Killadelphia

Released in the fall of 2019, Killadelphia, written by Rodney Barnes and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander, was met with critical success and otherworldly sales.

The story of a homicide detective turned vampire father and his estranged son, both on the hunt for former President John Adams, now a vampire seeking to remake America in the design originally set forth by the country’s Founding Fathers, features crisp political commentary and heart-wrenching family drama while providing a critique of present day America at its crossroads. Remaining true to its horror genre roots, the story ventures into commentary that speaks to our core demographic: thoughtful horror fans of all ages seeking layered stories with a poignant take on the world in which we live. There’s a complex creative math to the tone of Killadelphia that would play out in all of the stories created, published, and adapted by Zombie Love Studios.

Killadelphia—now in its second story arc, will pick up where it left off with a son trying to step into his father’s shoes and ward off the remnants of a vampire horde in the city of Philadelphia. As was the case in story arc one, story arc two will use history, present day circumstances, and a horror tale true to the essence of the genre to thrill fans and newcomers alike.

Elysium Gardens

Elysium Gardens

Elysium Gardens, a tale which spans a thousand years where a group of North African Moors invading Sicily are cursed by stregheria witches.

Now, wandering the Earth as werewolves when the moon goes full, they are on the hunt for what’s left of the coven in the hopes the curse can be reversed.

This brings our Moor/werewolves to Watts amidst the Black Nationalist movement on the eve of the 1965 race riots that set Los Angeles ablaze.

Crownsville

Crownsville

Founded on April 11, 1910 as the Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland, Crownsville Hospital Center became a place where black people were traumatized, brutalized, and used as guinea pigs for experimental and military treatments. The state run institution was closed in 2004 and this is where fact becomes fiction and our story begins. An aging reporter with stage four cancer has been given six months to live. He cares for his mother who is suffering from dementia and nearing a point where she no longer recognizes her son. Accepting the reality of both her and her son’s lack of time, she unburdens herself of a long-held secret; a crime committed against black patients at Crownsville—experiments, death, hidden bodies. Having been a nurse there, she witnessed it all, but now with her mind debilitated, she’s lost major parts of the story. She begs her son to tell the patients’ story so she can go to her grave in peace. Our reporter considers his own plight of a mundane life. He once had dreams of making it at a big paper like the New York Times or Washington Post but resigned himself to his childhood home working for his hometown newspaper. That said, in all of his time at the paper, he never had a front page story, the kind that creates careers of note. Ending his time on this mortal coil with the biggest story of his career, one that would be splashed across the front page for all to see, would make as a nice button to his life as well as fulfill his mother’s final wish. So, he agrees to investigate the story.

After some poking around the city of Annapolis, Maryland, a former slave port with a rich political history which is the major city adjacent to Crownsville, our reporter finds that few wish to discuss both the past, or any potential crimes committed at the closed hospital which is set to be demolished. Taking a chance, our reporter enters the abandoned mental hospital and immediately, the souls of the patients, now poltergeists, attack him. Terrified, he runs for the hills. But upon reflection and a few more clues given by his mother and a shot of Jack Daniels, he returns. This time, the spirits open the door to their realm, transporting him to the 1970’s when an inhuman program akin to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment—in which black men were intentionally injected with the disease to see what the effect would be to the human body over time—was being run by the hospital, literally driving the patients insane. In the past, he puts the pieces together, but in the present, his physical body is breaking down due to the cancer. This began as a sort of ego trip for our reporter, but now he’s become obsessed with revealing the truth of what happened at the hospital. The clues in the past lead him to the former director of the hospital, now in hospice himself and near death. He tells all. This leads our reporter and police to a secret, unmarked graveyard where the bodies of the former patients reside. Our reporter, nearing the end of his life, writes his story, but collapses just as he turns it in, unsure if he’ll live to see it published. But at this point it lacks the importance it once had. He solved the mystery and freed the souls imprisoned there. He goes to his mother, explaining that he did what she asked, but she no longer recognizes him. On the day his story is published on the front page, our reporter dies. On the other side of life, he is met by the patients whose story he told, freeing them from the hospital. They welcome their hero into eternity. And for the first time in his existence, he is whole.

Florence and Normandie

Florence and Normandie

Florence and Normandie, infamous as the flashpoint of the 1992 LA Riots, will find itself at the center of another seminal moment of American history: The world’s first alien invasion.

Monarch

Monarch

Monarch, the story of a boy adopted by a loving foster care worker who’s raised a number of abandoned children in South Central Los Angeles over the course of her life. In this foster family, our boy finds love, care, and connection.

Things he’s never experienced and now holds dear. There’s only one problem—the boy is an alien. The last of his species, he has been tasked with finding a planet suitable for the essence of his species to repopulate.

Initially sent to Earth to gather data for an impending droid invasion, his connection to his foster family complicates his mission, creating a dilemma that will result in the demise of either his species or the people of the planet Earth.

