Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster. – Opening narration by Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson)
Today those same words may be being said by Dynamite Entertainment’s Nick Barrucci as they announce a new comic series based on the television classic just in time for the shows 40th anniversary. The series will be a sixth season, picking up immediately after the end of the television series. The book will launch with an Alex Ross cover and interior art by Juan Antonio Ramirez… but the best part? This is based on a concept and scripts by Bleeding Cool’s own James Kuhoric.
A direct follow-up to the classic television series, the Season 6 series pits Steve Austin and his trusted handler Oscar Goldman against a rogue faction of the OSI. A new type of infiltration agent is the key to the treacherous power play – one that is robotic and completely obedient to the traitors. Can a soulless machine make the world’s first Bionic Man obsolete? Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6 will hold special appeal for longtime fans, as the infamous villain Maskatron debuts for the first time within story continuity with a violent and terrifying purpose. Furthermore, Austin’s role as a NASA pilot will return to prominence, as conspiracies involving extraterrestrial technology and close encounters take root at the OSI.
“Being able to tell a story about Steve Austin is a lifetime ambition,” says Kuhoric. “The Six Million Dollar Man was a cornerstone of positive childhood memories, and stuck with me over three decades. The idea of a man who could do anything he wanted, but always chose to do the ‘right thing,’ captivated me. Time and time again, Steve would show us that it really wasn’t the machine that made the man special, it was the man that made the machines special. That little spark of childhood, that hidden gem that told me to do the right thing, stuck with me all this time. Every time since that I would hear the distinctive opening credits sequence, I would be brought back to a purer frame of mind — one where you could solve any problem with bionic limbs, a wry smile, and a raised eyebrow.”
James Kuhoric has written many original creator-driven and licensed comic books. His list of writing contributions includes Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, and his Spike TV Scream Award-winning run on Army of Darkness. Collaborating with Jeff Katz, he brought three of the biggest horror franchises together with Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash and its sequel Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors. His original creations Dead Irons and Legendary Talespinners were featured as key releases by Wizard Magazine and Comic Shop News. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Bleeding Cool Magazine, as well as the Vice President of Publishing for Avatar Press.
“When the guys at Dynamite launched Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man (a modern reimagination of the character), I read it loyally every month, but I still missed the original,” says Kuhoric. “When Dynamite approved my pitch for the continuation of the original series picking up after the final fifth television season, I knew I had to bring back all the things that made it special to me back in the day. The book has a specific look to it, and will feature many of the main characters from the series. We went out of our way to use the ‘Kung Fu Slow Motion’, the sound effects, and all the oddities of that era so the comic book would feel like the original TV series.”
Kuhoric comments on the art chores, “When I saw the first turnarounds from artist Juanan Ramierez, I was amazed. His images evoked everything special I had always seen in the show, and he brought a fresh more modern look to the pages overall. Dynamite would take it a step further by getting Alex Ross to paint the main covers for the new series. As a lifetime comic book fan, it is a true honor to have the industry’s most prolific painter contribute his incredible work on one of my stories. Everything about this new series is going to be done with the care of lifetime fans behind it.”
Alex Ross not only provides the covers for Season 6, he also made the suggestion to develop a piece of SMDM action figure history into one of the franchise’s most fearsome villains. “The Maskatron toy was my favorite toy growing up,” says Ross. “I played with it to death, turning it into different characters from The Six Million Dollar Man, as well as other comic book characters that I could turn it into. I’m thrilled to help bring it to life in a full storyline.”
“When deciding what event would be compelling to fans of the show, it seemed that delivering the sixth season was ideal,” says Barrucci. “We wanted to build on the mythos, and to do that, we felt that there had to be new villains. In discussions, we contemplated: why not bring into the series a villain whom fans would know from the toys, even though he wasn’t in the TV series? Why not have a villain who could be The Joker to Steve Austin’s Batman, or Doctor Octopus to his Spider-Man? How to push the envelope? And I have to say, Jim took Alex’s idea and ran with it. New and existing fans are going to be surprised at the time and care that went in to putting together the series that will help celebrate Steve Austin’s 40th Anniversary, and beyond.”