Shadowman (Icons Writeup)

Shadowman (modern)
aka Jack Boniface

Prowess 5
Coordination 6
Strength 7
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 4

Stamina 11

* Detection (other Loa) 2
* Leaping 2
* Regeneration 4
* Night Vision 3
* Darkness Control 4
* Shadow Scythe 6 (Extra: Can be used to open a portal to the Deadside)
* Mind Control 5 (Limit: Only functions on creatures in the Deadside)

Note: Jack’s powers stem from the necromantic energy of the Loa held with him. As a result, all of his powers are only effective at night. In addition, during the daytime hours, Jack’s Prowess, Coordination, and Strength are reduced to 3, which means his daytime Stamina is 7.

Athletics (Expert +2 bonus), Occult – Voodoo (+1 bonus), Performance – Saxophone, Stealth (Expert +2 bonus), Weapon – Shadow Scythe (Master +3 bonus)

“You have got to pull it together, Jack.”
Utterly ruthless when the need arises.
“I didn’t ask for this.”

Some of the following comes from the Valiant Fandom Wiki

Jack Boniface, better known as Shadowman, is a young man from New Orleans. His supernatural abilities come from the Shadow Loa, an immensely powerful (voodoo) spirit that has been passed down his bloodline and which he bonded with as the latest Shadowman, the one who protects the world of the living (Liveside) from the world of the dead (Deadside).

As the Shadowman, Jack had been working with the Abettors to battle spirits and demons, and to protect the world against the necromancer Master Darque. Later, Jack was tricked by Master Darque to serve him in the Deadside as the menacing figure known as Magpie. Unbeknownst to Jack, Master Darque’s binding were only psychosomatic and he could have left at any time but he didn’t. Eventually Jack was freed from the Deadside by Ninjak and Punk Mambo.

Five years after first entering his pact with Darque, Jack crawled his way back to the world of the living. Rescued for his near-comatose state by his old ally Alyssa Myles, they began working together to investigate the Shadow Loa’s true nature and hopefully free Jack from it. This investigation led them to the bad side of powerful loa Baron Samedi. Battling his minions, Jack, Alyssa and their allies were seemingly overwhelmed, until a quick-timed summoning ritual by Alyssa and a sneak attack by Jack seemingly put them on top. A well-placed curse on Jack’s Shadow Scythe, however, disabled the hero, and allowed Samedi to kill Jack, his corpse collapsing in front of Alyssa.

Death was, unsurprisingly, not the end for Jack Boniface. Instead of journeying to the afterlife, Jack’s soul slipped back in time, attaching itself to other people who wielded the Shadow Loa throughout history. Seeing the adventures of his great-grandfather Maxim Boniface during the 1940s, and then those of Marius Boniface, the first Shadowman, Jack became terrified to find his soul just kept falling through time. Astonishingly, his soul found someone else to latch onto: Standing Wolf, a tribal warrior in prehistoric Africa. He witnessed Wolf make a pact with the Loa to save his tribe, becoming the real first Shadowman, before being sucked back into the present. He awoke after his own funeral, now armed with the knowledge of how far back his legacy truly goes.

For those of you who want to compare these stats to the VH1 Shadowman, you’ll notice a few differences. The modern version of Shadowman has gone insane, been psychically manipulated, and just plain lied to on multiple occasions. That’s why is Willpower is only a 4 instead of a 5 that the VH1 Jack has. On the other hand, the modern Shadowman seems to a little stronger (Strength 7 vs. 6) and he has several additional powers. Keep in mind that VH1 Shadowman was limited in what he could do because of the alien spider-bite that he received in issue one of his series. Without that bite, he may have manifested some of the abilities that the modern version has, though none of the previous VH1 Shadowmans were ever shown manifesting a ‘shadow scythe,’ so it could just be that in a different universe, you get different powers.

Shadowman (Icons Writeup)

Shadowman (VH1 Version)
aka Jack Boniface

Prowess 5
Coordination 6
Strength 6
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 5

Stamina 11

*Detection (Darque Energy) 2
*Leaping 2
*Regeneration 4
*Night Vision 3

Note: Jack’s powers stem from necromantic energy (often called Darque Energy). As a result, all of his powers are only effective at night. In addition, during the daytime hours, Jack’s Prowess, Coordination, and Strength are reduced to 3, which means his daytime Stamina is 8.

Performance (Saxophone Expert, + 2 bonus), Athletics (+ 1 bonus), Occult (+ 1 bonus), Stealth (Expert, + 2 bonus)

Free-form improvisation in the dark
“Others to hunt down. Others to cast out of the night. MY night.”
“Someone’s shooting me ! Some sorry FOOLS are SHOOTING me !”


Jack Boniface was a jazz player who became empowered by a mysterious organization, the Coven, with the “Darque” power to fend off the sinister Master Darque. When the night falls he becomes the Shadowman, gaining super-strength, fearlessness, and a drive to help others. During the event known as Unity, Jack learned that he was fated to die in 1999 – this brought about an extra layer of fearlessness as he believed that he could do anything and would find a way to survive until the day of his foretold demise. Unfortunately, the original Valiant Universe (dubbed VH1) never made it to 1999 so we’re not certain if the prophecy came true or not.

