Sam & Max were a big part of my adolescence. I got The LucasArts Archives vol. 1 at age 10 or 11, after hearing my brother’s friends swap jokes from Sam & Max Hit the Road. I played Hit the Road for months and months, back during the Golden Age of Entertainment,* when I had the patience to do things like that.
A Max-head was the first avatar/icon I ever used on the internet. I still do, in certain places.
Somehow I got a copy of the comic collection, Surfin’ the Highway, and read it so much I internalized the damn thing. As the years went by, it disappeared — probably loaned to some miscreant friend, never to be seen again. A year or two ago, it was so out of print that copies were going for a hundred bucks on eBay.
So it’s great news that the Freelance Police are back. After years of aborted revival attempts at LucasArts, Steve Purcell was finally freed from his contract and signed with disgruntled ex-LucasArts programmers Telltale Games. Telltale (the folks who brought you the Bone games**) has been exploring new formats for videogames — releasing short games as “episodes” in a longer “season” or “series” — which I applaud even though I haven’t been motivated to plunk down the cash to try any of them. Diversity’s always a good thing, and I do have a soft spot for episodic fiction.
Anyway, I hadn’t realized this, but Telltale is not only producing a new line of S&M games (Season Two currently underway) and a weird, partially-animated webcomic… They’re also releasing a new edition of the original comics! Completely remastered and redesigned, the book looks great. I spotted the paperback edition last week at Cosmic Monkey Comics, but I just might hold out for the super sexy signed hardcover edition!
Telltale’s Emily Morganti has a neat blog post up explaining the process involved in creating the book. Like many reprint projects, it involved scanning the original film to a digital archive, plus touch-up work and reconstruction from second-generation copies when originals weren’t available. I was surprised to see a game publisher (a direct-download game publisher, at that) tackle a print project like this, and again surprised to see them pull it off so well. Hats off, and I hope they sell a million.
**Speaking of tapping into my childhood. Bone (via Disney Adventures) and Sam & Max are two of the reasons I work in comics today — and, I realize, two of the reasons why the division between “mainstream” and “indie” comics has never made sense to me.