THE LONG-AWAITED GRAPHIC NOVEL BASED ON THE HIT WEB COMIC
“Dick Giordano was one of the seminal forces in the evolution of American comics for over three decades. Think of COLONY as a last encore from a magician whose wizardry we should never stop applauding.” Paul Levitz, Former President of DC Comics “Dick Giordano... fantastic artist, legendary editor, part of the team that returned Batman to his dark and serious roots, nurturer of top talent, and to this particular fan-boy of the ’60s... a real life ‘action hero’!” Michael Uslan, Executive Producer of the Batman film franchise “He (Dick Giordano) was gracious, humble, and you could see the years of experience written across his brow. I mostly knew Dick from his work. For me, every panel is etched into my subconscious. He’s best known to me from his stellar work (inking) with Neal Adams. They (to me) were kinda like the Lennon and McCartney of comic art. He is missed...” Randy Bowen, Bowen Designs “Bob Layton’s COLONY is an epic masterwork. The world he and his muse/best friend, the late great Dick Giordano, have created is an abundance of riches in character and environment, excitement and suspense. This novelization is the perfect tribute to Bob’s storytelling wizardry, and a wonderful reminder of Dick’s incredible artistry.” John Harrison, Writer/Director of “Dune” and “Children of Dune” SyFy mini-series “I was a Marvel zombie! Growing up in the 1970s I would devour everything Marvel produced, figuratively speaking, and that is how I first became familiar with the work of Bob Layton and his contemporaries. On the rare occasion that I dabbled with the comics from ‘across the street,’ namely DC, every issue I picked up had Dick Giordano’s name on it in some capacity or other, be it penciler, inker, or editor. Even then, Dick Giordano was a legend in the comics industry and instrumental in inspiring countless comic book professionals. The sprawling epic you are about to engross yourself in was the last work to be finished by Dick before his passing, and is being completed by his good friend, the aforementioned Bob Layton. That Bob and his colleagues have diligently worked to bring this story to you, in memory of Dick Giordano, speaks volumes.” Ian Churchill, Renowned comics illustrator
SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS
production in collaboration with DIGITAL
FUTURE COMICS: Skip Farrell, Publisher & President • Bob Layton, Editor-In-Chief • Dick Giordano, Inspiration Emeritus • Scott Friendlander, Production Manager IDW PUBLISHING: Ted Adams, CEO & Publisher • Greg Goldstein, President & COO • Robbie Robbins, EVP/Sr. Graphic Artist • Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Matthew Ruzicka, CPA, Chief Financial Officer • Alan Payne, VP of Sales • Dirk Wood, VP of Marketing • Lorelei Bunjes, VP of Digital Services
SendVTall05401. inquires COLONY. OCTOBER 2012. FIRST PRINTING. COLONY published by Future Comics, Inc., 405 Pine St., Burlington, © 2012to: by Bob@BobLayton.com Robert B. Layton. All Rights Reserved. COLONY &www.idwpublishing.com FUTURE COMICS, all characters, distinct likenesses thereof and all related indicia are trademarks of Future Comics, Inc. The IDW logo is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works, LLC. Editorial offices: 5080 Santa Fe St., San Diego, CA 92109. Any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental. With the exception of artwork used for review purposes, none of the contents of this publication may be reprinted without the permission of Idea and Design Works, LLC. Printed in Korea. IDW Publishing does not read or accept unsolicited submissions of ideas, stories, or artwork.
