Rosario Dawson did it. Nicolas Cage did it. John Woo did it. Michael Chiklis recently got into it. And now,“Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua and “Blade” himself, Wesley Snipes, are about to do it and have brought it to Comic-Con.
These varied celebs have all launched comic-book properties, and the “Brooklyn’s Finest” duo will soon hit shelves with “After Dark,” a gritty futuristic tale with elements of militarism and a quest for a savior in a world where drugs and the environment are at the forefront of societal problems. The title is set to be released by Radical Comics.
The two decided to get together and create a comic book after making “Finest.”
“We were just kicking around ideas, and it started to develop,” Fuqua said. “I grew up loving things like ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Heart of Darkness’ … but this is new to me. There’s just no roof. As a director, to be able to create and three days later actually see images on a page? It was awesome.”
For Snipes, it was a chance to get back in with a crow he knew well.
“Yeah, I was inspired just to get back into the genre that created ‘Blade,’ but also to create new, urban superheroes” with Fuqua, he said. “I’m a fan of ‘Predator,’ with that ensemble action cast, so this was what I enjoyed. But then [Fuqua] just came in with this really dark story.”
The duo didn’t do a lot of comic-book research before embarking on the project, and Radical Comics’ president and publisher, Barry Levine, believed that was for the best. For him, it’s the stories and art that will make the publication a success, not the celebrity names.
“Other publishers and creators, they put the stars’ names out on top. We don’t do that. We’re here to tell a story, and we don’t really do superheroes,” Levine said. Everything in their stable “is pretty clearly defined.”
Comic-book launches are popular, but follow-through, success and longevity are not ready made when it comes to the fickle tastes of enthusiasts. What will make this initial three-issue limited series unique?
“It’s an entertainment-first journey, ” Fuqua said. “Most stories concentrate on a journey, as does ours. But they don’t always talk about getting back. Here, we do both.”
The book could also be a steppingstone for other venues, namely film. But even if it doesn’t lead to that, Snipes says the relationship has been a productive one in many ways.
“To have two African Americans working” in this medium is “pretty special,” he said. “Antoine and I make a very good yin-yang team. He comes up with these stories and adventures, and I look for all of the honeys to cast!”
And yes, Mr. Snipes had been on the Comic-Con floor.
— Jevon Phillips
Images, from top: Antoine Fuqua, left, and Wesley Snipes with promotional pieces used by Radical Comics to illustrate “After Dark” at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. The cover of “After Dark No. 1.” Credit: Jevon Phillips
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