John Byrne has a new book for IDW out in January called High Ways. He talks about it (with pictures) below. But it’s not the only book he’s working on.
With the odd alternating-books approach I have been playing with lately, this morning I actually finished the first issue of NEXT MEN: FINDERS OF LOST CHILDREN. For the attention of some current artists, this is a book that will be on sale next July, at the earliest!
This is his current art stack for all three books he’s working on concurrently, including one as-yet-unnamed comic.
A quick zoom in courtesy of Byrne Board member Phillippe Negrin;
This is Mystery Project No. 1, and it has been officially announced so I can talk about it a bit.
This one has been percolating for a while, and has gone thru a number of transformations as a result. It’s genesis could be said to have sprung from my re-reading some of the collected SKY MASTERS strips by Kirby and Wood, and getting it into my head that I’d like to do my own sort of roman a clef about the early days of the space program. I’d even gone so far as to talk it over with Chris Ryall, at IDW, who was immediately behind the idea. For a while it was called SPACE RACE. It would have been set in a kind of “retrofuture”, sort of a version of the early Sixties that didn’t really happen.
This evolved into something a bit more like DAN DARE, the British sci-fi strip so beloved from my childhood and early teens. I liked the idea of playing in that “old time sci-fi” kind of milieu, where all the adventures took place within the Solar System, and where life — even intelligent, humanoid life — was to be found everywhere. But thinking about that a bit more I began to realize a modern audience might not really be open to the idea of Venusians and Martians. Those concepts would not be hip enough for the room, any more.
So the idea floated without form, for a while, until I found myself thinking about how space flight is usually portrayed as bright and clean and glamorous (SPACE ODYSSEY, STAR TREK, etc) but the “support structure” is hardly ever touched upon. The people who would be out there doing the grunt work. In other words, space truckers!
I played with that for a while, in my head, and realized I finally had the shape of the thing I was looking for. I could play with traditional sci-fi forms, I could keep the adventures entirely with the Solar System, and I could draw some cool (for me anyway) ships.
So there it is. I looked for something for a title that would suggest “highways” and literally HIGH WAYS seemed immediately obvious. The book, should it prove successful, will be the “series of miniseries” format I’ve mostly been working in lately, and will also borrow from an idea I had decades back about how I would like to see a STAR TREK style show handled. That you’ll find out more about later.
Oh, and as an extra tidbit, I decided this takes place in the NEXT MEN “universe” — tho in the altered timeline our heroes created when they wiped out Project Next Men. The time is eighty or ninety years in the Future, roughly, and a central character of the first arc is Eddie Wallace, who appeared briefly in the previous series.