In 2006, writer Matt Fraction introduced the world to "Casanova," his creator-owned sci fi/espionage series from Image Comics, which featured work by celebrated artists Gabriel Bá and his twin brother Fábio Moon, who would rotate on the book on an arc by arc basis. The title was published as part of Image's slim line format, designed to feature 16 pages of black and white story at a reduced price. Two highly acclaimed volumes were published, and then the book seemed to vanish. It wasn't because the creators had given up on it, however - it was because they were searching for a new place to publish the series, and they recently found it. Announced today at theChicago Comics & Entertainment Expo, "Casanova" will return this July as part of Marvel Comics' Icon imprint. CBR News spoke with Fraction about his plans for the book, which include full color re-releases of past issues and the eagerly anticipated third volume of the series.
The main reason Fraction, Bá and Moon chose to move "Casanova" to Icon was because they felt the creator owned imprint was simply a better fit for the series. "It allows us to actually produce the book, first and foremost. Plus, the prestige and the production and promotional backbone [Marvel has] got as well, which will help us in every way imaginable," Fraction told CBR News. "We're relaunching from the very beginning, and I couldn't be more thrilled to be there. It will allow us to do the book and to do it as we intended to do it."
Readers who may have missed the Image issues of "Casanova," or those who just want to experience the issues again in a different way, will be able to start from the beginning in July with the re-release of "Casanova" #1. "We're recoloring and relettering everything. It's going to be in full color. It's hand-lettered by Dustin Harbin, who's an amazing cartoonist and a very old friend of mine. So it's really an entirely new presentation of the material," Fraction explained. "The color is absolutely gorgeous, and it's going to be produced at full size. So what was once 'Casanova' #2-3 will now be issue #2 of the Icon 'Casanova,' and so on. You'll be getting 32 full color pages for full price."
Readers who will be picking up "Casanova" for the first time should prepare themselves for a fast paced, fun and mind-bending ride. "It's a science fiction super spy comic about, Casanova Quinn, the greatest thief and layabout man of leisure in the world being kidnapped across time and space to basically serve as his own evil twin in another reality," Fraction remarked. "He's taken to a timeline where, rather than being a criminal, he is in fact an upstanding officer of law and order, under the direction of his own father. So he's forced to infiltrate his father's law and order empire and bring it down from within, all the while being as decadent and debased as humanly possible. It is a brain warping, crazy-ass science fiction and espionage story."
Thematically, Fraction's trippy, sci fi, spy saga is about perception of such things as time and space and good and evil. "Identity is kind of the big question mark of all of our storylines," the writer stated. "It's very much a story about who you are and how you choose to define yourself, especially when we live in a world so bent on doing that for you."
The Icon "remixes" of the first original "Casanova" issue will feature an all-new story by Fraction and his collaborator Fábio Moon. "There's a brand-new eight page bonus story in the first issue, where Fábio draws a tale about one of the minor characters from that issue. We get to see Fábio drawing Gabriel's world," Fraction revealed. "In the last issue of volume #2, which is also oversized, we'll have an eight page story by Gabriel where he draws characters from that second arc that Fábio did, and that will then lead us into volume three."
Each volume of "Casanova" is designed to be different from the previous one and the long awaited third volume of the series will find its title character at his absolute lowest. "It picks up a little bit after volume two and, without spoiling too much, everything is sort of out in the open by the end of volume two. Casanova's father, Cornelius, who's sort of a global super cop in charge of law and order across time and space, is making the imposter Casanova pay for what he's done," Fraction hinted. "He is completely and totally miserable. So we go from free-wheeling party boy Cass in the opening of volume one to a very down and out, beaten up by life Cass who hates everything and everyone."
Fábio Moon provided the art for the second volume of "Casanova," so Bá is set to return to bring to life volume three. "He drew 'BPRD' and 'Umbrella Academy' - he's absolutely at the top of his game and I'm writing this story for him," Fraction remarked. "We've been working together an awful long time now, and I feel like me, Gabriel and Fábio share a kind of brain [Laughs]. And Gabriel's art for this story is going to completely melt your face off. I think it's the best stuff he's ever done."
Since Fraction began working on "Casanova," he's seen his fan-base grow considerably thanks to his work on Marvel titles like "Uncanny X-Men" and "Invincible Iron Man." The writer urges any of his fans who missed "Casanova" the first time around to give the book a try when it's new life at Icon begins in July. "This is a book that I was born to do," Fraction said. "And a big part of being at Icon means that, hopefully, people who may have ignored or missed it before, both retailers and readers, will give it a second chance and take a look at it."