Who is this Skull-man, and why does he whistle?
The Whistling Skull as a property is an expansion of the JSA: Liberty Files universe, which is itself a time-splicing alternate universe rendition of many popular DC superheroes, written by Dan Jolley and Tony Harris, drawn by Harris and Ray Snyder. Until recently, the Liberty Files were a forgone series, comprised of two volumes (the latter of which was subtitled The Unholy Three, but for simplicity's sake, I'll refer to them both as "The Liberty Files"). The series was a part of the Elseworlds shtick, with characters from the Justice Society of America re-envisioned in a World War 2/Early Cold War setting. Batman (The Bat), Hourman (The Clock), and Doctor Midnite (The Owl) all feature as the protagonists, aided at times by other various characters from the main-universe stable. That's all introductory, though, because this thread is about the newest addition to the Liberty Files timeline--an original property co-created by Harris and B. Clay Moore, centered on a "super" hero who styles himself as The Whistling Skull, his slow-but-not-stupid companion Brickfist, and the various villains whom he deals with, as well as some cameos from Liberty Files guys!
Obviously, the most important character in any book is the titular one. In this case, it is The Whistling Skull, AKA John, AKA a bad motherfucker. The Skull is an identity that has been passed down through seven generations, with John being the seventh, named the heir to the Skull title by its previous owner. Before he became the gadget-using Skull, John was a simple street kid, unaware that his good friend Nigel was actually the son of the previous Skull. When the Sixth Skull was removed from duty--whether it was by death or by absence is uncertain--John was made the new Skull, but only on one condition. Unlike the previous Skulls, John would have a sidekick, as taking on Nigel as his ward was a part of the deal. And so, the Whistling Skull gains his faithful friend as a crimefighting asset, who adopts the moniker of "Brickfist", seen on the right here:
Nigel, or Brickfist, is a developmentally challenged man, but not necessarily what one would expect with that disability. Nigel is not stupid, but neither is he as quick-witted or charismatic as his friend/mentor. What he is, is FUCKING RIPPED. His father, the former Skull, developed a potion that granted Nigel stone-tough hands, so as to better defend himself.
The Skull himself is an enigma to everyone outside the secret pact--to outsiders, the Skull is an immortal with a really fucked up face, and no one is quite sure whether that face is a facade or a horrifically real burden. The unifying factor between different Skulls is that he is truly mysterious, and while the common man might balk at the idea of a centuries-old crimefighter with a REALLY fucked up face, the heroes of this time have come face to face with everything from Hitler's pet Martian Manhunter to Zod wearing red, blue, and yellow. Some believe the Skull is a pauper, while others are more inclined to believe that there is truly something otherworldly about his appearance/existence.So what do they do?
While Brickfist's repertoire of skills is pretty self-explanatory, the Skull has a much wider field of talents. He is a gadget-using sort of hero, with the traditional array of grapnels and smoke bombs and widgets, but the star of the show here is a pocketwatch which can move him discrete distances based on the position of the hands. These measurements must be made based on eyesight alone, or on some other sort of calculation. Like Nightcrawler, if he fucks it up, things could go very poorly for him.
The real draw, however, is in the hijinks at hand rather than the tools of the trade. The Skull and Brickfist are "kind of like a weird-ass, fucked-up, backwards Sherlock Holmes and Watson during World War II", according to Harris. The series itself is intended to run in a series-of-miniseries format, like Hellboy, the influences of which can be felt in other places. The occult, paranormal, and extra-scientific threats are the Skull's area of expertise. One short story that may or may not be used in the revised Liberty Files version of the book, as related to me, revolves around a cottage off the beaten path. In this particular cottage is a hole that many things (including the cottage's occupants) have gone into, but nothing has ever come out. So far, mum's the word on the actual plot of the book, but this should give you a sort of landmark. Imagine Sherlock Holmes solving Doctor Who's problems in World War II. With Batman.
That's the other thing--originally, the Skull had its own self-contained universe, but as I spent too much time explaining to begin with, this revised version fits into the WWII era of the Liberty Files. You'll note that a couple of peeps from that book are in the image above, and they will definitely be interacting with the Skull and Brickfist in the books to come. I wish I could say that DC was adding a hero this fuckin cool to their main line, but this is still all strictly alternate-universe stuff.Where can I get it!?
In the future. Unfortunately I cannot find any sort of hard release date at this moment, but Harris is penciling issue 6 and beyond, so I would expect a late 2012/early 2013 release date, and I will do my best to keep that information available on this forum. Harris is a good friend of mine and I am unashamed to pimp his work, but I will try to keep my masturbation to a minimum and focus on what will surely be an incredible graphic novel going forward.
The best resource I can offer to anyone for checking out Skull-related art is the artist's Twitter account
. I am fairly certain that you do not need your own account to view his photos, if social media is not your thing, but I definitely encourage anyone who does use the tweetbooks to follow him. There's some stuff from his other work and some goofy pictures of his dumb face, but the majority of his recent uploads are Skull-related. You can also follow his fellow creator here
, but unfortunately, taking endless photographs of your Microsoft Word page with instagram is neither convenient nor engaging. Still, he's a cool mother fucker, so follow him anyway.
Because it is late, here are some more articles about it to save me the trouble:DC's proper announcement from last weekA much, much older article about The Whistling Skull under its original title
Finally, this is actually my first real thread, so let me know if anything is lacking or off-kilter!
LET THE SKULLING BEGIN (soon)