Jack the Ripper rides again in ‘Cross to Bear’ this October

Marko Stojanović, Siniša Banović, Aljoša Tomić and Taylor Esposito send England’s most notorious serial killer to the American West in a new series from AfterShock Comics.

Marko Stojanović, Siniša Banović, Aljoša Tomić and Taylor Esposito will posse up in October for an alternate history take on Jack the Ripper, as they tell the story of how he fled England to hide out in the American West.

Cross to Bear will kick off on Oct. 13 from AfterShock Comics, as the notorious serial killer is pursued by a group with ties to the Crusades.

“The book is about Jack the Ripper fleeing to America in 1889 and heading straight to the Wild West – because his own savagery can avoid detection at the still savage frontier,” Stojanović said. “He is, however, pursued by the Order made up from the descendants of Crusaders knights set on eradicating the unnatural – and what could be more unnatural than the first documented serial killer grabbing all the headlines and causing mass hysteria? Only thing is, these crusaders are far from their usual haunts, and they’ll need help from a man who severed his ties with the other at the price of abandoning his own family.”

Here’s the description from AfterShock: Jack the Ripper was never caught because no one was looking for him in the Wild West…No one accept The Order. An organization made up of the descendants of Crusaders sworn to eradicate the unnatural, The Order will stop at nothing to fulfill the pledge their forefathers made, even if it means crossing the ocean or a line or two…

Stojanović said he’s a big fan of American Westerns, dating back to his childhood in Yugoslavia.

“I am excited about it coming out because when I was a kid during the 80s in Yugoslavia, there was a special cult of the Westerns, which our dads and grandads used to call cowboy movies,” Stojanović said. “True, we were not behind the Iron Curtain, unlike the neighboring countries, but from the movies that were shown on national TV, Westerns came closest to what we call the action movie. And so when there was a Western on, it was a must. There was a whole ritual about watching it – all the male family members would gather around the still black-and-white box and share in the semi-mystical experience.”

And for Banović, this is his first time drawing a Western, which brought both challenges and opportunities.

“I had fun studying characters and get used to drawing cowboy hats and other type of stuff we tend to see often,” Banović said. “After the character design I’d turn Marko’s script into thumbnail pages in order to set the basic shapes, and then I would work on interiors and exteriors. Sketching a plan for background ambients may not be a necessity, but I find it much easier to position the characters and viewpoint if I have the broader picture of where the protagonists are. After that I’m working on more detailed layout pages digitally, and then trace these drawings by pencil on paper using light pad. The process ends with inking, so I guess I’m a one third digital artist. It seems that layouts and initial sketches always possess more spontaneity than the final artwork, so I’m going for that kind of aesthetic in inking part.”

Check out a few preview pages below:

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