Once the new year rolls around, Zenescope Entertainment has a lot of plans for 2018 and January will kick things off in a big way. From new series like Robyn Hood: The Curse by veteran writer Chuck Dixon to a new versus story in Ralph Tedesco‘s Van Helsing vs. Robyn Hood, things already look exciting from the publisher. In addition to those must-haves is a six-part miniseries shining the spotlight on the beauty of Beauty and the Beast, Belle. The new title, Belle: Beast Hunter, is coming from the creative genius Dave Franchini.
The Executive Editor at Zenescope Entertainment and writer of titles such as Cinderella: Serial Killer Princess, Wonderland: Birth of Madness, and Neverland: Return of Hook (and a slew of other credits across the Grimm Fairy Tales line) is poised to make an impact with Belle’s new miniseries. Partnering up with rising artist Bong Dazo, this new adventure will showcase just how badass this leading lady is in the Grimm Universe.
PopCultHQ had the privilege in interviewing Dave to talk about this hot upcoming release. Check out the covers and synopsis of the title, hear Dave speak on his love for mythology and Belle’s place in the Grimm Universe, and then have a look at an early sneak peek at the penciling done for issue one!
Igor Vitorino (NOV172121)
Harvey Tolibao (NOV172122)
Derlis Santa Cruz (NOV172123)
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NEW SERIES! NEW HERO!
The Grimm Universe is filled with heroes far and wide dealing with threats from vampires, werewolves, corrupt governmental organizations, to ancient orders battling for control of the realms of power.
But what lies in the deepest corners of our world could give the evilest creature nightmares. A threat since the beginning of time is rising and only one person will be there to stop it from destroying everything!
Working from the shadows a long lineage of warriors have been defending life from the darkness that exists and from that family of soldiers comes the newest ally in the war of monsters, Belle the Beast Hunter! Don’t miss this new series as a new hero is introduced into the Grimm Universe!
PopCultHQ Creator Spotlight:
Dave Franchini of Zenescope Entertainment’s
BELLE: BEAST HUNTER
PopCultHQ: 2018 kicks off the new year with your new miniseries, and new hero, ‘Belle: Beast Hunter.’ At MCM London Comic Con, fans were treated to a peek at what is being hailed, “Beauty and the Beast meets Batman” given the titular character’s nighttime vigilantism. How accurate is that assessment and what can you tell us about Belle herself? What is something defining or significant about her which you feel fans will immediately embrace or be excited about?
Dave Franchini: That is pretty accurate, at least in part. Where we start with Belle, she is already established in our Grimm Universe, she has a base of operations, fancy gadgets, and a small support system. One of the main reasons none of the other Grimm characters know about her, is because she is really good at her job. What I’m hoping people get drawn to is her personality, and her ability to just adapt even in the worst of situations, that there is always going to be something in her way, it’s just how she figures it out, or even fails and keeps going.
PopCultHQ: Are we seeing the launch of a character who will ultimately play a larger role in Zenescope’s Grimm Universe? Can we expect to see such Zenescope mainstays such as Robyn Locksley, Liesel van Helsing, Alice Liddle, Skye Mathers, etc. appear alongside Belle?
Dave Franchini: The hope is that we can build Belle into a mainstay in the Grimm Universe. Will she eventually play a larger role? Only time will tell. The main focus of this series is to be a great jumping on point for new readers but also to help grow the depth of our universe. I think if her character organically grows with the readers we can definitely have some awesome crossovers in her future. That is also if she makes it out of this first series intact. Right now we are just going one step at a time and spending this series really defining Belle and her little part of the universe. We don’t want to shoot too far down the line and get convoluted or confusing, especially for new readers. In this series we won’t see any of the other currently known Grimm Universe heroines or heroes, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t know about them, or that we won’t be adding a few more, along with a good amount of new villains.
PopCultHQ: Belle is said to face off against an ancient mythological monster society of villains. What type of foes will she encounter in this series? Any familiar faces or will we get a new set of villains introduced as well?
Dave Franchini: In a sense these villains will be somewhat familiar but should definitely feel new. Without spoiling too much I can tell you she takes on: Minotaurs, Centaurs, Scylla and even Charybdis. Also there are some newly created monsters to go along with these modern twists on the classics. I love mythology and just thought these creatures were so cool and badass that there is no way they just died out or stopped existing, maybe they just got smarter, maybe even evolved. There is a method to their actions and Belle is going to find that out the hard way.
PopCultHQ: I would imagine that introducing a new character such as Belle would a lengthy process, from just an idea and conception to the point where it’s going to be a regular character for Zenescope as a company moving forward. Can you share with us just exactly how Belle, the character and series, came to life?
Dave Franchini: Belle really came out of nowhere originally. This is literally a little long story about a short story. I was meeting with Zenescope Chief Creative Officer Joe Brusha, and we were discussing some stories coming up and also some issues that needed short stories written for them. We were talking about our Grimm Fairy Tales 2017 Armed Forces Special, which is an issue highlighting and debuting new military themed pinup images, which we put together in support of the troops. In these comics like our Swimsuit or Photoshoot issues we include a short story either tying slightly into the theme of the book or just a cool little adventure for one of our characters. Joe brought up that he wanted to set it in a military museum maybe we do a new character. We kind of went back and forth real quick and were like maybe we introduce a new character that is tied directly into the military. It didn’t have to be anything huge just someone that we can tie-in for this issue, no huge plans afterwards. I thought about it and pitched to him Belle as that character. Since we had touched on Beauty and the Beast previously but only really focused on the beast, I was thinking what if we did the beauty who actually hunts beasts. We tie her family into the history of our military and that’s only really her father’s side, wait until we tell them about her mother’s side. He liked the idea and it essentially lead to this Belle: Beast Hunter series.
Also as a side note/plug, this series picks up about 30 minutes after the events of the Armed Forces short story for anyone who has read that one.
PopCultHQ: From what I’ve been able to dig up online, I’ve only seen your name attached to the project, along with the various cover artists for the debut issue. Who is working creatively with you on ‘Belle: Beast Hunter‘?
Dave Franchini: At this moment in time we only have our penciler attached to this series, who is an amazing artist named, Bong Dazo, known for his work on Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth and other various awesomely drawn titles. We’re in talks with the colorist and letterer now and should hopefully have word back any day and will be able to officially announce it soon.
PopCultHQ: What are you personally most excited about with the launch of this new series?
Dave Franchini: Honestly, all of it. I really am having a lot of fun with this series, from the fight scenes, to the hunter to monster conversations, the ridiculously breathtaking art coming in, and the cool reveal at the end of issue #3. I just hope people like it as much as I like writing it. I know that’s a lot to ask, so on a realistic level I hope the art just blows their minds.
Special thanks to Dave Franchini for taking the time to be interviewed by PopCultHQ.
Be sure to follow Dave and Zenescope online
to stay up on all the latest on “Belle: Beast Hunter”
and everything happening in the Grimm Universe!
Here’s an early sneak peek at Belle: Beast Hunter!
WRITER – DAVE FRANCHINI