Tonight, the CBS show Ghost Whisperer is exposing their viewing audience to comic books, showcasing art from several independent comics.
With the help of Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman, the folks who dress the sets on Ghost Whisperer will use artwork from several of the creators' graphic novels thanks to Hardman's experience in Hollywood.
"I've worked primarily as an illustrator/storyboard artist in movies for the last decade before focusing on drawing comics like Agents of Atlas in the last year or so," Hardman told Newsarama. "Now when movie and TV people need comics-related art, they often come to me because they know I understand both worlds."
The show also rented several pages of published work to use as set dressing. Included in the episode's trailer [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-nnz8P32pQ] is artwork from Hardman's Image/Shadowline graphic novel Heathentown, Parker's self-published The Interman, and his Image comic with artist Steve Lieber, Underground, which is being released as a collected trade paperback soon.
Parker got involved because the Ghost Whisperer staff asked Hardman where they could get more comic art that was creator-owned. "It's too hard for them to use pieces by DC or Marvel usually – too many things to clear," Parker explained. "I also gave them some pages from the Wildstorm book Mysterius that I did with Tom Fowler, but I can't tell if they used them."
Hardman also drew several illustrations and comic pages that tied directly into the plot of the episode – something he's done before for TV and movies. "It's always fun to see your artwork on screen," he said. "The first time for me was a drawing of Mike Myers as a playing card in the first Austin Powers movie that was animated to wink at the camera!"
Along with Parker, Hardman also got some help from Steve Bryant, writer/artist of Athena Voltaire, who drew variations on illustrations that were big plot points in the show.
Comic book readers will notice that the folks at Ghost Whisperer didn't exactly portray the process of comics accurately, but Hardman said that's not for lack of his trying.
"I did sit in on the production meeting for this episode, answering questions about the comic-making process, tools required, etc. Most of which...they ignored," he laughed. "But that's their right. They need to make decisions based on what works for the camera and requires the least amount of exposition. It's a TV episode, not a technical manual!"
"I think it makes a fun in-joke for any comics-savvy viewer to see stuff like that," Parker said. "I hope some readers will point out to their friends where those posters are really from. And point out other oddities like that the artist is drawing on a flat desk."
Parker said the episode is good timing, since the Underground trade comes out soon, but he made sure the Ghost Whisperer character didn't actual attribution on his work.
"I didn't allow them to put the character's name as credits on our work. Probably doesn't make much of a difference, but you have to take steps to protect your copyrights," he said. "So if you stay on top of stuff like that, letting a show use your work can be a good bit of publicity."