Long enough title? I was originally going to go with ‘when the pawn hits the conflict…’ but you know, that was taken. Anyway, recently while reading Comic Shop News I saw a blurb about abc’s (former) show PUSHING DAISIES being picked up by DC as a comic to continue the series. I blogged here before about the show – a wonderful little storytelling gem I dismissed at first (sorry Mike and Amy) then was surprised as hell to like so much after watching the first season on DVD, finally overcome by my wife’s prompting. I’m not too terribly invested or anything, but as with most tv I liked it and it was well-made so of course the network canceled it. Although this bummed me out when I initially heard it I had season Two’s release to look forward to and then of course that old ‘oh, great cliff hanger, TOO BAD YOU’RE NOT GOING TO EVER RESOLVE IT’ feeling that I’ve gone through sooo many times with shows like Twin Peaks, Carnivale and DeadWood*.
So now here’s where the story changes a bit – a network tv show being picked up as a comic (a major company’s comic no less) to continue its story. I dreamed of this with Twin Peaks back in ’91 or whatever but now, with ‘Daisies’ the question is:
Does anyone care? I mean, it’s hard to imagine a tv show like this (ie not pre-branded for long) inspiring so rabid a following that it carries over into a successful monthly comic book.
For myself, I’ve always been a narrow-canon type, to inflict my own terminology on you here. I love Lost but do not do the Lostpedia thing. I grew up with and still (somtimes) begrudgingly love the Star Wars flicks yet I would never read any of the comics or novels. Love Evil Dead but do I care about the 30 or 40 fucking Ash-related comics that ‘expand the canon’ each month?
What about the new tendencies for animated films to tie together the blockbuster trilogies of the day? I think when someone told me how Gotham Knight or whatever Bridges the gap between Batman Begins and Dark Knight I said, ‘Yawn… gap?’.*
And yet I’m fairly certain I’ll be checking out the comic, at least for a couple of issues. It’s funny because I wouldn’t say I like the show as much as I like some of the stuff listed above, and yet maybe it’s this peripheral investment in the story and characters that makes me more than a little interested in seeing it done in a different medium. So yeah, I’ll probably call my dealer tomorrow and ask him to watch for it.
But again, will it work? Will a tv show that does not have Klingons, A.D. or Battlestar in the title interest enough comic book types to actually sell? Or wait, might it do the unthinkable and convert civilians to the 22 page monthly? That would be truly awe-inspiring indeed. That however is doubtful as most civies apparently didn’t watch the network tv version of it, so then we’ve already established it’s a cult thing and cult is just comic spelled in Shi’ar.
Personally, I have no idea or intuition on this one. Something tells me it will only last a couple of issues, but then again maybe it will really take to the change of medium. Maybe DC will market it in some clever way. Maybe maybe maybe…
For me Daisies is all about style – that Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet type look and almost Looney Tunes-esque narration. Without that I’m just not sure how it will take to comics. But again, I am curious and I’m always willing to try new comics.
To look at it from another angle of course it makes sense for comics to be as militant about pursuing pre-branded material as Hollywood has become, and we’re only going to see more of it as Stephen King’s Dark Tower offshoots continue to be among Marvel’s bestsellers and big budget adaptations continue to solicit newcomers to the works from which their summer blockbusters are derived, yet it would be a tragedy if comics shifted too much focus to pre-branded material and away from the amazing NEW ideas out there. But I don’t think that will necessarily happen as long as the reigning creator-gods continue to bombard things like Preacher, Y The Last Man and Grant Morrison with the gratuitous praise they deserve. Robert Kirkman spent half of the last issue of Walking Dead’s letters column bowing before Brian K. Vaughn and Y and it’s praise like that that is making its way out of the comic book world and into the storytelling and into the world at large. And of course it helps that Joss Whedon’s doing both and drawing fans with him between the two, as is Vaughn himself now with Lost. Oh, and I guess Heroes helps too, but that’s not my cup of tea so I’ll not go into it here.
* Is Lost the only show I’ve ever liked that is actually going to get told through to the end? Yes, I believe so, unless of course you count the 80’s Newheart show that has, still to this day, the best ending I’ve ever seen on any show. Amazing…
** Now granted, someone could etch a Twin Peaks play in feces and premiere
it in Ronald McDonald’s bathroom and I’d probably buy a ticket and see
it half a dozen times, but as I’ve said before, Peaks is my Star Trek.
*** I don’t really like the idea of applying the term entertainment
industry to things that have changed my life. ‘Friends’ is the
entertainment industry (although who the fuck it entertains is beyond me), Preacher is not. Entertainment is stuff that brings a smile to your face or makes you laugh for a bit. Anything you leave the theatre or armchair after reading shaking from adrenaline, fear or joyous epiphany, well that is storytelling my friends.