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog

Nita Hawes' Nightmare Blog

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog, which exists in the same universe as Killadelphia, chronicles the story of Dawnita Hawes, an adjunct professor of parapsychology living in Baltimore, Maryland. After the tragic death of her younger brother Jason (now a supportive ghost) by random gun violence, begins the Nightmare Blog—a website where people in supernatural peril can request Nita’s assistance in solving said paranormal problems. 
 
In our first story arc which takes place over six issues, Nita investigates a series of murders by a catatonic, demon-possessed, blues singer seeking revenge against those that stole the rights to his music decades earlier. To exorcise the demon (Corson, one of the most powerful demons amongst their lot), Nita must face her fears, lack of faith, and a supernatural force that’s existed since the dawn of man.

Review: KILLADELPHIA #10 – Engaging Historical Backstories

Originally posted on MonkeysFightingRobots.co:

Killadelphia #10, out now from Image Comics, is a mortifying issue of delightful violence and is one of the best issues to come out of the series so far.

About the Book:
Abigail Adams has been leading the vampires ever since her husband was killed. They recently have been responsible for the murder of the governor of Philadelphia and the famous rapper, Blake Scott. A particularly malicious vampire called Jupiter turned himself into the authorities to convert those in prison and stage a massive vampire breakout. At the same time, James Sangster Jr. and his group are doing everything they can to stop this vampire epidemic.

Killadelphia #10 Story

Rodney Barnes never fails to tell an engaging tale, especially in Killadelphia #10. The dialogue is terrific throughout the issue, whether it be comical or deeply disturbing. The backstories of characters often told in Killadelphia’s issues are another intriguing aspect of Barnes’ writing. In this issue, as in multiple other issues, we are given the backstory of a vampire. It is strange to spend so much time characterizing villains, but by doing so, Killadelphia becomes a more fleshed out world. The vampires here are not just mindless killing machines, but rather many were individuals whose lives were ruined to the point that becoming a vampire was the best way for them to get revenge. This by no means prevents the reader from seeing them as the villains, but it gives them an understanding of the characters’ actions, which prevents them from being a bland, standard monster.

These backstories also provide Barnes with the opportunity to fit more historical fiction into the series. One aspect of what made Killadelphia stand out from other modern vampire stories was the choice of former president John Adams as the main undead antagonist. This historical tie-in was a captivating scenario, and Barnes continues this after Adams’ death by introducing new vampires with ties to other important moments in American history. One such vampire is introduced in Killadelphia #10. They aren’t historical figures, but they originally lived during significant historical moments, such as the Civil War. It is a great way to keep the series’s historical fiction aspect without continuously focusing on Adams.

Art

Jason Shawn Alexander can create stunningly, realistic characters with expressions that make them genuinely seem alive. Killadelphia #10 features more of these highly believable characters, along with intense action. These horrifically violent scenes are marvelous to look at, as Alexander’s characters have beautifully dynamic poses and depth that makes it feel as if characters are coming out of the page. This issue also contains pages with the focal point. To make these central images stand out, Alexander places smaller panels around them or even makes the characters overlap the panel borders. The center of a page is almost always an automatic focal point, so by making the center image the most important, the effect becomes even more substantial.

Luis NCT pair’s colors spectacularly with Alexander’s art in Killadelphia #10 and give a stronger impact on the violent action scenes. NCT also provides some pleasant sepia tones for flashback scenes, which works phenomenally well as delivering an older tone due to the instant association people have between the color and old photographs.

Marshall’s Dillon lettering in Killadelphia #10 fits perfectly with the art and story. Both subtle and explosive sound effects help the story feel in motion and add to the terrifying imagery it accompanies. During flashbacks, Dillon places sound effects in panels’ background when they would ordinarily be in front of everything else. This dulls the lettering’s impact, which was most likely done intentionally to help relay the fact that the flashbacks are a retelling of events and are not currently happening. This is a highly effective choice and shows off Dillon’s lettering talents.

Conclusion

Killadelphia #10 is one of the best issues in the series so far, and you do not want to miss it. The plot is increasingly becoming more thrilling, and Alexander’s art is exceptional (as always). The coloring and lettering bring the story to life and help provide for a highly satisfying issue.

 

‘Wu Tang: An American Saga’ Writer Rodney Barnes Strikes Overall Deal With HBO

Originally posted on Deadline.com:

EXCLUSIVERodney Barnes, the television writer and comic book author whose credits including Hulu’s Wu Tang: An American Saga and Marvel’s Runaways, has signed an overall deal with HBO.

Deadline understands that the deal is for two years.

This comes as Barnes is working with the premium cabler as a writer and executive producer on its upcoming untitled Lakers drama. He is working on the series, which stars John C. Reilly and Jason Clarke and is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.

