Back in the mid-'80s, ROM writer and Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlo and Micronauts artist Butch Guice blasted into deep space with their rousing space pirates epic, Swords of the Swashbucklers.
It centered around a beautiful band of outer space buccaneers battling the alien antagonists called the Colonizers in an alternate dimension. This crazy creator-owned series was launched under the Marvel imprint Epic and lasted for a total of 12 issues following a triumphant debut as a graphic novel in October 1984. And last year, a successful Kickstarter campaign in collaboration with Dynamite Entertainment produced a beautiful new 400-page remastered collection of the entire Swords of the Swashbucklers run, which was just released on March 20.
Riding the revival wave of popularity for the "swords in space" genre, a new ongoing comic series from Dynamite will carry on the legacy of Mantlo and Guice. Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues picks up the story from its cliffhanger ending three decades ago by rejoining the fetching Pirate Queen Captain Raader and her dangerous exploits plundering and pillaging across the galaxy.
Sharply written by Marc Guggenheim and paired with some fantastically energizing art from Andrea Mutti, Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues is a refreshing rewind back to the simple pleasures of space opera fantasy and heroic heroines wielding gleaming blades aboard intergalactic galleons.
Here's the official solicitation synopsis:
The last we saw of the crew of the Starshadow in the pages of Bill Mantlo and Butch Guice's Swords of the Swashbucklers, it seemed that all was lost. Decades later, Raader and her crew return to bring their adventuring to the cosmos once again! Marc Guggenheim (X-Men Gold, Spider-Man) and Andrea Mutti (Rebels, Port of Earth) team up to continue the epic space adventure. Learn of the return of the legendary space pirates as The Saga Continues!
SYFY WIRE spoke with Guggenheim about how this nostalgic project came about, what readers can expect as the bold story unfolds into 2018, and how he attempted to capture the spirit and style of the original Swashbucklers material.
After the chat, check out our exclusive peek at the first issue in the gallery below!
How did you get involved with this new Swashbucklers reboot for Dynamite?
Marc Guggenheim: It started with Dynamite's Kickstarter campaign to republish the original Swords of the Swashbucklers series. I was an early backer and strong proponent of the project. I was emailing about it with Nick Barrucci, and he mentioned that Dynamite planned on publishing a new set of stories featuring Raader and her crew and asked if I would be interested. "Hell yeah, I would," I responded.
What sort of space piracy saga can readers expect as the story unfolds?
There's a lot of world-building and resetting to be done, so there's quite a bit of scope. In addition to re-establishing the wonderful universe that Bill and Butch created, I'm expanding things further by adding an alien race. I say "adding" but it's really making use of a thread that Bill had laid in the final issues of the original series. The end product is, I hope, a lot of widescreen sci-fi action with cool pirate ships in space.
You can't get much better than pirate ships in space.
Were you originally familiar with Mantlo and Guice's Swords of the Swashbucklers series and how did you go about modernizing the story for the 21st century?
I was extremely familiar with the original series. I was a huge fan of Bill and Butch's work on Micronauts and when they left that book to launch Swashbucklers, I followed them. Now, I'm following them not as a reader, but as a writer. However, I'm working very hard to hew as close to the tone and feel of the original series as possible. To that end, I'm even making use of the omniscient third-person narration that Bill established. That convention is no longer particularly modern, but it's an integral part of the voice of the book, in my estimation.
Why is this such a fun universe to explore as a writer?
It's just such a wonderful mash-up of two very fun, very colorful genres. Like I said, you can't really get much better than pirate ships in outer space. That's the brilliance of Bill and Butch's original concept.
Can you name some of your favorite space pirate movies, comics, books, or games you used for inspiration?
For inspiration, I really went back to the original Swashbucklers series. I've done my best to capture the original voice and tone of the comic. For me, the original graphic novel and the first four issues were my compasses, though I drew upon the entire series. Beyond that, Star Wars remains an important touchstone for this kind of project, although I also found myself drawing on Star Trek as well.
What was it like working with artist Andrea Mutti and how does his style and tone match this adventurous intergalactic tale?
Like I said, I wanted to recreate the feel of the original series, which had very clean visuals with a nice, clear artistic style. I'd worked with Andrea in the past and we'd been talking about collaborating again and this seemed like the perfect project because it really suits his voice as an artist. Andrea is inking his own pencils and every page has wonderful life to it. While Andrea draws with a modern sensibility, his pages could stand side-by-side with those of the original series.
Dynamite's Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #1 strikes on April 4.