Who is Samuel Stern? Portrait of the Edinburgh Demonologist

Who is Samuel Stern? Portrait of the Edinburgh Demonologist

A shy and lonely man, a mysterious past and a strong sensitivity to demonic forces, to the point of being able to reach their own existential plan and fight them. This could also be enough to describe Samuel Stern, a character who seems to follow paths already known in the world of cinema, literature and more specifically comics. But the Edinburgh demonologist created by screenwriters Gianmarco Fumasoli and Massimiliano Filadoro deserves a much more complete portrait, in order to understand the complexity of this project, which promises to rekindle readers' interest in Italian comics.

Who is Samuel Stern

Samuel Stern is a 37-year-old red bearded man with a well-built physique and a biker look appropriate to his Honda CB 750. He is a great bibliophile and would spend the his life in peace behind the books he restores and sells in the Derryleng Bookshop in ever-charming Edinburgh. But his fate has destined him to a restless life in constant struggle, since thanks to his sensory powers he is able to perceive evil in his demonic forms. This sensitivity of him calls him to have to support the requests for help coming from Father Duncan and from those who come into contact with demonic possession. These qualities of him that initiate him to the struggle with the forces of evil, derive from a tormented past, partly shrouded in mystery, which is coming to the surface in these first years of publishing life. The narrative interweaving that concerns his personal history brings out some traits of his character that make him a gloomy man, but always available for friends, the weak and the needy; he tackles every problem with firmness and self-control, despite the fact that he is actually a hothead. Indeed, Samuel shuns physical violence (while loving and dabbling in boxing), he tries to empathize with the victims of the demons he encounters, and this approach often puts him at odds even with his allies.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh2"); } Samuel seems to have no emotional ties of any kind, but in reality he has a daughter named Lily who grows up in an orphanage completely ignoring her existence. From this it can be deduced that in Stern's past there is something deeply painful that changed his life, and that confines him between his beloved books and in the practice of exorcisms, even if these are practiced in a different way. In fact, we cannot say that we are facing a real exorcist. Or at least, not in the figure and modus operandi that we all know. The role that Samuel plays in his adventures is that of the demonologist, who, however, exercises a real investigation rather than an exorcism. In fact, before confronting the demon, Samuel investigates the past of the possessed in order to understand the origin of the demonic presence. Completely new concepts of "demon" and "possession" that we will deepen in a little while.

Samuel Stern between angels and demons

According to the idea of ​​Fumasoli and Filadoro, the human being is made of light and shadow. In the concept of Shadow, we mean everything that we remove from our conscience and bury in our personal abyss, everything that terrifies and reject us, or even our obsessions, evil feelings such as envy or jealousy. The shadow, as introduced by the authors, is understood as a sort of dark and immaterial matter born of repression, which has a single purpose: to guide man to his liberation and to resolve those obsessions from which the shadow itself was born. However, the shadows can take over the human beings that host them, acquiring a real consciousness thanks to specific events arising and generating a demon at that precise moment. Many men are overwhelmed by their demons and wiped out of life as we know it by sinking into the abyss.

Samuel Stern, whose past is shrouded in mystery, appears to be a man returned from this abyss, with faculties that allow him to intercept the demons and fight them, but first entering into empathy with those who host them. As already anticipated, the "red" (Samuel is so affectionately called by his friends) makes an analysis on the birth of demons, investigating the history of the men who generated them, in order to intercept the arising event and therefore the repression of a strong emotion or trauma. Only by knowing its origin can the demon be fought and cast out.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh3_1"). Is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh3_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh3 "); } In some stories, these tracks are interrupted, introducing other paranormal figures that are not always conclusive in the narrative and clearly differ from the original demonic key (see, for example, issue 11 - The abyss). Even the angels have a strong reinterpretation (a bit like in Constantine) in Samuel Stern's universe, strongly modern, with completely human features, and in any case devoted to the fight against evil. However, unlike Samuel, these do not disdain to kill in order to eliminate the enemy demons, following the Machiavellian philosophy of "evil justifies the means", as is highlighted in the book History of an angel (n.22) precisely with the introduction of the character of Isobel. There is not even a conceptual reinterpretation of hell, here known as the Legion (better introduced in the register that takes its name, reviewed here) which partially takes up the Christian conceptualist keys (Gospel of Mark 5: 8-9), identifying however a place instead of a multitude of demons. In Samuel Stern's narrative Legion is the place where demons generated by men can end up, and where they will find the clash with Satan, or their common adversary, who according to this new interpretation, could turn out to be a fallen angel himself, somewhat likely as the Catholic tradition dictates.

Samuel's stories, in general, are all self-contained, but they sow some narrative elements that are useful for the composition of the character's story. Apart from a few exceptions that refer to past episodes (see n.16 - The Stern Process), or books that are fundamental for the knowledge of supporting actors or other actors (see the introduction by Robert Gillian in n.7 - The agency ) from number 21 to 24 there is a strong continuity which deepens even more the character of Samuel.

Companions of fortune

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh4_1"). is ( ": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh4_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh4"); } Like any self-respecting "hero", Samuel Stern presents a star system that best outlines his stories, some follow stereotypes of the genre, while others are necessarily complementary in order to get to know a very mysterious character like him better.

