“The Crowd-Funded Franchise Resurrection”: A Middleman Reunion

Comic Books Entertainment Geek Culture Television Theater

“I’ll be godfather to a gopher’s girlfriend!” More Middleman!

On Saturday, May 24, the original cast and writers of the short-lived ABC Family show assembled at the Downtown Independent Theatre in Los Angeles to perform a reading of the script for an upcoming new graphic novel, as we previously mentioned during the Indiegogo campaign that funded it.

Originally a comic book from Viper Comics, The Middleman came to television in 2008 on the ABC Family Channel, lasting 12 episodes before being canceled due to low ratings. An unfilmed 13th episode, “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse,” was turned into a graphic novel a year later, and the series was released on DVD by Shout Factory in 2009. Over the following years, The Middleman has grown in popularity; the graphic novel of the 13th episode is now selling for upwards of $100 on Amazon, “Middlefans” are popping up in cosplay at comic conventions, and demand for new Middleman stories has grown.

At last, writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach heard the cry and responded. In November of 2013, he launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, raising $67,000 ($30,000 more than his initial goal) to pay for the creation and publication of a new Middleman graphic novel, “The Pan-Universal Parental Reconciliation,” that would merge the TV and comic continuities. Along with the new story, the funds will provide a new website where all of the previous Middleman books will be available in newly remastered editions. Incentives included original props, scripts, and attendance at a reading of the new story by the original TV cast, followed by an autograph session. The reading and signing took place at the Downtown Independent Theatre as scheduled, and all of the other plans are proceeding on schedule, with the graphic novel and web portal expected in late July. The reading was recorded and will be released online around the same time, but there are already some brief clips and photos popping up on YouTube and Tumblr.

“The Pan-Universal Parental Reconciliation” will be a full-color graphic novel with art by both Les McClaine (the original artist for the Middleman comics) and Armando Zanker (artist for “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse”); McClaine will draw the pages featuring the comic book continuity, while Zanker will handle the TV continuity segments.

We will let you know the instant we get the official release date for the video and the web store. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen The Middleman, there are some episodes up on YouTube, at least until the corporate guys notice.

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