Remake & Reboot: The SOJOURN Comic Series

When Marvel announced at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con that it was reviving the titles of that defunct company Crossgen published at the beginning of the new century, people rejoiced. Although it wasn’ t without its faults, it was one of the only companies at the time to experiment outside the super-hero genre and presaged the re-emergence of of fantasy comics like Conan to space dramas like Fear Agent and even, in a way, crime comics like Criminal. So far Marvel has released three revamped versions of Crossgen titles (Ruse, Sigil and Mystic) with two more (Route 666 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) planned for 2012. But in that list, there’s one conspicuous absence: Crossgen’s highest selling book ever, Sojourn.

Launched in August 2001 by writer Ron Marz and artist Greg Land, Sojourn was straight-up sword-and-sorcery, with a bow-wielding heroine named Arwyn who were on a quest to piece together a mythical weapon to defeat the land’s evil dictator, Mordath. Like all of the core Crossgen titles it was connected with a powerful Sigil-Bearer, but this book turned that on its head by having the chosen one not be the hero, but the villain. The book was successful by taking advantage of the high tide for fantasy drama with the Lord of The Rings films coming out around the same time, as well as the emergence of Land as an artistic heavyweight. Some readers might lampoon Land now for his photo-referenced work, but Sojourn was arguably the high point before he switched to that style. Remember, Land was a second-tier Batman artist before he came to Crossgen, but after doing Sojourn he was snapped up by Marvel as one of their highest profile artists.

For more on Crossgen listen to this recent Talksplode podcast we recorded with Ron Marz.

Getting back to the point, there was something special about Sojourn — and something that bears out trying to do it again.

Concept:

Standard sword-and-sorcery isn’t new ground for comics to cover — Conan continues to sell at Dark Horse, and it was Marvel that perfected that formula back in the 70s. But for reviving Sojourn, they need to take it one step further. Although fronted by the flaxen-haired Arwyn, Sojourn was an ensemble book — with one whole issue devoted to the war from a troll fighting against the heroes. To work in the modern realities of the comic industry, it can’t be just another fantasy book — the same way Game of Thrones isn’t just another fantasy television series. A new Sojourn needs to lean towards the realistic even in a world filled with dragons — imagine the ground-level approach taken on Northlanders over the template of the questing epics of Tolkien and others.

The Creators:

Writer – Joshua Hale Fialkov:Β  While the easiest choice might be casting the biggest writer available to fit this style (Jason Aaron would be great on this!), we know Marvel has them busiest working on the top selling books. Instead, I’d use this book as an opportunity for the next generation of comics writers to use that undiscovered talent to bring a new voice to Sojourn. Fialkov has received high marks for his work going all the way back to Western Tales of Terror years ago, but only now with the success of I, Vampire is he beginning to get his due. If he can make the vampire concept there work wonders, imagine what he could do with trolls, dragons and magic.

Artist – Peter Snejbjerg: This Danish artist has worked in the periphery of mainstream super-hero comics, but everything he’s done has been grade-A work. Those who’ve read last year’s A God Somewhere graphic novel can vouch for this, while others might remember him for doing the latter issues of DC’s Starman years ago. Snejbjerg’s currently doing some overseas comics, but if I was Marvel I’d call him now and give him the time and the breadth to make Sojourn special.

Covers – J.H. Williams III: Although he’s been in the industry since the mid-90s, you can count the number of Marvel comics he’s done on one hand. Although he’s currently toiling away on Batwoman, it would be a coup for Marvel to get him to bring his dynamic cover style over to do Sojourn. His work makes a powerful statement, and that’s exactly what a revived Sojourn needs to make it in today’s market.

Variant Covers – Greg Land: He may be years removed from his work on Sojourn, but the title is still closely associated with his work. I’d bridge that by having Land provide variant covers, hoping to see him revisit his more loose impressionistic style and bring some nostalgia back even though the series will be updated for the present.

 

Comments

  1. I read all of sojourn .. it was good not great…. route 666, negation, and way of the rat.. were three of the best comics ive ever read though…. Scion and Brath were entertaining also.. Just reading the original mystic right now… its OK.. The only crossgen stuff i have left to read is the original sigil and the first.. Although i dont know if i will ever read the first cause i cant stand bart sears art.

    • Did you read Ruse? That and Way of the Rat were my two favorite Crossgen books. I started Route 666 but never got to finish it (I’d definitely buy a trade if they re-release it). I agree with Sojourn, I didn’t read the whole thing but thought that the stuff I read was decent.

      I’ve been wondering if Marvel plans to re-issue any of those old Crossgen books, I think that would be pretty cool and some of the better ones might even get to continue if the sales are any good.

    • Way of the Rat was an awesome title also. I just couldn’t seem to get into Brath though.

    • Ya i read almost all of Ruse.. i think i missed the last few issues. It was good ya…. I keep on saying though you can get single issues for a dollar a piece around about.. websites below….Going to start reading the original Sigil and Crux soon. i forgot about Crux.. hopefully thats good too.

      Maybe I was just a little bias about Brath cause of my Celtic roots.

  2. Is this out in trades??? I’m a fantasy fan and I’d love me some fix to wait between each Demon Knights issue to come out! πŸ˜‰

    • You dont need to get it in trades.. its a dollar an issue on mycomicshop.com and i think midtown or westfield have a lot of crossgen for less than a buck an issue. But if you must get trades try amazon.. although i think they might cost you even more. I think Scion was a little better than this.. also crossgen/fantasy…. although Sojourn was good.

    • You should get Brian Wood’s new Conan series that comes out soon.

    • Thanks for the info, I get 25% off of everything at my LCS so most of the times it comes cheaper for me and I love in Montreal, Canada… shipping from the states to here is expansive my friend!

      Thanks for the suggestions, too, I’ll give it a look! πŸ™‚

  3. Oh up in GSP country. Cheers. … good luck.

  4. I would freaking LOVE to have Sojourn back. I really enjoyed the series and thought Greg Land’s art was sensational back then. So much so that I was surprised when I came back to comics to discover that he now seems to be reviled by most fans.