Pushing Daisies: The Comic
In a really lackluster new fall season (and one which thanks to the Writers Guild strike might be ending awfully soon), there's only one show that has absolutely stood out as a must-watch-tv for me, and that's Bryan Fuller's Pushing Daisies.
If you're unfamiliar with the plot, it's wonderfully odd; Ned the piemaker (Lee Pace), brings things back to life if he touches them once. If he touches the now living being (person, animal, or plant) a second time, it becomes dead again but this time for good. And if he lets something come back to life for more than 60 seconds, something nearby of comparable "value" will die instead. Now he works with private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) as they investigate strange deaths (by talking to the corpse for 60 seconds) in order to claim rewards. They're assisted by Chuck (Anna Friel), Ned's formerly deceased childhood sweetheart that he can no longer touch, even as waitress Olive (Kristin Chenoweth) is desperately in love with Ned and trying to figure out just what the deal is with Chuck.
This may sound much more confusing than it really is. But now there's another way to jump in. Namely, the online Pushing Daisies comic. (Originally given out as a freebie to people at Comic-Con International out in San Diego this year.)
Fuller is certainly no stranger to comics; last year he was a producer for Heroes (and his arrival and then departure during the first season coincides nicely with the best episodes of the show) and it has its own online comic strip to boot. His work on the lead story "Head" does a good job of introducing us to the show slowly, focusing entirely on Ned and Emerson as they question a person who died while on the run from Emerson. The story lets Fuller perhaps get away with something that might not be considered acceptable for television, but at the same time showcases the strange, quirky, anything-can-happen-here attitude. Zach Howard and Tom Fowler's art is cartoonish in nature, perhaps not the best match for the look-and-feel of Pushing Daisies itself (which is visually like a storybook come to life on your television screen) but it's good in its own right. "Head" ends on a cliffhanger, so hopefully before too long we'll get the next installment.
Also included is "You've Been Outbid" which serves as a prequel to the pilot episode. Unlike "Head" it doesn't stand on its own, really, but it's a nice little easter egg for people who are already watching. That said, the story is gorgeously illustrated by Cameron Stewart and for that alone I am delighted; Stewart's art is always a pleasure, but here it has the added bonus of fitting the show perfectly. If down the line we get more Pushing Daisies stories, is it too much to ask for Stewart again?
While Heroes was an understandable choice for an online comic, I love the fact that Pushing Daisies is in on the act. Fuller or someone else at the show is clearly a fan, too; the official recaps of the show are in comic book format as well, although in this case they're touching up screen captures. So who knows, maybe we'll get another original comic before too long?
For that matter, what show will be next to get a comic book? Ugly Betty? Law & Order: Special Victims Unit? The Price is Right? (Ok, probably not the last one. But I can dream.) Bring on the television comics!