What's new, what's old, what's on the way.

I am frequently asked, “So what have you been up to?” Well, a lot. Over the years I've amassed what might be closets full of various manu- scripts if I actually printed this stuff out on paper. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I’ve been working on.


Most notable is the Rebirthed Deathstroke from DC Comics shipping twice monthly. This is a comic book series about “The World’s Greatest Assassin,” who is sublimely efficient in his profession while being perhaps the world’s worst dad ever. Post-Rebirth, DC Comics’ realignment of their creative universe, the Deathstroke series becomes more introspective and character-driven. Slade (Deathstroke) Wilson and his adventures are toned down somewhat to be more in-keeping with the assassin’s core values: stealth, secrecy, invisibility, silence. This may grate some of the series’ current readers who have grown accustomed to Deathstroke leveling city blocks and battling space aliens and fiery demons, so I’m certainly more than nervous about how this new vision of the character—a kind of evil version of Batman—might be received.

In my view, an assassin can’t possibly be effective if he’s behaving more like the Schwarzenegger Terminator than the icy-quiet of the Jean Reno character from the genre-defining Léon The Professional or Vincent, Tom Cruise’s stealthy hit man from the Michael Mann classic Collateral). The Rebirthed Deathstroke is a shadow man, an urban legend, who moves invisibly, silently, strikes without warning, and vanishes. You can read more about the series here.

1999 : The film Crash with superheroes.

1999: Tomorrow Is Yesterday

1999 was originally conceived as a superhero anthology comic consisting of three distinct series written in different genres and set within a shared universe: Crimson, a Manga-influenced martial arts action series about a super-powered Korean American teenage girl hunted across the Korean peninsula; Eddie X, a medical drama about a second-year surgical resident who moonlights as a contract killer; and The Zionist, a political drama about a Will Smith-type college student who inherits a house built in a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. As with the film Crash, 1999’s three independent series, which have, seemingly, nothing in common, intersect at a common event: a hold-up at a Newark bar.

A fourth series, eponymously titled 1999, is an over-arching police procedural drama about NYPD Detective Evan Dwyer, who was moonlighting off-the-books at that Newark bar and whose job is now in jeopardy because of the robbery. Dwyer is desperate to solve the crime and apprehend the suspects before his review board hearing after the Christmas holiday. His single piece of evidence is a thumb print on a bar glass.

Running the fingerprint through various agencies, Dwyer assembles a list of suspects, most of whom he chalks up to false positives and the crude state of computer print-checking in 1998. What he discovers, however, is a deeper mystery: hundreds of hits—exact matches—to his bar glass fingerprint, ultimately discovering more than a thousand possible suspects, including the protagonists of the other three series.

Realizing no comic publisher would or could guarantee me 37 published issues, and facing the likelihood of the series being cancelled before the entire story could be told, I thought to publish 1999 as a kind of “pulp” revival—a prose magazine with illustrations. That was the format—a serialized novel—we settled on when I developed the series in 2007.

I have published the original novel as an eBook series and begin work on a sequel, 1999: Black And White, now available on Amazon. You can learn more about the series here.

Where No Man Is Going

I will, at some point, post my rewrite of Star Trek: Nemesis, a film so bad I just started fixing the screenplay for fun, but ran out of time. Working on the script, I came up with my one and only original story idea for Star Trek, which I just tossed in a drawer and gave absolutely no thought to until I was approached, for whatever ungodly reason, by IDW, seemingly out of the blue, to develop something for them. We were not talking specifically about Trek, but IDW had the Trek franchise, and I said, “Oh, hey—you guys do Trek, right? Well I only have one idea for Star Trek, but I’d really like to do it.” So I pitched them the idea that later became Star Trek: Inquisition, which was to be a three and then later (at IDW's request) five-part story. But a couple things happened: first, Paramount bounced the story—Worf discovers he is barred from ever making captain’s rank because of a back-room deal the Federation made with the Klingon Empire which forbade them from ever posting a Klingon to command rank of a Federation starship—as too edgy and controversial due to the overly implicit theme of racism (the story echoed my experiences comics). I can’t imagine what’s become of Trek that they shy away from controversy, but IDW approved the story only to have the licensing folk up there (at least, at that time) reject it. They really didn’t seem to get it that Roddenberry’s Trek was all about controversy cached in metaphors of half-black and half-white species. These folks seemed to me as clueless desk jockeys, over-protective corporate types who requested we round all the edges and pull the wings off this particular butterfly.

