- Posted by Johanna on October 5, 2008 at 7:27 pm
- Category: Comic News
Fringe, the sci-fi drama from J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), debuted on Fox on September 9. It’s about FBI agents investigating unexplained phenomena, kind of an updated X-Files. I don’t watch it. Hubby KC tried it out, and I trust his recommendation that I wouldn’t be interested.
DC Comics released issue #1 of their planned six-issue miniseries on September 3, a week later than originally planned. (Read the whole issue online at fan site Fringepedia.)
It’s “presented by” (which also seems to mean approved by) Abrams and show writer/producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Alias, Star Trek) with two additional editorial consultants, Athena Wickham and Dave Baronoff. Each issue will have two stories. Here, the first is written by Zack Whedon and Julia Cho with art by Tom Mandrake. The second is by show writers Alex Katsnelson and Danielle Dispaltro with art by Simon Coleby and Cliff Rathburn.
The lead tells backstory relating to TV characters Walter Bishop and William Bell, while the backup is just an example of weirdness similar to what appears on the show. They say it’s stand-alone, which is true, but it doesn’t resolve, either. I was sent a review copy, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Apparently, it hints at the history of Dr. Walter Bishop before he was institutionalized, how his scientific career began, and how he got involved in the “fringe sciences”. That description comes from reading those familiar with the show talking about it.
I’m only covering it here because DC recently announced that all orders for issues #2-4 have been cancelled. Per their retailer newsletter, “These issues will be resolicited at a later date, beginning with issue #2, which is scheduled to arrive in stores in January.” Normally, I’d jump to the conclusion that there was a problem with low sales (although estimated figures are not yet available), but in this case, I think the answer comes from my third paragraph — look at all those names. Approvals have got to be a bear to get through all those levels.
My guess is that the production company got busy with the TV show and the upcoming Star Trek movie revamp, so they don’t have time for the comic. And now that the show’s out, there’s really no need for a comic to get buzz going. It wouldn’t be the first time Hollywood has used comics for PR and then dropped them as soon as no longer needed. Plus, Abrams has a history of trying to build interest based on mystery and lack of revelation — think of his movie Cloverfield.
According to this Newsarama article excerpt, when it comes to the question of whether the comic is necessary to the show, the creators are trying to have it both ways.
“There are definitely hidden (and not-so-hidden) elements that will feed into the Fringe [tv] series that you can only find in the comic,” said Athena Wickham, co-story consultant for the Fringe comic and TV executive for Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot. While Wickham said reading the comic isn’t necessary for viewers to understand what’s happening in the show, “it will give them a greater appreciation of what’s to come and help them uncover some of the integrated plot points.”
For pure comic readers, Fringe #1 is not recommended. It’s not interesting to those who don’t watch the TV show, and not enough is explained.