The redoubtable Disney blogger JIm Hill looks at Disney’s somewhat anemic summer. PRINCE CASPIAN was a disappointment (moving from Christmas to summer for the family-themed film was a bad move) and even the majestic WALL-E (a flawless, perfect movie classic) earned a bit less than hoped due to the DARK KNIGHT juggernaut. So what is the answer to beefing up the box office? Could it be…comic books?

This is why Mickey signed Stan Lee last year. With the hope that Spider-man’s creator might then be able to cook up a few new super heroes for the Mouse House to use. And while that development deal has already begun bearing some fruit with the “Time Jumper” franchise, Disney — with an eye toward creating the sort of heat within the fan community that film adaptations like “Sin City,” “300” and “Watchmen” regularly receive — is now getting ready to move into the graphic novel market.

Hill then points to the new Kingdom Comics imprint as a key part of this plan.

Now where this all gets interesting is that the team that the Mouse hired to run its graphic novel division, Kingdom Comics — Ahmet Zappa, Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek — was given some very specific marching orders. In that these three were told to go through the Studio’s live-action library and then identify titles that would lend themselves to graphic novel adaptation.

Titles mentioned include the much discussed THE BLACK HOLE and 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, which would tie in with Disney’s recent trend of reviving ’70s/’80s fare such as TRON and WITCH MOUNTAIN.

Personally, we wouldn’t hold out much hope for Stan Lee, since he seems to be creating new universes for everyone from Virgin to Viz. Even Stan the Man can only create one or two universes a year without a drop in quality.

BTW, while we’re at it, does anyone remember that THE BLACK HOLE starred Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Yvette Mimieux, Roddy McDowall, Slim Pickens, and…ERNEST BORGNINE. All wearing retro-futuro space suits. That was the good stuff then, man.

Forget about the long ago game of casting the Watchmen. Let’s cast the new BLACK HOLE movie. We vote for Adrian Pasdar and Billy Boyd to start. But WHO could replace Ernest Borgnine?

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  1. THE BLACK HOLE Was also adapted into comics — a comic strip version drawn by Jack Kirby ran in newspapers. I think it was Sundays-only, but am not 100% sure.

    Anyway, a collection of that would be welcome.

    As for other properties, I always wanted to write CONDORMAN…


  2. Disney Adventures reprinted some of the Kirby Black Hole before it went under, in one of their comics only specials, I think.

    I had a set of BLACK HOLE cards. Those were wild.

  3. I actually just rewatched the Black Hole last week and that is one messed up movie! But damn, it’s got some great set designs! I’d love to see remade someday.
    But they have to keep all the original robot designs!

  4. The heir to Ernest Borgnine? That’s a toughie. As a kid, I actually used to get pissed off by Ernest Borgnine. How is someone who looks like THAT allowed in front of the camera? Then again, it took me a long time to “get” Jack Kirby.

    Anyhow, what about William Forsythe from Raising Arizona? Paul Giamatti can play pretty much anything. I kinda like the Michael Chiklis suggestion, though he’s quite a bit more handsome than Borgnine. Hmm….Jack Black?!

  5. I always enjoyed the movie series with Kurt Russell as Dexter Riley, the accident-prone teenager who always had some scientific accident happen to him. That character was cut from the same cloth as Jimmy Olsen and Marty McFly (from the “Back to the Future” movies). That might be a series worth re-developing.

    You’re right about WALL-E. A serious classic.

    I can’t help you with Ernest Borgnine tho’… he’s in a class by himself!

  6. I’m willing to bet that if any of Disney’s upcoming superhero movies created by Stan Lee fop at the box office, Disney would then turn around and try to buy Marvel. If they can’t beat them, then they’ll try to buy them. Hell, they already own a large part of Marvel’s animated library, so why not buy the whole company.

  7. > I always enjoyed the movie series with Kurt Russell as
    > Dexter Riley, the accident-prone teenager who always
    > had some scientific accident happen to him.

    Totally! I was disappointed that SKY HIGH wasn’t set in Medfield with Kurt Russell reprising his role as Dexter Riley. Would’ve made sense, considering Dexter was once THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

  8. WALL-E wasn’t very good. The short they showed before it was vastly superior. I wasted my money seeing WALL-E in the theater, and I have no desire to ever see it again. Definitely one of Pixar’s lesser films.

  9. Alan Coil: It’s confirmed. You have no heart.

    WALL-E was a perfect movie in every way. I thought RATATOULLIE was perfect, too, but WALL-E was even more perfecter.

    Pixar has reached the highest levels of movie making with these two back to back.