Several British creators are promoting a Kickstarter for an unusual re-telling of The Count of Monte Cristo that has garnered praise from Charley’s War and 2000AD co-creator Pat Mills and Aces Weekly publisher David Lloyd.
Kristo, a 50 page graphic novel by Alex Sheikman and Sam Roads re-sets The Count of Monte Cristo in Stalinist Russia in what the creators describe as a sophisticated new graphic novel. The story centres on a Cossack officer betrayed and incarcerated for twenty years by his three closest friends, how he assumed another man’s identity to escape and then took his final, bloody revenge.
“A few years ago I published a Kindle book called Monte Cristo 1943 through Amazon,” says Alex of the project. “The published portion represented a fraction of the whole story that I wanted to tell, but not having a publisher or the funds to finish it I let it out into the world as it was… undone and unscripted. I invited writers to script my published “silent” story. Time went on and I got a few very good scripts, but there were no prospects of having the story published and/or getting any funds to finish it, so it just sat in my drawer, until Sam Roads got in touch with me.
“Sam loved the idea and wanted to develop it further along. He also brought along a lot of energy, business acumen, a talented team consisting of colorist, letterer, editor, and connections to the comic book publishers in Britain. So Sam and I became creative partners and the project has been renamed Kristo.”
Cardiff-based Sam’s background is in gaming, winning two Origins awards (the unplugged gaming ‘Oscars’) for “The One Ring” and “Kin-strife”, while California-based Alex is the writer/artist on the creator owned projects Moonstruck and Robotika. He has also recently contributed artwork to Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Outlaw Territory, Legends of Mouse Guard, and the A1 Annual.
The team has already attracted almost £900 in backing toward the £2300 goal and are being assisted in production by colourist Kris Carter (Transformers, Doctor Who) and editor Yannick Morin (Epic Kill). The cut-off date is 4th August 2013.
Response to advance pages from the project has already been positive. “The Count of Monte Cristo is masterfully retold in this excellent take on Stalin’s Russia.” says Pat Mills, while David Lloyd describes it as “Promising work from bright new talent.”
“Kristo looks like it’s going to be something special, but we can’t complete it without support,” says Sam. “Please dig deep if you like to help independent creators, if you like comics with heart (and no spandex), or if you’d really like to know the full story of Isaak Solzhenitsyn!”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.