Since its untimely cancellation after a single, 15-episode season in 2002 and the release of the 2005 big screen follow-up, fans of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" have been left wanting. Despite early rumors of a sequel to the film, "Serenity," nothing ever materialized. Dark Horse Comics has provided some sustenance to the space-western-starved fans with several short stories exploring the characters', but when it came to the further adventures of the crew of Serenity, Browncoats have been forced to rely on their own imaginations.
This will all soon change, however, once Dark Horse sets out on a new adventure with Mal, River, Wash, Zoë and the rest. Following the model established with its "Buffy" line of books, the "Serenity" series will pick up where the 2005 film ended, and, as revealed exclusively to CBR News, will feature "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" artist Georges Jeanty.
As the series begins, Mal and the crew are recouping from their recent strike against the sinister interplanetary government, The Alliance, in which they exposed government agencies as those responsible for the creation of the Reavers -- the scourge of the universe. With River Tam in the co-pilot chair and a very pregnant Zoe reeling from the death of her husband, Wash, Mal is finding himself and his ship in greater danger than ever.
While the identity of the writer remains a secret for now, Comic Book Resources spoke with newly announced series artist Georges Jeanty about stepping over from one corner of the Whedon-verse to another as he takes the helm of "Serenity," and Jeanty was quick to assert that he identifies with the fans of the series who rallied against its swift demise. He himself was an avid fan from the outset and was among the millions who lamented the cancellation of the show.
"['Firefly'] was a series I started watching when it began on Fox," Jeanty told CBR. "I really looked forward to it. Fox was doing sci-fi very well; they just never gave their sci-fi shows a chance. I remember very clearly how they started shuffling around the airdate from week to week. The ultimate offense was putting it on Friday nights!"
In transitioning from "Buffy" to "Serenity," Jeanty is seeing a shift in the tone of his artwork as well. The greatest challenge lies in the ship itself -- and the legion of fans who know Serenity nearly as well as Kaylee Frye does.
"'Firefly' is a lot darker than 'Buffy,'" Jeanty said. "There are way more shadows and shading than with 'Buffy.' Also, when I was drawing 'Buffy,' I could start from scratch. Sure, I had to keep in line with how the characters looked, but everything [else] was up for grabs. Sunnydale was destroyed, so I didn't have to keep in line with the architecture. With 'Firefly' there are seven characters and a ship to consider. When they're on Serenity -- fans know what every inch of that ship looks like, so I have to be very meticulous with my depiction. Not to mention there are a few very subtle differences in the ship from TV to the movie. This is definitely a learning experience, one I don't think I'll fully master until the series is over!"
When presented with a choice of facing down a nest of vampires or a frigate of marauding Reavers, Jeanty said he'd avoid the Reavers at all cost.
"Why?" asked Jeanty. "Because they'll rape you to death, eat your flesh and sew your skin into their clothing -- and if you're very lucky, they'll do it in that order."
Both "Firefly" and "Serenity" featured a range of settings, including alien-planet frontier towns and interstellar space stations with picture-window views of the expanding universe. In finding inspiration for these environments, Jeanty cites several classic retro-future sources aside from the series itself.
"I'm looking at a lot of other sci-fi stuff," Jeanty said. "Artist Mobius is a big inspiration, along with Geof Darrow. Walt Simonson on 'Alien' is a good thing to keep handy. Also, movies like 'Blade Runner,' 'Outland,' 'Alien' -- anything with a rustic futuristic feel. I have a very small window to master these characters, and I'll probably be finished with the series before I get there!"