15 Sep

AfterShock Comics’ ‘Undone by Blood’ Heads for Television

Norman Reedus’ bigbaldhead productions is developing the western property.

Ahead of its second season, due 2021, AfterShock Comics’ metatextual western series Undone by Blood will make the jump to television, with bigbaldhead productions, the company founded by Norman Reedus signing a deal to develop the property.

Undone by Blood was born from a place of pure passion, out of a love for Westerns, for myself and the entire creative team. At the outset, our goal was to tell a story that added to the genre by deconstructing its themes, and to make the best comic book we could,” series co-creator Lonnie Nadler told The Hollywood Reporter. “While having your book adapted is the ultimate dream for many creators, it was not for us. We wouldn’t be doing this unless we felt it was one-hundred-percent the right fit. And from our first discussion with Norman and his team at bigbaldhead, it was clear that their passion for the project matched our own with genuine enthusiasm. They understood the nuances, the world, and the characters completely.”

Nadler’s co-writer Zac Thompson added, “From day one of our conversations it was clear we were all drawn to the material for the same reasons. The western genre casts a long shadow over the American film industry and it’s so exciting to create a show that will explore the impact of that legacy while also paying tribute to it. The dual narrative structure of the story makes it perfect for the transition to television. Fans of classic Westerns will get their Sergio Leone tales of justice on the frontier. And fans of quirky Coen Brothers neo-westerns will get theirs too. It’s an embarrassment of genre riches.”

Reedus, JoAnne Colonna and Amanda Verdon will executive produce the series for bigbaldhead, with Lee Kramer and Jon Kramer exec producing for AfterShock Comics, alongside Thompson and Nadler. Reedus is being eyed to star as the series’ Solomon Eaton, the fictional cowboy whose stories mirror the primary action in each tale.

“I’m not going to lie. The possibility of having Norman Reedus play the co-lead of your television show is mind-blowingly amazing, as he’s the perfect fit for a legendary pulp gunslinger like Solomon Eaton,” Thompson said. “Right from the jump, Norman understood Sol like he was an extension of himself. He saw all the things we saw in the character and to be honest, Norman’s basically already a badass cowboy. We couldn’t be more excited to see his take on Sol.”

“Undone by Blood is a special book for us at AfterShock and we couldn’t be happier that we found the perfect creative partners in bigbaldhead productions,” Lee Kramer said. “Norman, JoAnne and Amanda’s creative sensibilities will only help to further enrich this already impactful tale for a television audience, and we cannot wait to get this exciting project underway.”

Rive Gauche Television negotiated the deal on behalf of AfterShock Comics, with Thompson and Nadler represented by Jake Wagner from Alibi.

Reedus will also provide the foreword to the collection of the first Undone by Blood comic book series, Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man, available in comic stores Nov. 4, and in bookstores Nov. 17, in which he writes that the series “excited me in a way that few comics have since The Walking Dead.”

19 Nov

The Hollywood Reporter: How ‘Undone by Blood’ Comic Puts a Twist on the Revenge Western

The meta-textual project hits stores Feb. 12.

What seems, at first, like a simple quest for revenge in an Arizona town turns out to be something far more complex — and, as the title of AfterShock’s new Western comic book series hints, Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man tells more than just one story as it builds.“The book is about Ethel Grady Lane, a young woman who’s on a quest for revenge,” explained writer Zac Thompson. “A year before the book begins, her entire family was murdered while passing through the town of Sweetheart, Arizona. After feeling like the police have done nothing, Ethel returns to Sweetheart with a revolver in her hand to make things right. She has no idea who she’s looking for, but she’s determined to find the man who killed her family. Her quest for revenge is fueled by the novel she’s reading, Shadow of a Wanted Man — an old-school pulp Western about famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. Sol is the second lead of the book as we follow his own personal quest for revenge alongside Ethel’s.”Added Thompson’s co-writer on the series, Lonnie Nadler, “I’d always been a fan of meta-textual storytelling, which stems from my love of postmodern literature by the likes of Paul Auster and Italo Calvino, and so I’d been wanting to try my hand at telling a story within a story for quite some time. However, it took Zac and I both seeing Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals to realize how we could do this in comics. We both adore that movie, and it really inspired us to challenge ourselves, not only to write something we’ve never tried before but to write something nobody in comics has tried before, to our knowledge. We thought it might be interesting to couple this dual narrative idea with our desire to explore and demythologize the Western.”

Nadler also talked about the art team for the series. “Sami [Kivela] is truly a dream artist for Zac and I, as we approach comics with very similar storytelling sensibilities. Sami has an incredible mind for inventive page layouts, but he’s also so adept at knowing when to slow down and let the quiet moments breathe and speak for themselves. Working on a neo-Western, those two elements were very important to us, because the genre is so meditative at its core. You need to be able to communicate a sense of emotion, whether you’re looking at a landscape or at a person’s face, and Sami is one of the few artists who can accomplish both with ease.”

“We’ve also got the incredible Jason Wordie on colors, which together he and Sami are a dream team,” said Thompson. “They have a real shorthand with one another’s styles that elevates every page. They’ve worked together before, so the collaboration is only getting better here.”

Overall, Thompson said, the writers are excited about the series “because I feel like it’s been ages since we’ve had a proper Western in comics. We’ve gone full Coen brothers, full Sergio Leone, and the town of Sweetheart feels lived in and chewed up. It’s very cinematic and beautiful, with long stretches of silence and a meta-narrative at its heart. I don’t think comic book readers have experienced anything like it.”

The first issue of Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man will be released digitally and in comic book stores Feb. 12, 2020.