One of the shiniest new comics dropping this autumn is the long-awaited Firefly series uniting the solid writing talents of New York Times bestselling author Greg Pak (World War Hulk, Mech Cadet Yu) and the dynamic realism of Dan McDaid's (Judge Dredd) intense artwork.
On Nov. 14, Boom! Studios’ Firefly #1 marks the triumphant return of Serenity's valiant crew, originally introduced in Joss Whedon's short-lived Fox TV series that sadly ran for just a single season in 2002-03.
In the intervening years, the cult sci-fi western has developed a devoted fanbase of loyal Browncoats, even prompting a 2005 sequel feature film, Serenity. SYFY WIRE has scored a look at 10 electrifying pages from today's premiere issue, plus a special exclusive peek at covers for Issue #4.
This new comic series from Boom! focuses on Mal Reynolds, charismatic captain of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity. When a routine mission goes terribly wrong, Mal finds that his troubled past has finally caught up with him since the Unification Wars as Alliance mercenaries called the Unificators are hot on Mal and Zoe's trail. Series creator Whedon serves as story consultant on the nostalgic run.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Pak, McDaid, and series editor Jeanine Schaefer on this sensational new Firefly project and learned what their memories were with the original TV series, where the quirky crew is headed as the plotline unfolds, and why Firefly endures as a pop culture sensation.
After the informative chat, enjoy our exclusive preview in the full gallery below.
Firefly #1 arrives on Nov. 14, with a main cover by Lee Garbett (Skyward), alongside variants by Jock (Batman), Bill Sienkiewicz (Daredevil), and Joe Quinones (America).
What were your associations with Firefly when it was on TV?
Greg Pak: I actually didn't watch the show when it first aired. I saw the movie when it came out and really dug it. Before working on the book I watched the pilot, then watched all the episodes in about eight hours and I was hooked. That whole combination of westerns with sci-fi with this incredible cast and a great mix of humor and drama. It's all just right up my alley.
Dan McDaid: I saw five minutes of Firefly on a cable channel back in 2004 and thought it looked great. But then real life got in the way and it was gone. Then I saw the film in 2005 and that was a date-night movie and I loved the film. The next time I thought about it was when Boom! asked me to work on the comic book. As soon as they approached me I had this feeling of destiny. (laughs)
Jeanine Schaefer: I'm a huge Firefly fan. I watched it as it was coming out and had watch parties at a friend's apartment. I was devastated when it went off the air. I'm so excited to get the opportunity to work on this and add to this world that meant so much to me. The characters and the story remain relevant. It's an evergreen story that's really important for us to read about and talk about right now.
What can readers expect as the storyline blossoms?
GP: It takes place shortly after the Firefly television series, so you've got all the principal cast together, with all their friendships and conflicts intact. Now there's a new challenge, they've got engine failure, the ship's in crisis, and they land on a moon. They end up becoming the escorts for pilgrims to a holy site. Meanwhile they're being pursued by the Unificators, a group of lawmen and lawwomen hunting down Mal and Zoe as war criminals. So there's a classic western wagon trail real-time story setup, and then we get flashback glimpses of the past during the Unification War, and as the story goes on we'll get more detail about what happened, and it will affect everybody.
What were some of the more surprising or interesting elements of the Firefly saga you discovered in the research process?
DM: My main surprise was how well it held up and held together and how vividly the characters were established and drawn. That made my job as an artist, capturing these characters and conveying them to the reader, a lot easier. I've become a fan as I've worked on the series to the extent that I've now got a little Serenity keyring!
How was Joss Whedon involved, and what were his contributions?
JS: Joss was involved early on, and he gave us his blessing with the Unification War and in terms of bending the characters as far as they can go without breaking them. And that's what's really exciting about these characters, I think you can bend them pretty far. He also reads all the outlines and gives his thoughts on the scripts. He's keeping us on track but also understanding that in order to expand the world and be able to dig in, to give us the leeway to explore it.
Why does Firefly endure, and what do you hope to add to its legacy?
GP: It's great characters and a great story. It also endures because it speaks to the American experience, just like all the westerns. These kinds of stories can always feel relevant. And that combo of sci-fi and 19th-century frontier is internally compelling.
The comic really doesn't have to compete with anything else for character moments and story beats, since there's not an ongoing show. All the really cool stuff we've ever wanted to do, we're getting the green light to do. We're able to tell a story that genuinely matters in the Firefly universe. That's a huge gift and has made working on this book so much fun.
Check out the expanded preview below: