Okay, so here’s the news and it’s better if I just get this out of the way up front:
SAMURAI JACK the comic series will be ending with issue #20, arriving in May.
Yeah, I’m sad too.
It’s hard for me to explain how wonderful it’s been to create a new official “season” of Samurai Jack, working with the unbelievably skilled art team of artist Andy Suriano, colorist Josh Burcham, and letterer Shawn Lee, along with a host of other amazing guest artists including Brittney Williams, Ethen Beavers, Andy Kuhn, Sergio Quijada, and Christine Larsen.
Working on Jack has been a project that felt just as creative and expansive as any creator-owned work I’ve done. Almost every single idea we pitched was enthusiastically approved by IDW and Cartoon Network. We told the stories we wanted to tell the way we wanted to tell them and, from everything I’ve seen and the people I’ve met, the fans thoroughly enjoyed them too. That’s a rare and wonderful thing and I won’t take it for granted.
We launched pretty strong, strong enough that our five issue mini-series was almost immediately bumped up to “ongoing” status, but we’ve hit a point in the natural single issue sales attrition cycle where IDW isn’t guaranteed to see profitability on #21-25 so they decided to end it at #20 and make sure we weren’t cut off midway through a story line. I absolutely respect that and appreciate the heads up so we could make our last issue extra special.
Speaking of which, I have to admit I got wistful when I read the recent Comics Alliance article heaping high praise on the work we’ve done with Jack. Chris Sims had no way of knowing it, but I was putting the finishing touches on the final script the day that article went up. It gave me an extra burst of energy to carry me over the finish line.
If “The Quest of the Broken Blade” story we did in issues #11-15 was our epic battle of mind, body, and soul, then Samurai Jack #20 is as final a spiritual statement as I can put on the Jack legacy.
In the third season of Samurai Jack there’s an episode called “Jack and Travelling Creatures” where, after trials and tribulations aplenty, we catch a glimpse of a possible future for our wandering hero; we see Jack as an older Warrior-King, a veteran of an untold number of conflicts. We’re embracing that awesome vision of Jack in a very heartfelt done-in-one story called “Mako the Scribe”.
I don’t have any definitive information on whether there will be more Samurai Jack animation down the road but, if there isn’t, I wanted to make sure this story gave at least some sense of closure to the many, many fans of the series. I would never say that I speak for Genndy or the rest of the Jack animation team. This is just my own small addendum to the top notch art and storytelling they put together. (Oh yeah and Genndy, feel free to animate any of our comic stories if you want. I’m 100% A-Okay with that )
That said, I don’t want us to just slip away quietly into the night with this one. If you haven’t read Samurai Jack the comic and experienced our “fifth season”, I’d be thrilled if you considered ordering the trades or buying the digital issues to give it a shot.
If you have read the comics and enjoyed what we put together, I’d deeply appreciate if you let IDW and Cartoon Network know what you thought of it and if you pre-order issue #20 to let retailers know that we’re going out strong.
Thank you to Carlos Guzman, our editor at IDW, for tirelessly sheparding these new stories through art and production. Your enthusiasm for our work has been a real booster.
Thank you again to Andy Suriano for being such a passionate and creative collaborator. You rock, buddy, and I’m so proud to have worked with you on this.
Thank you to IDW Publishing and Cartoon Network for your confidence in bringing me aboard to write the series. It’s been a blast.
Thank you to Genndy Tartakovsky, Phil Lamarr, and the whole Jack team for trailblazing such a wonderful series in the first place.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to tell these stories. Thank you for your support.