APOCALYPSE THEN: Classic Galactica Is Not "Lost!"

Wed, January 17th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Andy Khouri, Editor

"Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse" #1 cover by Michael Golden

It's hard to believe that just a few years ago we were still making fun of people who thought "Battlestar Galactica" would ever return. But as we all now know, the cult science fiction franchise proved to be the Little License That Could, with an increasingly popular, "reimagined" series on SciFi finding a home on more and more critics' "best-of" lists and a host of comics series and specials coming out from Dynamite Entertainment. In a rare case of a publisher giving fans what they actually want, Dynamite has been wise to produce not only comics tying-in to the new "Galactica" television series, but also a monthly title set in the original 1970s TV series continuity. The classic franchise is set to expand further with the February release of "Classic Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse," written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, best known for his work on TV's "Medium" and "Lost."  

The mini-series finds the Colonial fleet within reach of a doomsday weapon they can bring to bear against the murderous Cylons; a disease that turns Cylon against Cylon, and could wipe out the mechanical race for good. "But the little picture of it is the more interesting part," Grillo Marxuach told CBR News. "Large portions of the book deal with advancing some of the more personal stories in the series - especially Starbuck's relationship with Cassiopeia, which is the emotional core of the story - and also the story deals with the idea of a renegade faction among the Cylon hierarchy."

"Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse" #1 cover by Pat Lee
"Cylon Apocalypse" is intended to be a continuation of the original "Galactica" TV series, taking place, Grillo-Marxuach indicated, a short time after "The Hand of God" finale episode. As readers would expect, Grillo-Maurxuach's primary challenge was working within the framework of the TV series as it aired. "I didn't want to create new Colonial characters, being as the series already has a vast number of officers and personalities to work with (and also, when you are working on a licensed property you want to do everything you can to avoid any charges of 'Mary Sue-ism') so I kind of took the mantle of archivist and dug up as many series characters and used them to the best effect possible."

Grillo-Marxuach has fond memories of the original "Battlestar Galactica" series, and it was because of this that he jumped at the chance to work on Dynamite's continuation of the classic universe. Interestingly, it was not Grillo-Marxuach's television work that brought the writer to Dynamite's attention, but his Viper Comics series "The Middleman," which he created with artist Les Mcclaine.

"[Dynamite President] Nick Barrucci had read some of the press around 'The Middleman' and felt I'd be a good match for Dynamite - and he was right!"

Grillo-Marxauch has also worked for Marvel Comics, writing "Annhilation: Super Skrull," but before creating comic books or writing on "Lost," he graduated from USC with a Master's degree in screenwriting. Being a big fan of genre fiction, Grillo-Marxauch has contributed to series like "seaQuest," "The Pretender," and "Charmed." But despite seeing his work brought to life by actors and special effects, Grillo-Marxauch finds the comics medium singularly rewarding.

"Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse" #1 cover by Carlos Rafael
"The biggest advantage is the unlimited budget - anything I can dream up, the artist can draw, as opposed to having to compromise around standing sets and such things.   Sometimes, that can be a drawback as well - you can fall for the trap of having spectacle instead of story.   One of the fun things about doing a 'Galactica book' was preserving the rhythm and the settings of the TV series while still presenting events and visuals that could have never been shown on the screen in 1979."

Illustrating those imaginative scenes in "Cylon Apocalypse" will be Carlos Rafael, whose work fans know from Dynamite's ongoing "Classic Battlestar Galactica" series. Obligatory variant covers will be provided by Pat Lee, Michael Golden and Jim Starlin, who is of course no stranger to scenes of stellar skirmishes. But even with the best comics artists, the medium does have its obvious limitations, and a licensed comic would present even more. Or would it?

"I wish I had some great war stories about working inside the corporate behemoth for you," Grillo-Marxauch remarked, "but I have to be honest, Universal and Dynamite were tremendously easy to work for. Also, because I come from television, I completely understand how Universal has a franchise here that they want to protect.   I have dealt with these kinds of things before - especially in the case of 'Lost,' and knew better than to pitch them a story where, say, Adama turns into a werewolf and eats Boxey's spleen.   The mission here was to tell a rip-snortin' 'Galactica' story, and once all the players agreed that that was what we had, it was smooth sailing from there on in."

"Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse" #1 cover by Jm Starlin
2007 looks to be a busy year for the writer. In addition to "Classic Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse," Grillo-Marxauch will be following up his "Annhilation" story with more work for Marvel, continuing to work on the highly successful show "Medium," and return to his creator-owned comic, "The Middleman."  

"'The Middleman' is going to come back this year for a third volume that will hopefully delight new readers and throw our established fans for a spin that they will soon not forget!" promised Grillo-Marxauch.

"Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse" jumps onto shelves this February.

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