Writer David Walker talks about Shaft: Imitation of Life #4 (of 4), on sale in May from Dynamite. Cover is by Matthew Clark.
DAVID WALKER: Most definitely. The original idea for this miniseries had been floating around in my head for a long time. There had been a talk at one point of doing an anthology of short prose stories, and I wanted to write a story about Shaft working as a consultant on a film. The anthology never happened, but the idea was still there, and when the opportunity came up to do another miniseries, I decided to put it to use.
BB: When Shaft comes out of this one in #4, what should readers know about the man we may NOT have known before?
DW: Going in to this series, I had to take two things into consideration. First, I took into consideration the people that had read the first Shaft miniseries. For all of them, I wanted to make sure the character evolved. I also needed to think about people that were picking up a Shaft comic for the first time, and didn't realize that there would be difference between this version of the character and the one in the films. So, it was all about finding a balance, and helping the character evolve as a person. We see this evolution through Shaft's relationship with Tito, and it is subtle, but very telling.
BB: How have you liked Dietrich Smith's interpretation of the character?
DW: Dietrich is delivering the goods. I had thought he hit his stride somewhere in the first issue, but he really keeps topping himself as the story progresses. I wanted to use this story as an opportunity to show Shaft's evolution emotionally and intellectually, so that he's more than a badass killing machine. The key is that I want to do that with some subtlety, which means I wanted as much of that to come through in the visuals—Shaft's body language, in the expressions on his face. I wanted the reader to see what Shaft was feeling and thinking, and Dietrich managed to put that on to the page.
BB: Do you see John being a film consultant after this experience (lol)?
DW: I don't know if he'll even watch a film ever again. Taking the job as a film consultant was supposed to be the easiest thing Shaft ever did, and boy was he in for a surprise.
BB: So, brother: Got another Shaft tale or three in you?
DW: I've definitely got more adventures in mind for Shaft. The key is finding the time to write them, and if anyone has any interest in the stories I want to tell. I'd like to see other writers bring their ideas to the table, but that will only happen with the support of readers and retailers. That said, I have some ideas, and my friends at Dynamite know how to reach me.
For more on Shaft: Imitation Life, click here.