Grave Matters

The following is an essay that ran in the first Gravedigger book. It’s an interesting look at the steps to the character’s creation and serves as a sort of literary time capsule. Hope you find it interesting!


Hello, Faithful Readers! I hope you enjoyed the introduction to Gravedigger, the newest member of my New Pulp universe that began with the arrival of The Peregrine. Since The Peregrine’s first flight back in 2008, I’ve added to the universe with Lazarus Gray, The Dark Gentleman, Guan-Yin, The Claws of The Peregrine and many more.

But none of them are quite like Gravedigger.

To understand how and why I created the character, we first have to go back to the misty past. It was a time of optimism and a surging economy. We were well on the way to electing the first Democratic President since Jimmy Carter. Grunge was filtering its way into the public consciousness. 

It was 1992. I was 20 years old and in college, where I was working towards an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Then, as now, I was a huge comic book fan. Then, as now, I was a huge fan of the Valiant Universe. I loved the tight continuity it possessed and the way that little background events and characters would float from book to book, building a cohesive universe. 

One of my favorite characters in that universe was Shadowman, who debuted in May 1992. A supernatural hero, Jack Boniface was poisoned by an alien, allowing him to “die” before being resurrected as an avenger of the night. We would later find out that he was only the latest in a long line of Shadowmen. I loved the concept and the series but it eventually faded away with the rest of the Valiant Universe. 

But like all good things, it would not stay dead. Shadowman and the rest of the Valiant heroes were recently revived by a new Valiant. The promo art by Patrick Zircher floated around for months before the first issue actually debuted and I adored the revised look of the hero. It got me to thinking… Perhaps I needed to add a new title to my pulp hero collection, one that would serve as a “connector” series. It would have ties to all that had come before and would be the place where fans of The Rook or Lazarus Gray could come to get a taste of the greater universe. 

I decided I wanted to make the new character a female, to balance out the male-heavy universe that I already had, and that I wanted her to be heavily supernatural as a nod to Shadowman. Like Jack, she would be the latest in a long line of heroes and, as with Shadowman and Lazarus Gray, rebirth would factor large in her origin.

From there, artist George Sellas and I tossed a few ideas back and forth. I had the name Gravedigger but I was afraid it was too masculine for Charity. He convinced me that it could be a neat twist on the name and concept. I told him my idea of tying Charity’s past to Samantha Grace’s origin, which he liked. It not only provided a link to the Lazarus series but also furthered the Grace family’s role in the overall universe. 

Once I’d come up with the full origin and George had done his initial character sketch, I thought it would be fun to have a “hand-off” in the story. When I wrote my first Lazarus Gray collection, The Peregrine appeared, as if giving his stamp of approval on the new arrival. With this one, I wanted to have both The Rook and Lazarus appear in ways that would bolster Gravedigger but not detract from her starring role. I was inspired by the way Star Trek used to do this – Dr. McCoy from the original series was on the first episode of Next Generation, then Captain Picard from The Next Generation appeared on the first episode of Deep Space Nine, while that space station was a jumping-off point for Star Trek: Voyager when that series began. I thought was a nice wink and nod to the fans.

The decision to use The Headless Horseman in the book came about because I recycle everything. A few years ago, I wrote nearly 20,000 words on a novel I was going to call “Headless.” It was going to be a sequel to Washington Irving’s classic and would introduce a new hero of mine, Mortimer Quinn. I eventually abandoned the project but I always wanted to use parts of that story… so it ended up here. Tying Mortimer to the Gravedigger legacy was easy enough and allowed me to bring the Horseman into the story.

As for Charity’s allies… one thing that I learned from the Lazarus Gray series is that I like having a steady cast of characters to supplement my protagonist. But I didn’t want to create another Assistance Unlimited, who was inspired by Justice, Inc. Instead, I looked to another favorite pulp hero of mine – The Shadow. While Lazarus has a group of partners, The Shadow had a group of agents. There was never any doubt that Harry Vincent and Burbank were lower-ranking than The Shadow. That’s what I set out to do here – Mitchell, Cedric and Li all get their ‘origins’ here and we see what skills they bring to the table. All of them, however, are agents – not partners. Our heroine is the one that stands on center stage during the final conflict. 

So where do we go from here? Obviously, the arrival of Mortimer on the last page suggests that there are more stories to be told here. This first Gravedigger novel will appear in 2013 and I hope to follow with a second volume in 2014, if the fates are with me. I hope to continue to update her adventures regularly, just as I have with Lazarus and The Peregrine.

Stop by my blog ( to keep up with the goings-on in all my pulp stories, as well as take a gander at exclusive artwork. 

Speaking of artwork, I have to say thank you to George Sellas, for designing Gravedigger’s look and for the incredibly awesome cover he whipped up. Also, Will Meugniot’s interior illustrations perfectly captured the mood of the story, pairing Charity’s obvious beauty with her deadly nature.  Thanks, guys.

Lock your doors, everyone. Gravedigger is hitting the streets.