Older TV Shows ‘Saved by the Bell,’ ‘Miami Vice’ Finding New Audiences in Comicbook Form

Shows getting the digital treatment also include 'Airwolf,' 'Knight Rider' and 'Punky Brewster'

Older TV Shows 'Saved the Bell,' 'Miami Vice' Finding New Audiences Comicbook Form

Turns out it’s never too late for a TV show to get its own comicbook.

NBCUniversal will produce digital books based on “Saved by the Bell” and “Punky Brewster” through a new licensing deal with publisher Lion Forge Comics. The pact also will cover other NBC TV shows that were popular in in the 1980s and ’90s including “Knight Rider,” “Airwolf” and “Miami Vice.” Deal was brokered by NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group.

Lion Forge, a St. Louis-based transmedia producer, will “re-imagine” the properties, tapping scribes Joelle Sellner (“Teen Titans,” “Jackie Chan Adventures”); Jonathan London (“Geekscape”); Geoffrey Thorne (“Leverage,” “Ben 10”); and David Gorden (“Catalyst Prime: Accel”) to write the new storylines. Jason Johnson (“Wetworks,” “Godstorm”) and Lion Forge’s Carl Reed and Lorenzo Lizana are on board as artists.

NBCUniversal sees the digital deal as a new way to keep fans interested in the shows, while attracting a new generation to the properties. Naturally, the deal will also give NBCUniversal a way to continue monetizing the series beyond reruns.

“Partnering with the team at Lion Forge to bring classic TV properties to life in graphic novel format was a natural step for us as we continue to identify new ways to entertain our fans in the digital space,” said Chris Lucero, director of Global Consumer Products Licensing for NBCUniversal Television. “We’re excited to give fans a chance to revisit some of their favorite shows and characters in a completely new way.”

Lion Forge, in particular, said it saw characters like “Miami Vice’s” Crockett and Tubbs, “Saved by the Bell’s” Zack Morris, and Punky Brewster as pop culture icons who could translate well on mobile devices “for a whole new generation of fans,” according to Lion Forge CEO David Steward.

The first comics will be released during the third and fourth quarters through the Amazon Kindle Bookstore, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store and Kobo. Lion Forge will discuss the new books at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20.