In an age when "continuity" has become almost a dirty word to some superhero comic publishers, Archie Comics has decided to embrace the long history of its costumed characters by filling in the "blanks" between its old stories and the new.New Crusaders, the digital-to-print comic written by Ian Flynn, tells the story of a young group of heroes who inherit the mantles of their parents. But Archie is taking the new stories a step further into their past with Lost Crusade, a new series that tells the "untold tales" of the older heroes who preceded the current band.
Based in the world of the once popular "Red Circle" comics, New Crusaders is released digitally each week and tells modern-style stories that build upon the old-school past. The comics are also released in collected print versions each month as New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes.
Fleshing out the continuity that came between the old heroes and the New Crusaders, the Lost Crusade stories will run every time a month has a "fifth week" — released both digitally and in the collected print editions — and will give different writers and artists the chance to work within the Crusaders universe. While this respects all of Archie's continuity with the Red Circle group, DC Comics venture into the characters won't have a part in this; as those stories took place in the DC Universe, they're considered outside of the proper Red Circle world.The "prelude" installment of Lost Crusade will be printed in the pages of New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes #2, on sale in October. Newsarama talked with Flynn to find out more about these "lost" stories and why the decision was made to embrace the history and continuity of the characters.
Newsarama: Ian, what's the idea behind Lost Crusade, and how did the publication of it come about?Ian Flynn: Lost Crusade tells the many, many stories of what happened between the end of the Mighty Crusaders in the early 1980s and where we pick up in New Crusaders today. There was so much story potential for that time period, I pitched a few ideas on how we could tell all that happened. Every so often, a month with a fifth week will pop up, throwing off our four-weekly update schedule on the New Crusaders App, and we can't very well deny fans new content for a week, now can we? So every 5th week on the New Crusaders app, you get a new, self-contained story that helps bridge the gap between the classic Mighty Crusaders series and the new stuff. It’s a sweet deal!
We’re excited to announce that Lost Crusade: Prelude will be included in New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes #2, on sale at a comic shop near you October 10! For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a full 30 pages of story content for $2.99.
Nrama: What does Lost Crusade offer to the regular readers of New Crusaders?
Flynn: For the new fans, it will give them a sense of the legacy the Shield keeps talking about, and what the teens are aspiring toward. For veteran fans, it will be filling in those blanks they've been stranded with for years.Nrama: How are you incorporating the stories of the past, and are you changing them?
Flynn: The old stories are the direct inspiration for Lost Crusade, with many characters and plot points picking up directly from the '80s series. There are plenty of other stories to tell from the earlier eras as well.
Nrama: How does Lost Crusade tie into the New Crusaders story, and the hints about the past that have been already revealed — like how the team broke up and other things from the past?
Flynn: The first installment chronologically takes place after issue #2, as the kids of the original team are first placed into the care of Joe Higgins, [also known as] the Shield. This serves as an introduction to the new series of stories and bridges Lost Crusade with New Crusaders.
From there, readers will get special insight to some characters and subplots that would otherwise go unrevealed for some time in the regular title. The first Lost Crusade installment also ties directly into the aftermath of the climactic New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes #6.
Nrama: Can you name some of the "Red Circle" characters might show up in the Lost Crusade comic that aren't in the New Crusaders stories?Flynn: Anyone who was from the proper "Red Circle" universe is game. That goes all the way back to the 1940s. There are tons of Crusaders and related characters to explore.
Nrama: Obviously you're involved in the stories, but you're getting other people involved. How are you guys making sure all this continuity comes together with different cooks in the kitchen?
Flynn: The Brain Trust — which consists of myself, editor Paul Kaminski and president Mike Pellerito — are overseeing the project while many other writers and artists join in on the fun.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about the Lost Crusade story?
Flynn: I'm incredibly excited for this series. Being able to take the Red Circle properties in a new direction with New Crusaders is awesome, but being able to go back and fill in the continuity is like having my cake and eating it too. The comic nerd in me feels complete.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!