Comic book superheroes are staples when it comes to media nowadays. From Marvel, to DC Comics and beyond, you can find a plethora of diverse and interesting characters. Eggizō Entertainment is the latest media company to present diverse, Bible-based characters in a truly unique and engaging way. Initially releasing work books and comic book previews, they came to settle on an interesting Biblical character.
“We found an interesting verse in the book of Matthew; it happens right around the crucifixion,” said co-founder Jerrell Conner. “It talks about old testament saints that rose from their grave, so basically, they rose from the dead and were walking around.
“We were trying to find what are Biblical grounds for bringing Samson back and doing certain things in his life, in a different setting, like a time frame? Well, this verse says that they came back—what if Samson was one of those saints, and he did come back and he didn’t leave because he had a supernatural, glorified body?”
Started in 2015, Eggizō Entertainment was co-founded by Conner, Jeroll Rodgers and Pastor Frederick K. Price, Jr. Conner and Rodgers met a year before and began brainstorming ideas of bringing historical figures and Bible characters in contemporary times.
They both knew Pastor Price, Jr., who also has a love for comics, and together, they began shaping their stories.
“[Pastor Price, Jr.] happened to have a story with Samson and we had a Samson story—he was one of our characters,” said Conner.
“We were like, hey, there’s some overlap here, what if we start developing a book together?”
“The Trials of Samson: Bloodlines” is Eggizō Entertainment’s first fictional, fantasy-based novel about the life of Samson. For those who may not know, as described in the Bible, Samson was a legendary Israelite warrior, judge and divinely-inspired leader, known for his physical strength that came from his uncut hair. The Trials of Samson follows the hero trying to rectify issues with his descendants and Delilah throughout history, from Ancient Rome to the Cold War.
“It lent itself well for doing animation, comic books, novels, because [Samson] is very much the Jewish version of a Hulk (Marvel Comics) or Hercules character and we just wanted to kind of play with that idea as a concept for a character in the modern context,” said Conner.
Conner continued, “Having him alive for 2,000 years and intervening in major historical events kind of behind the scenes, where you wouldn’t know that he was there, but he had impact … fighting the powers of darkness or evil in these different eras.”
Eggizō Entertainment has reimagined Samson in modern times as a Black man, sporting dreads and fighting evil. The company is dedicated to using images of people of color in their stories. As if on cue with the current social and political climate, Eggizō was already in step with reaching out to a diverse audience of readers.
The company was set to release the new book series, but the COVID-19 pandemic, and later protests and riots, changed plans.
“We were pretty much ready to go to release and to start a tour,” said Conner. “We had conferences lined up and conventions and the book was pretty close to done and then COVID and everything hit.”
To adjust to the changes the pandemic brought, they began giving away digital copies. They also sold paperback and kindle versions on Amazon. They have currently been focusing on their online presence as most businesses have shifted most of their attention to digital.
“We started a book club because we wanted to do readings and interviews with the creative team, the writers, the artists involved; so, a lot of things we couldn’t do in person, we started digitally and virtually doing them on Facebook and different groups,” said Conner.
A locally L.A.-based, Black-owned company, Eggizō Entertainment also works with inner-city youth and provides outreach and educational platforms.
For more information on Eggizō Entertainment and “The Trials of Samson: Bloodlines,” please visit their website at www.eggizo.com