To quote a well known poet, “don’t call it a comeback” (LL Cool J). Denys Cowan hasn’t left the building. A groundbreaking comic book creator, award winning television producer, husband, father, and one of my best friends, Denys has been working steadily for a hundred years. However, today marks the release of a new ongoing comic book series, ‘Dominque Laveau: Voodoo Child’, from DC Comics imprint, Vertigo, and I’m very excited for him and anyone into gothic, hip, Louisiana drenched stories coupled with powerful illustrations. It’s comic book gumbo! Here’s the variant cover, illustrated by Denys:
Written by talented former editor of The Source, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, ‘Voodoo Child’ is a different kind of book, looking at a world seldom, if ever examined by the comic book universe. No long tights or secret identities, just an engrossing story with compelling characters.
Below is the synopsis from the Vertigo website:
DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD is the story of a half-breed, outcast and heir to the Voodoo Queenship of New Orleans, if she can live long enough to claim her birthright. New Orleans is the most haunted city in America: a town of centuries-old ghosts and newly drowned spirits; where vampires, voodoo spirits and loups-garous make their home. Ruling over this all are the powerful Voodoo Queens, whose influence stretches into politics, business and crime as they maintain a delicate balance between the mortal and supernatural worlds.But in the aftermath of Katrina, all that has changed, for someone or something has murdered the Voodoo Queen and most of her court. The number one suspect is Dominique Laveau, a grad student at Tulane who is about to discover that her entire life has been a lie. Now Dominique must forge alliances with those out to kill her while seeking to uncover the truth behind the royal murders, as she is ultimately forced to deal with a destiny she could never have imagined. Voodoo Child is a new monthly series written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, former editor-in-chief of The Source magazine, award-winning author, journalist and TV producer, with art by Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan (THE QUESTION) and covers by Rafael Grampá.
Denys has one of the most unique drawing styles of anyone in comics. Blending his love of European artists, his New York upbringing, a quietly rebellious perspective informed by the likes of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee, among others, Denys’ art jumps off the page. It’s aggressive while being lyrical at the same time.
One of the founders of Milestone Media, Denys, along with my good friend (and birthday party heckler) Michael Davis, Derek Dingle and the late Dwayne McDuffie, created a line of multi ethnic comic book characters whose impact is still being felt today.
(last photo of the Milestone Creative team before Dwayne McDuffie’s untimely passing: Denys, Dwayne, Michael Davis)
Like most of the great artists that I know, Denys is incredibly self-critical about his work, rarely acknowledging when he’s knocked it out of the park, which is often. Thankfully, he has friends and admirers who pay him no mind in that regard.
(Denys with frequent collaborator Reggie Hudlin & Selwyn Seyfu Hinds)
The latest addition to the Cowan brood:
Denys usually doesn’t smile in photos. I don’t know what that’s about. At my 50th birthday party, he, Reggie Hudlin and I posed for a picture, and…
Later at the same party, I gave my impersonation of Denys having his picture taken and this time he actually smiled, teeth and everything!
Denys, Reggie, Selwyn and I are in the very early stages of developing an exciting graphic novel project if we can ever find the time to get to it. In the meantime, it’s great to have his new work available for repeated reading. And because I’m such a fan of his art, here’s a sample of images that he’s created over the years.
‘Dominque Laveau: Voodoo Child’ is available online by downloading the free Vertigo app and at fine comic shops everywhere.
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Michael Stradford is an eternal veteran of the entertainment industry. With careers in radio, records, home video, the internet and now a principal in the new media film distribution company, Big Air Studios, Stradford strives to follow Michael Davis’s model of never being at a loss for words. Fortunately, he’s smart enough to realize one Michael Davis is more than enough.