New spin-off to complete Jericho story

The story of Jericho is set to be completed after all, thanks to a new comic book. Plus: the comics of Pushing Daisies, Heroes and Fringe...

The cast of the reprieved Jericho

 

It’s widely known just how passionate the fans of the highly-rated but ill-fated TV show Jericho are. On the threat of the series never returning after its first outing, thousands of loyal supporters promptly spammed the hell out of CBS, the show’s parent station, with truckloads of nuts, in an effort to demand a return of the post-apocalyptic drama.

If there’s any doubt about the commitment of the show’s following, there was also the “Sell” Jericho Campaign aka Operation Billboard erected on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, California…

CBS yielded after the first season with a seven episode series follow-up. Still, even with this olive branch, and a little bit of closure, fans were left wondering about several plotlines. Most notably, just who was responsible for the wide-spread nuking of the USA?

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Well, thanks to comic publisher, Devil’s Due Publishing, it looks as though fans will finally get the answers they’re hankering for, and the series is all set to return in illustrated form.

Announced on March 5, DDP and CBS revealed a deal to release a comic book adaptation of the show, which is going to continue from where the TV series left off.

The story of Jake Green and Robert Hawkin’s efforts to stop the new Cheyenne government’s bid to take over the remaining US states, along with the mysterious identity of the former government members responsible for the nuclear strikes in the first place, should be explored, along with, of course, the continuing survival of the titular, fictional Kansas town itself.

This announcement isn’t the first spin-off dead-but-not-buried Jericho has received, and a few other additions have surfaced online, including Beyond Jericho, an online, episodic story which began with a kidnapper discovering the nukes had fallen, after hiding underground with his hostage. This mini-series was ditched and replaced with Countdown, billed as a “webumentary”, this time focusing on Robert Hawkins, the super spy who prominently featured in the TV series. Here, though, he was just a shadowy figure, watching various documentaries about the catastrophe – a weird mix of stock film clips, interviews with ‘experts’ furnishing ‘intel’, amid some heavy product placement, it must be said. It had none of the flavour – or characters – of the show, something we hope the comic can replicate, even if it’s silent and paper thin.

Pushing Daisies comic

Comic book tie-ins are no stranger to recent TV, and another much-loved, but ultimately canned series is also due to venture into the panel-based story medium – Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies. The excellent series has been given the go ahead for comic adaptation by ABC, and Fuller intends to tie up the story’s loose ends. This isn’t the first comic outing for Daisies however, and a graphic novel containing background information on the series was distributed at Comic-Con 2007.

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Comic fans looking for more TV-to-page goodness can also check out the, frankly huge, Heroes illustrated series, which currently spans an impressive 128 episodes. All of these interactive instalments can be viewed for free by visiting NBC.com and downloadable PDF versions can be snagged as well. With Heroes’ obvious built-in tie to graphic novels, it’s a natural for this treatment. The other hard-to-ignore difference here is that the comics support a show that’s currently running, well into its third season, and the digital comic versions are available for free. Whether this would continue if the axe falls on the show, who knows. Is this a well-devised strategy to go the cancelled-to-comics route as well come that dreaded day? For now, as fans, we can enjoy the generosity as long as it lasts.

Fringe comic

Not all series-based comics are so successful, though, and JJ Abram’s Fringe received only one comic issue before the idea was promptly shredded. Luckily, the TV series has fared better and is still surviving in the ever-increasingly turbulent war for ratings – again, for now. The comic book strain, written as a prequel to the show, is rumoured to have been resurrected, with a second issue this past January and remaining parts throughout 2009. But, although the series is listed at DC’s Wildstorm branch, we can only find limited numbers of Issue #2 through resellers, with the original (Issue #1), credited to JJ Abrams himself, tagged at $25.00 for the super slim volume. We’d guess the entire comic idea was meant to generate some pre-air enthusiasm, which was moot once the show hit the small screen. Should the TV version be cancelled, though, we wonder – would it return to the page for a dog-eared afterlife?

If anything, the news of a Jericho line of comics may firm up the possiblility of a Jericho film to follow. Byran Fuller, who successfully wrung out a DVD conclusion to his Dead Like Me series, has said that a comic book of Pushing Daisies clears the slate for a movie. If that’s the case, bring on the Jericho comics!