In the not too distant future, Dark Horse Comics will partner with “Mystery Science Theater 3000” creator Joel Hodgson to create a brand-new comic book series based off the cult classic television show. The partnership will also result in a run of Dark Horse-designed merchandise.
The partnership is the result of a Kickstarter launched by Hodgson in 2015, which aimed to bring “Mystery Science Theater 3000” back to air. The campaign was so successful—raising $6,364,229—that it broke Kickstarter’s record for most funds raised for a film or video, previously held by the “Veronica Mars” movie campaign.
One of the campaign’s stretch goals, aside from additional episodes, was for Hodgson and crew to pursue licensing deals with various companies. One of those companies, as it turns out, was Dark Horse Comics, which managed to land the deal for a comic books series and merchandise. As it turns out, it’s a deal that has been in the works for more than two decades.
“I first encountered the show in 1992, and immediately fell in love with both the concept and the characters,” said Dark Horse Comics Vice President of Publishing Randy Stradley in a press release. “I began inquiring about the license in 1993, and now—a mere twenty-four years later—we have Comics Sign!”
In addition to its new home at Dark Horse, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” will return to Netflix early this year with cast members both new and old. Jonah Ray will play the latest host to be trapped aboard the Satellite of Love, forced by nefarious scientists to watch terrible movies and keep his sanity by making snarky comments. He will be joined by his two robot companions, Crow and Tom Servo, played by Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn, respectively. Jonah, Crow and Tom will be plagued by Felicia Day’s mad scientist, Kinga Forrester, and Patton Oswalt, who plays Kinga’s henchman TV's Son of TV's Frank. The season will run for 14 episodes.
The roots of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” lie in public access television. Hodgson first produced the series for KTMA, a local television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The series would eventually move to the then-newly broadcasting Comedy Central as one of the first two shows greenlit by the channel. The show would find its final resting place on SyFy (then the Sci-Fi Channel), where its last official episode, “Danger: Diabolik,” aired in 1999.
In the intervening years, Hodgson would go on to create Cinematic Titanic, a project similar in execution to “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” though without the sci-fi aesthetic. One of the show’s other former hosts, Michael Nelson, would found the RiffTrax company, which also produced videos reminiscent of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”