It’s not easy being supernatural these days, unless your name is Captain Jack Sparrow. Vampires get mandhandled by rappers and little blonde cheerleaders. Werewolves don’t stand much chance against women in black leather outfits. Zombies get beat up by that guy from “Spaced.” Mummies haven’t fared much better, but there’s hope for them with the latest outreach from the mummy community, Actionopolis‘ “The Anubis Tapestry.” Written and illustrated by Bruce Zick — a veteran of every major film company you can think of (and having worked with directors like Lucas, Spielberg and Copolla) – “The Anibus Tapestry” will bring this story to life this fall from the fledging all ages imprint, for only $12.95.
“‘The Anubis Tapestry’ is about bringing the mummy mythology to new life,” Zick told CBR News. “When Chance Henry’s father is transformed into a mummy, the boy must become a mummy himself and enter the dreaded Underworld to save his dad. In the process, we reinvent ancient Egypt, the Domain of the Dead, the Elder Gods, and the use of Egyptian magic. The process began when I was approached by Komikwerks to do a book. We collaborated on the story idea and then they cut me loose to create some weird and crazy stuff.
“Chance Henry is a thirteen year old who has to save his father, whose body has been taken over by an evil mummy, Sehti. Sehti is bent on destroying the Elder God Anubis and taking over his army of the dead. A benevolent mummy, Osirius, teaches Chance the use of ancient Heka Magick so that he can travel to the Underworld. The problem is, in order for Chance to become a powerful magus, he must wear the mummy bandages torn from the awesome Anubis Tapestry. Then there is a resourceful yet strange Imphh named Blixx who joins Chance on his dangerous journey.”
At first glance, it’s hard not to compare Chance Henry to Harrison Ford’s rugged Indiana Jones, though the age gap is quite large, but Zick doesn’t think the two heroes are similar. Don’t expect Chance to pull out a whip or eat monkey brains any time soon. ” Chance isn’t an action oriented hero like Indy,” explained the scribe. “But he is clever, which gets him out of a lot of danger. Chance is initially insecure and reluctant since he is basically an ordinary teenager who is thrust into a world he doesn’t understand which is extremely intimidating. The inspirations for Chance were simply to take someone like any of us when we were thirteen and then turn their reality upside down.”
Egyptian mythology has always been popular, from it’s integral role in Christian mythology to its representation in comic books such as “Sandman.” It’s been prominently featured in the “Yu-Gi-Oh” comic book series from Japan, which has been a hit with kids, and Zick comments, “I think Egyptian Mythology is really mysterious. The gods are not just superior humanoids, but exotic part animal/part human. And the culture of dress and ornamentation is quite beautiful. Also, the mythology is so old and so little understood, it makes for an irresistible wellspring of ideas. Then there is the whole mummy thing. I think the idea of being transformed into a mummy is just amazing to consider, and if you project yourself into imagining such a thing happening to you it gives you the shivers. In general I think creative folk love to dive back to our earliest collective cultures and reinvent them. We’re all familiar with the basic concepts so there is enormous recognition of the ideas, and then when you add new twists, you’ve got an perfect formula for entertainment.”
Zick is also mining the well-travelled terrain of time travel, which has been used so much that it can easily feel clichéd. “My idea of time travel is that it is magical based versus using science fiction,” says Zick of his fresh spin on time travel. “Mummy bandages torn from the magical Anubis Tapestry give the wearer enormous powers that enable them to journey trough time. And what better vehicle for time travel than a sarcophagus? You see, the crypt isn’t just a tomb, it’s a time machine steeped in ancient Heka Magick. And we explore a creepy idea: what if you can’t sleep during the passage of time? What would it be like to endure thousands of years of emptiness, trapped, awake, tormented by eternity?”
Not to be ignored, Zick is also illustrating the book as well, something he enjoyed doing. He feels that it helps him with the creative process, explaining, “I’ve written and drawn comics years ago for Marvel and Dark Horse and always found it exciting to create the complete package myself. As I write, I visualize everything which makes me want to go ahead and provide the illustrations. Also, when I create a story it feels like it’s my child and I then want to give it the best treatment and adorn it with beautiful art. My influences are all over the place. I’m a student of the history of comics, from Will Eisner and Reed Crandall, through Wally Wood and Jack Davis, across Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko, passing along Barry Windsor Smith, to Frank Miller and Humbeurto-Ramos. And then there’s the tradition of painter, illustrators, and film artists. Too, too many names to mention.”
While the “all ages” tag may scare some, Zick feels that respecting all audiences will produce a book for readers of all ages. He’s also planting seeds in this book for a sequel, sharing some details regarding what we can expect in the next book. “I want to explore the idea of what it would feel like if any us were slowly being transformed into a mummy. We would have a loss of our identity, our humanity, but at the same time we would be gaining fantastic powers from the Anubis Tapestry bandages that would take us to places unimaginable. So how would we handle the good and bad aspects, and the terrible responsibility of wisely using such amazing powers? Also, there’s Thirty Levels, Thirty Monsters, and Thirty Portals in the realm of the Underworld to explore that I’m really excited about. And we have yet to encounter Anubis, who sleeps in his Chamber of Eternity.”
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