New Crusaders will have a print preview edition available soon at San Diego Con to promote the digital first comic coming to print in August. Ian Flynn was passing them out at Heroes Con at a panel and at his booth.
Flynn said during the New Crusaders panel that Archie Comics had a good relationship with Heroes Con which is why they sent over a stack of the promotional comics. Archie also sent him posters and trading cards to give out.
Nothing builds a team better than a threat in superhero comics so this comic starts there.
The preview is a 12 page print comic. Where the dynamic last panel leads can be read on line–the on line subscription provides 6 pages a week for 99cents or in August in the print first issue that will be 24 pages. These first 12 pages show a quick connection between generations and future team mates.
This is not a dark, gritty, hard edged comic. Flynn said that this comic was a return to an older style of superhero in that it should be appealing to all ages. He hopes it will be friendly to younger readers without losing older readers. Flynn also pointed out that this series was trying to be respectful of the past and build on previous story ideas where possible.
The set up that makes the world building on canon possible is that the former Mighty Crusaders have mostly retired and settled down to family lives in a town together. A threat will arise from the past that will force the old guard to train a new generation. “If a creepy neighbor said to you one day, ‘hey kid, come down to my basement and I’ll do things to you to make you superhero’ most people wouldn’t say, ‘golly sure!’ This series looks at more natural reactions to the possibility of becoming a superhero.” Flynn said at the Heroes Con panel.
The focus of the first issue is to identify a threat and forestall it temporarily. The second issue will start the training of the new team. This 12 page preview shows the old threat drawing the original heroes back into action to protect the younger wards. It isn’t clear in the first 12 pages if the youngsters know their family members secret identities or not, although the mayor is hiding in plain site that he is a hero.
This story is a fun all ages dynamic super story. It reminds me of the quality of writing found in Batman: Brave and Bold and the on-going Young Justice cartoon support book at DC comics. Both of which were fun all ages hero romps reminiscent of the titles I read as a child. Listening to Flynn this Crusaders series will have much more continuity from issue to issue than Batman: Brave and Bold making it closer related to Young Justice. Obligatory comparisons aside this title is forging ahead on its own story with a clear direction and purpose.
Despite utilizing a cast familiar to readers in the 1940s, 1960s, and other yesterdays, this book is aware of modern comic story telling principles. Gone are the text narrations of the action within the panel that discuss what the art shows. Gone are the overly formal speeches. In their place is a set of teenagers playing, talking, and moving like a diverse group of kids.
This issue was intended to be digital first with the later print follow up–in August at a comic shop near you! The page layout works well in the print form. It doesn’t look like the Garfield and Peanuts strip books that I grew up with. I am relieved that this book has a dynamic page layout that looks like any other print book and not rows of iPhone shaped panels. Luddites like me that have purposefully avoided the online version of this book will be relieved that it still looks natural on the page.
The art reminds me of X-Men Evolution with character designs that look cartoon ready. This adds to the all ages appeal as well as creates a bright and colorful super hero comic. The promotional poster image below show cases the character designs in action. This first preview issue doesn’t explore those outfits but the art is building that world.
Panel New Crusaders: Flynn appeared by himself on what was slated to be a day one panel discussion at Heroes Con 2012. He supplied the audience with a ton of information about the on-going project.
- One main point is that they are trying to respect the past and build on the past 60 years of Red Circle and Mighty Crusaders while telling a story in their own direction and style…essentially what DC tried to do twice with the characters. Although they will not directly reference issues or events but rather build on them.
- New Crusaders is a digital first release for Archie comics. Remember that Archie was doing same day digital and print release nearly two years before DC and Marvel.
- Flynn discussed that missing Red Circle characters will be joining the series sooner or later. Hangman and Bob Phantom both made the crowd murmur.
- The monkey started as a joke but now the space monkey is there to stay in the cast.
- Flynn and team have already plotted out season 1 and know what direction will be taken in season 2 of the book. Each season is 24 print issues.
Mighty Crusaders History:
The Mighty Crusaders cast members first appeared in print in adventure and hero comics as early as the 1940s contemporary to when Atlas/Marvel and DC comics were beginning to take root. The characters have been in print on and off since. Archie tends to revive the characters every twenty years although they have recently licensed the property out to DC twice. Archie comics has not put out a Red Circle/Mighty Crusaders title since the mid 80s so it was time for an in-house revival.
Ian Flynn read 40 years of these comics in a month and took ample notes. He is drawing heavily from the history particularly from the Archie publications. One aspect he’d like to play with but won’t be able to is the digital Web Corps presented in the DC comics J. Michael Straczynski stories. Flynn has returned to the original single Web instead of the corps utilized in !mpact comics and the later Straczynski stories. Flynn has added new telepathic powers to the new Web which feel like they would have been included in the older Web stories but weren’t. Being able to add to the mythology and canon seamlessly is a credit to the direction that this series is heading.
Having read the preview issue I am relieved that this is coming to print and am sure it will be heading to my pull-bag at the local comic book shop.