Dynamite Blasts Open STARGATE

Dynamite Blasts Open STARGATE

Stargate Has been one of the staples of sci-fi television for years, and now the Stargate is opening up in comics with Dynamite Entertainment. While this isn’t Stargate’s first outing in the world of comics, this new deal between MGM and Dynamite proved to be one of the first big announcements of Comic-Con International: San Diego back in July.

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Stargate is truly a crown jewel when it comes to episodic science fiction television,” said Dynamite President Nick Barrucci in a press release. “Just in time for the Stargate Universe series debuting in October, Dynamite will create an adventure series that retailers and fans alike will love. We have three separate launches planned, each designed to focus on the characters and attention coming the way of both the new show and Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis!”

Coinciding with the new Stargate Universe television series to launch on October, Dynamite will release Stargate #0 in October as an anthology-style comic containing stories from each of the three ‘brands’ in the Stargate universe: a Stargate Universe story by Chuck Dixon and Nigel Raynor,Stargate SG-1 by Brandon Jerwa and Walter Geovani,  and Stargate Atlantis by Doug Murray and Esteve Polls. These three stories will be wrapped in a cover by famed illustrator Dave Dorman, and feature a special cover price of $1.

“It’s more of a teaser or intro to what we’re all going on our various series,” explained Dixon, who will the writer of the Stargate Universe series. “Readers get to meet the creative teams and get an idea of what to expect in the titles. That said, each is its own story rather than a simple “trailer”.”

“It's like a sampler of appetizers before a big, delicious, multi-course meal,” said Brandon Jerwa, who will be writing the Stargate SG-1 comic.

All three of the comics that spin out of the anthology will be shepherded by Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, executive producers and writers of the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis television series.

The expansive Stargate franchise all came about from the 1994 feature film from MGM starring Kurt Russell and directed by Roland Emmerich. After that, it spun off with two television series – 1997’s Stargate SG-1 and 2004’s Stargate Atlantis. Both currently in heavy syndicated rotation around the world, the Stargate universe’s newest entry is the upcoming Stargate Universe television series.

“The first story I’m doing is a prequel to Stargate Universe,” says Dixon. “We introduce some of the characters and let fans know where they are before the cataclysmic events of the TV series. “

The new Stargate: Universe series is planned to take the 15-year old franchise in a new edgier direction. In it, a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians are forced through a Stargate after their base comes under attack. On the other side, they find themselves the passengers aboard a mysterious and ancient space craft that’s been set on auto pilot to an unknown destination. This unlikely crew is faced with larger questions of getting home while at the same time dealing with basic needs of food, water and basic oxygen for breathing.  

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Writing a comic book based on a television or movie can be challenging, and even more difficult when it’s an ongoing television series – but luckily, Dixon is a deft hand at it.

“I’ve read the scripts for the first five episodes,” says Dixon, "and have some guidelines from the producers. It’ll be interesting working on a comic tied to a new, ongoing television series.”

Going from the new television series to the original television series, writer Brandon Jerwa has been brought in to tell the story of Stargate SG-1.  “[The first SG-1 story]really serves two purposes,” said Jerwa. “My first objective was to offer up something that sets the stage for the SG-1 book and introduces the characters and basic concepts for everyone. And I do mean "everyone" - I feel pretty confident that you can read my #0 chapter and settle in to Stargate even if you've never seen a single episode of any series. I've tried to do that with every licensed book I've worked on, and I think I've found a good balance for new readers without giving the long-time fans a headache of redundancy.”

Jerwa continued, saying “the second objective was to tease the upcoming storyline without giving too much away, so there is a glimpse of the near future in this story. There will definitely be some people saying "what the hell is happening there?" when they see what I'm talking about...but isn't that part of the fun?”

The third series, Stargate: Atlantis is probably the most fresh in the minds of Stargate fans as it only recently concluded it’s run on television. Comic writer Doug Murray was tapped to conceive new stories in this side of the Stargate universe, and he’s writing as if it was the next season of the series.

“I am picking up the story right where the series left off,” said Murray. “I’m showing what happens to the team while they're on Earth--and how they spend their vacation!  Afterwards, I plan another book about the return trip to the Pegasus Galaxy--it won't be uneventful.”

Each of the comic book series follows it’s television counterpart closely, and with Stargate: Atlantis inparticular, some of these new stories are follow-ups to specific fan-favorite episodes.

“In Stargate: Atlantis, I'm dealing with the aftermath of the 'Enemy at the Gates' episode,” explained Murray.” The Wraith hive ship was destroyed--but that doesn't mean all of the Wraith was.  Earth is vulnerable--and the Atlantis team, sitting in San Francisco Bay, are called upon to end that vulnerability.”

The comic medium has proved to be an ideal home for continuations of finite television series such as Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, as well as companion pieces to ongoing television series. “The great opportunity presented by the comics medium is not simply the chance to finding new fans, but the ability to tell original stories that enhance the show experience,” stated Stargate: Universe co-creator Robert Cooper in a July press release.

With the science fiction genre in particular, it’s fans commonly share a build-in appreciation and understanding for the comic book form. This acceptance makes comic books based on television series and movies an ideal fit to tell more stories in these fictional universes. With a build-in fanbase, recognizable characters and cross-medium promotional opportunities it seems like fertile ground for a variety of stories.

For Murray, this familiarity with the universe of stories Stargate has told so far is good for him as a writer and a fan.

“Oddly, I've spent some time MC'ing Stargate Conventions for one of the big Convention companies,” said Murray. “ I know all the actors and am pretty familiar with the series that have already aired.  When Dynamite got the license for the Stargate comics, I really pushed to be a part of it.  It's actually a very liberating thing to do--for the first time in my career (aside from my stint at Disney), I get to write about existing characters who I know inside and out--and don't have to invent them!  It's great--and I'm really enjoying it.”

“Of course, if I get it wrong, I'll catch hell from some of the actors!”

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