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Demon dog Black Shuck to appear in new graphic novel

PUBLISHED: 12:46 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 06:13 07 August 2018

The 'hell hound' Black Shuck is to feature in a new graphic novel Picture: RYAN HOWE

The 'hell hound' Black Shuck is to feature in a new graphic novel Picture: RYAN HOWE

Archant

A unique slice of Suffolk folklore – the legend of Black Shuck – is to feature in a new graphic novel by an author who grew up in the county.

Mark Allard-Will, who grew up in Haverhill, has written the book Picture: JONATHAN MICHAELSMark Allard-Will, who grew up in Haverhill, has written the book Picture: JONATHAN MICHAELS

Mark Allard-Will, who was born in Newmarket and grew up in Haverhill, will tell the story of the demon dog which is said to have terrorised the villages of Bungay and Blythburgh in 1577.

The East Anglian legend has inspired many people over the years such as Lowestoft rockers The Darkness, who penned popular track Black Shuck about the mythical hound.

On August 4, 1577, a snarling beast is said to have broken through the doors of Bungay’s St Mary’s Church, resulting in the death of four worshippers, before vanishing in a flash and reappearing seconds later in Blythburgh.

The hound’s white-hot claw marks can still be seen, it is said, burned into the surface of the doors to Holy Trinity Church in the Suffolk coastal village.

A battle between the Vikings and the Saxons serves as a back story in the novel Picture: RYAN HOWEA battle between the Vikings and the Saxons serves as a back story in the novel Picture: RYAN HOWE

Mr Allard-Will is crowdfunding to fund the book, called The Burning Black: Legend of Black Shuck.

Mr Allard-Will, 31, who now lives in Canada, said: “I think what I’m doing with the Black Shuck story is quite unique.

“I’m taking people very visually in to that night in Bungay in 1577 and, of course, because this is a visual medium, something that I’d equate to being a movie that people can read, people will be getting a whole new way of reading the Black Shuck myth – because they will be seeing it.”

The Suffolk-born writer is working with Ryan Howe on the book, which has built in a decisive battle between the Vikings and Saxons as a back story.

“What I’m doing is something that I feel is going to be special for history buffs, folklore fans and just Suffolk folk in general that want an entertaining read,” he said.

“I’m not just giving the audience a recount of events of that night, instead I’m giving readers my idea of what a back story could possibly be for Black Shuck and then extending that out in a very slightly dramatised version of the events of August 4, 1577, in Bungay, so I really am giving readers a fully fleshed out three-act story.”

The Burning Black: Legend of Black Shuck is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, where readers can purchase advanced copies and exclusives.

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