When Archie Comics launched the New Crusaders comic series last year, it made no bones about it being built on the long legacy of the Red Circle super-heroes. Now, Archie is pulling back the curtain to tell untold tales after the cliffhanger-filled ending of the 80s Mighty Crusaders comics in a new online comic series titled Lost Crusade. Scheduled as a “5th Week” series, new installments will come out every 5th Wednesday — the first being today, August 29th, with the next scheduled for Wednesday, October 31. Archie’s Red Circle Comics is giving away this first installment as a free download on their Red Circle App now.
While the currently running New Crusaders tells stories of the Red Circle heroes in modern times, Lost Crusade turns back the pages — literally — to get at some of the great mysteries, questions and adventures that happened in the 30+ years between then and now. Spearheaded by the Shield’s former sidekick Dustin Simmons , Lost Crusade will uncover everything from the foundation of the city of Red Circle to the fates of some of the original heroes, and even the path that led the villainous Brain Emperor back from the brink of death to terrorize the Crusaders anew.
This inaugural installment is written by New Crusaders series writer Ian Flynn, with veteran comics artist (and iFanboy favorite) Mike Norton illustrating. iFanboy spoke with Flynn on the eve of Lost Crusade’s debut about this new series.
Ian Flynn: Lost Crusade is the lost period between the stories of the 80s and now. The Red Circle, Blue Ribbon and other comics of the time all ended on cliffhangers to some degree or another, and New Crusaders picks up well after those stories concluded. With Lost Crusade, we can fill in all the tantalizing blanks.
iF: What can you tell us about the inaugural story you’ve written, “Prelude”?
Flynn: It’s been about thirty years since we visited the old material, so “Prelude” will serve as a refresher for veteran fans, an introduction for the new fans, and generally set the stage for the series to come.
iF: What classic Red Circle characters appear in this first story?
Flynn: Just about all of them! We’ll be looking at the golden age heroes of the 40s, the new team of the 60s, and the Mighty Crusaders of the 80s. It’ll be a who’s-who of important characters from those decades.
iF: This really covers the gamut of Red Circle adventures – how’d you go about getting the best big picture view of the Red Circle history to write this?
Flynn: Lots and lots of reading. And taking pages of notes. And then turning those notes into a six page story that’s also me waving a big banner around saying “Look how cool this is! Let’s do more with it!”
Flynn: Every panel in “Prelude” is another story I want to tell, or have someone else tell through the course of Lost Crusade. Chief among my wants is the fate of Darkling and fleshing out the Omega 8/Delta 3.
iF: How did the idea for this 5th week Lost Crusade series come about?
Flynn: One part necessity, one part ravenous desire to tell more stories. I’d pitched the spin-off idea a while ago on a whim, thinking it was too soon but that I should show interest. Instead, editor Paul Kaminski had the brilliant idea of folding it into the regular schedule with our otherwise empty fifth week.
iF: Joining you on “Prelude” is Mike Norton, a veteran of Marvel, DC and virtually every superhero publisher out there. What’s it like having him on your side?
Flynn: How cool is that?! Mike did a fantastic job, and I couldn’t be happier working with him.
iF: Will you be writing future installments of Lost Crusade?
Flynn: Definitely, but this is also a project where we let others join in on the fun, like Chuck Dixon who will be writing the next installment. I’m still involved, but a project like this is too big and too fun not to share.
Red Circle has provided us a look at one of Mike Norton’s pencilled pages to this week’s “Prelude” installment of Lost Crusade.