Two titans of the comics industry – writer Alan Grant and artist Shane Oakley – have a four-issue collaboration coming out in trade paperback in March, Channel Evil, inspired by Grant’s real-life experience, that also includes a brand new strip titled An Evening with Ba’al.
From the Press Release:
Renegade Arts Entertainment is pleased to announce the March 13, 2013, release of CHANNEL EVIL TRADE PAPERBACK, collecting the four issues of Alan Grant’s (Judge Dredd, Batman) and Shane Oakley’s (Albion, Cthulhu Tales) horror miniseries. This deluxe paperback collection also includes a new, never-before-seen 16-page strip, An Evening with Ba’al, written by Grant and illustrated by D’Israeli (Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Future Shocks).
Inspired by Alan’s encounter with something from the dark edges of consciousness, CHANNEL EVIL follows Jez Manson, a local TV chat show host ready to exploit everyone in a bid to make the big time. After watching a successful medium channel a benign spirit, Jez invites her on his show, ready to ridicule her for cheap laughs and a few headlines. But Jez is persuaded to try channeling himself. Full of scorn, Jez agrees, planning to fake it, but it turns out that Jez is a natural and finds himself channeling Ba’al, an ancient source of evil.
Trying to laugh the whole thing off, Jez is unaware that he has opened a door for Ba’al to exploit and return chaos and destruction to the world. Jez finds his dreams full of twisted nightmares that share too many details, matching the next day’s news reports.
However, the channeling show has made the national news, and Jez could be moving on to the big time. Persuaded to channel Ba’al again on live TV, Jez knows deep down he’s on the edge of the abyss, but the lure of fame and fortune is too strong. What will he unleash this time?
Alan Grant on the genesis of Channel Evil:
The idea originally came to me while I was reading a book by a guy who had formed a “channeling” group to contact the spirits of the dead. I did some research and found that, although it’s ignored by the mainstream media, channeling has a huge audience all over the world. I wondered what would happen if, instead of channeling one of the boring spirits who advocate peace and love, somebody managed to channel the spirit of some long-forgotten scion of evil.
I used to own a flotation tank; it was soundproof and totally dark. Once, when I was in the tank, I was thinking about a Batman story I was working on, which featured a villain known as Cornelius Stirk. Stirk suffered from severe mental illness, which he “treated” by cutting the still-beating hearts out of his victims and then consuming them. The thought suddenly flashed through my mind: “This is what I do for a living…and it’s evil!” Immediately, and to my terror, a disembodied voice said clearly: “You think that is evil? I can show you what evil really is!” Chills ran up and down my spine. I broke out in a cold sweat. I was out of that tank faster than a ferret up a drainpipe! When I’d calmed down and thought about it, I realised that – whatever the reality of what had happened – it was a brilliant base on which to build a story. I hope it frightens readers as much as it terrified me.
Shane Oakley on Channel Evil:
Working with Alan is another “dream box” I’m ticking off. We’ve been trying to get together on a project for over ten years, and I’m still buzzing that we’ve finally got there. Alan’s scripts are great to work with, they’re lean and mean, he gets on with the story, doesn’t arse about or waste space. I love the idea it’s set at the English seaside, like a lot of kids (and grown ups) I had many day trips/weekends away in Blackpool, the place has a very seductive glamour, a glittering feast for the senses.
But it’s also a little grubby and seedy, which suits the personality of Jez and his show perfectly. And obviously, drawing nightmare scenes of horror and a big bad ass demonic storm god is a plus.
The book also features Shane’s original covers as well as the variant covers created by Frank Quitely, Mark Buckingham, D’Israeli, and Wayne Nichols plus eight pages of Shane’s sketches and designs for the story. You can pre-order Channel Evil from TFAW now.
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