Fans of the iconic Speed Racer know that the title character can drive-and fast (his car, after all, is named the Mach-5), but fast enough to travel through time?
Perhaps Speed can’t, but his legend is certainly one for the ages. And in January, IDW Publishing will take that concept into overdrive, debuting Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer, a monthly miniseries that will expand the decades-old mythos into exciting new directions as it tells the stories of Racers throughout the generations.
“There hasn’t been a Speed Racer in comics at least five years, and we’re taking it in a direction that it has never gone before,” says Chris Ryall, IDW publisher and editor-in-chief. “These stories expand the entire Speed Racer legend. We look at the Speed Racers of the past-incarnations throughout history, from the Roman times to the medieval era, and even the swashbuckling high seas.”
At the same time, fans will get their fix of the Speed Racer cast from the present, including favorites like Pops, Chim-Chim and Trixie. The series, Ryall says, will keep the best of the past by holding onto its spirit of adventure and remaining true to the feel of the old show, but with a more modern buff on its classic chassis.
“The series will be firmly rooted in the present, rather than in the 1960s,” Ryall says. “For instance, Speed’s mom will probably have a job outside of the kitchen.”
Handling creative duties will be animation and screenwriter Arie Kaplan, as well as artist Robby Musso, a fan-favorite from his work on one of IDW’s recent adapted-from-animation projects, The Transformers. Artist and IDW founder Alex Garner provides a special painted cover for the first issue, with Musso’s fellow Transformers artist E.J. Su handling a limited-edition retailer incentive cover.
Originally created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida in the 1960s, Speed Racer became one of the first successful anime franchises to cross over into the United States. Now, following IDW’s Speed Racer debut, a live-action movie of the classic cartoon will hit big screens in May 2008 from Warner Bros. Lionsgate has also announced plans for a new animated Speed Racer series, also for 2008, to air on Nickelodeon’s 24-hour cartoon channel Nicktoons.