Comic book adaptations of TV shows have been a thing for many, many years. Then Joss Whedon declared his Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics counted in the continuity of the show, which was both the best and the worst thing to say to us. Since then, lots of shows have gotten post-cancellation storyline continuance in comics, from Jericho to X-Files. The bar is set high for comic book revivals.
Now Lion Forge Comics is doing 80s and 90s TV shows in comic book form. Here's their official news They're doing Airwolf, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, Saved By The Bell, and Punky Brewster. That sounds totally awesome.
The comics will be online only, downloadable and readable on Kindles and iPads. That's a very 2013 thing to do. If they did that when these shows were out, it would've been on sixteen floppy disks and taken two hours to load.
Airwolf and Knight Rider are out now. Links are in the titles below.
This news was met by me with glee and dancing. Those two shows were favorites, because of David Hasselhoff's unbridled Hasselhoffism and because the other one had a freaking helicopter.
Many amongst my gaggle of nerds thought, nay, hoped, that the comics would continue in show continuity, answering questions we asked since they went off the air, improving on the bad final seasons and generally being a pleasant return of our beloved old shows.
So, naturally, they don't do that.
RevSF Rating: 7 out of 10.
This show had a particularly bad last season, with a new cast and a distinct lack of Ernest Borgnine. The comic is a modern-day reboot, with a modern-day plane that doesn't quite look like Airwolf.
String's sidekick Dominic Santini is in the comic, but instead of what I hoped for, Ernest Borgnine in a comic book, he's a hot young dude with big hair. Youth-ifying hits Ernest Borgnine! What's next? McHale's Navy Babies!
The second issue kills off a character from the 80s show, and replaces him with a sexy lady. But the hero is still Stringfellow Hawke, and the story has shooting and explosions and a helicopter that kind of looks like Airwolf. So that's all you really need. The key to this project is, do you hear the theme music when you read the comic. And yes, yes I did.
RevSF Rating: 7 out of 10.
Knight Rider is also a modern-day reboot, with Michael Knight driving a high-tech car. He works bodyguard duty for a lady scientist, a storyline that could have easily been done on the TV show.
The car does not talk. He doesn't call the car KITT. He calls it "Horse." Because Knights ride horses. He says that in the comic.
What in the holy name of Hasselhoff is going on here?
If it's a TV-rights issue and they got the rights to "Knight Rider," but not "KITT," then somebody dropped the ball. How does that ball get dropped? That's THE ball.
If it's a creative decision that a talking car did not fit a modern-day Knight Rider, then me and Lion Forge Comics ain't partners, we ain't brothers, and we ain't friends.
In issue 2, my rage is relaxed slightly. The story may be building up to KITT's first appearance. That's an odd thing to do a slow-burn on, but OK.
My next concern is that this will happen to Lion Forge's other books. So Miami Vice will not have Tubbs, but instead Crockett's sidekick will be a guy who does not talk and is named Horse.
Saved By The Bell will not have Screech, but a goof who tries to get Lisa Turtle to like him, who does not talk and is named Horse.
The comic is fine. It has gun fights and punching. But until KITT appears, Knight Rider without KITT, as Oran "Juice" Jones said in his 1983 epic "The Rain," is like Corn Flake without the milk.