Friday, May 30, 2014

Dynamite Announces Shaft Publishing Deal


Dynamite Entertainment is named after dynamite, which is explosive by nature. That explosiveness comes in the form of powder crammed into a shaft prior to detonation. The naming works out well, mainly because the publisher recently announced an agreement to bring John Shaft into the Dynamite Universe. The agreement covers not only original comics and graphic novels, but also new prose, and includes the right to re-print all existing Shaft novels.

Ernest Tidyman was quoted on the origins of Shaft: "The idea came out of my awareness of both the social and literary situation in a changing city. There are winners, survivors & losers in the New York scheme of things. It was time for a black winner, whether he was a private detective or an obstetrician."

Most people are familiar with John Shaft via the movies, the original 1971 film and its two sequels, all starring actor Richard Roundtree in the title role, which helped spawn the 70's blaxploitation film movement and make Shaft a household name. There was also a film in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson reprising the role as Shaft's nephew. John Shaft is a fictional character created by writer Ernest Tidyma.

These novels have long been out of print and Dynamite intends to bring these back and make them available again. In addition, the new prose stories and original graphic novels will be the first new Shaft stories, outside of the movie, since Tidyman's passing. Further editorial plans for new comics and prose will be announced at a later date.

"John Shaft is an American Icon, with feature films starring Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson. Shaft has resonated in popular culture because he's such a cool, compelling character. We couldn't be more happy that we're getting a chance to tell new stories in multiple mediums, with all new prose in addition to Original Graphic Novels, and create a publishing program that will bring Shaft back to the forefront of pop culture, where he belongs!" said Nick Barrucci, CEO/Publisher of Dynamite.

Full press release below.
DYNAMITE ANNOUNCES SHAFT PUBLISHING DEAL


DEAL INCLUDES ORIGINAL COMICS AND PROSE, AND RIGHT TO RE-PRINT EXISTING NOVELS OF ICONIC CHARACTER


May 29th, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment announced today their agreement to bring John Shaft into the Dynamite fold!  The agreement covers not only original comics and graphic novels, but also new prose, and includes the right to re-print all existing Shaft novels.

John Shaft is a fictional character created by writer Ernest Tidyma.  A tough, take no guff detective who composer/singer Isaac Hayes described him, in the Oscar-winning Theme from Shaft as: "the Black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks."

Most people are familiar with John Shaft via the movies, the original 1971 film, and it's two sequels, all starring actor Richard Roundtree in the title role, which helped spawn the 70's blaxploitation film movement, and make Shaft a household name.  There was also a Shaft film in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson reprising the role as Shaft's nephew.

But between 1970 and 1975, Ernest Tidyman actually wrote seven Shaft novels:
  • Shaft (1970)
  • Shaft Among the Jews (1972)
  • Shaft's Big Score (1972)
  • Shaft Has a Ball (1973)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Shaft (1973)
  • Shaft's Carnival of Killers (1974)
  • The Last Shaft (1975) 
These novels have long been out of print, and Dynamite intends to bring these back and make them available again.  In addition, the new prose stories and Original Graphic Novels will be the first new Shaft stories, outside of the movie, since Tidyman's passing.  Further editorial plans for new comics and prose will be announced at a later date.

Ernest Tidyman was quoted on the origins of Shaft: "The idea came out of my awareness of both the social and literary situation in a changing city. There are winners, survivors & losers in the New York scheme of things. It was time for a black winner, whether he was a private detective or an obstetrician."

Curtis Brown literary agent Steve Kasdin, who represents the Tidyman estate said: "The literary craftsmanship that built John Shaft sent him into the world fully formed and moving. You knew who and what he was from Jump Street. So much so that even a less than stellar sequel or two didn't kill his standing. The consensus seemed to be: ‘Oh my
Lord, they done put poor Shaft in another bad movie.'  I'm thrilled with Dynamite's vision for Shaft, and look forward to his new adventures."

"John Shaft is an American Icon, with feature films starring Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson.  Shaft has resonated in popular culture because he's such a cool, compelling character.  We couldn't be more happy that we're getting a chance to tell new stories in multiple mediums, with all new prose in addition to Original Graphic Novels, and create a publishing program that will bring Shaft back to the forefront of pop culture, where he belongs!" said Nick Barrucci, CEO/Publisher of Dynamite.

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About Dynamite Entertainment:

Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more.  Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, Purgatori, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt.  In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, Neil Gaiman, Andy Diggle, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, Gail Simone, Steve Niles, James Robinson, and a host of up-and-coming new talent.  Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles - including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's Project Superpowers - have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.

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About Ernest Tidyman

Ernest Tidyman (January 1, 1928 - July 14, 1984) was a Cleveland-born American author and screenwriter, best known for his novels featuring the African-American detective John Shaft. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of Shaft with John D.F. Black in 1971.

His screenplay for The French Connection garnered him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as a Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, and an Edgar Award.

He also wrote the screenplay for the 1973 film High Plains Drifter, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Tidyman also wrote the sequel to Shaft, Shaft's Big Score, which appeared in theaters in 1972.

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