Miami Vice Comics : interview Shannon Denton

Version française  |  English version

After the announcement of the next publication of digital comics based on Miami Vice franchise, and more particularly of the original 80's series, the team wanted to know more about Lion Forge projects for Vice. It is quite naturally that we contacted these american company (of course),  based in Saint Louis, Missouri. And it's quite naturally too, that we received the answers to our questions. It's Shannon Denton, Senior Editor at Lion Forge who did a favour to us answering us. Here is thus, the official answers of Lion Forge to these questions that you probably asked yourself about this project, which instigates the curiosity of every fan of Miami Vice... (DFAM) : This news about the future adaptation of 5 old series as comics is a real surprise. How all this happened? Did NBCUniversal launch this process, or was it a Lion Forge initiative?

Shannon Denton (SD) : The NBCUniversal deal was something we actively sought out. We had been on the hunt for nostalgic properties from our youth to bring back. We’re big fans of NBCUniversal and we love their titles. When we got in contact with them at the Licensing Expo last year, we got to talking and things developed from there.


DFAM : During the 80's a lot of TV series were produced. How did you choose these 5 series?

SD : All five of the properties were ones that our team grew up with and watched as kids and we wanted to see them back for this next generation to discover and enjoy.


DFAM : About Miami Vice, we read that the first "episode" would be released in October. Can you give us an official release date?

SD : No, unfortunately at this time, we don’t have an official release date. Although we are still planning on an October debut.


DFAM : How often will be released the new "episodes"?

SD : Right now the plan is to keep it monthly much the same way traditional comics and magazines are.


DFAM : Will you publish this comics in a "paper edition"?

SD : We hope to publish print editions of the Miami Vice digital comic, but it will be very limited. Really more of a collector’s item.


DFAM : Will you edit these comics in several languages? Can we hope a French version :-)?

SD : We are indeed pursuing all avenues in that regard. We would love for there be to a French edition. Tons of amazing comics and creators come out of France!


DFAM : Jonathan London, the author, is described by the “Miami Herald” as "a walking Miami Vice encyclopedia ". What is his "fan's course"?

SD : Jonathan is an appreciator of cinema. He’s too young to have caught the shows when they originally aired like I did. He came to it hearing that he should check it out and ended up falling in love with it. “Miami Vice” was that bridge between art and entertainment. It is where TV was finally utilized to its potential and the medium hasn’t been the same since.


DFAM : In the same article, we learnt that the stories would be set between the season 1 and the season 2. In the original story, there's only few months between "Lombard" and "The Prodigal Son" episodes. How did these timing elements will be taken into account? Will it influence the number of "episodes"?

SD : I think after shows like “24” we can assume that our heroes pack more in their day than us mere mortals. Comics allow us to stretch or contract time in a way that is difficult to do in TV/film. We are going to use that to our advantage. So you could say we are aware of the short time period but will not be beholden to some imaginary clock.


DFAM : If several "episodes" are planned, what will be your plot strategy? Several investigations (like the original series), or one big investigation in several episodes (like Wiseguy TV series)?

SD : A little of both. We certainly have our overarching story, but each issue will leave the reader feeling like they got their money’s worth in terms of the story.


DFAM : If the number of "episodes" is limited, the end of "Son and lovers" episode, was very frustrating for fans… Will we see, one day, stories between season 2 and 3? Between season 3 and 4? Between season 4 and 5? After season 5?

SD : Right now we’re only comfortable mentioning what has been announced. But as a fan, let’s just say I hope to explore all avenues of “Miami Vice” (and stay tuned for future details!).


DFAM : According to a poll we realized in March, 2012, more than 50% of fans consider the music as the most important component of the original series. Comics are mute creations. How did you take this parameter into account?

SD : I agree! That was a big part of the show. In this age of digital music I’m finding there are “Miami Vice” stations you can listen to while reading the comic. Personal playlists weren’t around then (OK, they were, but we called them a mix tape). So I feel like there are ways to get that feeling you got from the music. But at the end of the day, we are a different medium. While you may not get everything you got out of the show as a viewer, in some instances you’ll be getting more. For example, you can’t hear what a character is thinking on TV. But in a comic, you can. In that regard, I think a comic can be a more interactive fan experience.


DFAM : In the same way, guests stars was one of the specificity of the show. Will you play to make look younger some "today stars"?

SD : That’s not as likely only because it makes sense from a financial point of view to hire people to appear in your TV show. For us we’d have to negotiate using an actor’s likeness to have them “appear” in the book. I’m not saying it’ll never happen, but right now we are really concentrating on making a good comic first.


DFAM : We learnt that some characters, not so much important in the original series, would be more developed. What about minor characters like traffickers, or delinquents? Will you use characters played in the original series by a "today star"?

SD : If they were in the original series, they’ll be explored in the comic. That includes everyone that was a recurring character. We’re really having a blast with this.


DFAM : How did original cast members react when they learnt about your project?

SD : I’d love to say Philip Michael Thomas and I hang out but I really haven’t had any immediate interractions with the original cast. If that changes I’ll let you know. I’m a big Michael Mann fan so if I ever get to meet him EVERYONE will know!


DFAM : For some of the cast members, their character was a part of them. Did you planned to contact actors and actresses for consulting them about their characters?

SD : It’d be fun to chat with them, but so much of the characters were established in the original scripts. We also have their performances to pull from. So there hasn’t been a need yet. But we’d certainly welcome their input!


DFAM : For 3 years, conventions French Twist Reunion are organized in Paris (France). Fans come from all over Europe to meet other fans, and members of the cast. Saundra Santiago, Olivia Brown, Michael Talbott and John Diehl came to meet fans. Did you heard about it? Would you be OK to cross over the Atlantic to meet European fans and presents your work in a future convention?

SD : Personally, I would welcome any opportunity to visit France again. I haven’t been there in years, but it’s an amazing country filled with amazing people. I know our comics are currently only available in English, but we’re working to adapt them into many languages. So who knows! If you can get me invited to France, we can talk about all of this in person!


DFAM : If Miami Vice Comics is a success, will you organize special events like writing stories fan contests, or offer fans to appear in an "episode" as a comics character (for example)?

SD : Like the city of Miami we aim to please. Right now, we are concentrating on just making a great book that is true to the show. As we move along, you’ll be seeing a lot more company/fan interaction. But for now, we just want the fans to love “Miami Vice” as much as we do. Forge On!


The team want to thanks Shannon Denton for accepting to be kind enough to answer our questions (great answers moreover), and Susan Mills from Wonacott Communications for her availability and its kindness.

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