IDW seemed willing to go a few rounds with this, but then Abrams Trek came along and re-shaped the landscape. My story is TNG Trek. Once Abrams Trek became a going concern, director J.J. Abrams had the right to approve all Trek-related material, even stuff like my one idea which had absolutely nothing to do with what he was doing. So now we had to appease Paramount and Abrams, and the window for TNG material at IDW narrowed as Abrams Trek’s release date approached. I shopped my story to Pocket Books, who said, “Not enough for a novel,” which perplexed me. I mean, if you like the premise, fleshing it out into a novel would be easy. My writers’ universal translator therefore interpreted “not enough for a novel” as a polite way of saying, “we’re not interested,” though I was invited to do some other Trek stuff for them. But, alas, I only have one Trek idea, which nobody seems to want. I've posted the scripts and more about this doomed project here.


You Really CAN'T Go Home Again

Klang! A Writer’s Commentary is a series of essays about my experience co-creating and writing Quantum & Woody for Acclaim Comics and, later, Valiant Entertainment. The quirky, humorous, and yes, poignant relationship depicted between the two main characters echoed that of their creators, including the volatile episodes of deeply entrenched creative differences.

Klang! began as a simple website entry but it grew and took on a life of its own, leading me to post it to my Kindle store along with some unpublished scripts and early drafts. It is an account I’ve taken a lot of heat for from people who absolutely were not there and therefore have no idea what they are talking about, but that’s the fun part of being in this business. If I wasn’t clear enough in the essays, let me try it here: I, myself, me, am just as much to blame as anyone else for the turbulent creative process. It was a group mugging, one which, sadly, forced me to leave Eric and Woody behind in a fnal story that was not all it could or should have been. Klang! is a cautionary tale of a kind of group insanity clashing the best of intentions into a deeply disappointing creative experience, one which ultimately led to a parting of ways on far less-than-ideal circumstances. More about Klang! here.


The basic premise here is fairly simple: a murder mystery narrated by the victim. My agent declined to shop Dual because of this narrative choice and encouraged me to rewrite it. But the murder victim’s snarky tone is the live wire of the story, and it’s not as if this technique’s never been used before (Sunset Strip). Dual is a drama-romance-mystery centering around a pair of exotic identical twins. One of them is a murderer, and it falls upon Queens County District Attorney Detective Gerry Martinez to figure out which or risk a mistrial. Things go wildly out of control, involving international political intrigue and mysterious gunmen out to kill one or both of the twins as Gerry finds himself inexorably drawn to first one twin and then the other. He learns that, to fall in love with one is to fall in love with both. And, falling in love with both can get you killed. More on Dual here.

Gerry also appears in the prequel short story 50Seven Seconds, where he runs afoul of his District Attorney bosses and is forced to serve penance by going undercover as a Columbian arms dealer pedaling automatic weapons to a terrorist cell. Inspired by the late Elmore Leonard’s eclectic humanism, 50Seven Seconds presents a kind of gathering of imbeciles from which description the antihero himself is not excluded as the shady arms deal goes sideways and all hell breaks loose deep beneath the streets of New York.


Zion is a procedural crime drama about a New York City Fire Marshal who is investigating the arson of a church with whose married pastor she’s been having an affair. The New Greater Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, the dominant megachurch in Far Rockaway, Queens, is revealed to have been a clandestine money-laundering “bank” run by an alliance of local ministers on behalf of a dangerous drug cartel under the protection of corrupt police officials. Zion’s firebombing unsettles the fragile alliance, turning the players against one another and all of them looking for Kai Tremaine, Mount Zion's pastor, who has vanished under a cloud of suspicion. Michael Zoe Dallas, the arson investigator, is the last person to have seen Tremaine alive. Caught in the crossfire between the disintegrating cops-preachers-crooks alliance, she furtively attempts to unravel the deepening mystery of Zion’s bombing and its pastor’s disappearance.

Zion is, frankly, about the seeming unstemable tide of gross moral failure on the part of church leadership, and the antichrist culture of ego, materialism, and hedonism that has in large measure reduced the African American church to a corrupt caricature of its former glory. This disgraceful “Aunt Esther / Madea” climate is so widespread and so accepted as part of the African American “culture,” that I am hard-pressed to even refer to these places as “churches” anymore, as they have—in practice—sharply diverged from the personal example of Jesus Christ.

Caught in a political headlock by equally corrupt cop and FDNY bosses, Dallas must descend into this snake pit of huckster pastors in order to solve the mystery before unseen forces mark her as a suspect.

Omnipedia: The complete eBook collection.

PraiseNet Essentials

The PraiseNet Essentials are a series of ecumenical essays written about the black church. There are a wide variety of topics, including African American church tradition versus theology, organization, internal politics, purpose, doctrine, and an in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of African American church culture. Here I get to flex my pastoral muscles with a collection of pointed, irreverent, contextually critical no-holds-barred observations based upon more than fifty years of service to the African American church.

The series includes: Fear of A Black Church, Black Faith 101, The Levite’s Concubine, The Glass House, Sex & The Single Christian, LGBT: In The Name of God.

Christopher J. Priest
28 June 2016

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