As caught by Multiversity, Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s very good science saga The Manhattan Projects will be taking a leave of absence for a few months, until retooling into a slightly different format next March.
The series, which follows a group of militarists and scientists as they work together to explore space, anatomy, and antyhing else they can get their hands on before the Russians do, is completely bonkers at this point. Alternate Albert Einsteins are running around with chainsaws, while an Oppenheimer Civil War just concluded and creatures from space have started trying to cause trouble to Laika, the Cosmonaut dog. The book has pulled apart into several different directions all at once, and Hickman’s reasoning for putting the book on a temporary hiatus is so he can reconcile everything into a more streamlined shape.
Nick and I always knew that when the comic got to a certain point we would be changing format, as Manhattan Projects was always intended to eventually be a book where we could tell any kind of story — in any genre — we wanted. We were also aware that doing so would mean that we would be changing the entire structure of the book. Gone will be the sprawling ensemble narrative that moves each individual character’s story incrementally along, and replacing that will be tight arcs focusing on a single (or few) characters.
The book has a solid readership and is pretty safe from cancellation, so can afford to make this sort of move. Once it does return next year, Hickman promises that the ensemble will be pared down in favour of smaller, more character-focused storylines. I’ve been catching up on the series recently, and it reads very well indeed in trade – but I can see the case being made for it pulling itself apart, of late. So this is a canny move, and I’m intrigued to see what kind of shape the revamped – but not relaunched – series will be in come March.