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Graphic Policy Talk With Ray Fawkes and Jeremy Haun about Valiant’s Upcoming The Final Witness

The Final Witness

I have been all-in on Valiant‘s comics for a long time. But, sometimes a series comes along that really sings to me. The Final Witness is one of those books. The promise from the creative team that nothing will be the same after a comic isn’t an unfamiliar one. This is one of the few times that I genuinely believe that will be the case.

What is The Final Witness?

It seems to blend a murder mystery with superheroes in what promises to be something Valiant fans haven’t seen before. It’s from the creative team of Ray Fawkes (writer), Jeremy Haun (art), Nick Filardi (colors), and Clayton Cowles (letters).

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to ask Ray and Nick a few questions about the upcoming series.

Graphic Policy: The Final Witness has really got me intrigued; where did the idea come from?

Ray Fawkes: The idea was a collaborative effort with Heather Antos, our great editor. We bounced the basic concept of the killer this book is based around, and the new hero who would face them as his first challenge back and forth until we settled on The Final Witness – something totally new for the Valiant Universe!

Jeremy Haun: It was one of those concepts that I knew I wanted to be a part of the second I read it.  We’ve read all of the superhero stories that are out there by now. This series— this point of view is something new. That’s incredibly exciting.

GP: How long did it take you to get from the conception stage to the finished product?

RF: We really worked it over for several months even before scripting began in earnest, just making sure we had the core concept as strong as possible, and making sure that the folks at Valiant were completely happy with the direction we were taking. Then the scripting started up – so we’re looking at about a year from the seed concept to finished product. 

JH: A lot of projects have a release date even before things are ready to go. I love that Valiant really let us take the time and build this story the way we needed to. I got working drafts of the first two issues when I came onto the project. They’d been developing things for months at that point. I came in and we built and added to things even more. 

GP: You’ve both worked together a lot over the years; did you know coming into the project you’d be teaming up again? It must be fun to work with somebody you know, eh?

RF: When I started putting together the plans for the script I didn’t know yet that we were going to be able to get Jeremy on board – but as soon as his name was mentioned I began to see this book as a project I didn’t want to do with anyone else. We’ve had such great synergy in the past, and I knew we’ d be speaking each other’s language from day one of the collaboration.

JH: There are certain creators that you’ll work with any chance you get. Ray is one of those folks. He’s the kind of collaborator who not only gets good storytelling, he gets the type of storytelling I get excited about. The second Heather reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to work on an all-new superhero noir book with Ray, I was in.

GP: Ray, you’ve said that you really got to cut loose with this story; how different has working with Valiant been from your previous gigs?

RF: Valiant has been one hundred percent supportive of the direction this book is taking – something new for the company and for its in-continuity characters – and it’s been really great seeing what kinds of boundaries we can push. All any writer wants to do is to be free to explore a concept to the hilt – Valiant has given me that chance with The Final Witness.

GP: With this being a limited series, can you tell us if there are any plans to do more with the characters you introduce down the road?

RF: I’ve already outlined a second story with the characters, and have ideas for more. It’s really up to the readers – if the book gets the kind of support I’m hoping for, there may be much more to come. I mean… with the characters who survive this story, of course…

JH: Oh— you’re going to want more of this. I want more of this.

GP: Will Final Witness change the way that fans look at the Valiant universe going forward? It certainly seems like it’ll be different than what we’ve seen before…

RF: I truly believe it will. What happens in this story may call into question some of the ethical problems certain heroes in the Valiant universe face – and some of the problems they represent. Both in-universe and out of it, for readers – there will be a new element brought to Valiant in this book, and once it hits, it can’t be taken back. For the worse in some heroes cases, and for the better in some – and, I like to think, very much for the better for readers.

JH: This is a story that adds a new layer to the Valiant universe in the best way. It’s already a world filled with a fantastic array of characters. THE FINAL WITNESS is going to give us something new— something we need…and might not even be ready for. Things aren’t going to be the same from here on out. 

The Final Witness is due for release April 29th, 2020

Ray Fawkes & Jeremy Haun Present The Final Witness, A Crime-Noir Mystery

A terrifying serial killer wreaks havoc in The Final Witness #1 (of 5) this April!

Eisner-nominated writer Ray Fawkes and electrifying artist Jeremy Haun present a captivating crime-noir mystery! Can a powerful new hero, a detective, and an investigative journalist solve this chilling case as more and more bodies are found in San Francisco? 

The gripping crime-noir thriller begins in The Final Witness #1 (of 5) on April 29th, 2020, featuring colors by Nick Filardi, letters by Clayton Cowles, and covers by RahzzahMichael WalshCaspar Wijngaard, Jeremy Haun, and Travis Escarfullery.

Here’s a first look at the brand-new hero’s origin!

The Final Witness #1 (of 5)

comiXology Originals Announce In the Flood by Ray Fawkes

ComiXology has announced In the Flood, a mesmerizing and experimental original graphic novel written and illustrated by Eisner Award nominee, Ray Fawkes, featuring coloring by Lee Loughridge and lettering by Thomas Mauer.

