When the NBC television show "Heroes" makes its debut on September 25th, viewers will see a new take on the super hero genre, one which firmly plants an ensemble cast of characters with some sort of extra normal ability in the real world, albeit without the capes and spandex. The inclusion of Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb as part of the series certainly helps bring it closer to the comics industry, but "Heroes" itself is an entirely new creation from creator Tim Kring ("Crossing Jordan"). The show contains all new characters not based on any existing published characters, but that doesn't mean comics won't play a role.
CBR News has learned that "Heroes" will include a comic component. Running concurrently with the show will be 22 online comics running each week the show airs, which will help to fill out the larger storyline and mythology behind the series. The first comic includes art from Michael Turner and Koi Turnbull, with Tim Sale and Jim Lee set to be part of the fun. The comics will be written internally by members of the writing staff like Aron Coleite ("The Covenant"), Jeph Loeb and Bryan Fuller ("Dead Like Me," "Wonderfalls"). We spoke with series creator Tim Kring who provided a few more details about the online comics.
"I'm looking at the first one right now and let me say they're going to be spectacular," Kring told CBR News from his Los Angeles office Wednesday afternoon. "The comics will contain both ancillary material and additive material to the show. Not necessarily a retelling, but a kind of different direction into the story. In other words, if you read them you will have sort of greater and deeper knowledge of the stories you're seeing. So, often times it may tell a story from another side or through another character or may contain the missing beats of the story not told on the show. Say a character gets to a certain place in the TV show and you jumped him past four or five story beats, you'll get a chance to see how he got there in the comic."
For anyone who's followed Jeph Loeb's career in comics one can assume based on that preliminary list of artists that Loeb was a major force in getting these comics made, which Kring said certainly did help. "The truth of the matter is Tim Sale was brought onto the show before Jeph, although I got to Tim through Jeph because Jeph and I have been friends for many, many years," said Kring. "When I talked with Jeph about this early on - Jeph and I had several conversations while I was writing the pilot - I told him I wanted to include some artwork in the script as a sales device. Basically, I wanted to hire an artist out of my own pocket to do just a few pieces for the script. So, I asked Jeph to send me a couple of people and he got me in touch with Tim. That's how that started.
"So, whether it was Tim's involvement or Jeph's involvement, I don't know, but the show got a lot of buzz following Comic-Con International, so we were sort of on everybody's radar when we went and approached these people. Certainly Jeph's knowledge of the comics business and the people in it has been a huge help and you could couldn't ask for more."
But will these online comics see publication in the real world anytime soon? "I would certainly hope so and I'm hoping there aren't any legal issues in doing that, but my guess is - listen, I'm looking right now at color copies of these things and I just don't know why you wouldn't. They are spectacular."
"Heroes" debuts on NBC Monday, September 25th at 9:00 PM. Look for a longer interview with Kring, along with a review of the pilot and an interview with cast member Greg Gunberg in the weeks to come right here on CBR.