One of the announcements that thrilled Farscape fans most during last week's San Diego Comic-Con was the news that Boom! Studios are turning their Farscape comics into an ongoing monthly series. We spoke to editor Ian Brill about the news.
So, what's the news about Farscape from Boom! Studios?
The big news at this con is that the Farscape is becoming an ongoing series, plotted by Rockne S. O'Bannon, Farscape creator, and scripted by Keith R.A. DeCandido. We've had the the first four issue mini-series, which was a huge success - and when I say "huge success," I mean, it really changed Boom! in a big way. It was the first part of this huge growth that Boom! has seen, and now, along with the Muppet Show books, the Incredibles books, Eureka, all these things have garnered us new attention. Farscape was the first one of that, the first issue came out in December 2008. So we've had a four issue mini-series and then another one, Strange Attractors, which immediately followed up, and saw very little drop in readership. It was pretty much even. We saw fans really stick with this book, which we were happy to see.
Then we just started up Gone and Back, the first issue of the third mini-series, and with the numbers we saw, and the fan response we saw, we thought, Okay. This is doing well enough to support an ongoing series. It'll be called Farscape, it'll be out every month, and fans and retailers can depend on a quality book.
The fan reaction has been really positive?
Yeah, definitely. We had the Farscape comics panel, and Keith made a great point, which was that there's not a lot of spin-off material [from the series]. There were a few novels; Keith wrote one, "House of Cards," there was a video game, Wildstorm put out two comics, and that was about it until the show was cancelled. Now, the Farscape comics being the only ongoing presence of the story, of the characters. We're lucky enough to have it be canonical, have the creator, I mean, Rockne is totally great for these books, he's really doing amazing things continuing the story, saying "This is the show. This can be seen, if you wish, as the fifth season of the show." You couldn't do that with Star Trek, because Next generation was going, then you had the novels... Obviously, with the logistics of making Next Generation, you couldn't do that with all the novels and making it work with all the material, but we're lucky. We're in a place where we can.
How involved is Rockne?
It's a pretty cool process. Rockne sends me a PDF of a plot for four issues, and getting those PDFs is a huge highlight, because he's been in the business a long time, he's smart as a whip, a great storyteller, and each of those plots is a great little short story, with a great beginning, a middle full of adventures, and when it comes to the end, I'm sitting here reading the PDF on my laptop and going, 'This is like watching an awesome movie,' except in this case it's going to be a comic that I get to work on!
So we send that to Henson, and we're very blessed in that our liason at Henson is not a guy who just rubberstamps things, he's willing to get into discussions with Rockne and Keith, and there we get the plot approve, Keith works on the script and then Rockne and Keith go on and on about the script, they work on it and then I get it, and then Rockne, Keith and I work on it, and then Rockne, Keith, the licensor and I work on it, and the process moves much more quickly than it should with all these people working on it. We're very lucky that way.
So will the structure change in the ongoing series? Will there be longer subplots, or will you keep to something you can easily put into trade paperback?
You'll probably still see four-issue plots, because we found out that those are kind of like meaty episodes of the TV show. It's a little bit more than you'd get in a forty-five minute TV show, but it works out roughly that way. Rockne has always put in all these subplots - For example, the first story of the ongoing is called "Tangled Roots," and it answers a lot of questions that were posed since the first issue of the first Farscape mini-series. So it's definitely, there's that thrill of the monthly book, and a company the size of Boom! doesn't get to do that that much, there aren't a lot of small companies that get to do long, ongoing series or long projects that have subplots, multiple characters, that kind of stuff. The kind of thing that I loved as a kid, reading X-Men.
Of course, there's talk about the webisodes. At the Farscape 10th Anniversary Panel, Rockne and Brian Henson gave a lot of discussion to the upcoming webisodes that they're hoping to make happen, and those would obviously continue. So, you know, it's one throughline you can follow. It's the first four seasons, it's the Peacekeeper Wars, it's the Farscape comics. It's one great propulsion of story.
Do you guys get say in the webisodes because Rockne's on board?
The webisodes are Rockne and Henson, and because Rockne is working on both, the comics and webisodes share story threads. That's all I can reveal at this point.
Farscape #1 launches in November from Boom! Studios.