In the tradition of films by David Lynch and novels by Haruki Murakami, this strange and compelling graphic novel is full of mystery and symbolism that tells the story of a couple trying to keep their troubled marriage together, while separated by an apocalyptic flood with mysterious properties. In the Flood debuts December 18th and will be available to read at no additional cost for Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited members, and will also be available for purchase on Kindle and comiXology.

In the Flood

Comicker Press Announces Shots Fired, a Charity Comics Anthology

Comicker Press logo

Comicker Press is back with Shots Fired, a revamped version of the comics anthology formerly known as Every Day. As with its previous iteration, Shots Fired will raise funds for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Community Justice Reform Coalition to help end gun violence in America via a Kickstarter campaign that will pay for printing and shipping of the comics anthology. Once printed, all proceeds from additional book sales will go directly to the CSGV and CJRC.

Comicker Press co-founder Sean E. Williams said,

Since Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing, when it became apparent that our last one wasn’t going to reach its goal, we decided to regroup and try again as quickly as possible. This issue is too important to not do this book, and the stories the creators are telling are truly unparalleled and need to be read.

With the upcoming 28-day campaign for Shots Fired, Comicker Press has capped the size of the book to around 168 pages and is limiting shipping to the United States to keep the budget down. They are also adding a Kickstarter Exclusive limited-edition hardcover, which won’t be made available after the campaign.

The talent donating their time to Shots Fired include Scott Snyder, Kelly Thompson, David Lafuente, Phil Hester, Ariela Kristantina, Jamal Igle, Devin Grayson, Joe Keatinge, Doselle Young, Marguerite Sauvage, Ron Marz, Stuart Moore, Shannon Wheeler, Steven Grant, Roger Langridge, Matt Miner, Ray Fawkes, CW Cooke, Alex de Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, Kelly Williams, Emma Beeby, and more.

The Shots Fired campaign launches on Kickstarter on June 18th, and runs through July 16th.

AfterShock Announces Shock Vol. 2 featuring R.L. Stine, Garth Ennis, Cullen Bunn, Marguerite Benett, Jamal Igle and more!


Writers: R.L. Stine, Garth Ennis, Cullen Bunn, Marguerite Bennett & others
Artists: Russ Braun, Francesco Francavilla, Juan Doe, Sam Kieth & others
Cover: Tim Bradstreet
$34.99 / 160 pages / FULL COLOR / On sale 06.26.19

The highly anticipated follow up to the widely successful first volume of the SHOCK anthology, this oversized second volume continues to push boundaries and mix genres, inviting today’s top creative talent of both comics and prose to craft tales of the fantastic, the horrific and the bizarre.

This handsome hardcover features the talents of Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine, Garth Ennis, Cullen Bunn, Russ Braun, Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe, Jill Thompson, Sam Kieth, Aaron Douglas, Cliff Richards, Jim Starlin, Larry Stroman, Jamal Igle, Ray Fawkes, Joe Pruett, Kevin J. Anderson, Steve Rasnic Tem, Andrei Bressan, Tony Harris, Francesco Francavilla, Darko Macan, Don Handsfield, Phil Hester, Supernatural show runner Andrew Dabb and more – with outstanding Cover art by Timothy Bradstreet!

Conceived and edited by AfterShock Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, Joe Pruett, the multiple Eisner and Harvey Award nominated editor of the classic Negative Burn anthology series.

Dark Horse Delivers Stranger Things and Black Hammer for Free Comic Book Day

Visit your local comic shop May 4, 2019, for Free Comic Book Day! Dark Horse delivers tales from two diverse worlds in their FCBD Gold Offering featuring Netflix’s Stranger Things and a spooky trip into Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Eisner Award-winning series Black Hammer with a cover by Chun Lo

In Stranger Things, writer Jody Houser and artist Ibrahim Moustafa bring the adventuring party back together after Eleven’s disappearance, as Nancy and Steve find a way to lift the spirits of a despondent Mike. Perhaps all it takes is a roll of the dice. Then, in the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series creator Jeff Lemire, guest writer Ray Fawkes, and artist David Rubín, take the reader on an EC-style tour through Madame Dragonfly’s mysterious Cabin of Horrors to witness two groups of brand-new Black Hammer heroes from the past! 

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books free to anyone who comes into their shops.

Dark Horse Stranger Things Free Comic Book Day

Matt Kindt and Ray Fawkes Join the World of Black Hammer for a WWII Epic

From the world of Black Hammer comes another exhilarating send up to the superhero genre! Jeff Lemire joins forces with writer Ray Fawkes and artist Matt Kindt to tell an epic WWII story in the Golden Age of Superheroes shaken up with Lemire’s signature Black Hammer twist. Travel back to 1945, where an elite crew known as the Black Hammer Squadron bands together to combat Nazis, a host of occult threats, and their ultimate aerial nemesis, the Ghost Hunter.