INTRODUCTION The story concerning the creation of COLONY has a long, checkered history, replete with twists and turns, highs and lows, victories and defeats, with numerous developments being manipulated by the fickle hand of fate itself. Originally, I conceived the saga of COLONY to be an ongoing television series. Shortly after leaving my job as Senior Vice President/Editor-In-Chief of Valiant Comics in 1996, I realized that, as a writer, I became frustrated by the limitations of the monthly comics format. I always yearned to create a “magnum opus” that avoided the limitations of the standard 22-page comic book format. I began searching for a new medium, one where I could create a complex cast of characters with an intricate plot line taking years to unfold. Eventually, I set my sights on television. I began writing a television treatment and timeline that would serve as an analog to the founding of Australia, but set in the far-flung future on a planet I described in the document’s introduction as “the asshole of space.” As I threw myself into the project, the COLONY treatment and character bible began to balloon into a staggering 75-page document, one that detailed the background history of every character in the story, as well as the 200-year timeline of the malevolent Galactic Confederacy‘s rise to power. Realizing that the saga of COLONY became almost too unwieldy for a single story, I took a page from George Lucas’ STAR WARS playbook and focused my attention on the second act of the story, which contained the most action and drama. I decided that COLONY would be broken into three separate tales that interconnected through the main characters. This graphic novel represents Chapter Two. With my massive outline finally complete, I prepared to venture into the jungles of Hollywood to pitch the project to the networks. Of course, before I could do that, fate decided that my career would take an extraordinary turn. Several years earlier, my long-time friend and mentor Dick Giordano left his job as executive editor of DC Comics, after a 15-year tenure, to go back to life as a freelance artist. However, his enthusiasm for that move quickly waned as he realized that the comics industry had sadly devolved into something of a hot mess. He realized that nobody was actively working to usher a new audience into reading comic books. Instead, the industry appeared to take steps toward catering to die-hard fans and not appealing to a general audience. Retailers seemed to be concerned about the lack of fresh, new faces coming into their stores, as well. Dick and I felt that we should try creating comics that were, for lack of a better term, a little more mainstream—that would be enjoyed by anyone. With my writing partner and close friend, David Michelinie, the three of us formed Future Comics, the industry’s first self-distributing comic book company. Later, we were joined by entrepreneur Skip Farrell, who assumed the role of Future’s publisher. It was a noble, sincere venture that attempted to bypass the monopolistic distribution system and sell a more mass market product directly to retailers and fans via the Internet. Unfortunately, in 2002, internet commerce still remained in its infancy, and there were simply not enough retailers online to sustain our effort. But, even in that failure, one needs to recognize the business genius of Dick Giordano, a man who possessed the fortitude to try to revolutionize the business model of an entire industry while in his 70s. In some ways, Dick Giordano was the Preston Tucker of the comics industry. During that time at Future Comics, I aquired representation in Hollywood for the company’s properties. Seizing the opportunity to add COLONY into the mix, my agent began to make the rounds to various production companies with my unwieldy continuity bible.
As fate would have it, the late, great Stan Winston took a keen interest in COLONY. Incidentally, as I was to discover in the years to come, Mr. Winston’s final judgment on the series became the mantra that I heard from almost everyone in Hollywood for the next six years. COLONY was simply too epic a story for television. In the years that followed, COLONY continued to make the rounds to numerous production companies… all ending with that same response… too big. My frustration level had reached the boiling point. I felt that their assessment was a misconception. That’s when I took another page from the playbook of young George Lucas. I recalled that Lucas originally arranged for painter Ralph McQuarrie to illustrate 12 plates of STAR WARS in order to pitch the concept to Hollywood back in the ‘70s. I approached Dickie with the idea of creating a web comic where we could serialize the saga of COLONY on a monthly basis while also using the comic story to help sell the property to Hollywood. Now, I have to confess that what I am about to reveal is contrary to the theme of this book, which is to honor the talent and memory of my dear, departed friend. But… Dickie hated to draw science fiction. He preferred period pieces or characters without super-powers, such as his beloved Batman. So, I struck a deal with him to do all of the design and concept work on the series. All I needed from him was his masterful draftsmanship and storytelling ability. If I knew anything about Dickie, it’s that he loved character development more than anything else, and he swiftly fell in love with the denizens of COLONY. Later, joined by Canadian colorist Ian Sokoliwski, we began producing one of the industry’s very first serialized web comics. COLONY: THE WEB COMIC debuted on my popular personal website (www.boblayton.com) in 2006 and continued for years, being serialized each month in five-page episodes. Then, fate reared its head again. In the fall of 2008, my webmaster came to me with a print-out of the annual web hits on my site, bearing a startled look on her face. When I asked her what the matter was, she just handed me the print-out and told me to look at the numbers. COLONY, in the month of May of 2008, reached a high of 600,000 hits per month globally! Somehow, we generated five times the audience of any Marvel comic! As I said in the opening, fate has an interesting way of tossing you some occasional, unexpected twists. Unfortunately, fate can also be extremely cruel. About that same time, Dickie’s health started to fail, and doctors eventually diagnosed him with chronic leukemia. We reached page 105 in the 150-page web comic saga but Dick needed to take time off. Without hesitation, I suspended the series, in the hope that we could pick up where we left off once Dickie recovered from chemotherapy. Trying to use the hiatus to our advantage, I relocated from Florida to Hollywood in an effort to pitch the project myself. With Dickie’s health wavering, I felt that time was running out, and I wanted to get this property sold while he was well enough to enjoy our artistic victory. At one point, DUNE and CHILDREN OF DUNE writer/director John Harrison took a huge liking to the concept of COLONY and pitched it to both Electric Entertainment (Dean Devlin) and the SyFy Channel, where John had amassed an enormous amount of good will and a track record of success. But he heard the same old refrain… too big.
