AfterShock Comics have announced “Bylines in Blood,” a dystopian noir series by writers Erica Schultz & Van Jensen, artist Aneke, and letterer Cardinal Rae. Set in a world where independent newspapers no longer exist, the
book will follow Satya Chatterjee (aka “Lady Dick”), a journalist-turned-private investigator, as she investigates the murder of her old editor. “Someone wanted him silenced,” says the synopsis, “and the trail points toward the highest bastions of power. To find justice for her friend, she’ll have to put everything – and everyone – she knows at risk.”
Schultz described “Bylines in Blood” as being “about the death of truth, and how one former journalist regains her humanity,” as well as “crime, corruption, and how many people… but not everyone… can be bought.” Van Jensen called it “a feminist riff on noir,” and “a mystery with a big hook. Our hero’s old friend has been murdered, but video makes it seem like the killer was invisible. So who killed Denzin, and why?”
Jensen, a former reporter himself, cited Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s “The Seeds,” Blade Runner, and Sam Spade as influences on the book. Artist Aneke said, “I wanted a style where I could feel comfy and be myself. We were thinking in a gritty city but neon-wise, part ‘Transmetropolitan,’ part Blade Runner, part The Deuce, that’s how I imagine Satya’s world. One thing I do is assign a color or set of colors to each character, so I get in the mood of it and it makes sense to me and gives a differentiation to the scenes and the places.”
“Bylines in Blood” #1 will be released on January 12, 2022, and will retail for $4.99. It will have a main cover by Aneke, and an incentive cover by Juan Doe, which you can view below with unlettered interior art, and a full creator Q&A.
ERICA SCHULTZ ON WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHY SHE IS EXCITED FOR IT TO BE RELEASED:
“Bylines in Blood is about the death of truth and how one former journalist regains her humanity. Is that right, Aneke and Van? I’m asking because I feel like I’m answering an English 101 essay question. It’s about crime, corruption, and how many people…but not everyone…can be bought. Satya Chatterjee is a journalist-turned-private dick who is hired to find her mentor’s killer. Usually Satya is digging into other people’s pasts for her job, but now she has to dig into her own and face all the skeletons and regrets.”
ERICA SCHULTZ ON SOME OF HER INSPIRATIONS BEHIND CREATING THE BOOK:
“The Seeds by Aja and Nocenti from Berger Books is a definite inspiration, as well as Blade Runner, and even a little Sam Spade from Hammett. It’s a pulpy-neo-noir-neon-soaked story that we think a lot of people are going to think is kick ass. We sure do.”
VAN JENSEN ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC READERS SHOULD ADD THIS BOOK TO THEIR PULL LIST:
“1. It’s a feminist riff on noir!
2. Aneke is one of the best artists out there, and she’s doing killer work.
3. This is a mystery with a big hook. Our hero’s old friend has been murdered, but video makes it seem like the killer was invisible. So who killed Denzin, and why?”
VAN JENSEN ON HOW THE PROCESS HAS BEEN SO FAR WORKING WITH AFTERSHOCK AND THE CREATIVE TEAM:
“I love working with these women. They’re smart and just damned good at making comics, but they’re also funny as hell. We’re having a blast.”
ANEKE ON HER APPROACH TO THE ARTWORK:
“As this is a book I am coloring myself, doing full art, I was able to imagine the final pages deeply set in my mind and I wanted a style where I could feel comfy and be myself. We were thinking in a gritty city but neon-wise, part “Transmetropolitan” part “Blade Runner” part “The Deuce”, that’s how I imagine Satya’s world. One thing I do is assign a color or set of colors to each character, so I get in the mood of it and it makes sense to me and gives a differentiation to the scenes and the places. I let myself be more bold, trying to do some panels or ideas I maybe hadn’t done before, and it feels amazing. I wanted to make the pages look like something I would love to read.”
ANEKE ON HER FAVORITE PAGE/PANEL FROM THE FIRST ISSUE:
“My favorite page for sure is the one where the body of Denzin is found in a dirty alley, several days pass by and no one cares. Finally when it is collected, our lady comes in, he is gone, everything starts.”