Official Press Release
Oni Press is pleased to announce that Brett Weldele, artist of COUSCOUS EXPRESS and WANDERLUST, has agreed to handle art chores on SHOT CALLERZ, a four-issue miniseries written by crime writer Gary Phillips. Scheduled for a release date of late spring, 2002, SHOT CALLERZ is Phillips' first foray into comics, after writing such novels as PERDITION, U.S.A. and SHOOTER'S POINT. Phillips' work is known for its hardcore cynicism, unflinching violence, and a nod to the blacksploitation movement of the '70s-a sensibility he plans to bring to the sequential page.
"Gary's novels have always been populated with tough customers," said Oni Press editor James Lucas Jones. "SHOT CALLERZ is no different. It's about a female hustler named Nea who crosses the wrong people, nearly getting herself killed. After they botch her murder, she has to spend the rest of the book making sure they don't get it right."
"I've been a fan of comics for a while," Phillips commented, "and have been looking for the right avenue to get into the business. I wanted to do things my way, and after I saw my buddy Greg Rucka do his thing with WHITEOUT, I realized there was a place for me."
"At Oni, we really look for projects that go against the grain," added publisher Joe Nozemack. "We don't want to just do the same old thing, and Gary certainly steps off the beaten path, avoiding what is safe and proper. The world he writes about is dark, dangerous, and very real. We needed an artist that would be able to match that."
"We've been a fan of Brett Weldele's for a while," Nozemack continued. "Before he had much work out, he sent us a link to a BLUE MONDAY pin-up he did, and we were blown away. We've been jonesing to work with him. We just needed the right project. SHOT CALLERZ was it."
"When James Lucas Jones told me about SHOT CALLERZ, I was instantly into it," Weldele said. "It's urban, it's gritty, and it stands apart from the bulk of comics on the stands today. There was no way I was not going to be the artist on this."
Many may remember, however, that when SHOT CALLERZ was originally announced this past summer, Jim Mahfood was attached as the artist. He had been contracted to do the entire four-issue run, and despite this commitment and despite having nearly completed the first issue, he has removed himself from the book, citing health problems and what he perceives to be more lucrative opportunities at another company. "We had a decision whether or not we wanted to keep the work Jim Mahfood had done for the first issue, and we decided to scrap it," Nozemack said. "We're starting completely from scratch, allowing Brett to redesign the characters and bring his own style to them. We felt that starting on one foot and ending on another would be, ultimately, starting on the wrong foot."
"Leave your expectations at the door," Phillips concluded, "because I guarantee you, they aren't going to apply here. SHOT CALLERZ is gonna be a quick shot to the head, knocking you senseless and making you hungry for more. Mark my words."
SHOT CALLERZ is a four-issue, black-and-white miniseries, with the first issue scheduled for mid-2002. Due to graphic violence, sexual situations, and harsh language, it is intended for mature readers. Each issue will contain 32 pages of story and art, and retail for $2.95.