Updated: Oct 29, 2019
Writer: Rodney Barnes, Art: Jason Shawn Alexander, Color: Luis NCT, Lettering: Marshall Dillon, Editor: Greg Tumbarello.
Killadelphia: Sins of the Father, Part 1 arrives in November with a suspenseful horror story that'll leave you clamoring for more. Writer Rodney Barnes gives us the tale of James "JJ" Sangster, Jr., a young man haunted by the violently tense relationship he had with his father growing up. Though momentarily relieved after his father dies, JJ is still haunted by his ghost as he embarks on the same journey that brought his father to the grave. Barnes's story reads very much like a crime noir, which it is, but it quickly turns into a horror tale. By the book's end, you're left wanting to know more. What happens next? When can I find out? We're thankfully given the details of Part 2 coming in December 2019 with an amazing colorful illustration from Jason Shawn Alexander and Luis NCT.
The moment I opened Killadelphia I was struck by a mental flashback to the time I read Akira Hiramoto's manga Me and the Devil Blues: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson. Both works have running parallels in so far as the inclusion of supernatural involvement in American history, African American protagonists, style of art, and sense of stirring dread throughout their respective stories. I bring up the similarities as a compliment and without any accusation of copying. Killadelphia is a stand alone work that is clearly part of a niche genre in the graphic novel medium.
Illustrator Jason Shawn Alexander is no newbie to comics. He is an award winning illustrator having produced content for Dark Horse Comics, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Hasbro, and others throughout his career. Alexander's past work veers towards the gritty, raw, and horrific, and at times photorealistic as can be seen in Killadelphia from the very first page of the story. His style is fearless and it is only further boosted by Luis NCT's coloring. NCT has his own rules with respect to color as he changes the hue depending on the setting, such as sepia when it comes to places of worship, or steel blue in an office environment. These changes help break scenes up and give the reader the sense of going down the same path alongside the protagonists.
If you're hoping Killadelphia is worth your while, it definitely is. What else could you expect from a book that's been given high praise by director Jordan Peele, Chris Rock, and Brian K. Vaughan?
Killadelphia: Sins of the Father, Part 1 is published by Image Comics and is on sale November 27, 2019.