Frank Cho Returns to ‘Liberty Meadows’ After Long Hiatus
Frank Cho announced this week that his much loved but infrequently published Liberty Meadows will be returning with a new issue, possibly before the end of the year. The ongoing story of an animal preserve whose staff includes Brandy, a voluptuous psychiatrist to the beasts, Liberty Meadows went on hiatus in 2004, with Cho publishing only one issue since. The lauded “good girl” art master spent time developing the property as animated project for Sony that was ultimately abandoned. With that out of the way, Cho is back at work on what will be issue #38 of Liberty Meadows.A syndicated newspaper strip until 2001, when Cho took his creation to Image Comics to avoid tedious editorial panic attacks of variously “naughty” content, Liberty Meadows is a favorite among lovers of both comic strip gags and superlative draftsmanship. The series has some fun with sexual politics, office romances and wry hormonal humor in a visual style whose influences include the pin-up art of Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens and the fantasy illustrations of Frank Frazetta. The strip has been collected in a number of volumes, including the 10th anniversary edition of Liberty Meadows Book 1.
Given the obvious nature of the strip and its colorful characters, it’s puzzling why Sony desired to make a “kid-friendly” version of Liberty Meadows, but they did — at first. Cho explained the situation on his blog.
About 3 years ago, Sony got the rights to Liberty Meadows to develop it as a downloadable original cartoon series for their new Sony Digital division. I wrote the original pilot episode but it was rejected for being too “risque”. So other writers were brought in to tone it down and make it more kid friendly. Once I read the rewrite, I thought it completely missed the point of Liberty Meadows. So I rewrote the rewrite, and this went back and forth couple of times until we reached a compromised script. We turned that script into an traditional 2D animated pilot episode.
Enter Sony Television division. They saw the pilot episode and liked it. Liberty Meadows get bumped up to their television division and a TV series is planned. However there is one request, Sony Television people wanted Liberty Meadows to be more “risque” with adult humor like the “Family Guy”. This is the point where I rip my hair out in frustration.
The media rights to Liberty Meadows have since reverted back to Cho, and he remains open to a film or television series should an appropriate situation reveal itself. In the meantime, the writer and artist will be hard at work on Liberty Meadows #38, among other projects.
I’m going to enjoy writing and drawing the next misadventures of Brandy and crew at Liberty Meadows with no suits looking over my shoulder telling me which market I should target.