He's saved the President's life from an attempted assassination. He saved Los Angeles from a nuclear threat. And he's even trying to save Los Angeles from a second thread, this time a biological weapon. Who is this manliest of men? Why, it's "24's" Jack Bauer, of course. Could his next mission be to save comics?
As you learned last month, IDW Publishing will be releasing a one-shot issue based on the hit Fox television series "24" called, appropriately, "24: One Shot." It's an all-new story worked up specifically for this comic by writers J.C. Vaughn and Mark L. Haynes. CBR News spoke with Vaughn and Haynes to see what we can expect with "24: One Shot."
"CTU agent Jack Bauer has to protect a beautiful terrorist, who up until this point has been among the worst of the worst," Vaughn told CBR News. "Her name is Moira O'Neal, she's from an IRA splinter faction, and things in her life have brought her to a point where she's changed, or at least seems to have changed. Now her former friends want to kill her. All this on Jack's first day at CTU."
"But it's not going to be typical first-day-on-the-job," continued co-writer Haynes, "since we're talking about Jack Bauer and, man, does he hit the ground running! The story is set about eighteen months prior to the events seen in Season One so we get to see some familiar faces. The titular 'One Shot' comes in as Jack battles to protect Moira and his team and slowly runs out of ammunition until he gets down to the crucial 'one shot' at the story's climax."
Fans of the television series know the show has a large cast of characters, from Jack Bauer, President Palmer, Sherry Palmer, Nina Myers and, well, the list goes on. Some have made it through all three seasons. Others, not so much. With the 48-page "24: One Shot," the creators are limited on space, so they can't include everyone, but with this book being a prequel of sorts, it allows the writers the chance to bring back some popular, yet deceased characters to the story.
"You're right about being limited on space, but that's the nature of the beast," said Haynes. "As fans of the show ourselves, both J.C. and I have favorite characters and we were trying to put just about everyone in. At one point, we just had to sit back and figure out what made the most sense for the story. Since it takes place a year and a half prior to Season One, we had the opportunity to write for characters that are no longer part of the storyline including Teri Bauer, Jamey Farrell, and Richard Walsh. Along with them there is, of course, Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida as well as several new characters. Of course, like any fan of the show would know by now, you shouldn't get too attached to anyone since they could die in the next panel or the next page or the next issue!
"We saw writer Jesse Leon McCann at the Wizard World show in Long Beach," continued Vaughn, "and the first thing he said about '24' was 'You have to use Walsh.' I sort of laughed because that was pretty much Mark's reaction and mine, too. For whatever reason, he's one of those characters people who loved the first season really want to know more about. Even though he only made it through to the third or fourth episode, you very much got the feeling that there was a connection between Walsh and Jack and I think the beginnings of that will come through in the book."
Art for this book will be provided by "CSI: Miami" artist Renato Guedes, who's been charged with bringing to the printed page some very recognizable faces.
"A big part of the success of '24' has been the unspoken thoughts and feelings communicated by the expressions on the actor's faces," said Haynes. "Bringing that feel to the book was important both for the story and for preserving the feel of the show and, I have to be a total fan here, the art coming in from Renato Guedes is absolutely stunning and is living up to that task like you wouldn't believe."
Vaughn continued, "A lot of artists can do likenesses and can't do good page and panel composition. Others are great at the composition but not so good on the likenesses. This guy is incredible. And he's coloring his own pencils."
"It's just awesome," enthused Haynes..
"24" uses a unique format, showing a single 24 hour day in the life of the agents who work for the Los Angeles division of the Counter Terrorism Unit. Each hour of programming represent one-hour of "real time." With the comic, two pages equal one hour, with the full 48 pages equaling one day in the life of Jack Bauer and friends. In addition to a unique format, the show consistently pushes the envelope with regard to story content. This presented a number of challenges for the writers.
"The format was indeed a challenge and it was difficult finding that balance," admitted Haynes. "We thought about the various mathematical solutions, but none of them seemed viable for either the publisher or the reader. For this project, though, we went with an even more fundamental approach. We stuck with what works for the show and that is characters you can develop a connection with, a plot with as many twists and turns as we can manage in forty-eight pages and, of course, relentless action."
"Comics can't ever replicate everything you see on a screen," continued Vaught. "It's obvious, but TV and movies have motion. On the other hand, the screen can't duplicate every element of the comic book experience either. There is that unique imagery conjured up in the mind by the combination of illustration and the visual representation of words and sound effects. While there are tons of similarities, there are still very unique components in each media form. Our best hope is to create something that could stand on its own, but functions better as a component of an overall experience."
In just a few short years IDW Publishing has built up a list of critically acclaimed and popular licenses like "CSI," "Underworld," "The Shield," "Dawn of the Dead" and "24," to name a few. Vaughn and Haynes were happy to share details on how this project got off the ground and into their hands.
Vaughn said, "I remember either calling or email (or both, knowing me) Beau Smith and telling him that IDW had to do 'Dragnet' as a comic. So much for my hit-spotting credentials, right? Anyhow, Mark and I both just loved the first season of the new version and IDW had 'CSI' on the way at the time. Oh, well. Anyhow, I've known Beau and editor-in-chief Jeff Mariotte for a long time, and I met Ted Adams a few years ago, and I really just was looking for an opportunity to work with them. Once it became clear that they were open to '24,' we pitched several ideas, they liked 'em and went to Fox and got the comic.
" width="230" height="173" border="0">"I've known Beau and Jeff for some time as well," continued Haynes, "from seeing them at shows and working with them at 'Overstreet's FAN' (moment of silence, please) and now to be working with them on a project like '24,' well, what can I say but that it is an incredible opportunity to work these guys in this capacity. And Ted's vision for IDW is coming through in everything they do from the quality of the people involved to the quality of the books being produced, which is a bonus.
"I became a fan of '24 because J.C. was my roommate during the second season and he got me into watching the show. I remember sitting there trying desperately to figure out how to do it as a comic when we finally hit it one day toward the end of the season. We didn't think much about it after that but then, while I was walking at the floor at last year's San Diego Comicon, J.C. came up and took me by the IDW booth where we pitched it to Jeff Mariotte and the rest, as they say, is history."
Vaughn told CBR News that the producers of the show consulted on the story and script and offered good, constructive input. Haynes continued by saying every aspect of the book, from the original pitches and concept drawings to the completed scripts and artwork cross the desks at Fox Television and the "24" production offices.
"They have both been very supportive of the project from the beginning and that's something, speaking as someone who has published licensed comics before, that is invaluable and sometimes hard to come by," said Haynes.
You can get your first look at "24: One Shot" as part of IDW's participation in Free Comic Book Day on July 3rd, with the full release coming later that month.