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AfterShock Comics First Look: Godkillers #1

It’s HELLBOY: BPRD meets ZERO DARK THIRTY. 

Abdul Alhazred is an Arab-American folklore professor turned soldier whose fear of death stems from uncertainty about the existence of an afterlife. Then he joins THE GODKILLERS, a special forces unit tasked with fighting insurgents who use mythological creatures as weapons of mass destruction. Now that he knows the supernatural exists, he’ll have to decide which is worse—death or the nightmarish monsters he thought were mere legends.

From writer Mark Sable (Grounded, Fearless, Supergirl) and newcomer artist Maan House, GODKILLERS is a monster story for the modern age.

Godkillers #1 / $4.99/ 32 pages / Color / On sale 02.19.20

Writer: Mark Sable

Artist: Maan House

Colorist: Hernan Cabrera

Letterer: Thomas Mauer

Cover: Jeremy Haun

Incentive Cover: Tim Bradstreet

MARK SABLE ON WHAT THE BOOK’S ABOUT AND WHY HE’S EXCITED FOR IT TO BE RELEASED:

“GODKILLERS is war/horror fiction about an elite special forces unit tasked with hunting down insurgents who are using mythological creatures as weapons of mass destruction.

It’s HELLBOY: BPRD meets ZERO DARK THIRTY. 

At its heart though, GODKILLERS is about its protagonist, Phillip 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 name Alhazred might be familiar to readers of H.P. Lovecraft as the writer of the Necronomicon, and I chose it intentionally.  GODKILLERS is in part my way of exploring some of the existential dread in Lovecraft’s work while putting a modern, heroic spin on one his most reviled characters.

Mostly, it’s a way of combining to genres I love – military and horror fiction.  Despite the fact we’ve been a nation at war for nearly twenty years, it doesn’t feel like there’s many comics covering that.”

MARK SABLE ON THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE PROJECT:

“In addition to my comics writing, I work as a futurist, primarily with The Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project.  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.  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.

I was also inspired by a quote attributed to General William J. Boykin, who hunted  Pablo Escobar and the Somali warlords responsible for the Blackhawk Down incident.  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?

Basically, I wanted to take a deep, dark look at the War on Terror, while hopefully providing some entertainment in the form of a horror comic.  I feel like Paul Azaceta, Matt Wilson and I successfully combined war and horror in our book GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, and this feels like a spiritual sequel to that book.”

MARK SABLE ON (3) REASONS WHY COMIC BOOK FANS SHOULD ADD THIS TITLE TO THEIR PULL LIST:

“If you like war comics, horror – or better yet – books than combine both.  I’ve pitched this as BPRD meets ZERO DARK THIRTY, but it’s the same mix of guns and monsters that movies like ALIENS has.”

I think of GODKILLERS as a spiritual sequel to GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, my sold-out Image book with Paul Azaceta and Matt Wilson.  It’s a similarly extensively-researched mix of military and horror fiction that asks deep questions about The War on Terror. 

The art team is amazing.  I’ve had great fortune to have the artists I’ve worked with like Robbi Rodriguez (co-creator of Spider-Gwen) and Paul Azaceta (Robert Kirkman’s Outcast) blow up after working with me.  I feel like Maan House is the next big thing.”

MARK SABLE ON THE ART IN THE BOOK AND WORKING WITH THE CREATIVE 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’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.

Letterer Thomas Mauer is the unsung hero of the book.  He’s lettered and designed GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES and most recently THE DARK for me and make the reading experience seamless.

Finally, we have Jeremy Haun and Nick Filardi on colors.  Jeremy and I worked together on TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE, which is the DC book I’m most proud of.  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.”

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