O'Bannon on Returning to "Farscape"

Since the announcement at this year’s Comic Con International that original series creator Rockne O'Bannon would be providing the story for BOOM! Studios' “Farscape” comics, anticipation has run high among fans of much-missed Sci Fi classic. The first four-issue miniseries will be a direct sequel to the “Peacekeeper Wars,” which closed out “Farscape's” television run in 2004. With the first issue solicited in this month's Previews catalogue for a November release, CBR News caught up with O'Bannon once again to discuss his initial foray into comics.

In an interview with CBR News during the San Diego convention, O'Bannon said the “Farscape” comics would allow him to tell stories that were not possible with the budget and production constraints of television. Readers will witness Rygel's return to Hyneria in a quest to reclaim his throne, a plot point the TV writers had always wanted to address but could not because of the complex puppetry and cost that would go into creating a world full of Hynerians. “We had one episode where there was a second Hynerian, and that was just killer,” O'Bannon said in July. The writer also confirmed that Aeryn's new life as a mother would factor into the new stories.

Now, as the release of issue #1 approaches, O’Bannon is still holding further story details close to the vest. Since CCI, though, the full creative team has been announced: “Farscape” novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido will be scripting O'Bannon's plots, with Tommy Patterson tackling the art chores.

“The story is really cooking,” O'Bannon told CBR News. “I just finished giving my notes on issue #3 to Keith DeCandido. It's turning out exactly as I'd hoped -- it's like watching continuing episodes of the series, especially since the comics story picks up immediately from the conclusion of 'The Peacekeeper Wars' television miniseries.”

O'Bannon worked closely with DeCandido on the novel, “Farscape: House of Cards.” “I know from past experience of other writers adapting TV series of mine into novels and comics that it's very tricky to turn a TV series into prose,” O’Bannon explained. “It's a very unique talent, and requires not only an encyclopedic knowledge of the TV series itself, but also the creative ability to capture the often elusive essentials of the series, such as tone. Keith had done this incredibly well with his 'Farscape' novel, and he's doing it again in spades in the comics.”

As to the further challenges of adapting to writing for comics rather than television, O'Bannon credited his creative partners with shepherding him through the process. “Having never written for comics before, I was proceeding on instinct a lot of the time as I plotted out the story for the comic's first four-issue arc,” he said. “I've been a fan of comics since forever, so I had a gut understanding of the form, but it was also a little nerve-wracking plotting along, wondering if what I was plotting was more suited to film than print. Luckily I had [BOOM! Studios Editor in Chief] Mark Waid as a guide, and Keith DeCandido as a partner. As it turns out, I suspect that the final story reads even more like actual episodes of the television series specifically because I approached it from my ingrained film writer perspective.”

Working with Waid in particular, O'Bannon said, was an enlightening experience. “Mark is the **KING** of this art form. An emeritus figure. A god, really. It's been fantastic having my first foray into the comic world to be at his knee. We talked about it being at his feet, or thigh -- but I ultimately felt most comfortable at his knee.”

Of course, perhaps the biggest translation between media will occur in the visual presentation. Whereas the Henson Company-produced television series relied on the use of elaborate puppets and fantastic sets, the look and feel of the “Farscape” comics will be in the hands of artist Tommy Patterson. “Tommy's doing an amazing job with the art,” O'Bannon said. Though DeCandido works more directly with Patterson, O'Bannon nevertheless enjoys a special perspective on the finished pages.

“I'm lucky in that I get to experience the art almost as if I'm the first 'fan' to see it. I love that.”

BOOM! Studios’ “Farscape” #1 goes on sale in November.

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