Black Hammer ‘45: From the World of Black Hammer #1 (of four) goes on sale March 6, 2019.

Preview: Bloodshot Salvation Vol. 2: The Book of the Dead TPB


$14.99 | 112 pgs. | T+ | On Sale AUGUST 1st
TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-277-5

Into the Deadside!

Years ago, Project Rising Spirit’s cutting-edge nanite technology transformed Ray Garrison into the walking weapon codenamed Bloodshot. Now, those very same microscopic machines have infected his infant daughter’s physiology and threaten to destroy her from the inside out. As the life of an innocent hangs in the balance, Bloodshot will be forced to make an unimaginable decision: to watch the child he loves die, or to confront death itself…and negotiate a deal for her safety. Now, with only Bloodhound and the enigmatic hero known as Shadowman to guide him, Bloodshot is about to undertake an unreal journey into the demon-haunted dimension known as the Deadside to save a life…or sacrifice his own…

Eisner Award-nominated writer Jeff Lemire (The Terrifics, Black Hammer) and explosive artist Renato Guedes (Wolverine) take Bloodshot on a heart-stopping journey to Deadside’s darkest depths to confront death itself in the series named one of the year’s best by Entertainment Weekly!


Black Hammer Gets a Library Edition this October

Black Hammer fans will have another opportunity to visit their favorite superhero farm in the Black Hammer Library Edition Volume 1Black Hammer Library Edition Volume 1 collects the first chapter of the highly acclaimed, Eisner Award-winning superhero saga in a deluxe, oversized hardcover format from Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston.

Mysteriously banished from existence by a multiversal event, the old superheroes of Spiral City now lead simple lives on a bizarre farm from which there is no escape! But as they employ all of their super abilities to free themselves from this strange purgatory, a mysterious stranger works to bring them back into action for one last adventure!

This new edition features a beautiful cover by Dean Ormston with colors by Dave Stewart and collects Black Hammer #1-13, the Giant-Sized Annual, sketchbook extras, and more! This tome features art by Dean Ormston, David Rubín, Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Ray Fawkes, and Michael Allred.

Black Hammer Library Edition Volume 1goes on sale October 24, 2018, and is available for preorder. This new edition is 408-pages and retails for $49.99.

Review: Bloodshot Salvation #9

BSS_009_COVER-A_ROCAFORT“In the wire-strewn trenches of World War I, witness the true story of a good boy gone bad, as Eisner and Harvey Award nominee Ray Fawkes joins New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire and astonishing artist Renato Guedes for a special one-shot tale chronicling the never-before-revealed history of Project Rising Spirit’s first prototype in nanite enhancement: the indestructible canine weapons unit codenamed Bloodhound!

Before he found his place at Ray Garrison’s side, Bloodshot’s loyal companion learned the depths of mankind’s inhumanity toward brother and beast alike on the battlefields of France. Now, as the Kaiser’s war machine approaches, find out firsthand how a beloved comrade with four legs and a soul full of fury inspired a legacy that still stands after nearly a century!”

Just like it says on the tin, this is a story about the origin of Bloodhound. Effectively a standalone interlude, Bloodshot Salvation #9 takes us back to the World War I where a mad scientist is desperate to help the men and boys on the front lines in the Battle of the Somme by using an unstoppable weapon that could turn the tide of the war  – yup, you guessed exactly what that weapon is: Bloodhound.

Bloodshot Salvation #9 is written by Ray Fawkes with Jeff Lemire who take no prisoners in the depiction of the futility of war, and the chronic waste of life that was the Great War. Although one can argue the necessity of Bloodhound’s origin at this point in the Bloodshot Salvation run, one should not argue that we got the story at all. Especially as there’s a chance that the deeper understanding of the hound and his struggles during the conflict will play into the future issues of the series.

When it comes to the art, Renato Guedes is firing on all cylinders as he delivers an artistic performance that will have you smelling the mud, blood, sweat and fear of the trenches. Guedes uses a lot of earthy tones during the quieter moments of the comic, with the muted browns and greens mixing with the subtle greys to add a palpable sense of foreboding before the colours explode out of the page in a horror of action and carnage.

As an interlude issue you couldn’t ask for any better, because although having to wait one more month to find out what’s happening in the Deadside isn’t the most ideal scenario for the less patient among us, Bloodshot Salvation #9 more than makes up for having to wait. Whether it’s an anticipation building move that will drive some crazy or a cunningly placed interlude to allow more time to finish the next comic doesn’t worry me. This is a beautifully brutal comic with a level of darkness and horror that lies just below the surface as the scientific experimentation is only just beginning for the men who will become Bloodshot.

It’s not a must-read comic in terms of the story, but  you will kick yourself if you miss this wonderful example of sequential art.

Story: Ray Fawkes with Jeff Lemire
Art: Renato Guedes Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.4 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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