AfterShock Comics has announced Kill a Man, a new original graphic novel that hits hard with punches, kicks, and raw emotion. Written by Steve Orlando & Phillip Kennedy Johnson, illustrated by Alec Morgan, and lettered by Jim Campbell, the comic follows James Bellyi, an MMA star who’s following in his father’s footsteps. Years ago he saw his dad beaten to death in the ring after he slurred a queer opponent. Now, when James is outed as gay by an opponent, he loses everything from his title shot and fans to his team and even his family. In order to fight his way back, he turns to the only person who will train him: Xavier Mayne, the man who killed his father.
Co-writer Steve Orlando says:
Kill a Man is a story I’ve wanted to tell since I broke into comics, to capture both the complicated internal and external struggle between identity, family expectation, society, and masculinity. To put our lead through hell, admittedly one of his own making at times, and finally let him be the hero, let a queer man, a queer fighter, go on that heroes journey made famous by Rocky Balboa or Adonis Creed, and come out the side stronger, find family where he had none, and pride where he had shame.
I read the description of Kill a Man with my mouth agape. It sounds like a powerful and riveting story and I’m eager to check it out.
Co-writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson added:
Kill a Man is about deciding what kind of person you want to be, and who you want your heroes—your family—to be. That’s a theme I relate to in a big way. When Steve Orlando, one of my best friends in comics, reached out with this compelling story idea, it immediately struck me as a story that would obviously be very important and personal to him, but I quickly discovered that its themes were personal for me too. The idea of defying the expectations that other people have for your life, of showing the world who you are when you’ve been backed into a corner… these are experiences I’ve had, and having the opportunity to tell that story with pros like Steve and Alec is a real pleasure and a privilege.
Kill a Man is set for release in early Summer 2020.