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Aztec mythology meets ancient magic in Top Cow's new fantasy series, 'Helm Greycastle'
In a potent blend of Aztec mythology and high fantasy magic, Helm Greycastle is a bold new Latinx comic series from Image/Top Cow Productions that rewrites Mesoamerican history by envisioning a violent world where the Aztec Empire defeats the Spanish Conquistadors — and SYFY WIRE is presenting a special exclusive peek inside the debut issue.
Penned by writer (and SYFY WIRE contributor) Henry Barajas (La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo) with striking artwork conjured by Rahmat M. Handoko (Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix) and co-creator/colorist Bryan Valenza (Witchblade), Helm Greycastle #1 arrives April 28 as a four-issue miniseries.
The storyline unfolds as the last dragon prince has been abducted and is being held prisoner by a sinister threat named Aztec Mexica. Helm Greycastle and his loyal band of comrades arrive to rescue the prince, but are swept up by a resistance movement plotting to overthrow the great king Montezuma.
Will Greycastle rise up to save the good people of Mexica...or rescue the captured dragon prince and flee the land?
As a Mexican-American, Barajas said he had no formal education on his indigenous background and blending actual history with sword and sorcery alchemy has been an enlightening experience.
"Helm Greycastle was built for my first ever D&D campaign," Barajas tells SYFY WIRE. "I loved playing with my friends. But while I was playing, I realized this was something I wish I had when I was a kid. I loved to write and imagine worlds. If I had known, all you needed to have fun for three hours was a couple of instruction guides, a shit of paper, pencils, miniatures, and simple math. But it's also that D&D doesn't target brown kids in South Tucson (Arizona), so it makes sense this skipped me. I wanted to show through historical fiction, that black, indigenous, and people of color can wield swords and sorcery."
Barajas believes that Helm Greycastle is for people that love Lord of the Rings, playing D&D, and something a little different.
"Someone on Twitter said they're happy to see more non-European fantasies," he adds. "I discovered in my Mesoamerican research that they believed in various elemental gods, they had obsidian swords, wield magic, and so much more than cannibalism and human sacrifice. If that doesn't lend well to a fantasy story, then I don't know what does.
"Artists Bryan Valenza and Rahmat Handoko are really good together. Handoko is just throwing down pencils. That's a conscious choice. Bryan is a co-creator and colorist, so he has some vested interest for the first time in his career. Our letter artist, Gabriela Downie, has worked on New York Times bestsellers Harleen and Beast Boy for DC, so I'm honored to work with a Latinx artist. This is a comic that I think readers and gamers will have live outside of the bag & board and will use for reading and fun."
Helm Greycastle also showcases variant covers by David Lapham (Stray Bullets), Tony Parker (God of War), and Becky Cloonan (Immortal Wonder Woman), along with a bonus Latinx one-shot RPG (5E compatible) written by Tristan J. Tarwater (Rolled & Told) and featuring artwork from Jen Vaughn (d20 Dames).
Now leap into an early four-page peek at Image/Top Cow's Helm Greycastle #1 (Apr. 28) in the full gallery below.