With a revived initiative to create original programming for Xbox consoles, Microsoft recently announced their upcoming slate of projects currently in development and the planning stages. The biggest name on the list is of course the previously reported Halo adaptation from Ridley Scott, but there was another show on there that may have comic fans shivering in their longjohns: Winterworld. And no, it isn’t about the German electronic music festival, though they do have a Bonnaroo series planned.
When we say Winterworld, we’re talking about writer Chuck Dixon and artist Jorge Zaffino’s three-part post-apocalyptic thriller series first published by Eclipse Comics from 1987-1988. It seems like all we see anymore are disaster-caused narratives, though this one is a tad more cold and stripped down than fancy affairs like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Think of this as The Grey, only instead of wolves, it’s other people who are interested in manhandling the lead characters.
Presented as a limited live-action series, Winterworld takes place in a future when the entire planet is completely covered by ice, and survival is more difficult than it’s ever been. A rugged trader named Sully, along with his badger second banana, crosses paths with a young girl named Wynn. Both are then captured and enslaved by a nearby community trying to get their lives back together. (With child slavery, of course.) Sully manages to escape, but it’s Wynn’s newly established place in his life that leads to one of the most dangerous decisions he’s ever made. Bring on the snow-capped violence! And yes, this story does get a little dark and vicious at times.
Zaffino, who passed away in 2002, was really the star of this series, with a color palette that includes white and “a black deeper than absolute darkness.” In this ice-covered dystopia, the real trick Microsoft needs to pull off here is nailing that visual element. I’m not saying they need to go all Sin City and shoot everything on a green screen, but they’re going to have to do more for this setting than just fill a studio backlot with fake snow.
IDW Entertainment are co-developing the project with Xbox Entertainment Studio, and their comic line, IDW Publishing, will head back into the endless winter with Dixon for a continuation of this story in a new series that will hit shelves in June and feature art from Butch Guice (Captain America: Reborn). I’m not sure whether or not it will follow the events of the previous sequel WinterSea, which was first published as part of the Winterworld reprinting. Here’s a shot of the cover.
Winterworld joins other series such as Gun Machine, based on Warren Ellis’ acclaimed comic series, a bomb diver thriller called Fearless, a zombified adaptation of the Deadlands video game series, the A.I. android thriller Humans, and a stop-motion comedy from the Robot Chicken creative team, called Extraordinary Believers. With all this new content, I’ll have to start thinking about getting an Xbox One. Unless one of our readers (and future best friend to yours truly) has a spare they want to send me one. Hint, hint.