Lance Henriksen is a master storyteller. In the veteran actor's films, Henriksen goes to great lengths in order to truly live his characters. He imbues each one with details that most audiences aren't cognizant of, but they are important parts of a picture he paints for his dramatic narrative.
Henriksen's leap to comic books doesn't seem that unusual, then — a medium where visuals and words are equally important symbols, joining forces to tell a story. There's another partnership at work with Henriksen's comic debut, To Hell You Ride. The Aliens actor has re-teamed with his Not Bad for a Human biography co-writer, Joseph Maddrey, and comic artist, Tom Mandrake, to create a tale that spans decades, mountains, and ghostly messengers from the past.
The story opens in the blustery Colorado mountains, 1880. Miners have struck gold, but their axes are covered in the blood of the Native Americans who populate the land. It's a chilling ordeal. We learn about a ritual and a curse before being thrust into the future, introduced to an enigmatic Native American man dubbed "Two-Dogs" by the townspeople that shun him. His only ally is a sheriff named Jim Shipps — who bears a lovely resemblance to Henriksen. Before long, we are transported back to 1939 and the scene of a brutal murder. That storyline is based on a real-life incident recounted to Henriksen.
It's an enigmatic and powerful introduction, poetically told and infused with the same interconnectedness readers felt in the pages of Henriksen's bio. The messages and messengers are clear in To Hell You Ride, and the horror is that so many characters refuse to heed them: death, greed, environmental and spiritual devastation. The symbolism is especially poignant in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the BP Oil arraignment, and the tumultuous political sphere of our past Presidential election. To Hell You Ride started life as a script written by Henriksen over 20 years ago after a visit to Telluride, Colorado. Maddrey has indicated that the trio's personal experiences and encounters have organically shaped the tale. Mandrake's shadowy artwork intuitively taps into the group's creative fluidity and leaves a lasting impression.
Pre-order issue #1 of To Hell You Ride from Dark Horse before it hits stores on December 12.