Official movie adaptation of the lost "grindhouse" classic!
In 1981, comic publisher “Bad New World” (best known for edgier ‘underground comix’) acquired the rights to an unreleased action film by Italian director Primo Fumenti. Wanting to ride the wave of popular film to comic adaptations like “Star Wars” and “James Bond’s For Your Eyes Only” Bad New World hoped to breakthrough into the mainstream marketplace.
Although largely unknown in the US, Fumenti was famed internationally for his action and exploitation movies shot primarily in the Philippines between 1977 and 1981. During this period, he made over forty-seven films. With titles like “The Kung-Fu Decimator,” “Bone Smuggler,” “The Machine Gun Jungle,” and “Madame Wu and the Triad of Pain,” Fumenti (or simply Primo to those he worked with) created a catalog of work that was impressive and beloved by those that had the good fortune to see them in grindhouse theaters or broadcast on Filipino and Hong Kong television. Sadly, all are believed lost or in formats no longer playable on today’s technology.
Always the self-promoter Primo bragged how he had just secured major funding for what would be his “magnum opus,” a film that would be called “Strike Team: Code Name: Diamond Force.”
The publishers at Bad New World were given the shooting script and a dozen of set photos to work off of to create their adaptation. Not wanting to stray too far from their underground roots, the book maintained the edgy aesthetic they were known for but also sold commercial ad space, which led to some interesting juxtaposition. Work was finished on the comic by the talented creative team and it went off to print.
But then disaster struck -
With thousands of copies printed and many more thousands of dollars invested, they soon learned that although filming was completed, Primo had lost US distribution for the film. The film would have a two week run at the State Theater in Hong Kong and an indefinite run at an adult theater in Manila. Bad New World Comics had gambled and lost. It was believed that the entirety of the print run of the official movie adaptation of “Strike Team: Code Name: Diamond Force” was burned up in a mysterious fire at the company’s warehouse. Bad New World Comics folded shortly thereafter.
I wanted to bring this lost classic to a hungry world. It truly is an amazing piece of work that deserves a wider audience and with the help of talented artists like Lukasz Kowalszuk it is finally happening. The official movie adaptation of "Strike Team: Code Name: Diamond Force" is coming soon!
...Or maybe it all happened like this...
I’ve always loved those cheesy, action movies they’d show on Cinemax or in the middle of the afternoon on TBS (why did everything start at :05 after?). They were a big part of my childhood. Martial artists, guys who looked like my dad shooting rocket launchers, and women who I was told were supposed to be sexy but kind of just looked like my mom’s friends, all engaging in chases and gunfights in ‘exotic’ locales--although since I did grow up in Montana, everything looked exotic.
I didn’t know the term then but those were exploitation movies. As a teenager, and thanks to 49cent rentals at Hastings, I unwittingly delved deeper into the different sub-genres of exploitation. I was referencing “Shaft,” the “Emmanuel” movies and “Faces of Death” in high school. As an adult I watched documentaries like “Machete Maidens Unleashed” and “Electric Boogaloo” which gave me greater insight into the backgrounds of how some of these movies were made.
I always had a soft spot for those Filipino filmed action movies. I thought one day “wouldn’t it be wild if there were comics based on these movies? Then I thought, “wait, I’m comic book writer, *I* could make a comic!” So I set out to do this project. I decided to create my own “movie” to adapt. Then, after getting really excited and into the project I learned that there are a lot of great parody comics out there of 80s action movies by creators more well-known than me. But…. who cares? I wanted to do this book, so I did. I like to describe this book as more of an homage to action exploitation, rather than a parody. I want people to smile while reading it, not necessarily laugh...although, yeah there are some jokes.
I had become aware of Lukasz Kowalczuk through a non-comics related Facebook group we were part of. I knew I wanted to work with him some day. His style reminded me of skate punk art from the 80s. I decided whatever my action exploitation comic was going to be, I wanted to him to draw it.
Lucky for me, he agreed. Less than a year later, the book is completed and available for purchase.
It made its convention debut at Wondercon and is available anywhere I am (seriously, I drive around with a case in the trunk of my car) and on my webstore which you can find a link to here.