PHILADELPHIA — Steve White, editor of the upcoming “Family Guy” comic book, is keenly aware of the franchise’s history of drawing laughs and making viewers cringe.
That’s why he says the new series, published by Titan Comics and debuting July 27 in comic book shops and on newsstands, will not only uphold the TV tradition of the Emmy-nominated animated show but delve deeper into the characters and comedy of Peter Griffin, his family and friends.
“‘The Family Guy’ universe is an amazing wellspring of ideas to plunder. It’s given us a lot of latitude to develop stories ranging from one-page gag strips to more extended full-length scripts and pretty much everything in between,” he told The Associated Press Thursday.
The series will be drawn by S.L. Gallant, whose previous work includes runs on “G.I. Joe” and “Torchwood,” and Anthony Williams, who has drawn for “Judge Dredd” and “Batman.”
Unlike a rigid 23-minute block of time, having the stories in print means more plot-twists and concepts, so each issue will, on average, have around three stories — a main story, a short tale and a gag strip.
“We’re even looking at recurring one-pagers, but as I said, really, the world is our oyster here,” he said.
Turning television properties into comic books is often a successful way of bridging the mediums of comics and the small screen, not to mention the big screen, too. Other publishers have done so, including IDW, which puts out comics based on “Doctor Who,” ”The Transformers” and “Ghostbusters.”
“Family Guy,” which debuted on Fox in 1999 and was off the air for a time and returned in 2005, targets everybody and everything in its story lines: Cookie Monster in an asylum battling his cookie addiction; Dick Cheney as a foul-mouthed greeter at Wal-Mart.
The show is set at the Griffin homestead in Quahog, R.I. Peter is a cheery, melon-bellied dolt. He is married to randy redhead Lois, a closet psycho who enables Peter’s almost limitless shortcomings. Their dog, Brian, stands upright, speaks several languages, reads the paper, likes his martinis dry and has an unrequited lust for Lois.
Teenage son Chris is not only slovenly and overweight, but, by every indication, mentally challenged, while dowdy daughter Meg hates herself. Stewie, the Griffins’ baby, is a pint-sized megalomanic, raging at humanity with a British aristocrat’s haughtiness. (“Fie on your toilet!” the diapered toddler blasts his elders on the issue of potty-training — “it’s made slaves of you all!”). Only Brian can hear Stewie.
“The Family Guy” comic had a long gestation period, but, ultimately the concept gained traction with Fox, which airs Seth McFarlane’s seminal show.
“We felt that ‘Family Guy’ TV show to ‘Family Guy’ comic was a natural progression, but Fox needed a little convincing,” White said. “In the end, we winged it and did a two-page comic strip off our own back and that actually seemed to do the trick.”
As for McFarlane himself, White said while the TV show’s producers will be “casting their eyes” over the book’s stories and art, “if Seth ever fancied taking time out to write a comic strip or do a cover, we’d be pretty appreciative.”
McFarlane could not immediately be reached for comment.
The comic won’t just focus on the Griffins. Glen “Giggity” Quagmire, Cleveland Brown and Joe Swanson, among others, will be in the book, too.
“There’s no way we would want to miss out on using the likes of Quagmire. There’s also a wealth of other characters we’d want to include,” White said, adding the editorial team are deep fans of the show.
“We’re not just paying lip service to the show. We’re really immersing ourselves in it.”