Father Duncan O'Connor

Father Duncan is an Irish priest, although he lives in Scotland. He is sixty years old, but keeps in excellent shape thanks to training in the gym. Diametrically opposed to Samuel, he tries to be calm and thoughtful, but sometimes his Irish nature takes over. He is Samuel's best friend, thanks to an almost fatherly bond, although they don't always share their point of view. Being a traditionalist and conservative priest, it is he who often finds himself investigating cases of possession with Samuel, but despite his principles of the Church, he manages to open up to the alternatives proposed by the "red". The character is specifically explored in n. 24. - Duncan.

Penny (Penelope Campbell)

she Is red's best friend. A woman who has all the credentials to be appreciated by every man: she is a lover of motors and football. In fact, Penny has a workshop where she repairs vintage cars and vehicles in general, developing a strong empathy for engines, often calling them by name. She also volunteers at the soup kitchen and has a cat named Berra (like Christoph Berra, a midfielder on a Scottish football team). She shares her passion for motorsport and football with Samuel, often taking red with her to the stadium to see her favorite team play. He is a very important figure for Samuel Stern's entire comic, as he engages a vital, ironic and funny vein that diversifies the otherwise exclusively dark tones.

Angus Derryleng

Angus Derryleng he is a friend and partner of Samuel Stern, co-owner of the Derryleng Bookshop which, in fact, bears his name. He is a very sharp person, thoughtful and best confidant than red, even though almost nothing is known about his past. Angus has a boundless culture, is fluent in various languages ​​(including dead ones) and, as you can imagine, is a great bibliophile and collector of ancient books.

The Agency

The Agency also known as "Singularity", it is a group of people, a secret association that in the course of Samuel's stories is gaining more and more importance. It introduces the character of Robert Gillian and only recently a collaboration with red seems to have been validated. In fact, the Agency's main mission is to keep the borderline between the "normal" world and the demonic dimensions fixed, preventing possessions and spiritual mutations from interfering with our society.

How it was born Samuel Stern

We are in the year 1992, Sergio Bonelli Editore's comics crowd the Italian newsstands and thanks to Dylan Dog the horror genre enjoys its maximum splendor and the attention of its public, as well as the media, making it some personalities of the Milanese house a real mass phenomenon. So why not replicate and follow this path? It is a business model that should simply be replicated, but producing a product that stands out from the crowd and able to shine with its own light will prove to be more difficult than expected for all the followers who attempt the enterprise.

In 2019, in an era dominated by digital distribution, where the public less crowds the bookstores and is slowly forgetting that wonderful specificity of newsstands, something happens that no one expected anymore: a new comic, all Italian, which claims with forces its place right in its natural habitat, that of newsstands: Samuel Stern is born, the new horror comic published by Bugs Comics that bears the signature of Gianmarco Fumasoli and Massimiliano Filadoro, arriving on newsstands with the first issue A new nightmare.

The idea behind Samuel Stern is to recapture the atmospheres that derive a little from Tiziano Sclavi's creature, but focus and re-propose the themes already seen in Kirkman's Outcast. But the rewriting of some canons concerning demonic possession and Samuel's approach make it a completely new and captivating literary work. These last two elements are fundamental to fully understand the work and the interest of readers that its sequel has given rise to.

The first adventure of Samuel Stern. The new nightmare is available on Amazon in a new hardcover edition

The authors

The creators of this entirely Made in Italy enterprise come from the excellence of the Italian comic school. Gianmarco Fumasoli who together with Massimiliano Filadoro is co-creator of the character of Samuel Stern, the first newsstand serial of BUGS Comics. The same BUGS Comics is created by Fumasoli together with Paolo Altibrandi in 2015, a new publishing reality that gives birth to the magazine container of comics of Monsters, Aliens and Gangster, magazines container of genre comics. He is a teacher at the LUISS Academic Gym, for the Comics and Soft Skills course at the LUISS University, and teaching will lead him to open the BUGS Academy school of comics in 2018.

Massimiliano Filadoro works in the world of comics since the end of the 90s, collaborating for Lo Scarabeo Edizioni, Play Press and Comic Art. He was author in the magazines iComics, Shinigami, Splatter, Lancio Story, Skorpio and Editoriale Aurea. In 2015 he joined Bugs Comics by signing various stories for the magazines Mostri, Alieni and Gangster and he created the MoFtri strips together with Adriana Farina and G. Fumasoli.

The stories of red have seen a slight authorial alternation, supported by the scripts of his Gianmarco Fumasoli and Massimiliano Filadoro, with some forays, such as those of Marco Savegnago, Andrea Guglielmino, Antonella Liverano Moscoviti, Davide La Rosa and Luca Blengino, to name a few. While the tables are entrusted to a large team composed of Luigi Formisano, Luca Lamberti, Marco Perugini, Ludovica Ceregatti, Pietro Vitrano, Riccardo Randazzo, Luca Colandrea, Paolo Antiga, while all the covers by Samuel Stern are signed by the trio composed by Valerio Piccioni , Maurizio Di Vincenzo and Emiliano Tanzillo.

Samuel Stern faces his demons every month only on newsstands. Are you ready to trust him and Duncan?

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