Beasts of the Black Hand is a horror/adventure tale set in the waning days of the first World War, when dieselpunk technology is making for a very different world. The 64-page hardcover graphic novel, created by sculptor Paul Harding, written by Ron Marz, drawn by Matthew Dow Smith, and colored by Neeraj Menon, will debut early in 2018, laying the groundwork for an epic multi-volume story.
The time is December, 1916. War rages across Europe, some empires collapsing, others being born. In snow-covered St. Petersburg, Russia, the mad monk, Rasputin, is invited to dinner at Moika Palace by Prince Felix Yusupov. Among the dinner guests is a British secret agent named Oswald Rayner. This much is historical fact.
Despite the monk’s supernatural might, Rayner succeeds in assassinating Rasputin. But his death only presages far darker events. The secret cabal known as the Black Hand is plotting to unleash otherworldly horrors upon Europe.
It falls to Rayner to stop the Black Hand’s insidious plot. But standing in his way is Maria Rasputin, daughter of the mad monk and agent for the Black Hand. Their paths cross with near-fatal results in St. Petersburg…
…and then again in 1919 Paris, as world peace hangs in the balance at the Versailles Conference. Joined by allies like his aide Biffy Dunderdale and American war hero Henry Johnson, Rayner again must face Maria Rasputin, leading to confrontation that yields shocking revelations and deadly consequences. If Oswald Rayner fails, the Beasts will be unleashed.
Currently running on Kickstarter the project is looking for $24,000 to be fully funded and the campaign ends November 30.
Paul Harding is best known for his work as a sculptor of statues and action figures for clients including DC Collectibles, Gentle Giant, and Sideshow, Harding is giving full vent to his imagination as the creator and concept artist of Beasts of the Black Hand.
Ron Marz is a veteran of the comics industry, writer Ron Marz has worked for every major publisher, including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, and Image. He’s penned acclaimed runs on Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, and Witchblade, among others.
Dual threat Mathew Dow Smith is known as both an artist and writer. As an artist, he has amassed credits at Marvel, DC, IDW and Dark Horse, including Batman and Wonder Woman tales, and lengthy runs on Doctor Who and X-Files.
A concept artist and colorist, Neeraj Menon has worked for publishers including Image, Dynamite, IDW, Disney India, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. His unique palette has graced many titles, including The Protectors from AthlitaComics.