Spies save the world from the supernatural in ‘Beasts of the Black Hand’

Paul Harding, Ron Marz, Matthew Dow Smith and Neeraj Menon look to kickstart a new graphic novel featuring a British secret service agent’s battle against the mad monk Rasputin.

Ron Marz and Matthew Dow Smith have teamed up with sculptor Paul Harding for Beasts of the Black Hand, a new graphic novel they’re funding through Kickstarter. Featuring colors by Neeraj Menon, the first volume will come out in early 2018, “laying the groundwork for an epic multi-volume story.”

Both Marz and Smith have a long list of credits in the comics industry, as does Harding, whose name might not seem as familiar. He’s done sculpts of statues and action figures for Marvel, DC and other companies across pop culture — if you’ve seen the Batman ’66 Shakespeare bust or the Sandman chess set, then you’ve seen his work. The book will be published by Ominous Press, Marz and Bart Sears’ publishing company, which signed a distribution deal with IDW earlier this year.

Here’s a description of the story, which mixes historical figures with dark conspiracies and “otherworldly horrors”:

The time is December, 1916. War rages across Europe, some empires collapsing, others being born. In snow-covered St. Petersburg, Russia, the mad monk, Rasputin, is invited to dinner at Moika Palace by Prince Felix Yusupov. Among the dinner guests is a British secret agent named Oswald Rayner. This much is historical fact.

Despite the monk’s supernatural might, Rayner succeeds in assassinating Rasputin. But his death only presages far darker events. The secret cabal known as the Black Hand is plotting to unleash otherworldly horrors upon Europe.

It falls to Rayner to stop the Black Hand’s insidious plot. But standing in his way is Maria Rasputin, daughter of the mad monk and agent for the Black Hand. Their paths cross with near-fatal results in St. Petersburg…

…and then again in 1919 Paris, as world peace hangs in the balance at the Versailles Conference. Joined by allies like his aide Biffy Dunderdale and American war hero Henry Johnson, Rayner again must face Maria Rasputin, leading to confrontation that yields shocking revelations and deadly consequences. If Oswald Rayner fails, the Beasts will be unleashed.

Rewards for the project include copies of the book, both digital and hardcover editions, as well as an edition with a 3D sculpt cover by Harding. Also available are sculptures of characters from the book, a Black Hand medallion and a Death Wish Coffee Beast Box, which includes a pound of coffee.

Limited Edition Sculpt hardcover / Art Print by Paul Harding

Head on over to Kickstarter for more information.

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