Then, in 2009, Industry Entertainment optioned COLONY and assigned two of their top writers, Andy Burg and Matthew Carnahan, to develop it into a television series. Unfortunately, their take on COLONY proved disappointing, turning our story about a prison planet in the future into a present-day setting with the COLONY facility located in some sort of parallel dimension. Both men are excellent writers in their own right, but it became obvious to me that they had missed the mark on this project and it fizzled after six months of signing the deal. As fate would have it, Dickie began to feel better and soon got back onto penciling the COLONY series. Within a few months, he was able to complete the main body of the book, producing the last 45 pages. All that was left to do was for me to write the five-page epilogue and get it to Dick to draw. But… that would never happen. God-damned fate reared its ugly, fickle head one last time. Dickie’s business manager and life-long friend Pat Bastienne, called me to say that Dick’s health took a turn for the worse and that I should get my ass back East as soon as possible. Dickie was the closest thing to a father I’ve ever known, and we had been friends since I was a boy of 19 years old. Being an only child, Dick always said I was the little brother he never had. That was the nature of our 40-year-long relationship. Dropping everything, I got on a plane for Florida the next day. I spent the last two weeks of Dick Giordano’s life sitting (and sleeping in gown and mask) in the ICU at his bedside. With his immune system weakened by the chemo, Dickie developed complications due to a simple case of pneumonia. On the fateful day of March 27, 2010, I sent the following press release to the media: Dear Friends & Colleagues, It is my sorrowful duty to announce that legendary artist/editor/entrepreneur Dick Giordano passed away today. Few could ever hope to match what he accomplished in his chosen profession, or to excel while maintaining great humor, compassion for his peers and an unwavering love for the art form. His unique vision changed the comics industry forever and all of those who work in the business continue to share in the benefits of his sizable contributions. I have been honored to call him a business partner, mentor and dear friend throughout the majority of my lifetime. We will not see his like again.
Regretfully, Bob Layton
Needless to say, Dick Giordano continued to be my role model, right up until the end, facing his own demise with gentle humor and unwavering courage. He faced his death the same way he tackled his life... fearlessly. But after returning to Hollywood, I found that I truly lost interest in everything. Dickie’s death struck me harder than anything I have ever experienced in my life. I knew it was normal human behavior to be depressed after a deep personal loss, but I just could not seem to get beyond it. Slowly and agonizingly, weeks just crawled by. After his passing, I received hundreds of emails from well-wishers. However, even with the best of intentions from their authors, the missives produced the opposite effect in me. They just kept that wound open for me.
After a while, my friends began to routinely call and check up on me. During one of those phone calls with a particular close friend, this person asked me an important question: “What the Hell would Dickie say if he could see you right now?” In a moment of clarity, I replied without hesitation, “He’d tell me to get off my ass and get back to work.” So… I did. I decided that everything I achieved from this point forward should serve as a monument to Dick’s years of tireless mentoring and unwavering friendship. All my future successes should be as much a part of Dick Giordano’s legacy as anything he personally accomplished in his long, brilliant career. This graphic novel serves as one of those monuments. But it wasn’t easy to complete this book. It was almost a year before I could face inking the last pages drawn by Dick Giordano. I had several false starts, where I worked up the courage to sit down at my drawing board, only to put the pages away once the profound loss of my friend began to creep back. Eventually, my former Future Comics publishing partner, Skip Farrell, offered to finance the project, suggesting that we publish COLONY as a final tribute to our mutual friend and colleague. With Skip’s help and moral support, I was finally able to complete the tale. It is my profound wish that, as you read COLONY, you keep Dickie’s passion, sacrifice, and commitment to this saga in mind. The future of COLONY, beyond this graphic novel, will be up to the fickle hand of fate once again. This book is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Dick Giordano and the legacy of greatness he left to all of us.
Bob Layton 5/2/12