EXCLUSIVE: IP is a precious commodity in Hollywood, and now comic book company BOOM! Studios is adding more original properties to its catalog. The award-winning comics and graphic novel publisher behind Universal‘s 2 Guns has acquired Eisner and Harvey Award-winning indie label Archaia Entertainment, which will live on as a BOOM! imprint. Archaia, established in 2002, is known for graphic novels Mouse Guard, Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand, Rust, Spera, Cowboy, and Gunnerkrigg Court. Now those titles join the fold at BOOM!, which aims to start nipping at the heels of WB‘s DC Entertainment and Disney‘s Marvel Entertainment as the largest independently-controlled comics and graphic novel library in town. BOOM!’s creator-friendly business model also shares IP ownership between the company and creatives — a nice incentive for artists looking to feed their comics properties into the Hollywood mill.
BOOM!’s foray into feature films launches this summer with Universal’s August 2 release 2 Guns starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, based on industry veteran Steven Grant’s original comic. BOOM!’s also prepping to shop two more Grant properties in the works: Damned, Grant’s 1997 miniseries with Mike Zeck which BOOM! is re-releasing in July, and new comic The Deceivers which boasts a set-up akin to 2 Guns with spies. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Comic book/graphic novel adaptation master David S. Goyer is taking on 100 Bullets as a potential TV series. I hear Goyer is attached to write and executive produce a drama series project for Showtime based on the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book that published 100 issues between 1999 and 2009, all written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso, whose credits include the Batman and Superman comics. Warner Bros. TV, whose sibling DC Comics published 100 Bullets through its Vertigo imprint, is producing.
While lauded as one of the best comic books/graphic novels of the past decade 100 Bullets is an atypical comic as it features no superheroes, magic, supernatural elements or a sci-fi twist. It is a dark, noir-style story about the attempt by one man, the mysterious Agent Graves, to destroy a secret group of families that control most of the world’s wealth and power, and it also poses a classic moral question, “If you could get away with murdering the person who ruined your life, would you do it?” The book’s starting-off point is Graves giving ordinary people who have been wronged a pistol and a briefcase with 100 untracable bullets, offering them to exact justice for themselves with no danger of being caught. The self-contained storylines eventually blend into a sprawling crime saga where everything — and everyone — is connected as Graves takes on a multinational clandestine organization named The Trust. Among 100 Bullets’ distinguishing traits is Azzarello’s realistic use of regional dialects and accents, as well as the frequent use of slang. Read More »
It was pretty much inevitable – after Glee music albums, tours and merchandise, now comes a Glee comic book. Fame: The Cast Of Glee, from Bluewater Prods., “takes a close look at the lives of the actors and creative talent” behind the hit Fox dramedy, including the cast and co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy. It follows the release by the same publisher of Fame: Justin Bieber.
EXCLUSIVE: He just starred on an NBC drama series with comic book mythology. Now Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia is back at the network as the star/executive producer of Rest, a new drama project based on a comic book series he co-created. Ventimiglia will executive produce the project, which has received a script commitment with film/TV/Broadway producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Footloose, Drop Dead Diva). Also executive producing are Ventimiglia’s producing partner at Divide Pictures Russ Cundiff and Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins from Top Cow, the comic book publisher behind Rest. Writer Philip Levens (Smallville), who will also executive produce, is adapting the comic, which was created by Ventimiglia, Cudiff and Mark Powers based on a script by Mike O’Sullivan. It centers on John Barret (Ventimiglia), a normal twentysomething guy in New York City who spends every waking hour working. He enrolls in a testing program for a drug that eliminates the need of sleep and soon becomes addicted to it, which helps him accomplish more but also leads to serious consequences. Since the comic launched in 2008, there has been a lot of chatter among fans that Barret looks a lot like Ventimiglia and that Rest would be turned into TV series or film. Ventimiglia and Levens are with CAA.
