Firstly, there’s such a thing as a comic called THOR: THE DARK WORLD, “Prelude”, a two-part “limited series” introduced this month which is apparently designed as a movie tie-in meant to bridge the gap for readers between the first THOR film and the new DARK WORLD film set for release in the US on November 8th, 2013. The comic sports an action shot of actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor looking, of course, rather dashing and menacing, hammer in hand. Also unsurprisingly, the comic opens with an ad for the film, with a closer-up image of Hemsworth as Thor looking dashing, menacing, but concerned, as snow and rain pelt around him in the dark. So, for a comic that’s supposed to help readers connect the dots and glimpse things to come in small part, what can it tell us?
Giant monsters battling with giant robots. It’s something every kid has fantasized about and on July 12th every kid’s dream will be brought to vivid life on screen courtesy of director Guillermo del Toro with Pacific Rim. In the future, the world is overrun by giant “Kaiju” monsters who arise from a mysterious portal under the sea—to combat them humans devise “Jaegers”: giant robots piloted by humans. So yeah, Godzilla vs. Optimus Prime in four color.
Although Del Toro is the mastermind of the film, the concept itself is the brainchild of a great American hero named Travis Beacham. A highly sought after screenwriter—Dog Days of Summer, Clash of the Titans, the upcoming TV show Ballistic City and a much-admired unproduced screenplay called Killing on Carnival Row—Beacham and artists Sean Chen, Yvel Guichet, Pericles Junior, Chris Batista, and Geoff Shaw got to tell a few extra stories of the Jaegers in Pacific Rim: The Graphic Novel, a prequel published earlier this month by Legendary Comics.
The book is an anthology of stories set in the past of the movie, depicting the origin of monsters, the invention of the Jaegers, and the early training of the Jaeger pilots. Like all normal, healthy children, Beacham was obsessed with monsters and robots in his formative years. “When I was 11 I watched Voltron and Ray Harryhausen and old Godzilla movies,” he told the Beat. “By the time I got into the industry I really wished they would do a modern monsters vs. robots movies but with modern special effects and so on. And then one day I realized I’m the ‘they.’”
Beacham came up with the idea in 2007 and played around with it for years, gradually evolving such details as two people having to drive the Jaegers. Since the movie takes place a decade after the first kaiju attack, the graphic novel covers the early years of the monster invasion. Although it’s an example of the dreaded transmedia tie-in, it happens to work in this case. “I’m a big fan of the drop in—dropping people into a world that already exists, Blade Runner style,” says Beacham. “It gives the world texture.” But at the same time not every detail could be fit into the film, so the graphic novel became the way to explore the history of the world.
Like many screenwriters who are comics fans, Beacham found adapting to the new medium was a “learning experience.” He had to find ways to approach space and time differently, and “it took some doing. But I certainly like the final product” and like many who experience the freedom of the comics world, he’d like to do more stories in the medium. “I found it be a very rewarding process, if for no other reason than that it’s very intimate, talking to only a handful of people.”
Beacham acknowledges that Pacific Rim is very much in the tradition of the late, great Harryhausen, a figure who also inspired director Guillermo del Toro, who was, by all accounts, very hands on in bringing Beacham’s idea to the screen, as he is with all his films. “What I like about Harryhausen is how he endowed these imaginary creations with personality—that’s what made them so iconic,” Beacham says of the monster master’s appeal. “That’s part of Guillermo’s inspiration putting together the creatures and robots. We wanted the kaiju to have their own quirks and the Jaegers to have a kind of built-in nostalgic iconography, and evoke a sense of childhood nostalgia, even though you’re seeing them for the first time.”
Pacific Rim is coming out riding a wave of massive cinematic destruction—this summer the world has been in terrible peril more times than Johnny Depp has put on a funny hat. Beacham agrees that there’s an apocalypse fetish going on, but hopes this movie will buck the tide a bit. “Many times in a zombie apocalypse, there is a grim resignation to being obliterated. I’ve found that pretty repugnant. When [in the film] Pentecost says ‘We’re cancelling the apocalypse,’ that is me earnestly and literally mocking the conventions and saying this show isn’t over until we’re actually dead. Pacific Rim is meant to have a sense of grandeur in the face of mighty challenges. There are a lot of movies about a lot of extraordinary disasters. This is a movie about extraordinary solutions.”
