Review: KILLADELPHIA #10 – Engaging Historical Backstories

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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.


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.


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

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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

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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

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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.

Interview: Killadelphia is Rodney Barnes’ Ode to Dracula and The Wire

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There is a high probability that if you are a fan of comics, science fiction, or horror, you’ve read or seen something that Rodney Barnes has worked on. The award-winning writer and producer is best known for his work on The BoondocksAmerican Gods, and Marvel’s Runaways. But his first love is comic books.

He’s penned a jaded post-Secret Wars Sam Wilson in The Falcon (Marvel), showed us a teen struggling through high school with a new superpower in Quincredible (Lion Forge), and even turned Lando from loverboy into freedom fighter in Star Wars: Lando: Double or Nothing (Marvel). Barnes has a talent for placing everyday relatable characters into extraordinary supernatural situations, while often weaving relevant social commentary throughout.

Barnes’ newest comic Killadelphia (Image), echoes these qualities. Jim Sangster, Jr. travels from Baltimore to Philadelphia to bury his father James Sr., a detective who was close to retirement when he died investigating a series of murders tied to a mysterious teen — a boy no one can catch and who’s only been seen at night. It turns out the teen is not exactly alive and Jim Sr. is no longer exactly dead. Both turned into undead vampires in the coven of, wait for it… John Adams.

Yes, Rodney Barnes has written a vampire story where the primus is the Second President of the United States. His coven now resides in West Philly. What pulls you in is Jason Shawn Alexander’s stunning noir artwork blended with Luis NCT’s minimalist and muted color palette. It’s Dracula meets The Wire in a paranormal crime story laced with politics, legacy, and, yes, vampires. Lots of vampires.

SYFY WIRE caught up with Rodney Barnes to find out why he loves cop stories and horror movies, and how his father served as inspiration for James.

Were you a horror fan as a kid?

I’ve been a fan of horror for as long as I can remember. I had models of all the Universal monsters as a kid and watched creature features every weekend on TV. Literally it’s the first genre I can recall loving. I consumed mass amounts of horror as a kid. Phantasm, Romero’s Living Dead series, Wes CravenJohn Carpenter… literally everything!

What were your favorite vampire movies, books or comics?

The Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing vampire films. As well as the Lon Chaney Wolf Man films were first. Kolchak: The NightstalkerSalem’s LotBram Stoker’s Dracula, whether in book form or television, was an instant draw. Anne Rice’s The Vampire ChroniclesNear Dark… the list goes on…

What was your source for comics growing up?

I bought most of my comics from the Royal Farm Store in my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. My addiction was so severe that I’d beg, borrow, or steal if I saw a Neal Adams Batman or Green Lantern cover.

Later, my friend Frank Brown, who had a car, would drive to Baltimore to the only comic shop in the area, Geppi’s Comic World, in the inner harbor. Those were the days.

How did you get involved with this project?

Killadelphia has been growing in my psyche since I was eight or nine years old. The Kolchak: The Night Stalker movie of the week started it all. Darren McGavin chasing a vampire (written by the late great Richard Matheson) sparked a flame that’s never stopped burning.

There has been a myriad of other influences since, but that was the first. Fast-forward 40 years when I met Jason Shawn Alexander and pitched him the idea. The expression on his face was priceless. We pitched it to Image Comics and the rest is history.

What do you love about comic book scripts over episodic TV writing?

The sparseness of comic book scripts is a plus, as well as the freedom. In the beginning [at Marvel Comics when I wrote The Falcon], it was overwhelming. I had no idea what the boundaries were, whereas in TV, the boundaries are popping up everywhere.

Since writing the comics Lando: Double or Nothing and Quincredible, I’ve gotten more comfortable with the relationship between words and art, but it’s still a learning process.

As far as preference, it’s more about the nature of the type of story I’m telling rather than if it’s a television or comic script.

You’ve somehow managed to tie a cop, a vampire teenager and former President into one story. Was that the goal from the moment you began working on this?

[Laughs] Yes, my goal was to get three distinctly different voices to carry the narrative. Three entry points into the world. So it was certainly intentional. I wanted the life/death story of those driving the narrative to come from wildly different points of view. The only connector is that they’re all dead. Well, undead.