While Marvel put pedal to the metal to bring The Avengers and Iron Man 3 into the Disney distribution fold, the superhero factor has pumped the brakes on Runaways, the youth-oriented superhero movie that had been moving quickly toward a production start. Word in agency circles is that the project was flat-lining because it’s similar in age demo to Kick-Ass, but insiders tell me that isn’t true. Marvel simply has too much going on at the moment and will take its time on the live action adaptation of the comic hatched by Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan. It’s called the Breakfast Club of superhero saga, dealing with the children of super-villains who are cursed with evil superpowers. They live in a secret lair under the La Brea tar pits, and try to use their unusual powers for heroic purposes. Director Peter Sollett, who signed up with the idea this would be his followup to Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, is still attached but has been invited to take another film first.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Donald Todd, co-creator/executive producer/showrunner of the ABC comedy Samantha Who?, has set up 2 new projects at CBS — comedy Zits and drama True Detectives. Both are based on well-known properties — Zits is a popular comic strip and Jonathan True Detectives is a best selling novel from Jonathan Kellerman. Both projects stem from Todd’s multi-script deal with Warner Bros TV, which co-produces Zits and True Detectives with studio-based Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Shephard/Robin Co., respectively. Zits is a live-action family comedy based on the comic strip that explores the sardonic wit and hormonal angst of 16-year-old Jeremy Duncan. Read More »
Robert Kirkman’s bestselling comic series The Walking Dead, which already migrated to TV with the upcoming AMC series, will now spawn a trilogy of original novels to be published by Thomas Dunne books, an imprint of St. Martins Press, starting in 2011. The books will be conceptualized and outlined by Kirkman before being developed by horror novelist Jay Bonansinga (Perfect Victim). The books’ plots will take place in the “universe” or context established by Kirkman’s comic series, which is currently in its 77th issue and has sold approximately three million copies worldwide. AMC’s The Walking Dead premieres on October 31.
EXCLUSIVE: Atlas Comics, the short-lived 1970s imprint founded by Marvel Comics founder Martin Goodman, is rising from the ashes. Goodman’s grandson, Jason, has dusted off the original titles and the characters will relaunch with new story lines that begin with the release of The Grim Ghost and Phoenix. The first two titles will be unveiled at New York Comic-Con next month. According to comic book lore, Martin Goodman sold Marvel to Cadence Industries in 1970 for millions of dollars and the promise that his son Chip would stay on as editorial director. When Stan Lee — Martin’s nephew by marriage — instead showed Chip the door, Martin and Chip hatched Atlas with the goal of vanquishing its rival. It created a battle for some of the era’s top artists Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios is moving forward on a live action feature version of Iron Fist, hiring screenwriter Rich Wilkes to draft a movie based on a martial arts expert whose battle with a dragon–ended when he plunged his hands through the beast’s molten heart–turned his fists into indestructible weapons.
Iron Fist was on the minds of many fanboys when Disney paid $4 billion for Marvel’s 5000 superhero library and vowed to turn the less obvious comic book heroes into films and TV properties. Marvel tried to make an Iron Fist movie with Artisan nearly a decade ago, as a vehicle for X-Men villain and martial arts expert Ray Park. The Iron Fist comic book mythology was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in the 1970s, when the popularity of martial arts films was on the rise.
Iron Fist was among a bunch of Marvel superhero properties scattered around Hollywood. While tent poles like X-Men, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four and a handful of others remain at other studios, Marvel has recaptured rights to many wayward properties and Kevin Feige is hitting the reset button on a bunch of them. Marvel recently began work on Dr. Strange, hiring Conan scribes Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to generate a film from a superhero property that four studios tried to crack over the years. Both Iron Fist and Dr. Strange will be distributed by Disney. Marvel Studios has four more films under the preexisting … Read More »
Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
SUNDAY AM UPDATE: I think the biggest news of the Marvel Studios panel tonight is that The Punisher is now owned by Marvel Studios again, and will probably figure into a future film. I’ve learned The Punisher rights reverted to Marvel in 2009 following the release of Punisher 2. The studio has no immediate plans to develop a movie based on the franchise. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige last night did not say when the Punisher rights reverted, or how: just that they have.
So who is The Punisher? In the comics, Frank Castle is a Vietnam veteran whose family is killed in a Mafia crossfire. Donning a black spandex costume with a skull logo, he declares war on crime and becomes a vigilante. Introduced as a Spider-Man foe in the 1970s, his popularity took off in the late 1980s, when grim and “realistic” superheroes became the norm. The Punisher is different from many superheroes in that he uses guns and has no secret identity. (He is known to be Frank Castle.) On film, he has been portrayed three times.
