1996 heralded Crusade's most ambitious year yet. An expanded Shi universe was developed as more crossovers, experimental titles, and merchandise were produced.
The mainstream media began to take notice of Shi. Elle, Playboy, Swing and other magazines printed articles on Shi and its growing female readership. Newspaper's such as Newsday, The Daily News and The New York Times also covered "the birth of a new American icon."
The year began with the culmination of my dream project, The Shi - Senryaku Collected Edition, and the honor of having the legendary Frank Frazetta paint the cover. We saw the introduction of Shi's sister title, the hugely successful Tomoe mini-series, which ran along side the continuing Shi - The Way of the Warrior series. The popular Shi - Shiseiji was produced in the novelty style of Japanese manga and anime. We also developed a brand new series, Atomik ANGELS, for which we threw a launching party on the famous USS Intrepid aircraft carrier. Both Atomik ANGELS and Shiseiji were lighthearted, fun titles. Shi teamed up with FAN magazine to produce the free, Joan of Arc inspired Shi ~ Blood of Saints. Following the lead of Atomik ANGELS and Shiseiji, were the creator-owned series' Demon Gun, Thunder God, Horseman, Eleven-Eleven, Dogs of War and The Crooked Man.
I had the opportunity to work with the great Jim Lee and Travis Charest in the mega-crossover Grifter/Shi ~ Final Rites. A second trading card set, Shi ~ Visions of the Golden Empire was produced in all new gold chromium. Rounding out the this incredible publishing schedule was Peter Gutierrez's dark collection of Japanese horror classics Shi ~ Kaidan.
1996 will be remembered as an exhausting, yet incredible year and we were all welcomed with a wonderful Christmas gift by famed sculpture Clay Moore and Moore Creations. After much anticipation, his magnificent Shi ~ The Resin Statue hit the stores everywhere and immediately sold out of its limited 4500 editions.