Stephen Romano here, with a pretty big-deal announcement.
As you all know, we've had some real problems getting out our last two books, due to all sorts of hassles, including a crippling manufacturing problem with our MANIAC collection graphic novel. If you can believe it, our printer actually botched the job a SECOND TIME, and we had to re-order hundreds of copies this week, after many arrived in unsellable condition. Unbelievable. But you can be sure we will NEVER work with these boobs again, and we're still on track to ship both MANIAC and the final issue of THE BEYOND a bit later in November. It's just DAYS AWAY, guys, so we thank you for hanging in there. You're going to get your books soon and you're going to be blown away. We promise.
We had planned to make the following announcement once THE BEYOND #4 was in your hot little hands and you'd had a chance to read the thing. See, on the VERY LAST PAGE of that issue, we teased our next big Fulci Comics series and we wanted you to be really surprised by what it was and who we had working on it. But since we had so many delays, we want to make it up to you--AND give you a super cool Halloween present at the same time! So, here for the first time ever, is our OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT of the final story cycle in our epic Lucio Fulci series THE SAGA OF THE SEVEN GATES. And, though many of you already figured this out, we're also welcoming our newest Fulci artist, who will be not only penciling and inking, but COLORING his amazing pages.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the totally badass JEFF ZORNOW, who comes to us after years of becoming one of horror's top artists, with his incredible illustration work on HALLOWEEN, GODZILLA and much more... and he is already hard at work on creating the first issue of... ESCAPE FROM THE BEYOND!
Jeff and Eibon Press go together like rancid bacon and rotten fucking eggs, folks, and we've been trying to find a way to work with him for ages. His covers for HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY were beyond cool, and now he's getting his own series. Better still, it's one of our most important FLAGSHIP series, filled with diverse artists of wildly different influences and styles. But they all have ONE THING in common. They all KICK ASS. Jeff joins DEREK ROOK, VINCE LOCKE and PAT CARBAJAL as the newest and final artist on THE SAGA OF THE 7 GATES and you'd better believe, baby, that this is totally gonna smoke. Hell, it already smokes. Take a look at THIS:
This is just a fleeting glimpse into the complex and epic story we have in store for you. It's the officially licensed sequel to Lucio Fulci's classic film, which continues the tortured tale of John and Liza, as they set off into the frozen wastelands of hell... and it is also the official FINAL CHAPTER to all three films in Fulci's "Gates of Hell" trilogy," making our years-long 13-issue life quest project finally complete. I've written three 40 page double issues to end the saga and, believe me, kids, it ain't pretty. AT ALL.
Creepy, huh? That's one of our bad guys from the series, who is a face known to most of you... but it's complicated. (We're keeping his face under wraps for now, but wait until you see this; it's gonna eat your face!) Plus there will be new heroes, new monsters, an army of sadistic witch hunters waging holy war in The Beyond... and a final showdown against evil that will decide the fate of all mankind. Here's a teaser preview of the first page from the script Jeff is illustrating right now, as we SPEAK:
Shadows and whispers.
Dull blue light and pools of gray darkness.
The world of The Beyond.
We BEGIN with a series of horizontal “widescreen” panels that stretch from left to right, describing a continuous “cinematic” opening shot that begins on a tight close-up of someone’s eye and pulls back into something more creepy and revelatory. To wit:
Panel 1: Close on the RIGHT EYE of SINDI KINGSTON, filling the panel.
CAPTIONS: All things must end. And yet everything is a circle. When I was still a child, trapped by childish things, I did not understand that.
Panel 2: We PULL BACK more to show Sindi’s face. She is surrounded by darkness. A hint of the room around her, which is a wide open living area in a rickety old house that is falling apart and filled with cobwebs. Sindi is a young woman of 28, with pale skin and a ring in her nose. Sindi’s lips are always black, stained that way by her birthright. She looks exactly like Liza Merrill, Lucy Boyle and Mary Woodhouse (as played by Catriona Macoll in THE BEYOND, HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY and THE GATES OF HELL), though this version of her has JET BLACK HAIR. She is dressed in black too.
CAPTIONS: I shivered in the dark and waited for someone to explain everything to me. Never knowing that one day the endless night would come. And that I would walk inside it. When that time came, I followed the call. Yes. It was like a beacon.
Panel 3: PULL BACK MORE to show that Sindi is sitting cross-legged in the open living area of the house, in a circle of candles, with some sort of strange incantation spell carved into the rough wooden floor on all sides of her. Dead rats and birds and cats and other creatures all around. We see HUMAN SKELETONS, with flesh rotting off them, hung up by their arms and feet. It’s a bizarre chamber of sacrifice and horrors, reeking of blood and decay. A KNIFE in Sindi’s right hand. Her left hand bleeding from multiple wounds slashed along her wrists and arms. We see a SYRINGE and rigs for shooting up heroin near her also. A ghostly WIND seems to be blowing through huge cracks in the walls, and the windows teasingly reveal the endless midnight outside.
CAPTIONS: So many souls were set loose upon the opening of the gates, my love. So many of them perished forever. But we are special, aren’t we?
Panel 4: PULL BACK MORE until we are floating backwards out of the house through a BROKEN WINDOW, showing the OUTSIDE of the place, and Sindi inside with her strange ritual. The ghostly wind appears to pound mercilessly at the rickety house, which almost looks like a shack, ready to be torn down, hardly standing. CREEPING INTO THE FOREGROUND from the RIGHT of panel is a pale spindly HUMAN HAND, cloaked in a BLACK SLEEVE. The hand is pale-green and almost skeletal. We realize the captions are not Sindi's inner voice, but the voice of some terrible, malevolent creature, approaching her . . .
CAPTIONS: I see you, Sindi. You are so beautiful. Just like your beautiful sisters.
HOT DAMN, right???
The insanity begins exactly ONE YEAR FROM TODAY, when we drop Jeff's stunning first issue, and it will continue well into 2022 as we complete the trilogy and end the 13-issue saga!
We're damn sorry we couldn't surprise you with this in THE BEYOND #4 before Halloween, but guess what? When you get the issue in the mail in a few weeks, there's STILL ANOTHER really fuckin' cool preview bonus which teases a super important moment in the blood-soaked finale of the saga . . . and the Psycho Fans are gonna get it as a cool insert cover too!
So hang in there, kids and keep the faith. By this time next year, the world will be better... even if hell on earth is coming!!!
Oh, and MANIAC 2 is on its way, too. And you don't gotta wait a whole year for that, kids.
It's our big BLACK FRIDAY release and it's gonna blow your mind!
More to come.
He he heee . . . .