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Galloping into comic shops for 2021 in a gritty cloud of dust and with six-guns blazing, AfterShock Comics' vengeful Western series, Undone By Blood, is hoping to ignite another powderkeg of intense storytelling as it begins a fresh arc, The Other Side Of Eden — and SYFY WIRE has roped in an exclusive first look at the premiere issue alongside comments from writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson (The Dregs, X-Men, Her Infernal Descent) and artist Sami Kivela (Tommy Gun Wizards).
The creative team's first five-part chapter of Undone By Blood and its two-fisted tales has already drawn the attention of The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, who optioned the property back in September and will executive produce and star in an upcoming TV adaptation for AMC Studios, Undone by Blood or The Shadow of a Wanted Man.
The original title tracks the Western revenge tale of Ethel Grady Lane, a troubled young lady who returns to her hardcore hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona in 1971, intent on killing the man who murdered her family.
Nadler, Thompson, Kivela, and colorist Jason Wordie are back in the saddle for Undone by Blood or The Other Side of Eden, the follow-up yarn launching on Mar. 3, 2021. The story follows Silvano Luna Del Rio, a postman working in Buttar, Texas in the early 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression as the Midwestern Dust Bowl begins to form.
Reeling from a shattered past, with only a revolver and a pulpy Western novel to his name, Silvano embarks on a quest to take back from the country that stole so much from him by robbing the first skyscraper West of the Mississippi. However, acts of retribution are never so simple, as his target is home to a radical fraternal brotherhood hiding their own grim secrets.
At Silvano’s constant side is a rumpled Old West novel starring famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. As both yarns unspool simultaneously in classic Undone By Blood style, the mythic Western informs key choices in reality, for better or worse.
In researching this next chapter of Undone By Blood, Thompson started with a deep dive into post Great Depression America and looking at the effects of Herbert Hoover’s presidency.
"The early 1930’s were a lot like today in many ways," he tells SYFY WIRE. "So we wanted to ensure there was a general sense that you were walking through a recovering world. A country in transition. Where everyone was essentially out for themselves. Then, I revisited one of my favorite noir novels, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest — which was published in 1929 and features a really gritty take on what it was like to live during that era. Hammett himself was a private eye during that time, and he had a really incredible understanding of Great Depression America that can be felt on every page of this new arc."
For Nadler, dealing with such a notable period in American history like the Great Depression necessitated authenticity, especially while tackling this through the lens of a character who hails from a different cultural background than our own.
"Undone by Blood has always been about the way fiction and myth influences the real world, and a big part of our job is ensuring that the non-fictional elements are as authentic and accurate as possible," he explains to SYFY WIRE. "So, for this arc, we researched everything from architectural developments in the West, to Mexican/American conflicts, to the entire history of the United States Postal Service.
"While we try not to be didactic, all of this research gets tossed in our narrative blender and can be found in the story and either directly influences the plot or becomes part of the background tapestry in the hopes of creating a rich, darkly comic, and fully realized world. By bringing readers back to the past, we believe it helps to process the uncannily similar issues that plague our present."
As for the art, Kivela brings an atmospheric style to the series that evokes a specific period and mood inspired by vintage Westerns.
"Research plays a very important role in my work too, and although I don’t draw realistically, I try to keep things quite real and recognizable," Kivela reveals to SYFY WIRE. "Maybe that’s what — in addition to my liking for thick and rough ink lines — gives my art an old-fashioned vibe. And of course, Jason’s awesome colors are a big part of the book. His watercolor style really helps to evoke the classic Western feel."
Now enjoy our exclusive peek at AfterShock's Undone By Blood or The Other Side of Eden #1 in the full gallery below.