There's a lot more of John Shaft in David F. Walker's future. Dynamite Entertainment has announced that the writer will return to the iconic character for both a new miniseries -- "Shaft: Imitation of Life," illustrated by Dietrich Smith -- and a prose novel, "Shaft's Revenge." Both are expected to debut in February 2016, timed to Black History Month.
"The idea for the new miniseries, 'Shaft: Imitation of Life,' is one that's been in my head for a long time, and is something that I'm really excited about," Walker is quoted in Dynamite's press release. "This has been a really fun story to develop."
"Of all the great action heroes I watched and imitated as a youngster, Shaft was at the top -- a private eye with a chip on his shoulder, an attitude that dared anyone to try him," Smith added. "Having the opportunity to draw the smoothest man alive is something I'm very excited about."
The official description of "Imitation of Life" follows: "After a high-profile case puts him in the headlines, private detective John Shaft searches for something low-profile to keep him out of the spotlight and out of danger... and takes a missing person case that proves to be more difficult than he thought. At the same time, he is hired to be a consultant on a low budget film that may or may not be based on his life, and proves to be as dangerous as any job he's ever had. But when there's danger about, John Shaft won't cop out - even if it means squaring off against sadistic gangsters that want him dead."
Walker's first "Shaft" comics story, this year's "Shaft: A Complicated Man," was illustrated by Bilquis Evely and brought author Ernest Tidyman's detective to comics for the first time. The series received critical acclaim, including a "Story of the Year" award at the 2015 Glyph Comics Awards.
The character of Shaft first appeared in a 1970 novel by Tidyman, before being adapted into an iconic film starring Richard Roundtree a year later. "Shaft's Revenge" brings the character back to its prose novel roots, as the first Shaft novel in 40 years, something Walker calls, "not only an honor and a privilege [but] a dream come true."
Here's how Dynamite describes "Shaft's Revenge": "When the Godfather of crime in Harlem reaches out to Shaft for a favor, the hardboiled detective finds himself caught in a web of violence and murder. No one is safe as the bullets start to fly and the bodies start to drop, leaving Shaft with only two options: kill or be killed. It's a two-fisted tale of retribution as Shaft cuts a bloody path through city, settling old scores and faces the demons of his past."