the combination of Brian Hurtt and Arthur Dela Cruz satisfies both aspects perfectly.”
“We hired Hurtt first,” Oni Press editor in chief Jamie S. Rich said. “He was actually singed up for SKINWALKER right at the same time he got the QUEEN & COUNTRY gig. His pencils have a real unique look-almost like if Neal Adams had been a European comics artist. Originally, we were considering a more standard inking style, but then the idea of having Arthur Dela Cruz work his magic struck me. Arthur is so good at creating mood and atmosphere in KISSING CHAOS, I thought it would be really wild to have him work over someone else.”
“Actually, Durwin Talon was with us almost from the very beginning,” DeFilippis continued. “We spoke with him at this year’s San Diego Con. He brought a real pulpy paperback feel to his ‘Officer Down’ covers that seemed dead-on for SKINWALKER. It took very little arm twisting to get him to say yes, and what he’s brought to the covers has far exceeded our expectations.”
“When it’s all said and done,” Nozemack concluded, “we read SKINWALKER, and it grabbed us and would not let us go. There is no greater litmus test for whether or not Oni should do a book. I finished the first issue, and immediately wanted Nunzio and Christina to write the rest. The hope is that this will also be the experience of our readers.”
SKINWALKER #1 (of 4) ships to comic book stores on May 17, 2002. It features 32 pages of black-and-white story and art, a full color cover, and retails for $2.95. It contains harsh language and mature situations.