Since being released by WWE back in 2005, Marc Copani (Muhammad Hassan) has kept himself busy and is currently the Principal of Fulton Junior High School in Fulton, New York. While studying to become a world history teacher and eventual principal, Copani worked on the comic book series Assassin and Son with the late Shad Gaspard, which is set to be released by Scout Comics in November.
Copani recently sat down for an interview with Tom Campbell to discuss creating the series and the former Muhammad Hassan revealed it was adapted from a screenplay he and Gaspard created together back in 2007 called Path Of Vengeance. The screenplay wasn't picked up, however, and they converted it into a comic book in 2011 while Copani was pulling 16 hour days studying and working nights at UPS.
"He had brought a framework of a screenplay to me in 2007 called Path Of Vengeance and it's based on a movie that he really enjoyed that I had never seen called Lone Wolf and Cub," Copani said. "It's an old Japanese movie. And then we started working on it together, just bouncing ideas off of each other of how we're gonna change this movie to be more modern. A black hero in a multicultural city like New York, what would that look like?
"So, Shad left that with me and I spent about a year myself working on it and I would send him drafts of the screenplay and we would be talking 1, 2, 3 o'clock in the morning, whenever he had time, whenever we both had time, until we finally nailed what we thought for the screenplay. I think that was 2008. The screenplay got picked up a little, it got polished by an agency, it got shopped around and it never really went anywhere.
"I don't know why it didn't, I think it's a great story. It's a revenge story. We called it an urban western. It's kind of like picture Clint Eastwood in the city where you have just this badass character that goes around kicking ass, taking names, but then there's such an underlying story of redemption, biblical redemption, and wanting to set your son on a different path and wanting to do good because you've done nothing but bad in your life. And it was a great story, but like I said, it didn't really go anywhere. Multiculturally, we wanted it to honour New York City. It's a black hero, you've got white, you have Arab, you have Latino, you have Asian, you have gay, we wanted everyone represented positively in this book.
"Come 2011, I move back home and I'm going to school full time and I'm also working nights at UPS because I didn't make that much money in wrestling, not enough to support me for 10 years to pay the bills. And Shad gets hold of me and he's got this idea that he wants to turn this into a graphic novel which I thought was an amazing idea because it very much was kind of like Sin Cityish, kind of like a noir, gritty feeling to it. I didn't have time to do it but I know Shad well enough to know he would have done anything for me, and so even though I was working and going to school 16-18 hours a day, doing homework, him and I worked to turn this screenplay into a graphic novel.
"And once we had done that, I think it took us about a year, it was about 2012, Shad went and actually on his own produced this book… And so this book got picked up and it got a very limited release and it didn't really get the production that we wanted and so it wasn't until last year that Shad, who was always marketing and always selling, pitched this idea to Scout Comics who picked it up."
Assassin and Son is set to be released in November 2020 by Scout Comics. You can already order a special tribute edition variant cover for Assassin and Son #1 and all the profits will be sent directly to Shad Gaspard's family.
Check out the official synopsis for Assassin and Son below:
"Assassin and Son is a gritty urban-western set in present-day New York. Donovan Braddock is a one-man killing unit who works with a team of covert assassins known as 'The Horsemen,' When Braddock attempts to live a normal life and leave his old violent life behind he discovers that violence still follows him as his wife is cold-heartedly murdered in front of both him and his young son. Now with nothing to live for, this tragic event sends father and son on an epic journey of revenge and consequence that becomes their 'Path of Vengeance.'"