An Introduction to the Future
By Douglas Clegg
(Excerpted from the foreword to Death Hawk: The Soulworm Saga graphic novel)
Let me make a prediction.
In the 25th century, life will be very much as it is now – only more so. We will live in a dystopia, a dangerous place where the only law is fueled by corporate desire and where the only good man is an outlaw by nature. Virulent strains of toxins, weapons that annihilate, soulworm artifacts, and disturbing partnerships between human and slug-like creatures whose intelligence will guide us – all of these will exist, as well as interplanetary travel.
How can I predict such things?
I’ve seen it – in Death Hawk: The Soulworm Saga by Mark Ellis.
Mark Ellis began this life as a kid who went on imaginary journeys into impossible places – transforming the ordinary world into extraordinary quests. He was a storyteller from an early age, and before writing his first fiction, he worked as a journalist and columnist in the newspaper business, honing his writing as if in preparation for the moment of his first published fiction. His foray into comic books began in the mid-1980s with Adventure Publications, writing the scripts for Ninja Elite, Star Rangers, and others.
He cut his teeth on a style of storytelling that can best be described as thrilling adventures. Later, as editor of Millennium Publications, he worked on projects by writers such as Harlan Ellison and Anne Rice, among others, as well as legendary artists like Frank Frazetta and Doug Wildey.
Mark’s own tales in Doc Savage and Nosferatu: Plague of Terror, blurred the lines between fantasy and horror, space opera and action-adventure.
Later, Mark would create the series Outlanders and pen more than 45 novels in the series under the name James Axler – but those in the know can tell Ellis’ signature style and storytelling acumen no matter what name is on the book’s cover. On every page of Ellis’ Outlanders novels, his voice, his brilliant imagination, is there – and it’s a startling vision of the future, melding mythology and science fiction with suspense and adventure.
And here, in your hands, is Death Hawk, where the world of tomorrow has been stripped down to its underbelly. Death Hawk – the hero who finds himself in the labyrinth of planets and future shock scenarios — must seek answers with a gun in one hand, and a symbiote on his shoulder.
He’s a salvage expert, but what he’s salvaging is dangerous cargo – and it’s what the mega-corporations are after. This is a universe where corporate interests span galaxies, where insect-like creatures become cheap labor to corporate mining interests, and where justice comes in a burning, molecular-shifting blast.
At first, Death Hawk seems like a loner as he finds his targets – but this guy is anything but alone. His companion, Cyke, lives as symbiotic goo, taking his energy from Death Hawk’s body, and likewise, absorbing many of the shocks to Death Hawk’s system. Cyke, a telepathic protosymbiote, was bio-engineered specifically for Death Hawk.
It’s a relationship that works for both of them, but it’s unconventional to say the least. This makes for one of the most unique — and oddest — of buddy pairings in fictional history, and adds a refreshing twist to this dark space opera.
Another stand-out character in Death Hawk is the beautiful grifter, Vanessa Bouvier AKA Bridget O’Shaughnessy, who claims a love for archaeological digs, but may be more interested in the power of the ancient relics rather than the historical value. She’s hot, tough, and dangerous – and has no problem dispatching our hero when it’s in her best interests.
Ellis’ wit and insight color the images – beautifully drawn by Adam Hughes and Rik Levins — and add a depth to the Death Hawk tales that make them come alive. The view from these stars is expansive – interplanetary intrigue, corporate crime, double-crosses, gunfights, and a race for a very special artifact that holds the key to immense power – and it all makes for a page-turner.
The star of the show is the outlaw with the gun – and his symbiotic other — as they hunt salvage and avoid destruction in their junk-heap spaceship, the Peregrine, on this journey through a universe gone bad.
Douglas Clegg is a New York Times bestselling author of over twenty novels and winner of the Bram Stoker and Horror Guild Awards. Among his works is The Vampyricon trilogy and his latest novel, Neverland. He can be reached at: www.DouglasClegg.com