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Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La By Brian Jacks
This January, Image Comics is bringing readers along for what the publisher is calling the comic book chase thriller of the year with a rock and roll fused original graphic novel entitled SHANGRI-LA.
Written by Marc Bryant with artwork by Shepherd Hendrix, SHANGRI-LA is the tale of a burned out gun-for-hire and a has-been rock star who form an uneasy alliance after the killer backs out on plans to assassinate the creaky old rocker. A hair-raising cross country chase ensues, with both parties doing their best not to kill each other before they can turn the tables on the record label that wants them both dead.
"SHANGRI-LA is what happened when I got too jaded about the music industry and started wondering if any of the rock icons ever faked their own death," Bryant explained. "Things got out of hand soon after, and I had a full-blown chase thriller on my hands, one with quite a few laughs as well. The bottom line is, it brings together two of my favorite things in life: comic books and rock and roll. There's a Dolly Parton cross-dresser, too. Not that that's one my favorite things. Please."
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With his story in place, Bryant's next step was finding an artist. Bryant knew he had to find someone special for the job, and he spent a considerable amount of time looking for someone who could bring just the right touch to what he knew was a truly unique comics project.
"I 'auditioned' a few different artists on SHANGRI-LA, all talented folks, but I wound up working with a guy who nailed what I was looking for, right out of the gate," said Bryant. "I contacted Shep through Sharon Cho's agency, and within a few weeks he'd taken my script to another level, creating this smart, cinematic production that draws you in and doesn't let go until the very last panel."
Hendrix, who lives in Northern California, has contributed to DC Comics' Big Books as well as Bernie Wrightson's Captain Sternn, in addition to doing extensive work in the commercial art field. Knoxville, Tennessee-based Bryant, meanwhile, is perhaps best known for his work on Cyberosia Publishing's Overtime, as well as various stories for anthologies benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The duo's work on SHANGRI-LA, however, is certain to raise their profiles considerably, and they're already drawing widespread acclaim from within the professional community.
“I can't believe the corporations let this one get out. Marc Bryant and Shep Hendrix better start looking for Salman Rushdie's hideout, and fast," laughed Ed Brubaker (Catwoman, Sleeper). "Seriously though: a very compelling debut from this team, and a fun read that speaks some truth about why we're so damn pathetic. I look forward to more.”
"“It reminded me of TRUE ROMANCE," added Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Mystique). "A little reckless, very imaginative and bursting at the seams with ideas."
"I knew this story had potential when I saw Elvis singing for John Lennon and Kurt Cobain in the first couple pages," said Steve Rolston (One Bad Day, Queen & Country, Pounded). "Marc didn't disappoint as he tossed assassins, conspiracies, rockstar impersonators and even a strip club brawl into the mix. My favourite part was Shepherd Hendrix's artwork. His balanced use of solid blacks makes me jealous, not to mention the accurate yet lively faces. This comic is full of stellar visuals. All-around, a great show.”
SHANGRI-LA, a 72-page one-shot priced at $7.95 and featuring a cover by Kieron Dwyer and Mal Jones, is scheduled to arrive in stores on January 14, 2004.