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Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
Seth Rogen comes out. “I’m sorry if you were expecting Ryan Reynolds” (who’s in Warner Bros’ Green Lantern.) Introduces footage that expands on the trailer we’ve seen, where Rogen plays a drunken newspaper heir whose father dies suddenly, and becomes a hero when his father’s Asian chauffeur Kato (Jay Chou, stepping in for Bruce Lee) turns out to be an expert in combat. New scenes include Kato removing a beer bottle cap in such a way that it flies like a bommerang… Rogen saying that Kato’s autobiography should be called ‘Balls Deep In Shit-Kickin’ Dudes,’… Kato insisting on “no tights” … Rogen deciding his hero identity should be “the green bee,” which a room full of friends agree is lame (they prefer “hornet” though he still tries to put it to a vote and get “bee”)… Christoph Waltz yelling “Nothing green should survive the night!”… Rogen accidentally shooting himself with gas gun (next thing he knows, he’s out for 31 days)… This clip was not in 3-D. Read More »
Liquid Comics has formed a publishing partnership with filmmaker Wes Craven and producer Arnold Rifkin. It will lead to the first original graphic novel created by Craven, the man responsible for fright films like Scream, The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They won’t divulge the subject but plan to launch the story as a four issue comic book series starting early next year. It’ll be published in print, iPad, iPhone and other mobile and gaming devices.
“It’s an idea I’ve been dying to get out there, and working in collaboration with [Liquid's] Sharad Devarajan and Arnold Rifkin will be the ideal win/win way to do it,” Craven said in a statement. Craven’s currently directing Scream 4 for Dimension Films.
Green Lantern co-writer Marc Guggenheim is at Comic-Con today. He’s launching Collider Entertainment, a partnership with Alisa Tager that is designed to create properties that start out as comics and then springboard onto other media platforms. Guggenheim and Tager have experience in everything from TV to films, video games and comic books. Their company gets off the ground with a deal with Image Comics that begins with two titles.
Guggenheim has written the first title, Utopian, with his screenwriter wife Tara Butters. The first installment of the five-comic series will be published in November. It takes place in a world where superheroes are rendered obsolete when war, famine and crime disappear. One hero investigates the source of the new-found tranquility but his colleagues oppose his efforts to return the world to its normal chaos.
Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, the scripters of Red and Battleship, are generating the second title, and is a few shades darker. The Mission is a supernatural thriller about a man who receives instructions from the angel Gabriel to commit murders. Is he crazy or answering a divine call?
Aside from teaming with Greg Berlanti and Michael Green to write Green Lantern, Guggenheim is currently a consulting producer on the ABC Michael Chiklis series No Ordinary Family and has had a long career writing and producing series. He has earned his fanboy cred writing nearly 100 comics, including Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, Superman/Batman, Blade and Young X-Men. He even adapted … Read More »
I hear Fox’s action drama Human Target is adding a female lead for Season 2 and has cast British actress Indira Varma for it. The series, based on the DC Comic about unorthodox bodyguard Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), stood out in its first season with an all-male regular cast of 3, Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley, probably the smallest core cast I’ve seen on a drama series in a long time. Now the show is adding a fourth regular, Varma. Read More »
Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
Director Tom McGrath is out first and says this is the first Dreamworks animated superhero movie. He always thinks the villains are the most fun, so he made a whole movie about the villain. He also mentions that at Comic-Con the villain costumes are the most fun too…
On cue, out comes Will Ferrell, painted blue, in a spandex Megamind costume, with a huge blue helmet that still has a barcode sticker on it. He’s carrying a box of 6 donuts. “I brought breakfast. I didn’t expect this many people.”
Now out comes Tina Fey, who also has donuts: 7-Select mini-donuts, in fact, which are the 7-11 brand. “Whomever I met at the hotel last night, you left your Admiral Ackbar costume in my room. I just wanna know if I can keep it.”
Adds Ferrell, appropriately, “It’s a trap!” Says he thought everyone on the panel was going to come in costume. Fey replies: “I did. My character’s a normal person.”
And here’s Jonah Hill! Now time to show a clip.
Unlike the trailer, which I found surprisingly funny (because the poster looked horrible to me, but the Superman spoofery plays well in the footage), this doesn’t have the origin story. Both Megamind and his arch-enemy, the heroic Metro Man (Brad Pitt) are the last sons of dying planets. But one is an arch-villain in large part due to his alien looks, while square-jawed Metro … Read More »
Independent comics publisher Oni Press and its sister company Closed on Mondays Entertainment have inked a first-look deal with CBS TV Studios to mine the publishers’ comic books and graphic novels for series and other TV programming. The announcement was made at Comic-Con. Oni Press’ property Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was turned into an Universal Pictures film, which premieres August 13. Other books by Paradigm-repped Oni Press and Closed on Mondays in various stages of feature development include The Return of King Doug with Ben Stiller and Red Hour Films, Ciudad with Joe & Anthony Russo, both at Paramount; The Damned with Parkes/MacDonald at DreamWorks; Last Call with Barry Josephson, Leading Man with Marc Platt and Frenemy of the State with Brian Grazer and Imagine at Universal.