Under the new deal, Barnes will develop, write, and produce projects via his company Rodney Barnes Productions.

This comes as he has several other high-profile projects in the works including a mini-series about the fall and comeback of controversial golf champion Tiger Woods, writing the script for an original creature feature for New Regency with Jordan Voigt-Roberts to direct and working with Levantine Films on the television adaptation of his best-selling graphic novel series Killadelphia: Sins Of The Father, which he will both write and produce.

Alongside his TV and film work, Barnes has firmly established himself in the graphic novel and comic book world with Killadelphia, which became a best-seller for Image Comics. He plans to continue to build the Killadelphia universe through new stories.

Barnes recently launched the comic studio Zombie Love Studios and publishing imprint Amazing Comics Publishing, where he has partnered with actor and rapper Xzibit to produce an untitled science fiction prestige hardcover graphic novel that will be set in South Los Angeles as well as a number of other titles.

Other television credits include Adult Swim’s The Boondocks, Starz’ American Gods and Chris Rock sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, which earned him an American Film Institute Award.

Barnes is represented by UTA, Artists First, and attorney Darrell Miller at Fox Rothschild.

Rodney Barnes To Pen ‘Tiger Woods’ Scripted Miniseries, Entertainment 360 Comes On Board

Originally posted on Deadline.com:

The Tiger Woods scripted mini-series based on Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyiann’s biography of the controversial golf champion, has moved a step closer to a hole in one after finding its writer and a production partner.

Rodney Barnes, who recently wrote on Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga and is penning HBO’s Untitled Lakers Project, will write the drama, while Entertainment 360, the joint venture between Management 360 and MRC Television, has teamed up with Wheelhouse Entertainment’s Spoke Studios to produce the project.

The project came after Wheelhouse Entertainment struck a partnership with Benedict, who co-wrote the book with Armen Keteyian, a former 60 Minutes correspondent.

The book, which was published in 2018 year, became a New York Times best seller and tells the story of one of the greatest career comebacks in sports history.

Published by CBS Corp-owned Simon & Schuster, the book opens with the 2009 car accident on the day after Thanskgiving that precipitated Woods’ infidelity scandal. The authors spoke to more than 250 people for the book, including other professional golfers and Woods’ longtime chiropractor Mark Lindsay.

Guymon Casady and Evan Silverberg will executive produce the new series for Entertainment 360, with Brent Montgomery and Joe Weinstock executive producing for Spoke Studios. Benedict and Keteyian also serve as executive producers.

Barnes (left), who is repped by Artists First and Fox Rothschild LLP, also has credits on Starz’ American Gods and Hulu and Marvel’s Runaways. Earlier this year, Barnes teamed up with Levantine Films, the film/TV production company behind the Gurinder Chada-directed Blinded By The Light, to adapt Killadelphia: Sins of the Father, the graphic novel that he wrote with Jason Shawn Alexander.

Eric Wattenberg, Wheelhouse Group Chief Creative Officer and President of Wheelhouse Entertainment, said, “The dream team of Entertainment 360 and writer Rodney Barnes combined with the powerful source material of the Tiger Woods biography, give this project the key elements to tackle the inspirational and complex life and career of one of the biggest names in the history of sports.”

Levantine Lands Rights To Turn Graphic Novel Series ‘Killadelphia: Sins Of The Father’ Into TV Series

Originally posted on Deadline.com:

Levantine Films, the film/TV production company behind the Gurinder Chada-directed Blinded By The Light, has acquired small screen rights to Rodney Barnes’ and Jason Shawn Alexander’s best-selling graphic novel series Killadelphia: Sins of the Father. Levantine has partnered with Barnes on his adaptation for a television series which Levantine and Barnes will produce. The Image Comics series was first released in November of 2019 and the trade paperback’s coming in June.

Done in crime horror noir style, the death of revered detective James Sangster Sr. brings his estranged son James Jr., a Baltimore street cop, back home to Philadelphia to bury him. Jr. discovers his father’s journal which details his last case where a series of mysterious murders possibly supernatural in nature and he follows the clues, which is a trip down a macabre rabbit hole filled with horror and mystery.

The screenwriter and producer’s past credits include the critically acclaimed animated series The Boondocks, Chris Rock’s TV series Everybody Hates Chris, Marvel’s Runaways, Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and Starz’s American Gods. Barnes is currently an executive producer and writer for the HBO Showtime series which chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Showtime Lakers during the team’s wild and fast-paced golden years.

Eisner Award-nominated artist Jason Shawn Alexander is best known for his work on Todd McFarlane’s Spawn graphic novel and his own critically acclaimed series Empty Zone. In addition to Killadelphia, Levantine Films last year acquired the feature film rights of the novel A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. Levantine is also developing a feature project that Armando Iannucci will direct.

Barnes is represented by Artists First and Darrell Miller at Fox Rothschild. Jason Shawn Alexander is represented by WME.