Joe Clokey, President of Premavision and son of GUMBY creator Art Clokey today announced a new partnership with Papercutz, “the #1 Kids’ Graphic Novel Publisher”. The agreement gives Papercutz rights to create comics and graphic novels based on the company’s GUMBY character, the best-selling toy and TV star that has become a cultural icon.
The partnership will let Papercutz create new material based on the hit GUMBY shorts that have found a new generation of fans through YouTube and DVD releases. With literally millions of fans online and toys, DVDs and other merchandise being sold through mass market retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, the character is enjoying a resurgence in popularity that is also driving creation of new media. Premavision recently announced development of a new television series (in partnership with the Jim Henson Company) and plans for a feature film are also in the works. With the recent 60th anniversary of the GUMBY TV show, the timing was perfect for the character to return to comics.
“I’m always delighted by how the character my father created has touched the hearts of so many people,” observed Clokey. “The emergence of GUMBY centered fan conventions and the huge reception we’ve received at places like ComicCon International show just how important GUMBY is to so many people. We wanted to make sure we found a publishing partner who not only appreciated the property but also shared the approach and values that have made GUMBY such an enduring character. Papercutz shares our commitment to creating great stories. And they also have some of the biggest GUMBY fans I’ve ever met on staff. That made them the ideal choice for a publishing partner.”
Chief among those fans is Papercutz Associate Managing Editor Jeff Whitman who will be one of the writers on the ongoing comic book series. “I’ve been a GUMBY fan for as long as I can remember,” explained Whitman, “And I think Terry and Jim wouldn’t have known how to deal with me if we hadn’t been selected as the publisher for these characters. Did I wear a full-size GUMBY costume to the office to help convince them we should go after this property? Maybe. What I can say for sure is we’re committed to capturing the magic that Art Clokey brought to his creation and that we’ll be exploring all the different settings and characters in the Gumbyverse while staying true to the essence of Gumby. He can jump into any book (with his pony pal, Pokey, too), so the story potential is virtually endless. We’ll also be finding out more about the Blockheads, Gumby’s sister Minga, his friends Prickle and Goo, and more recently introduced characters like his girlfriend, Tara. These comics will celebrate Gumby’s past, present, and future; if you have a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you. ”
Current plans call for an ongoing monthly comic book series to launch in July with the first issue debuting at this year’s ComicCon International. The 32 page, $3.99 issues will feature two ten-page lead stories and a five-page backup story, which will provide the opportunity for multiple creators to try their hand at the adventures of the “little green ball of clay”.
“Jeff may be the biggest GUMBY fan in the office but he’s certainly not the only comics creator with a love for the property,” observed Papercutz Editor in Chief Jim Salicrup. “We’ve had a number of people approach us about working on the series and hopefully we’ll hear from even more writers and artists after this release. I think a lot of people will be excited to hear the first roster of creators we announce. Of course, GUMBY has a rich history of A-list creators like Art Adams, Rick Geary and Bob Burden working on the property and we’re currently in discussions on how we can bring some of that material back in to print again as well.”
In addition to the new comic books, plans call for the series to be collected in graphic novel format starting in November 2017. “GUMBY certainly has a lot of adult fans but the character is also one of the great kids’ properties,” explained Papercutz Publisher Terry Nantier. “The graphic novels will let us place the character in bookstores, schools and libraries and reach a whole new generation of fans. It’s a brand-new format for GUMBY to explore and I’m sure he’ll prove just as popular in this category as he has in other media and toys!”
Added Clokey, “Gumby is a timeless character with universal appeal. I’m excited that we’ll be able to share his new adventures with both Gumby enthusiasts and new fans and that working together, we’ll be able to create a new chapter in the character’s rich history.”
GUMBY #1 will be on sale at comicbook stores, online retailers and bookstores everywhere on July 19th.