CCI EXCLUSIVE: Image Resurrects "MacGyver"

Comic fans have become used to the idea of their favorite characters getting a modern-day reboot to keep them up to date. The same thing happens every now and then with television icons as well, and as was revealed at Comic-Con International in San Diego Friday, worlds will collide in the form of a brand-new MacGyver miniseries from Image Comics. (Cue an opening-credits explosion.)

Written by "MacGyver" creator Lee David Zlotoff and "Doctor Who" comic scribe Tony Lee with art by none other than Becky Cloonan, "MacGyver: Fugitive Gauntlet" debuts next summer. The series will span five issues and has been worked out in advance to give the creators plenty of time to get the whole thing solidified so it can run on schedule. Comic Book Resources spoke with Tony Lee about how being a long-time "MacGyver" fan eventually led to him bringing the character back in the pages of "Fugitive Gauntlet."

"Basically, over the last couple of years, whenever I've been asked, 'If you could write a book about any character, who would it be?,' I've always replied 'MacGyver,'" Lee said. "It's almost been a running joke, the character I've loved since I was a kid and the dream that one day I'd write it. But it was never a serious thought until the MCM Expo in London this May -- yup, two months ago -- when, while drinking Absinthe in the Mezzanine bar, I said to Becky that it was an ambition of mine, my dream project. And without missing a beat she replied, 'And I would draw it.'"

From there, it was a matter of figuring out who to talk to about snagging the rights to work on the property in comic form.

"With [our commitment] laid down, I knew I had to do something, so that week I contacted my awesome U.S. manager/agent Stephanie Johnson saying that if she had the chance, I'd appreciate it if she could find out who had the rights," Lee said. "A week later she came back and said they were held by series creator Lee David Zlotoff. He understood that we had no money to pay him for this, and he was happy to chat to me the following week on Skype. I'll admit, I was terrified when I spoke to him, but whatever I said, it worked as Lee agreed to not only allow us to play with his toys, but to also come into the room [himself] and play with them again."

Not one to simply hand over his toys, Zlotoff stuck around and became integral to the creative process.

"He's [been] involved from the very get-go," Lee said of Zlotoff. "He's involved in the plot, the characterization, the script, everything. He has first and final say, and so far he's allowed us to take some interesting risks. But I can't say anything more..."

Not wanting to spoil too many details this far ahead of the book's release, Lee wouldn't divulge much about the plot of "Fugitive Gauntlet," but CBR News did pry some details out of him.

"I don't want to give too much away, but there's a gauntlet that MacGyver has to run, and he does it as a fugitive, hence the title," Lee said. "Let's just say that someone with an axe to grind decides to play a game with him. He has to live out a week while every hitman in town is after him. A seven million dollar bounty is on his head, and every day it drops by a million. So the hit men have it in their best interests to kill him quick, and he has it in his best interest to run out the clock. But at the same time, he has to find out why this person wants him dead and what the true story is here."

Part of the story that fans will be most curious about is whether the MacGyver seen in the comic will have the same likeness as Richard Dean Anderson, who played Mac on the small screen for nearly a decade.

"There's a lot of talk about this, we were happy to do whatever Lee suggested, and he was actually very interested in modernizing the character in the same way that Superman or Batman are ageless," Lee said. "It's the same MacGyver but in a more contemporary setting. But don't worry, he'll still be creating his gadgets. Lee's even convinced John [Potter], the guy who created the original ideas, to come on board, and we'll be throwing him a wealth of problems to solve."

Walking the tightrope and balancing the old with the new is just part of the game when it comes to relaunching a property such as this. Lee did point out one major difference that fans might not be too happy about.

"One thing I will say, and it's the one thing we expect the most response on -- the logo has changed," Lee said. "Mainly due to copyright, the DVD collection having dibs, but we decided that if we were modernizing Mac, we should be modernizing everything, and I think it looks incredible!"

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