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Jade Warriors Gains New Life As Webcomic

A comic book plot left dangling for more than a decade will finally get some closure thanks to the webcomic portal Keenspot.

Jade Warriors, a miniseries from artist Mike Deodato and co-writers David Campiti and Michael Buckley debuted in 1999 for Image Comics, but only a few issues ever saw the light of day, leaving readers wondering how the series was meant to conclude.

Now Jade Warriors returns to comics as a twice-weekly serialized adventure on Keenspot.com, courtesy of Glass House Graphics and Red Giant Entertainment.  The serialized version of the title will feature the original work as well as plenty of unpublished material from the regular creative team.

Deodato, whose storied career as an artist includes stints on some of the biggest titles in the comic book industry, said in a press release that Jade Warriors captures his artistic style at a moment of transition.

“This was right at the point where I began changing from my ‘old’ style to my current style, and it gave me a chance to experiment with new techniques and lay the foundation for the way I draw today.  Since I’m under exclusive contract to Marvel, I can’t do any new pages, but there’s plenty of artwork that nobody’s really seen yet, since the entire mini-series was never published,” he said.

Campiti, series co-writer and CEO of Glass House Graphics, praised the passion that Deodato brought to the project.

“It’s been far too long since anyone had a chance to see this popular series back when Image published the first portion,” he said. “Deodato was working quite hard on a lot of things  at the time [sic], but he really wanted to see this book happen.  So he put in extra hours at the drawing board to draw some stunning issues.  It was truly a labor of love produced under pressure-cooker circumstances.”

Buckley, series co-writer, said publishing the entire story as a webcomic will give readers a more complete story that they weren’t able to read during the miniseries’ original run.

“I really felt we had a good head of steam built up on the story, and the writing in the last few issues, to my mind, was the best of the whole series.  I’ve always regretted that fans never got to read the whole story, and now, they’ll have a chance to read it as it was meant to be,” he said.

Jade Warriors tells the tale of Angel Sorayama, a woman imbued with the power of a ‘Deathkiss’  as part of a cult of female Yakuza assassins. When she defies the cult in an attempt to choose her own path in life, the hunter becomes the hunted.  The creative team paints a rich portrait of the Jade Warriors as an order of deadly assassins steeped in myth and tradition, preparing for the return of ancient dragons imprisoned deep within the mountains of Japan.

Deodato’s art on the miniseries embraces some of the more bombastic, shall we say, trends in 1990s comic book art – including big guns and lots of stylized cheesecake – but the storytelling is crisp and the page layouts smoothly direct your gaze where it needs to go.

Keenspot has already posted the beginning of the Jade Warriors miniseries at http://jadewarriors.keenspot.com/, including a few covers and about seven story pages that fill us in on the prologue and introduce the cast.  Additional pages of the story will be posted online every Monday and Thursday, according to the website.

All in all, a fine use of digital resources to finish a story that never got the conclusion it deserved.

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