I’m not going to lie, but my “mjolnir” dropped when I saw the brand-spanking-new Thor: The Dark World movie poster. [Read more…]
With Oblivion—the Tom Cruise SF vehicle—opening next week, we have some official word about the graphic novel that inspired it, via Radical Studio’s evp Jesse Berger. Although I’ve been skeptical in the past about Radical’s publishing plans, they approached me in good faith to set the record straight, which is appreciated. In this case the pitch that inspired the movie—an ashcan edition of a text and concept art hybrid—will eventually be published, but not until the movie has run its course:
Although Kosinski has been saying in interviews that he didn’t feel the graphic novel treatment would be published, as he felt it was a version of the story he wasn’t that connected to, Radical, obviously, feels differently. “I think he’s leaving out the fact that movies and books don’t need to be exactly the same. They are called source material for a reason,” says Berger. However, because of various marketing factors, including keeping some of the surprises in the film secret, Radical will not release the graphic novel version until later in 2014.
So there. Radical is also planning to revisit their take on Hercules, which will form the basis of a movie next year, and has more film projects planned, as well as a digital platform for their IP. As Berger told me, comics publishing isn’t the easiest business in the world, so we’ll leave this story with Radical mostly in the business they probably always wanted to be in: developing movie properties.
As I said in the first piece linked to above, the glitzy comics-to-movies company model of the Aughts—Virgin, Radical, Platinum—has mostly run its course, with very little to show for it.
BUT, coming up later this year: 2 Guns, starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington and based on the Steven Grant/Mat Santolouco comic of the same name, published by Boom! Studios. Boom! is obviously in the comics publishing business for the long haul, and 2 Guns is a story Grant worked on for a long time. I’m always rooting for both Steven Grant and Denzel and this sounds like a solid thriller based on solid source material.
Are comics the shortcut to Hollywood success? No way. Does hard work sometimes pay off? Absolutely. Save me the aisle seat.
We’ve written before about OBLIVION, the SF movie that seemed to be “based’ on a graphic novel by director Joseph Kosinski, adapted by Arvid Nelson and Andree Wallin–although a mock-up of the project was apparently used to lure Tom Cruise into starring in the film (which opens later this month)–Kosinski now says it will most likely never be published:
As for whether we’ll ever see the printed version of the story? “I don’t have any plans to do it right now. To me it’s feels like it’s in the rear-view mirror, you know? It’s like part of the development process. The film is the end result. But never say never. Maybe at some point it will be fun to go back and show the steps and the journey.”
Maybe if the movie is a big, big hit.
Farewell, we never even knew you, OBLIVION the graphic novel.
The biggest success for comics over the past five years hasn’t actually been comics at all: it’s been the movie industry. Superhero films are gigantically big business now, with The Avengers pulling in over a billion dollars worldwide, and the industry paying top-dollar for any new comic rights they can get their hands on. At the same time, superhero films are in a very good critical position as well - Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy won Oscars! Top directors are almost literally battling for the chance to get their hands on characters like Daredevil or Luke Cage.
Mike Molcher is the PR Co-ordinator for Rebellion, meaning he is the man directly responsible for promoting their comics, 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. If you’ve noticed over the last few months that more people are talking about 2000AD, be it the recent ‘Trifecta’ storyline, or the ‘gay Judge Dredd’ teaser which got picked up everywhere – that’s Mike Molcher’s work. He’s also an interviewer and writer himself, who has interviewed many of the key figures who have worked at 2000AD over the years, including Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Dave Gibbons and Carlos Ezquerra.
But how do you go about promoting a company like 2000AD, which releases a new anthology EVERY WEEK? I spoke to Mike about his work with the company, to see how exactly he goes about promoting the series. And what is comic book marketing, anyway? How does it work? Is this interview secretly all part of his marketing plan?
By reading this, have we become trapped in Mike Molcher’s sinister plans for 2000AD to take over the world? Oh dear…
Vertigo released Book 1 of its THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO graphic novel adaptation of the award-winning posthumously published Millennium Series novels by Stieg Larsson in 2012 in hardback, begging the question: do we really need a graphic novel of a series so popular that the novels fly off the shelves and two film adaptations (both Swedish and American) have already been made? But it’s more a question of what the comics format has to offer to the concept that the film versions haven’t done or can’t do in quite the same way. The choices that filmmakers have made in adapting the series also leave a great deal of room for alternative formats to bring out elements of the books that have been neglected or understated.
We all want Wonder Woman to be in a movie. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we want her to be in EVERY film. And every TV show. Maybe a few music videos. But for one reason or another, we’re repeatedly disappointed by a world which does not seem to share our desire for Diana to take over the entirety of culture. She can’t get a TV show off the ground, her film scripts never get put anywhere near production, and Nicki Minaj hasn’t dressed up as her ONCE.
So step-forward first-time director Jesse V. Johnson, a stunt co-ordinator who has worked on films like Lincoln, Thor, and Spider-Man, to show how it’s done. Johnson today uploaded a film trailer for Wonder Woman, to show off his ability as a director for potentially-interested parties… and it’s pretty darned good, you guys. It’s even got this poster, created by Robert Sebree.
Just the other day we were telling you how Radical Studios has ridden the comics-to-movies rollercoaster to some success with a movie based on the not-really-a-GN Oblivion on its way to a multiplex near you. And now, Variety tells us, they’ve raised $3 million of a wished for $9.5 million to “help broaden its digital strategy and licensing capabilities.” The money came from WolfIskin Prods. [sic], a production company that makes videos and offered Radical some production facilities.
Radical has plans for the money:
Radical hopes it can focus most of its new coin on developing more of its catalog of intellectual property, as opposed to creating projects from scratch. While the studios hang on to most of the ancillary rights to Radical’s films, they don’t get everything.
“Radical reserves a certain kind of digital publishing right that allows us to have a little more creativity in the user interface of the experience, without it being a game,” Berger told Variety , adding that the company hopes to develop different ways for fans to interact with Radical’s content. “We’re always on the hunt for new IP, and we’re always looking to develop new IP with the top creators in the business, and at the same time, we have a tremendous catalog,” he said.
While development is going on, we’re told there is still no release date for the illustrated novel that formed the inspiration for the OBLIVION film.
You may have noticed a few trailers for OBLIVION, a new Tom Cruise SF film that seems to fuse the themes of I AM LEGEND, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, WAR OF THE WORLDS, and MINORITY REPORT into one handy epic. (It also destroys New York, just as all futuristic movies must.) The film comes out in April and in addition to Cruise it stars Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell, and Andrea Riseborough. The director is TRON: UPRISING’s Joseph Kosinski, and he’s also the source of this film’s tenuous but fascinating “graphic novel” connection. [Read more…]
A gn adapting the cult Nazis on the Moon movie IRON SKY is coming from IDW with art by Gerry Kissell and Amin Amat. Everyone wants to put Nazis on the moon right on their own bookshelf!
IDW Publishing, along with comic production house Hazmat Studios and film production company Blind Spot Pictures, are thrilled to present fans with the official IRON SKYmovie tie-in graphic novel in March 2013. Drawn and colored by the amazing artistic team of Gerry Kissell and Amin Amat, the guys behind IDW’s best selling graphic novel Code Word: Geronimo, and Xbox’s comic game tie-in Alan Wake. The book will also be featuring original pin-up art by Miguel Angel Abad(Planet of the Apes) and Darren Douglas (Golden Compass) and chronicles the battle against the return of history’s most notoriously evil villains, the Nazis, who unbeknownst to us, escaped to the moon following their defeat in World War II.
“The graphic novel is a prequel to the hit sci-fi action film Iron Sky produced by Blind Spot Pictures, and focuses on how the Nazis ended up on the moon, and how Udo Kier’s character, Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, became Der Überführer.” Said lead artist Kissell. “Part steampunk and part comedy, the graphic novel was written masterfully by Alan Wake scribe, Mikko Rautalahti. who has a wicked sense of humor.”Kissell continued.
The book will be 104 pages, with 67 pages of comic art with an additional 33 pages of production art, behind the scenes bonus material, and other exclusive material written by the film’s director, Timo Vuorensola.
A quick list of non-Marvel titles being offered by Disney Publishing Worldwide.
Rick Riordan, a unique sketchbook, a Tim Burton graphic novel, and Marvel U, A 2 Z!
(There are lots of media tie-ins to “Wreck It Ralph”, but nothing of interest, just the “art of” book: 9781452111018.)
Kane Chronicles, The, Book One: Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel. The
Author Bio: Author Bio: Rick Riordan (www.rickriordan.com) is the author of the New York Times #1 best-selling The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid and Book Two: The Throne of Fire. His other novels for children include the New York Times #1 best-selling The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero and Book Two: The Son of Neptune, as well as the five books in the New York Times#1 best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons. Orpheus Collar (www.orpheusartist.com) is a storyboard artist and illustrator who received his BFA from the Maryland Institute of Art. He has contributed his coloring skills to numerous titles, including The Amazing Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men. Orpheus also provided the storyboards for The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel. Orpheus lives in Los Angeles, California.Illustrator Bio: Orpheus Collar (www.orpheusartist.com) is a storyboard artist and illustrator who received his BFA from the Maryland Institute of Art. He has contributed his coloring skills to numerous titles, including The Amazing Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men. Orpheus also provided the storyboards for The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel. Orpheus lives in Los Angeles, California.
Blue Bloods: The Graphic Novel
Summary: Catalog Copy:
The sexy and secretive world of the Blue Bloods comes to life in this stunning graphic novel adaptation of Book One in Melissa de la Cruz’s best-selling series.
Frankenweenie: A Graphic Novel
Marvel PressS is for Super Hero
Summary: Catalog Copy:
This press release is a little light on details, but we’re big on Spain Rodriguez here, and it appears he’s been hired to draw one of those “screenplay-to-comics” deals, which will be funded through Kickstarter. Like we said, it’s just a plan, but it’s nice to see Spain in the news.
Spain Rodriguez has signed to draw Joan Dark, a new graphic novel by three untried authors in the comics field. Rodriguez, one of America’s first underground comics artists of the ’60s and ’70s (and frequently identified only as ‘Spain’), has published a large body of work as both artist and writer. The writers of Joan Dark are Robert Hurst and Jeff Tamblyn, who wrote the story first as a screenplay, and Patrick Quinn, who penned the comic script.
“We’re incredibly lucky to have made the connection with Spain,” Tamblyn says. “As first-timers, this is beyond our wildest dreams. We expect to learn a lot from him during the course of the next year.” Tamblyn, a filmmaker, was acquainted with Spain’s wife, filmmaker Susan Stern (Barbie Nation, Self-Made Man) for more than three years before learning to whom she is married. “Even after I found out, I never expected to have the opportunity to work with him,” Tamblyn says.
Joan Dark is a modern-day retelling of Don Quixote that features a female leading character who is an emotionally-damaged Iraq War veteran. It’s described as a darkly comic, action-adventure tale, laden with political overtones – an arena that should work well for Rodriguez, whose left-wing sentiments have never been a secret.
The team intends to finance the artwork through kickstarter.com, a crowd-sourcing website for creative endeavors that’s become well-known to comics enthusiasts around the world.
Rodriguez created the first underground tabloid, Zodiac Mindwarp. His character Trashman, Agent of the Sixth International, was an icon in underground newspapers of the ’60s. Big Bitch, another popular Spain character, appears in She Comics. Spain’s work currently appears in the online graphic novel Dark Hotel, at sfgate.com, the LA Weekly and Blab. Spain also recently published Che: A Biography, which was translated into eleven languages.
Quinn, a writer and editor, wrote the 1995 novel Thick As Thieves, which was adapted as a motion picture starring Alec Baldwin. Tamblyn’s feature documentary, Kansas vs. Darwin, was released in 2008 through New Day Films. Hurst, who also teaches film at the University of Kansas, is a writer, director and technician who’s worked on various features over a 20-year career, including Sundance screener The Only Good Indian.
Another key character in the story is an Arab journalist, who plays the voice of reason to Joan’s deluded-but-driven knight. “We really love the character of the journalist, whose name is Fahreed Al-Hassan,” says Hurst. “He’s an Arab character who’s not a terrorist or a doctor or a convenience-store clerk, he’s very human, with many weaknesses and a very good heart.”
Publishing plans for the book have not yet been announced.
By Steve Morris
With just over a week left until Mark Millar’s Kapow Comic-Con returns for 2012 (you’re going, right? See you there — I’ll be the handsome guy with glasses, you can’t miss me), it might be worth going over all the latest announcements the man himself has been making recently. From convention guests to comic-book announcements, he’s been characteristically busy over the past few days, with many an update popping up on his twitter feed.
Most of these are related to his Icon series Kick-Ass, which seems to have become his primary focus over the past few weeks. With the completion of the first and second mini (which is actually the third part of the story – we’ll get to that in a second), Millar’s been ramping up to the imminent launch of his spin-off story, ‘Hit-Girl’. Drawn by John Romita Jr (co-creator of Kick-Ass, who replaced initially announced artist Leandro Fernandez on the title at Millar’s request), this is a five-issue miniseries starting this month. It stars the eponymous underage Chloe Moretz lookalike antihero as she goes about the business of, y’know, murdering people in the name of justice.
Issue #1 comes with a cover from Phil Noto, released only a few days ago by Millar, which pretty much sets the scene for what’ll be to come from the series. It’s a little reminiscent of Game of Thrones, which is rather appropriate as I imagine people are going to get their heads lopped off at random, in true HBO fashion. The mini is set between the events of Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2 (which, it’s just been announced, is in development as a film by Universal), you see, meaning fans waiting for some kind of trilogy conclusion to the Red Mist/Kick-Ass battle will have to wait until later on in the year to get their satisfaction and swears.
Hit-Girl sees the main character trying to make it by at school, without snapping and killing people. After seeing her dad die and going on a murderous rampage of revenge as betrayed tweenagers are wont to do, this change of pace is something Millar has been wanting to try for a while now, as it’ll let him delve into the character and explain her origin story for readers. There’ll be an exclusive art preview over on CBR later tonight, so you can get yourself up to speed then.
Does that help? Now when you bump into Mark Millar after being dazzled by my bi-focular good looks at Kapow, you’ll have something to talk to him about! That’s in-between your trips to go see the creators of Arkham City on panel, Audiences with Nick Frost and Warren Ellis, waving at Emma Vieceli, meeting and greeting Jonathan Ross, Scott Snyder and Oliver Coipel, and ‘treating’ C.B. Cebulski to a look at your art portfolio, of course.
As the comics market has gotten a lot dicier In This Economy, a few smaller companies have become a bit harder to spot in the forest. Companies like Moonstone, the long-running pulp-themed publisher of such things as KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER, BUCKAROO BANZAI, and so on. In recent year they have been best known for putting out a bunch of pulp heroes now published by Dynamite, such as The Spider and so on. Things have been pretty quiet on the Moonstone front of late — publishing small indie comics periodicals seems like a supersonic journey to insolvency and industry scuttlebutt around Moonstone hasn’t been exactly robust.
But Moonstone is still around — here are their April releases, both collections and both Buckaroo Banzai-themed. Guess that cult film has found its afterlife in the comics, with the participation of auteur W.D. Richter a big bonus.
Banzai Banzai HC: No Matter Where you go, There You Are
story: Earl Mac Rauch, WD Richter
Art: Chew Chan, Shawn Van Briesen
Cover: Matt Haley
160pgs, 7” x 10”, color, HC, $49.99,
Never before collected stories!
The 1984 film starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin,
Jeff Goldblum, & Christopher Lloyd is a cult classic loved the world over!
writer Mac Rauch and director WD Richter return to their creation with BRAND NEW STORIES!
“…a bold, titillating mix of particle physics, rock n roll, super-sonic speed, beautiful women, and villains beyond redemption.”
Everyone’s favorite adventurer/surgeon/rock star is back again just in time to save the world!
-Get the low down on the events that transpired BEFORE the movie!
-See for the first time a good look and Buckaroo’s beginnings!
This volume reprints the 2 issue “Prequel” series, the two issue “H.O.T.H.” series, and the “Origin” and “Big Size” issues.
Buckaroo Banzai HC: Return of the Screw,
Story: Earl Mac Rauch, Joe Gentile
Art: Stephen Thompson, Keith Williams
Cover: Dave Dorman
118pgs, color, 7” x 10”, HC, $39.99
With the softcover long out of print, here is your chance to get this very limited HC edition!
Along with his Hong Kong Cavaliers, Banzai must battle more than one surprise arch enemy, each with their own motives, but all acting in concert to bring Banzai to his knees!
All this sandwiched between a couple of great rock and roll guitar solos, a few surgical procedures, a crazy gun battle on land and air, Buck’s one chance for the ultimate revenge, his soul in turmoil, all the chicks digging him, engineering synchronicity, pretty toilets, a human pickle, and a giant sombrero!
This volume reprints the super-seller 3 issue mini series, plus a TON of extra goodies: character files! unused covers! alternate ending! production designs from the unfilmed TV Movie! An interview with Banzai’s creator Mac Rauch!