Dream Police Dead on Target

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The wait is over. Mega-popular writer J. Michael Straczynski’s DREAM POLICE, a 38-page one-shot, has found a home with Marvel Comics’ ICON line and is being readied for release in June of 2005. Its main characters, Detectives Joe Thursday and Frank Stafford, are about to take center stage at long last.

“Good things come to those that wait,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. “And a new book by JMS is one heckuva good thing to wait for. But we shall tarry no more: it’s here! Marvel’s been bursting at the seams to share this story with the rest of the world and now we can. The only downside is that J. Michael’s gonna get even more acclaim from this book and I’m going to have to finally learn how to spell his name!”

Dan Buckley, Marvel Publisher, is equally happy about the impending release of DREAM POLICE to Marvels creator-owned ICON line. “This is truly a unique and thrilling addition to our ICON titles.  DREAM POLICE is highly cinematic and that’s no surprise coming from one of the best screenwriters in the business. I can’t wait to start hearing the reader reaction!”

But what is DREAM POLICE exactly? “Straight from the horse’s mouth” is the best way to explain, and that means asking Straczynski himself to lay out the high points. “What I love most about the book is the tone -- very noir, very ‘Dragnet’ meets ‘Men In Black’ meets ‘Maltese Falcon’ -- set against a surreal and often very funny dreamscape.  Joe's Theory #47 is that if everything is funny, nothing is funny; if everything is weird, nothing is weird.  You need to have the contrast to throw both sides into stark relief.  And that's what we have with Dream Police...very straightforward, hard-bitten beat police patrolling the dreamscape.  See, sometimes things go wrong there...an echo who is supposed to play a given part in someone's dream skips town, or a dream-molder starts sending people the wrong sorts of dreams because he's annoyed at the world....”

Straczynski’s enthusiasm for the book is palpable and he seems to conjure up the story’s milieu as he speaks on it. “That's the framework of the dreamscape.  When we fall asleep, we enter the dreamscape, and there are entities in there -- echoes, wisps, ethers, changelings, others -- who take various parts in our dreams, as familiar people or places.  Everybody has his job to do.  The Dream Police step in when things go very wrong...often with very funny consequences.”

“I’m very excited about DREAM POLICE. It’s a book I’ve wanted to see out there for over five years, and it’s now finally hitting stores.”

Straczynski is probably best known for the much-loved science fiction television series ‘Babylon 5’, of which he was creator, writer, and executive producer. The series won Emmy Awards in both 1993 and 1994, as well as the prestigious Hugo award.  And through B5, Straczynski won both the Ray Bradbury Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Award from San Diego ComicCon.

Additionally, comic fans will be familiar with his high-tempo work on Marvel’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and FANTASTIC FOUR. The scribe has also written and had published articles, short stories, novels, and plays. He has produced five television films and over 200 episodes of television series, including ‘The Twilight Zone.’

One of the arenas in which Straczynski has garnered much fan acclaim is that of online message board communities. No stranger to conversing with his audience, he has been highly active on the Internet for several years and definitely isn’t shy about answering questions concerning his prolific writing career and his future plans and projects.

The other half of DREAM POLICE’s equation is well-known comic artist Mike Deodato Jr., whose work includes INCREDIBLE HULK, ELEKTRA, AVENGERS, and perhaps most prominently, his webbily wonderful work on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Deodato is an artist who is equally at home penciling and inking and whose art grabs hold of a reader’s imagination and is not so easily shaken.

“Dream Police required a different approach to both the style, while still making is recognizable as mine,” Deodato points out.  “Hulk was realistic yet powerful; Spider-Man is prettier, brighter; Dream Police needed a more haunting, ethereal feel to it, so I inked it myself, in a style a bit more impressionistic that I usually use.  It becomes gritty and moody where it needs to be, and more dreamlike in the right places.  As always, the writing is my guide to how to handle the art.”

“The art by Mike Deodato is just sterling,” observes Straczynski of his creative partner on DREAM POLICE. “It perfectly captures the film noir look I wanted for the book, dark, moody, shadowed, but full of striking characters and beautiful backgrounds.  It looks like a slightly deranged 1950s hardboiled detective comic...AND a fantasy book at the same time, and that's a very hard balance to strike.”

Marvel Executive Editor Axel Alonso, a man who also has a firm footing in both comics and film, puts the perfect capper on the announcement. “"DREAM POLICE joins KABUKI and POWERS to send fans a clear message about what they can expect from Marvel's Icon Line: Smart, edgy fiction with daring visuals, brought to you by some of today's top creators.”
He adds: “And I don't think that this is the last anyone will be seeing of Detectives Joe Thursday and Frank Stanford."
DREAM POLICE is a 38-page one-shot, due in stores everywhere on June 22nd. For more developing news on this and other projects in Marvel’s ICON Line, please visit Marvel.com.

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