Though it hasn’t been officially announced from Fox yet, as far as I know, it appears Matt Groening’s other animated series is due for a Family Guy style comeback, after being axed in 2003. The 4 direct to DVD films have done pretty good business, meaning that the cartoon will hit the TV screens once more. It’s been mentioned at Entertainment Weekly and at Dark Horizons, but basically Comedy Central have ordered 26 more episodes, ie 2 seasons, with the original voice cast and writing team coming back for more sci-fi zaniness. The first new eps should start airing halfway through next year. Good news indeed.
There are so many good indie publishers that fly under the radar. Slave Labor Graphics, or SLG to their friends, have been around since 1986 and I can count the number of comics I have from them on one hand. However, something about their new Captain Blood series caught my eye. I’m vaguely familiar with the name. Apparently it was a 1922 book written by Rafael Sabatini, but more people may know it as the title of the 1935 movie starring Tasmania’s greatest swashbuckler, Errol Flyyn. (BTW – it’s the centenary of his birth). This is the first comic adaptation however, and upon opening the first page I was impressed. Firstly, it almost presents itself as an artefact from the days of pirates and men with big hats. It’s printed on less than crisp white paper, and with a texture far from the glossy stuff from The Big Two. The art by Michael Shoyket is also pencils only. This is the kind of approach we’re used to seeing restricted to variant covers. However, it all works really well in this context, especially because he’s a very talented artist.
Written by Matthew Shephard (who has an interesting one page summary of the history of the book and how he altered it and why, and how he stayed faithful to it and why) it’s quite the rousing adventure. There’s slaves, and cruel masters and crueller decrepit judges and a smattering of action in the form of fist fights, and ship fights. Peter Blood is a kind doctor surrounded by intolerance and pride as he tends to his fellow slaves and tries to inspire those around him with noble speeches. He soon seizes an opportunity not only at freedom, but also at teaching his crusty captors a thing or two, and becomes the adventurer Captain Blood.
It reminded me somewhat of The Count of Monte Cristo, with its themes of courage in the face of adversity and of a man daring to forge a new identity. Shephard paces things very well and Shoyket’s art may take some getting used to for certain readers, but I found it a refreshing change. This is a well crafted intro issue to what will hopefully be an intriguing series.
It’s awesome that DC Comics finally have a blog, called The Source. It’s not exactly a barrage of news but it makes up for it with almost daily previews of projects days, weeks or months away. Now, two of DC’s imprints also have their own dedicated blogs. The Bleed belongs to Wildstorm and it kicked off with the news that Planetary #27 would be the series’ last, produced by its creators Warren Ellis and John Cassady.
Vertigo’s blog, Graphic Content launches with an excerpt from October’s Fables novel. Peter and Max is written by the writer of the series, Bill Willingham with art by Steve Leiahola. Also on Graphic Content are a few pages from DMZ #42, which is now on sale. This begins a new 3 part story entitled No Future, and is brought to us by writer Brian Wood and artist Ryan Kelly. Pics below.