AfterShock Comics has announced Cross to Bear, a new historical crime series due in October. The series comes from the creative team of writer Marko Stojanović, artist Siniša Banović, colorists Dorde Krajinović and Aljoša Tomić, and letterer Taylor Esposito, and follows members of a secret society as they hunt down Jack the Ripper in the American Old West. The first issue of Cross to Bear will sport covers by Banović and Tim Bradstreet.
Here’s how AfterShock describes Cross to Bear:
Jack the Ripper was never caught because no one was looking for him in the Wild West…No one accept The Order. An organization made up of the descendants of Crusaders sworn to eradicate the unnatural, The Order will stop at nothing to fulfill the pledge their forefathers made, even if it means crossing the ocean or a line or two…
Cross to Bear is the first AfterShock work for all of its creators save for letterer Taylor Esposito, who also happens to be the only non-international member of the team. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Yugoslavian writer Stojanović described the themes at play in the series, as well as his personal history with westerns as a genre:
The book deals with many themes – old world meeting the new one, family ties versus all the other ones, nature of power and fear, examination of extremism no matter how just the cause and of course, the danger of becoming a monster yourself as you do battle with monsters.
I am excited about it coming out because when I was a kid during the 80s in Yugoslavia, there was a special cult of the Westerns, which our dads and grandads used to call cowboy movies. True, we were not behind the iron curtain, unlike the neighboring countries, but from the movies that were shown on national TV, westerns came closest to what we call the action movie. And so when there was a Western on, it was a must. There was a whole ritual about watching it – all the male family members would gather around the still black and white box and share in the semi-mystical experience. Also, about 60 percent of all comics that came out in Yugoslavia at that time were westerns – regardless of whether they were American, Latin American or European, as we got an influx of comics from all sides of the world. Westerns were a big thing back then out here – the public couldn’t get enough! Seeing how I fell in love with the Western from an early age, is it really surprising that I am more than excited for the chance to bring my own take on that mythic genre – to the very country that gave birth to it? Part of the excitement also lies in the fact I got the chance to bring in my own creative team on this book, with my longtime collaborators Sinisa Banovic and Aljosa Tomic, which is not something that happens very often – so you certainly need to celebrate it when it does.”
Jack the Ripper is a popular topic in comics, most notably in series like Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell‘s From Hell and in the Elseworlds Gotham by Gaslight one-shot from DC. It sounds like Stojanović, Banović, and the rest of the Cross to Bear team have an interesting approach to the figure and the enduring mystery surrounding him.
Check out an unlettered preview of the first issue, as well as Bradstreet’s variant cover, below. Cross to Bear #1 arrives in stores on Wednesday, October 13th.