Friday, August 17, 2012
I have a special treat for readers of this week's feature. Are you ready to ride the Freakwave? Go ahead and put your Fog-Mask on, and I'll fill you in on the background of this insanely awesome series while we wait. It all began at the San Diego Pacific Comics' office in 1983. Brendan McCarthy, a talented British artist trying to find work in American comics, made the trip to San Diego and showed Pacific's editors his portfolio of work, including some of the work he had done for 2000 A.D. No doubt they were blown away, and recruited McCarthy's talents for their upcoming sci-fi anthology series titled Vanguard Illustrated.
McCarthy collaborated with fellow British writer Peter Milligan, and the two produced what would become Freakwave, a story set inside an apocalyptic future where the world is entirely submerged in water, and a man called The Drifter must survive by sailing the seas scavenging for trash while avoiding the disease-ridden Water-Rats, a race of undead monsters that were once almost human.
Not only that, but he must also wear a "Fog-Mask" to protect himself from the psychedelic-poisons of the Electric Fog that now swirls within the atmosphere. If that's not bad enough, he must also deal with the Spoilers, a gang of psycho-scavengers led by the insane Captain Roaring, who wrecks havoc in the waters within his giant ship, The Red Herring.
Now if any of this story might sound familiar, that's because it should. Freakwave was originally intended by Milligan and McCarthy to be a screenplay for a movie, which they shopped around to the likes of Ridley Scott. Although there was interest, it never got the green light. But years later, a familiar setting appeared - Kevin Costner's Waterworld.
Although that movie had it's differences, there were still enough similarities in the screenplay for Milligan and McCarthy to lawyer-up with, but in the end they just let it go. The good news is that McCarthy has now written the script for Fury Road, a fourth Mad Max movie that will hit theaters in 2013.
Got your Fog-Mask on yet? Now would be a good time to show you the first full story of Freakwave, which originally appeared in the first three issues of Vanguard Illustrated. Right-click and enlarge the images in a new window to see the pages enlarged. Enjoy!
The third and final part of the first Freakwave story ends with this cliffhanger...where poor Tia awaits her impending doom by the giant axe of Mickey Death. I hope you enjoyed the first arc of Freakwave as much as I have. The next story would go on to appear in Eclipse Comics' Strange Days series in 1984, but not before Milligan and McCarthy said goodbye in this outro page for Vanguard Illustrated #3:
I'll be posting Part 2 of Freakwave soon...see ya then!