“What if the gods of the people we are fighting wars against are just as powerful as ours — maybe more so?” asks writer Mark Sable. “What if our enemies were using them against us?”
War, the famous saying goes, is hell. But in AfterShock Comics’ upcoming series Godkillers, it’s also a number of different spiritual and supernatural concepts and creatures.
The series, created by Mark Sable (Graveyard of Empires, Grounded), Maan House (Spencer & Locke) and Hernan Cabrera (Fashion Beast, Heavy Metal) centers around a U.S. special forces unit tasked with dealing with foes with an unexpected choice of weapon: mythological creatures that the rest of the world doesn’t really believe actually exist.
“I was inspired by a quote attributed to General William J. Boykin, who hunted Pablo Escobar and the Somali warlords responsible for the Blackhawk Down incident,” Sable told The Hollywood Reporter. “When one of the warlords boasted he wouldn’t be caught, Boykin said ‘I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.’ He got in trouble for saying that, and rightly so — it’s offensive. But I thought, what if he was wrong? What if the gods of the people we are fighting wars against are just as powerful as ours — maybe more so? What if our enemies were using them against us? What are the ramifications of that, not just militarily but spiritually?”
At the series’ heart, Sable continued, is Philip Alhazred. “He’s an Arab-American Army Reservist and folklore expert newly assigned to the unit. He struggles with his faith. In part because the War on Terror is largely targeting Islamic insurgents — he feels his loyalty and patriotism being questioned. And on a deeper level, despite the religion he was born into and his expertise in mythology, he doesn’t really believe in the supernatural. When he’s confronted with proof that it exists in the form of monsters, Alhazred is forced to question everything he though he believed in.”
The concept behind the series, he explained, originated from Sable’s other career. “In addition to my comics writing, I work as a futurist, primarily with The Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project,” Sable said. “There, members of the arts and entertainment community like myself are put together with members of the military, intelligence, scientific and policy-making communities to help envision the future of conflict. And in my case, I hope to prevent it.”
“In talking with military and intelligence personnel, conflict journalists etc., I was shocked just how many countries the U.S. is operating that the media doesn’t give much coverage to,” he went on. “I wanted to explore how our military and intel organizations are not just engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Philippines, Syria and Ukraine, to name just a few of the places we visit in Godkillers.”
Sable is effusive in his praise for the book’s art team. “Maan House is the illustrator, and he has the ability to simultaneously portray the most complex weapons and vehicles and design the most unsettling monsters while doing some incredibly storytelling,” he enthused. “He’s joined by colorist Hernan Cabrera, who adds a sense of grittiness to battlefields across the world and help keep Maan’s monsters feeling grounded, [and] letterer Thomas Mauer is the unsung hero of the book.”
Main covers for the series come from Jeremy Haun, [with] Nick Filardi on colors. (Tim Bradstreet provides an alternate cover for the first issue.) “Jeremy and I worked together on Two-Face: Year One, which is the DC book I’m most proud of,” Sable said. “That’s also where I met editor Mike Marts. He brought me to Aftershock, and together with Christina Harrington, they constantly make me up my writing game. Nick Filardi is one of the best colorists working today, and has colored more of my creator-owned work than anyone else. This truly is a dream team.”
Godkillers launches Feb. 19, digitally and in comic book stores.