I have been a fan of artist Francesco Francavilla for a while now... he is incredibly talented and versatile so i knew it was only a matter of time before the big boys took notice of the guy. In 2011 his career took off like a rocket and he landed plum gigs on Detective Comics, Black Panther, and Captain America... he also did covers for a whole bunch of high profile Dynamite and Dark Horse comics. It's nice to see him enjoying the success and recognition he deserves finally.
I must admit tho... with all this other stuff going on i have missed his creator-owned series, and i was hoping he would be able to get back to those eventually.
So... i was all excited to discover that Francesco's neo-pulp crimefighter the Black Beetle has found a new home over at Dark Horse...
"I’m working on a 24-page story, titled ‘Night Shift’ that will be spread over three issues of Dark Horse Presents. I am hugely influenced by pulp stories of the ‘30s and ‘40s, and wanted to develop a series that used that influence as a jumping-off point to explore some modern storytelling with fun twists. I think this will be a great introduction to readers who are new to this character and universe, but will also be an exciting new adventure for those who’ve been reading the online stories over the years."
"As a huge fan of pulp and noir, working on my own characters and stories really gives me free reign to explore this world and create lots of fun scenarios and thrilling situations. The stories are definitely full of mystery and intrigue, plus I get to give The Black Beetle lots of cool and funky gadgets. ‘Night Shift’ promises to be full of action, excitement, danger, and double-crosses, so I am overjoyed to see this new tale in print, and hope this is the first of many more to come in Dark Horse Presents."
Black Beetle previously appeared in an adventure serial strip called "Kara Bocek" which was posted sporadically on Francesco's Pulp Sunday blog here, and is on hiatus for the time being. He also appeared in a limited edition ashcan comic that Francesco put out at his own expense, which featured the opening chapter of a much larger Black Beetle story called "No Way Out" that Francesco has said he intends to finish as a graphic novel some day.
But this april the Black Beetle will make his first mainstream comic appearance in the pages of Dark Horse Presents #11, bringing the character to a much wider audience potentially.
I honestly cannot recommend this enough... Black Beetle stories are never less than fun and entertaining and gorgeous to look at... and i think it is important to support creators who are willing to step outside the safe zone and do their own thing. If enough folks show the character some love we might even get a full series out of it... hopefully.
Preorder a copy from your LCS now using code FEB12 0052, and show Dark Horse there is an audience out there eager for this sort of thing.
Also check out Francesco's newish Black Beetle blog here, and of course his Pulp Sunday blog here is required reading.