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‘Mars Attacks’ Broadway? IDW Announces ’21st Century Slaughter’ Musical

It may sound like the kind of announcement that makes you suspicious about some people getting an early jump on the April Fools stories, but IDW Publishing announced yesterday that it’s teaming up with the Topps Company to co-produce a Broadway musical based on the 1960s trading card series Mars Attacks, written and produced by Chew writer John Layman.According to Greg Goldstein, IDW Publishing President, co-producing the upcoming Mars Attacks: 21st Century Slaughter was “the logical next step in expanding our partnership” with Topps after months of working together to create the Mars Attacks comic launching in June. Layman, who’ll write the monthly comic in addition to the book for the musical, promised that the show will be “a rollicking good time, with songs that will make you want to get up and dance,” describing it as “a sort of science fiction version of West Side Story, [with] a human and a Martian involved in a star-crossed romance, set against the backdrop of a violent interstellar war – with all of humanity caught in between!”

The announcement of the show, apparently scheduled to start rehearsals later this year with a debut planned for some point in 2013, is just part of the push Mars Attacks is getting for its 50th anniversary; not only will Layman’s monthly series launch in June (alongside a series of reprint collections of the short-lived 1990s comic Topps itself published), but tie-in toys, statues and costumes are also planned for later this year to commemorate the 1962 debut of the original 55 card storyline that pit man versus alien as depicted in gruesome detail by artist Norman Saunders.

But is the show really happening? It’s unclear; although the announcement came days before April 1st and seemed sincere, both the general subject matter and some specific details (Producers are, according to the release, “currently seeking a seven-foot tall male lead with extensive rock vocal experience”) suggest otherwise. The dawn of a new era of Broadway musical or bizarre PR stunt for a new comic book? We may have to wait until the IDW panel at this weekend’s Emerald City Comic Con for an answer one way or another.

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