This June Oni Press Opens The Tomb


imageThis June, Oni Press is uncovering ancient Egyptian artifacts, long thought lost. But this dig isn’t in the dry desert sand of northern Africa-it’s in the chilly suburbs of New England. Acting as tour guides for this spooky expedition are writers Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (NEW X-MEN: ACADEMY X) and rounding out the team is navigator and artist Christopher Mitten (LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL). The three are prepared to set aside concerns for their own safety and lead readers on a dig through the creepy Boston estate of Mathias Fowler, a man whose house more resembles a TOMB.

“Nunzio & Christina are on their fifth project for us,” said editor James Lucas Jones, “and this is the first time they’ve come anywhere near repeating themselves genre-wise. Even now, while THE TOMB shares some horror and thriller elements with the duo’s first project, SKINWALKER, that book had more of a procedural, mysterious feel. THE TOMB is more in line with the haunted house sub-genre with a good helping of pulp adventure thrown in. If SKINWALKER was ‘X-FILES on the reservation,’ THE TOMB is ‘Indiana Jones in the haunted mansion.'”

In 1922, Lord Earl Carnarvon financed the Egyptian expedition that unearthed King Tut’s tomb. While the fact that the dig gained a reputation for being “cursed” is well known, Mathias Fowler slipped away into anonymity. Fowler, an American on the team, had grown obsessed with the Ancient Egyptians and when he returned to the States it was with several stolen artifacts in tow. Fowler had become so consumed by the era that when he died, he killed all of his household staff and had them buried in his mansion with him-a modern day Pharaoh’s Tomb. Almost 60 years after Fowler’s death, Jessica Parrish, archaeologist and would-be-adventurer, has been hired to assemble and lead a team into the house to take back the missing pieces and disable the booby traps that have already cost one unfortunate group their lives.


“The question becomes,” Weir explained, “is Fowler’s estate just a very well protected safe, full of elaborate man-made dangers, or is there something more other-worldly at work here? Jessica’s a smart lady and has her own theories, but it’s going to take more than analysis and academia to get her and her crew out alive.”

“Wait a minute,” DeFilippis added, “What fun is a haunted house if they get out alive? Like any good slasher flick, we’ve gotta have a body count!”

image“Yeah! I was promised at least some death and destruction!” piped in Mitten. “I need pages soaked in bloo-er, ink…”

“All right, all right,” answered Weir. “‘…to get her and *some* of her crew out alive…'”

THE TOMB is another proud addition to the OniGN library- a collection of original graphic novels from veteran comic publisher Oni Press that explore a variety of themes and genres. Previous releases include Steve Rolston’s ONE BAD DAY, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s LOST AT SEA, and Christopher Mitten’s debut LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL, written by Neal Shaffer with graytones by Dawn Pietrusko.

image“Chris’s rough, but detailed line is perfect for this kind of story,” Jones offered. “He really kicked off the training wheels during the production of LAST EXIT and now he’s flying down the street like a true pro. Everyone involved with the project feels really luck to have Chris onboard. He’s a gentleman and a talent and that’s a rare thing.”

“This is a project that couldn’t really work without the graphic novel format,” concluded Weir. “The pacing just wouldn’t have been the same in a serialized publication. The twists and turns and decapitations would have been dictated more by the twenty-four page chapter length than the story. The longer-form OGN is a more ambitious project to be sure. 140+ pages is a lot to draw for a single publication, but we’re excited to be doing this project the way it needed to be done and we’re excited to be doing it with Chris, we just hope at least *he* survives the experience.”

THE TOMB is a 152 page black-and-white graphic novel for $14.95. The digest-sized volume features a new color cover by Mitten and Guy Major (CAPER, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) and contains mature situations. It arrives in comic book stores on July 7, 2004.

The Tomb ? & © 2004 DeFilippis & Weir and Mitten.

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