It's not unheard of in comic books for a series to spend a long time in development hell. From creative conflicts to legal hurdles, all sorts of projects have been delayed after their initial announcement. But very few have to wait as long for release as Marvel Comics' "CAGE!"
"I'm picking up right where I left off," Tartakovsky tells LBD of the series, which is based firmly in the Marvel Universe of the '70s, "but definitely improving it and refining it."
CAGE! #1 (of 4)
GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY (W) • GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY (A/C)
From the Award-Winning creator of Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Hotel Transylvania! On the mean streets of Harlem, shoes are big, shirts are large, bottoms are belled and crime is rampant! But in the heart of the city, the world's hardest-working, smack-talking, chain-wearing super hero is on the street and on the case! And his rates are reasonable! He's CAGE! and he'll save your behind. Dig it!
Originally announced in 2007, "CAGE!" was meant to be a solo creative spotlight for the creator of cartoon hits "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Samurai Jack." But the creator's one major stipulation for producing the series was that he would be allowed to draw the book on his own schedule. After drawing storyboards for "Iron Man 2" and creating his cult favorite animated series "Sym-Bionic Titan" delayed the finish of "CAGE!", Tartakovsky's editorial contact at Marvel left the publisher, and the project languished.
But last year, the artist revealed that he still had the nearly-completed comic in his files. "I actually finished all the pencils and part of the inking, and it was just a matter of continuing on," he shared at the time. "I actually just found them last week, all my pencils, and I was like, 'Oh, this still stands up! It'd be fun to finish it.'"
Marvel SVP of Publishing Tom Brevoort soon expressed an interest in getting the book back on its feet, but as Tartakovsky worked on projects like the "Hotel Transylvania" movies and his aborted "Popeye" relaunch, it was in doubt whether "CAGE!" would truly see the light of day.
Now the project is on track for an official release, thanks to last year's Internet interest, according to Tartakovsky. "CAGE!" will soon join the ranks of Jim Lee and company's "Batman: Europa," Frank Miller's "Holy Terror" and Marv Wolfman and George Perez's "New Teen Titans: Games" in successfully breaking free from development hell.
Genndy Tartakovsky's "CAGE! arrives in October.