Artwork courtesy of Michael Easton and Christopher Shy
With this post, I have the distinct honor of being among the first to announce the forthcoming publication of Michael Easton’s and Christopher Shy’s second collaboration, Soul Stealer: Blood And Rain (DMF Comics). Michael was kind enough to send me the teaser art, and gave me permission to post it here on my blog. This past July, I reviewed the initial book, “The Beaten And The Damned.” I wrote at the time that I found Soul Stealer to be “Dark, original, and sophisticated . . . a beautiful, marvelous book, one whose imaginative depth enchanted me in a way that I haven’t been for years.” Others agreed; a news update at Christopher Shy’s Studio Ronin website indicated that Soul Stealer exceeded half its print run during its first week of sales.
For those who have not yet read Soul Stealer, the story’s protagonist, Kalan, is a young, Etruscan warrior once cut to pieces by a brutal, hulking savage named Apis Bull, part man, part ox. Like the Frankenstein monster—whose remorseless loneliness and parentless lineage Kalan shares—Kalan is less a man than an assemblage (“there were days I wasn’t even sure who was calling the shots inside”), re-membered and restored to life by a magician named Strabo, the father of his lost beloved, Oxania. Motivated by his profound, eternal love for Oxania—taken from him by the capricious Gods—he can do nothing but wander for all eternity through time and space, searching for a sign, some way that he might re-unite with her. As compensation for his loss, the God Osiris has given him the ability to traverse between worlds: he is able to enter hell, find an individual soul, and deliver it to the land of the living—hence the title of the series, Soul Stealer.
As I wrote back in July, I found Soul Stealer to be a great imaginative accomplishment. In addition to the book's deft storytelling, I found Christopher Shy’s artwork to be distinctive for its masterful control of light, poised between functional representation and evocative (non-representational) expressionism. Meanwhile, the multi-talented Michael Easton, currently starring in the daytime soap One Life to Live, talks about Soul Stealer here. Christopher Shy’s Studio Ronin website is available here. In addition, DMF Comics has made available a very nice Soul Stealer T-Shirt. As a fan of the series, I very much look forward to the second installment.