Earlier this week BOOM! Studios caused quite a stir when it released a teaser quickly identified as being for a comic based on the Fox series “Sleepy Hollow.” Today, CBR News has the first details on the series, which debuts October 15. The comic, a four-issue miniseries written by Marguerite Bennett (“Butterfly,” “Superman: Lois Lane”) and drawn by Jorge Coelho (“Polarity,” “Venom”), spins an all-new tale starring the characters from last season’s hit genre mash-up. Joining them for the ride is Noelle Stevenson of “Lumberjanes” fame, who will write and illustrate back-up stories for each issue
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Based on Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the series was created by the “Star Trek” writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, along with writer and producer Phillip Iscove and “Underworld” director Len Wiseman. “Sleepy Hollow” follows the supernaturally-based adventures of Ichabod Crane, a Colonial soldier from the late 1700s, who wakes up in modern times and quicly finds himself teamed with Detective Abbie Mills to face the Headless Horseman and a variety of other monstrous menaces.
In the first, CBR exclusive interview about the project, Bennett explains that as a fan of the series, her stories are the result of picking up bits and pieces from episodes and building off of them, though she remains tight-lipped about the details. She also talked about working with Coelho to bring the show to a new medium, building her story inside the structure of the TV series and the role Grant Morrison played in her “Sleepy Hollow” fandom.
CBR News: Was “Sleepy Hollow” a series you were watching on TV? If so, were you in from the beginning or did you stumble upon it like a lot of people?
Marguerite Bennett: I’m gonna tell you something real quick — this whole thing is Grant Morrison’s fault. Last summer, I was at San Diego Comic-Con for the very first time, floundering out of my depth, without a published comic to my name and puppying about after James Tynion, Scott Snyder and Tom Taylor like their uncool kid sister. There was a Grant Morrison panel I was crazy to see, with a panel about some TV show I’d never heard of in the same room beforehand. I sat in on the pilot for this wild new show called “Sleepy Hollow,” and my fangirl heart just fell in love — with Abbie, with Ichabod, with the whole mad world. It was still ringing in my head by the time Grant Morrison’s panel started, and those few hours were among my favorites at the entire con.
How did the job writing “Sleepy Hollow” come about? Was it something you pitched for?
It was! My absolutely phenomenal editor at BOOM, Dafna Pleban, knew I was crazy about the show and wanted to know if I’d considered pitching for it. I think I might’ve bemused her a bit in my zeal, for which I dearly hope she forgives me. I’m just so terribly fond of the show, and I suppose my enthusiasm showed through. I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team.
What were the elements of the show that appealed to you and how will you explore them in the comic?
The relationships on the show move me as much as — and even more — than the perilous adventures and rich mythos. Abbie and Ichabod’s foiling charm, the Mills sisters and their battles to redeem one another, Jenny’s struggles, Frank’s grief, Henry’s anger — the little moments stayed with me as much as the explosive ones, Ichabod’s scowls over the price of water, Frank’s fierce tenderness for his child. The show must strike at the grand notes in the overall story, the comic falls down into the dark caverns in between, full of monsters and secrets.
When working on a story that fits into the continuity of an existing TV show, is there much back-and-forth with the network or people from the show to make sure it all fits together well?
Oh, assuredly, yes! I’m so grateful that the “Sleepy Hollow” team created such a lively and compelling story, and am doubly grateful that I’m even considered to be part of it. We communicate very freely to make this the truest and most exciting story for fans of the TV show.
What specifics can you tell us about the story? What happens and how does it fit in?
The comics take place at different parts of the series. The first two comics are each standalone, self-contained single issues, while the third and fourth will be our two-part finale, so to speak. The first issue takes place early in the season and is a story of magic, the second is in the middle and is a story of myth, and the third and fourth are close to the end, and are the story of a machine.
In addition to Abbie and Ichabod, what familiar faces can fans expect to see from the series?
Jenny, Frank, Henry, Luke and Andy all play pivotal roles, and there will also be a few new characters who I hope will move and charm you as well.
That teaser piece by Jorge Coelho was really cool and got a lot of people talking online. Did the response surprise you?
The response overjoyed me. I love the “Sleepy Hollow” fandom and even got to see some Ichabod cosplayers at Special Edition and HeroesCon over the past few weekends. It’s such a positive show, really. Action, adventure, conscience, empowerment, diversity — and it’s fun. The fan reaction heartened me so much, and Jorge’s teaser was so perfect; he’s just ideal.
What can you tell us about Coelho’s art and your development process with him?
I was on the phone with my editors when I got the link to Jorge’s portfolio, and every image I flipped through drove home how fantastic he was going to be for this project. There’s so much energy and force in his art — it’s so vibrant, like the characters whose story we’ve been trusted to guide. I can’t wait for you to see what he can do.
Did you look to other TV tie-in comics for ideas of what to do with “Sleepy Hollow?”Â
I’m afraid I did not! Most of the pitches I submitted, and indeed the ones that were chosen, all stemmed from fangirl love. Some aspects of each script arose while I was watching the show, wondering if these threads were things the writers had set down, while others were things I was dying to see explored, though I doubted the thrilling pace of the show might ever have the chance to pause over them. My research began as rewatching the show and taking notes as diligently and ferociously as though I were back in grad school, and ended deep in history books about the Revolutionary War.
It sounds like you’ve got a pretty good number of ideas for future “Sleepy Hollow” stories bubbling about.
Ha! I’d write Ichabod and Abbie through seven years of Witnessing, if they’d let me, and I’d be grateful every minute of it. It’s a brilliant, quirky, scary, fun show, and we’re fighting to live up to it every minute, in every way. I hope y’all love it as much as we do.
“Sleepy Hollow” #1 from Marguerite Bennett, Jorge Coelho and BOOM! Studios hits shops on October 15. The second season of the show starts on Sept. 22.