Yesterday, Archaia revealed a whole lineup of giveaway posters premiering during WonderCon 2012 featuring the publisher's publishing slate for the coming year. While many of the projects have been solicited or revealed already, four books stood out from the pack as unsolicited and previously unannounced: "Space 1999," written by Andrew E.C. Gaska and based on the 1970s British science fiction television show; "Gang of Fools," a futuristic dystopian tale by James Smith; "Pantalones, TX," an all-ages humor book by animator Yehudi Mercado; and "Iron: Or, the War After" by S.M. Vidaurri.
To shed some much-needed light on the upcoming Archaia releases, CBR News spoke with Archaia editors Paul Morrissey and Rebecca Taylor about the upcoming releases, the stories behind them and how each release helps to expand Archaia's diverse catalog.
CBR News: Paul, tell us about "Space 1999" and writer Andrew Gaska's plans for the graphic novel.
Paul Morrissey: Andrew Gaska wrote our "Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes" book. I think he did a fantastic job with that particular book and much in the same way he knows the "Planet of the Apes" world and mythology, he has really been a fan of "Space 1999" and explored that world. The premise of the TV show is that there's a moon base and they're cut off from the rest of the Earth because the moon has fallen out of Earth's orbit and is traveling through space. In the first book of "Space 1999," Drew does something that's really cool: he actually explores the ramifications on Earth of the moon leaving orbit. So all these natural disasters and calamities occurring on Earth because of that event are explored. He does a little bit of backstory with Commander Koenig, Martin Landau's character on the TV show, and we see a little bit of the moon base. The first series is showing us something from that world we've never seen before. The books in the series will go back to the moon base and follow what has gone on with them. In total, it will cover the events we don't see on Earth all the way through to events that the show never got to explore because it only lasted a few seasons.
Will "Space 1999" follow the same publishing formula Archaia has put into place with other licensed properties like the Henson titles?
Morrissey: I think what Drew does is a little bit different. With "Fraggle Rock," we never expand the mythology or the continuity. Every "Fraggle Rock" story we've done pretty much exists before the series ended. What Drew does is he really goes into those worlds and expands the mythology and expands the story. We'll see things in "Space 1999" that you never would have seen in the show. I think its approach is a little bit different, it's really an expansive look at both worlds.
Let's move on to "Gang of Fools," which has a really cool art style and is written and drawn by James Smith. What's the concept behind this book?
Rebecca Taylor: "Gang of Fools" is a dystopian cyberpunk future book, but it's different than most dystopian future books in that it's not as dark. A lot of the content is extremely mature, but it's a little bit lighter than most of the dystopian books. It's about this group of friends who are hipsters to the extreme, almost. They live in a city in the future in which everyone is constantly plugged in to the Internet all the time. People will kill each other for a couple of blog hits and people orchestrate huge, massive mob conspiracies just to get 15 minutes where they're the #1 YouTube video. It's all about being on top of the trends and all about being on top of the fads. It's this totally convoluted, weird, bizarre world with all these weird trends. The characters within it, even though everything is dark and kind of crazy, they have a sense of humor about it. That's just their life and that's the way they go through things. The main character is a girl named Aditi whose main problem is she needs $10,000 for rent by the end of the week, so she gets a job as a messenger, a courier, on a skateboard. She has to navigate through the city and in doing that, she ends up getting connected in this "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" kind of way to all these different crazy conspiracies that are going on. One of the great things about it is that it's a creator's vision, which is always really fun.
Let's move on to "Pantalones, TX," which was the only cover I couldn't tell anything about just by looking at it. What's the story behind this one?
Morrissey: It's by a guy named Yehudi Mercado and it's a straight-up comedy book. Gosh, I guess I would initially describe it as "Dazed and Confused" meets "Smokey and the Bandit." It's just about a small town in Texas and the sheriff rides a giant chicken. It's just very funny. Yehudi has a great background in animation, so his style is just very cartoony and fluid. I think that book can be a little coming out of left field from Archaia, but it's a very singular vision and that vision just happens to be a comedic vision.
Taylor: I think it is obviously very funny, but it's an all-ages property which I think is very important to mention. It also has a "Captain Underpants" vibe to it or "Jimmy Neutron" vibe. It's completely all-ages. I don't think it's "Dazed and Confused" where everybody's high.
Morrissey: Well, yeah. I meant in the same way that "Slacker" and "Dazed and Confused" are about all these eccentric people in a small town. That's a good point. Also, Yehudi's from Texas -- but yes, like an all-ages "Slacker."
Taylor: It's set in this weird town, Pantalones, TX. It's also a little "Dennis The Menace"-y where we have this one kid in particular who's just a total troublemaker. He's the fastest kid around and he drives the sheriff absolutely crazy. It has the level of bizarre that cartoons like "Jimmy Neutron" have, where it's like the town next to it is a total rich town and they have a weird cult that worships chickens. It's really weird and it's really fun. It's a total all-ages cartoon funfest. It's hilarious.