Dark Horse Comics has announced Joe Death and the Graven Image, a graphic novel by cartoonist Benjamin Schipper. The book, which will be published this September, follows Joseph Bones, aka Joe Death, as he attempts to retrieve the soul of a murder victim following a massacre in a western town.
Here’s how Dark Horse describes Schipper’s graphic novel:
Somewhere between Mike Mignola, A Fistful of Dollars, and Johnny Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky, rides the gray man, consequential king, Joseph Bones, Shadow of Death! A lone gun story silhouetted against the surreal desert valley where ghost and ghoul, witch and prophet, mystery and dream, ebb in and out. Joe Death and the Graven Image wanders the tombstoned road, poking at the fabric of life, loss, retribution, redemption, and the keys to paradise.
Joe Death was originally self-published by Schipper exclusively for backers of his Patreon. In a post on his Patron, Schipper describes how he views the book and the character of Joe Death:
Joe is kind of like a coffin shaped door, a frame character by which we experience the weird, tragic, and beautiful experiences of others. Joe Death explores all the things I’m most excited and interested in, a mixture of genres and storytelling traditions, that I imagine will read and feel more like Studio Ghibli than Pixar.
The graphic novel looks to be very much a “weird west” tale. That sub-genre of westerns has been a staple of comics for decades, with recent series like The Sixth Gun and Pretty Deadly carrying on the tradition. Schipper’s work, based on samples on his website, appears well-suited for the genre, with fantastic creatures and expressive, wildly-proportioned characters.
Check out the cover for Joe Death and the Graven Image below. The 152-page graphic novel is scheduled to go on sale at the end of September.