Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Exclusive: David Liss talks about today's announcement of Dynamite's new Shadow Now mini-series



Dynamite Entertainment in a major announcement today said that novelist David Liss (Black Panther, The Spider) will be writing a six-issue mini-series for the company which brings the pulp hero the Shadow into the modern world.

Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer was the first reporter to buttonhole Liss and exclusively discuss The Shadow Now mini and other projects with the scribe.

Cosmic Book News: So, David, how did the idea come about to bring the Shadow into the modern age? Was it something you pitched or was approached about?

David Liss: Shortly after Dynamite acquired the rights to the Shadow, Nick contacted me and asked if I was interested in working on a project. Needless to say, I was. As we had when we were first discussing my run on The Spider, we talked about the relative merits of a historical or contemporary version of the character. The nice thing about the Shadow is that you have the option of doing both without creating unrelated continuities. I enjoyed bringing the Spider into the modern world, so I thought it would be fun to try it with the Shadow as well. 

CBN: You are known mostly for your historical mysteries.  What makes this project one in which you would be interested?

David Liss: My day job is writing novels, but I've been working on various on-going comics projects for three years, so I consider this an important part of my career as well -- no connection to the prose fiction required. The fact is, from the beginning of my comics work, I've been interested in pulp characters and the pulp aesthetic, so working with one of the greatest pulp characters of all time is a no-brainer for me.


CBN: What are the challenges of bringing such a period character like the Shadow into today?

David Liss: The trick is always to balance the original flavor of the character with a contemporary sensibility. This story has the added fact of the character being the same person as the historical version, so he's also something of a man out of time. There are a lot of elements to get into the mix. 

CBN: Can you tell us a little about the storyline for The Shadow Now

David Liss: The Shadow has gone off to the east to rejuvenate himself, and in the decades he's been gone, his network has been doing his work for him -- or so he thinks. When he returns, he finds that things have gone horribly wrong, and it may well be that his greatest enemy has found a way to strike back …

CBN: David, what will be awaiting the Shadow in this new modern world? 

David Liss: I don't want to get into plot spoilers, so let's just say that he is going to be facing some huge challenges and some major uphill battles. I don't think it's a stretch to say that this is a Shadow readers have not seen before, and probably a much more human version of the character. 

CBN: Any specific big-bads that will be playing a key role?

David Liss: Yes, but I'm not sure I'm supposed to say who …


CBN: Can you tell us anything about the artist you will be working with in The Shadow Now?

David Liss: I'll be working with Colton Worley, whose amazing art was such a big part of our Spider re-launch. Colton's style is vivid and arresting and absolutely perfect for this book. Every time I see new art from him, I'm blown away. This is a hell of a good-looking comic.

CBN: You are a novelist as well as a comic writer. Can you tell me the difference in approach for those two very different literary mediums?

David Liss: Comics, are, of course, more visual.  For me the challenge is always to think about the story from the standpoint of art and to keep the number of words to the absolute minimum. When I first started scripting comics, the process felt wholly unnatural to me -- less like telling a story than like hacking one out with a machete, but I've become much more comfortable with the genre, and things flow pretty well now.

CBN: Will it be difficult to maintain that pulpish noir feeling in modern times? Can that be done here?

David Liss: Pulp is an aesthetic, not a context, so I don't see why not. I've done it with The Spider and my run on Black Panther, which had a pulp vibe. 

CBN: David, care to tell us about any other projects current or future you are involved in?

David Liss: Big things are in the works, but I can't really talk about them.  You know how it goes.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank David Liss for this most timely interview. We would also like to thank Dynamite’s own Nick Barrucci and Kevin Davidsen who helped make this interview possible.

“The Shadow Now” #1 is slated to hit shelves in October!