Dynamite to Resurrect Blaxploitation Hero John Shaft
Ernest Tidyman's character is set for a return as publisher gets rights to republish classic novels.
Announced Thursday at Book Expo America, Dynamite Entertainment has a new deal to reprint Ernest Tidyman's seven Shaft novels, as well as create new prose and comic works based on the character.
Although Shaft remains best-known for the 1971 movie starring Richard Roundtree — and, of course, the Isaac Hayes soundtrack, which remains as wonderful today as it was upon its release — the character debuted a year earlier in a novel by the French Connection screenwriter.
Over the next few years, Tidyman would co-write the second Shaft movie, Shaft's Big Score, as well as six further novels featuring the character: Shaft Among the Jews; Shaft's Big Score; Shaft Has a Ball; Goodbye, Mr. Shaft; Shaft's Carnival of Killers; and The Last Shaft. The writer died in 1984, and outside of the ill-fated Samuel L. Jackson movie in 2000 no further Shaft stories have appeared.
As part of the new deal with Tidyman's estate, that will change. The publisher intends to release new prose and original graphic novels featuring the character in addition to new editions of the original novels over the next few years, with details to be released at a later date.
In a statement accompanying the news, Steve Kasdin, the literary agent representing the Tidyman estate, said that he was "thrilled with Dynamite's vision for Shaft." Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite, added that the company "couldn't be more happy that we're getting a chance to tell new stories in multiple mediums" about the character, saying that the publisher intends to "bring Shaft back to the forefront of pop culture, where he belongs!"