Everyone remembers Richard Roundtree’s awesome portrayal of Shaft in the 1971 Gordon Parks flick, or at the very least they should remember Isaac Hayes’ wonderful Theme from Shaft. But there may be those who don’t remember there was a comic book series and a series of prose novels that came out in the day, and for those missing out on this bit of our American culture, Dynamite Entertainment is bringing more Shaft to your LCS.
Between 1970 and 1975, Ernest Tidyman actually wrote seven Shaft novels:
- Shaft (1970)
- Shaft Among the Jews (1972)
- Shaft’s Big Score (1972)
- Shaft Has a Ball (1973)
- Goodbye, Mr. Shaft (1973)
- Shaft’s Carnival of Killers (1974)
- The Last Shaft (1975)
These novels have long been out of print, and Dynamite intends to bring these back and make them available again. In addition, the new prose stories and Original Graphic Novels will be the first new Shaft stories, outside of the movie, since Tidyman’s passing. Further editorial plans for new comics and prose will be announced at a later date.
While Dynamite says a later date, I expect more news to appear during the San Diego Comic Con, July 24-27, 2014. The full schedule for the show has not been officially released, but be on the lookout for the Dynamite Entertainment panel.
“John Shaft is an American Icon, with feature films starring Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson. Shaft has resonated in popular culture because he’s such a cool, compelling character. We couldn’t be more happy that we’re getting a chance to tell new stories in multiple mediums, with all new prose in addition to Original Graphic Novels, and create a publishing program that will bring Shaft back to the forefront of pop culture, where he belongs!” said Nick Barrucci, CEO/Publisher of Dynamite in a prepared press release.
The Black Dynamite comic from IDW Publishing ranked fairly high on the January 2014 sales charts, coming in at #173 (11,040 issues sold est.), so this may be part of the motivation of acquiring Shaft for new comics. In any case, for fans of the man who is one bad (SHUT YOUR MOUTH), I’m just talkin’ ’bout Shaft, this is really good news.
Shaft was put on the National Film Registry in 2000, and though it doesn’t appear on the Zach on Film list, perhaps we could be convinced to take a look at the film that defined the Blaxploitation genre.
Though this news is great for the character, the big takeaway from this announcement that Dynamite will be reprinting the original prose novels as part of this deal, and to my knowledge, Dynamite doesn’t have a prose line. Perhaps a new business model for the company is set to be announced.