Tying the “Sons of the Republic” riots to the vampires was brilliant. What made you decide to use that particular reference? How much research did you do for this comic?

Thank you. I did a ton of research. I’m going deep into the rabbit hole of American history and I want it to feel plausible. Those that ask, “Why John Adams?” will get their answer and hopefully they don’t feel cheated. I didn’t randomly pick him, and those that stay the Killadelphia course will get it.

For as long as I can remember, folks have questioned how history affects African-American culture. My goal was to answer one aspect of that question. The “Sons of the Republic” is directly related to the ideology of those pockets of uber-passionate folks who don’t just rally or vote, they go to extremes politically and form militias. How would a group that had that type of passion actualize itself if it weren’t bound by time?

It’s no longer about Democrat or Republican, it’s about its own ideology forged over centuries.

Were José or Jim inspired by real-life characters?

James Sangster, Jr. and James Sangster, Sr. is sort of me putting the relationship I’ve had with my father, myself, and my son under a microscope and trying to figure it out.

José as well is patterned after several folks. I tend to look at patterns of thoughts in folks that intrigue me or scenarios I’ve wrestled with or am currently wrestling with as fodder to build stories from. It forces me to write from the heart rather than just the mind.

Placing all of this horror against the backdrop of a homicide division in Philadelphia seems like a bold choice. Why place this story there?

I love cop mysteries. As a kid, the one-hour network drama was a staple of my television watching diet. Homicide: Life on the Street, was my favorite television show and probably the most influential to my television drama writing style (Thanks, Tom Fontana!), so using the backdrop of a homicide division and detective helped refine a natural structure as well as a sense of familiarity.

Who doesn’t know what a homicide detective does?

Plus, it’s fun. Philadelphia is associated with an aspect of American history and it also wrestles with a number of social ills. For a story with a political slant as well as a social component, it’s perfect. And very few comics, TV shows, or films place their stories there. So, Philadelphia it is.

The use of handwritten notes mixed with standard speech bubbles worked beautifully, whose idea was that?

Jason Shawn Alexander was the beautiful mind behind the handwritten notes. It gave Jimmy’s reading of the journal a believability that’s necessary to the goal of our story. Can’t say enough about how honored I am to be traveling this journey with him as well as our entire team.

The artwork is stunning. What was it like working with Jason and Luis NCT?

Again, Jason, Luis NCT, Marshall Dillon, Brent Ashe, as well as our editing team Greg Tumerello and Shannon Bailey, are all top-notch.

At Marvel and Lion Forge, all I had to do was write a script and a comic book would magically pop up. In indie comics, it’s like a business, and without those folks, I’m certain it wouldn’t have come out as it did.

This is a very layered story. Are the city and its corruption the other character in this story?

Shows like The Wire beautifully depict what corruption looks like in a major city. I wanted to speak to an aspect of that because cities don’t just become “bad.” The pathology is in the system, not the people. They’re just reacting to the desperation of a lack of resources. I wanted to speak to this in a small way, not just show violence.

This comic is very cinematic, any plans to develop it into a movie or a show on streaming?

All I can say is there are great things happening in regards to developing Killadelphia for television. Hopefully, an official announcement can be made soon.


THE BOONDOCKS Writer Rodney Barnes To Write New Creature Feature For Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts

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The writer of The Boondocks and the Chris Rock comedy series Everybody Hates Chris, Rodney Barnes, has been hired to write the script for director Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ next film project, which is a creature feature.

Vogt-Roberts is the director of Kong: Skull Island and is also currently developing a Metal Gear Solid film adaptation. This creature feature is based on an original idea that he came up with and he’s keeping the title and story details under lock and key. However, the story will be set in his hometown of Detroit.

The film is being produced by New Regency who recently helped develop Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra and produced Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.

I’m really curious to see what exactly Vogt-Roberts is cooking up with this project. Barnes’s most recent credits include writing episodes of and acting as co-executive producer on the Marvel-based series Runaways and American Gods. He is currently working on HBO’s untitled 1980s-era Los Angeles Lakers drama pilot.