The hero whose cyber-punches have the power of kicks is about to save the world from boring DVD sets.
EW.com has your first look at the 12-page collectible, which will accompany copies of Community: The Complete First Season, on sale Sept. 21. And before the gang from Greendale hits Comic-Con this weekend (details on their panel below), executive producer Dan Harmon gave us the scoop on the comic. Prepare to drown in a sea of awesome.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about this comic book adventure.
DAN HARMON: The comic book is written by Troy Barnes, Donald Glover’s character, within the Greendale universe. The idea is that he was in an art class with Jim Mahfood – who I’ve known for a long time – who’s a really cool underground, yet successful, comic book artist and muralist. The idea is that he’s an art student at Greendale and had an art class with Troy, who took a shine to his talents and decided to take him under his wing as a protégé and do this comic book. So it’s from the mind of Troy Barnes, which can be a little scattered. At times he’s not a master storyteller, but he is an entertainer. [Laughs] So it’s six pages of satisfying content, which does feature Annie and Britta in a typical comic book situation, which is scantily clad and in jeopardy. And it, of course, features Kickpuncher, who is at the whim of Troy and Abed because they’re so cool.
How’d it come about?
It was an idea that I wanted to do. It came to me late in the game, and it’s so cool that Sony was able to just take the ball and run with it immediately. Relative to how early you should come up with an idea like this, it was really late in the game. The way I came up with it was people do fan art on Twitter, and somebody Tweeted an image from the paintball game that was a very heroic and airbrushed and a comic book-y tableau of the ensemble holding their paint guns and looking cool. When I looked at it, I suddenly – embarrassingly – remembered that I worked in comic books in the ’90s and have connections and have access to huge teams of people who can get stuff done and that I had a DVD hitting shelves. It sort of hit me in one afternoon that we had to put a comic book in the DVD because that’s really cool, and we have to go to Comic-Con and work these people into a lather. My hope is that this will whet the appetite and prove to be a successful thing so we can – not unlike The Simpsons – eventually have multiple Community outlets for expression. In other words, it would be really cool to do a 25-20 page Kickpuncher comic book written by Troy and/or Abed. Or maybe other characters taking turns at writing storylines to get revenge on Troy’s storyline. But, at any rate, having an actual product. One of the cool things about Community is that as crazy as it is, the world invites you to believe it’s real and that the characters are real.
So what can you tell me about the actual comic plot?
It’s only a six-page story so it’s hard, especially with comics, because it’s a very visual medium. And given my long-winded answers, in one breath I could sort of spoil the whole thing. So I’ll just say that the study group falls into peril and Troy and Abed are their only hope and they use Kickpuncher to get the job done and form a new relationship with each other that promises for great things down the road. [Laughs]
Are we going to see the comic worked into season 2?
I think that would be cool. I’d like to validate the thing. I think I’m going to wait and see fan response. If everyone thinks it’s a totally stupid thing, I won’t waste the TV show’s energy on acknowledging the existence of this thing, but if it’s really cool, then it might make an interesting story tool within the show itself. For example, much like Abed’s short films, the characters’ reacting to their portrayal in Troy’s comic book. I like to have a healthy amount of interaction with the fans because you only have 20 minutes a week to communicate with these people. One minute of that time is relatively valuable. I’ll wait the two days to see how valuable they think this topic is.
Are you nervous presenting the idea to fans at Comic-Con?
I think if people hate it – which that would be a weird thing to hate, that’s a weird management of your energy [laughs] – I think you’re either going to be into it or not care about it. If people don’t care about it, that’s always an option. But I’m not worried about that.
Finally, I have to ask, did you really do commentary on every episode for the DVD set?
Yea. As you can tell, I can say a lot without getting anything done. So if I did commentary on only four episodes, the only thing I would establish is that I like pretzels and that the show was fun to do. So I have to cast a wide net to get any communication done. But I also put myself in the shoes of the consumer. As much as we could, we try to give people on the DVD that we thought we would want. The thing about commentary is that it should be this thing that we provide that is ubiquitous, and if you want to hear it you can hit that button. You should be able to do that on every episode. But half the time all we’re going to be doing is being drunk and farting around. So if we’re doing that, we felt we had to do that for 25 episodes, because it would be weird to do that for select episodes. My memory of it is that you’re not going to come out of our commentary with a film school education, but with more insights into personality conflicts within different combinations of actors and myself and directors [laughs] and a lot of ridiculous joking around. But having it on all the episodes makes it a big blanket of absurdity.
So what do you think, PopWatchers? Is this news streets ahead? Shall we celebrate with a song from a well-dressed amphibious mariachi band?
COMMUNITY AT COMIC CON
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Booth Signing: Noon-1 p.m. (Sony Booth #4319)
Panel: 3-4PM (Hilton Bayfront, Indigo Ballroom)
Who: Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, and executive producers Dan Harmon, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, and Russ Krasnoff
MORE DVD FEATURE DEETS
+ Extended cuts of Pilot and Communication Studies episodes
+ Outtakes on every disc
+ Season one cast evaluations
+ Season one highlight reel
+ “Creative Compromises” featurette
+ “Advanced Criminal Law” alternative scenes
+ 3 mini episodes