Currently seeking support on Kickstarter is a brilliant-looking comic from writer and director Eromose, with art by Iacci, an action adventure drawing deeply on real African history, that has echoes of a Tintin story, with a throughly modern take.
In what is likely to be only a first adventure, The Crusaders – Hunt for the Sun Blade centres on a twenty-something Nigerian adventurer and his siblings, who reform their childhood crew of treasure hunters on a pulsating crusade across the world to find a precious ancient African artefact, hidden from the looting British Empire in the 1800s, and return it to their ancestral home, the Benin Kingdom in West Africa.
Initially developed for other media, in a quick chat about the project over Zoom, Eromose, who some may know better as Thomas Ikimi, pitched this exciting tale to me as “Tintin, but with a modern twist” and is clearly fired up about the book, enthused about Iacci’s art, and returning to the world of crating comics alongside his successful career as a writer, director, producer and editor of independent film.
“I began with comics,” Eromose, who spent his childhood in Nigeria and England, before studying at Columbia University, New York, told me of his early creative career. “I used to draw them, collect them, comics like 2000AD, Marvel, DC. I was really into them.”
He moved into film in his twenties. His first feature film, Legacy, starring Idris Elba, premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Festival and his short film, Nostradamus, funded through Kickstarter, premiered at the same Festival in 2015.
He returned to Tribeca for a third time earlier this year, with the premiere of his much-acclaimed political thriller, 88 – a story that Judd Taylor noted “captures the cultural zeitgeist of government mistrust and institutional racism with a compelling story fraught with suspense and intrigue.”
During his career, Eromose – who freely admits to being a fan of action characters such as Allan Quartermaine and Flash Gordon – has sold original screenplays to the likes of Sky, FOX, Disney and Legendary, and now works independently on his various artistic and technological ventures.
The Crusaders is an ensemble piece, based on true life African history, as noted on the project’s Kickstarter page, led by the young swashbuckling hero, Max Okalo. He’s trying to get up from under the shadow of his older siblings and make a name for himself in the treasure hunting game.
To do that he must find The Sun Blade, the treasure that evaded both his father Walter Okalo and his oldest brother George.
The Crusaders project has been in development for ten years. Working up a tight script for Iacci to follow, who developed the look of the characters and costume, I think this book will, as Eromose hopes, appeal to “comic connoisseurs” and lovers of action adventure of all ages.
As he himself says, “This will be a heist adventure with heart and soul, a blend of action, fantasy and adventure. From The Magnificent Seven to The Dirty Dozen, or even The Goonies, the adventure ensemble speaks to all audiences. The Crusaders will be no different…”