Here is a book that has taken the very long road. CruZader: Agent of the Vatican started out as a 22-page one-shot by creator Omar Morales in 2008. He then entered it into two contests, making the top 25 in the Platinum Studios' International Comic Book Challenge and taking first place in the CW's Comic Book Hero contest.
Morales then expanded the book into a six-part series using a successful Kickstarter campaign. Now he is publishing it for the first time as an original graphic novel in both print and digital formats.
Antonio is the latest in an unbroken chain of men from the De La Cruz family of Spain to don the cowl of the CruZader, invisible hand of the Pope. Wielding an arsenal of precious relics, including the Spear of Christ, the Holy Grail, and the Rights of Exorcism, Antonio struggles with his archaic and often violent vocation. What he really craves is the freedom to choose his own path – a choice taken away by his very namesake.
"What drives this action-adventure tale is the inner conflict that Antonio suffers as a result of the violent duties he carries out on behalf of the Vatican," Morales said. "There is a ton of strain and tension in Antonio's relationship with the Pope, and he keeps a very explosive secret from the Pontiff, which adds to the intrigue and payoff of this origin story arc."
The 144-page, full-color, hardcover graphic novel for mature readers will retail for $19.99 with a cover by Master Of Kung-Fu and Star Wars artist Paul Gulacy and Avengers and Green Lantern colorist Rain Beredo.
There is a teaser trailer for the book as well: