Just a few months after signing Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick to a television production deal, Universal continues to link up with comic book creative forces, as their cable division (UCP) has signed a first-look deal with Dark Horse Comics, adapting a number of the publisher’s titles for the small screen and according to the press release will include “direct involvement from the comics creators” in a deal that “will focus on developing and producing scripted programming from their extensive comics library as well as new material”.
Everything is still in the pre-production phase at this point, but here are the four projects that are listed as being “in development”:
Harrow County – Emmy has always known that the deep, dark woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts, goblins, and the restless dead. On the eve of her 18th birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures and to the land itself in a way she never imagined, for she is the reincarnation of a powerful witch who was put to death on the very day Emmy was born. For this reason, the townsfolk mean to kill her too. In order to survive, Emmy must embrace the unusual powers at her command. This project is based on the brand new book written by Cullen Bunn (“The Damned,” “The Sixth Gun”) and illustrated by Tyler Crook (“Bad Blood”).
The Umbrella Academy – Nine years after parting ways, the estranged members of the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers, must figure out how to work together to save the world. Created by Gerard Way (lead singer of “My Chemical Romance,” and writer of “The True Lies of the Fabulous Killjoys”) and Gabriel Ba (Daytripper); Bluegrass films is also attached to executive produce.
Back Up – In the near future, a new technology allows people to be backed up the same way we now back up our computers—but instead of protecting against drive failure, these backups protect against death. This project is based on a feature script by Tom Vaughn. Kenny Golde is set to write and executive produce, Brad Anderson (“Zoo”, “Almost Human”) is in negotiations to direct. Jim Wedaa is also attached to executive produce.
Concrete – After his subconscious is transplanted into a hulking stone body, Ronald Lithgow must come to terms with his new form and try to live a normal life. This Eisner award-winning title is the opus of comics legend Paul Chadwick.
Concrete is a long-time favorite of mine, and I rather enjoyed The Umbrella Academy when I read it a few years back, so it sounds like we’re looking at a few projects of real promise. Based on the fact that Back Up already has a director in negotiations probably puts that project on the forefront of the filming schedule.
I’m sure this will be a major focus of some of Dark Horse’s programming at SDCC in just a couple of days.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.