Black Hammer, the Eisner Award-winning superhero deconstruction/homage created by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dean Ormston, has been picked up by Legendary Entertainment for development in both television and feature films, the New York Times is reporting. The Dark Horse Comics series about a team of superheroes trapped on a mysterious farm outside of their reality has spawned multiple spin-off miniseries and one-shots, all of which, according to Lemire, are fair game in the development deal.
The comic is one of several projects by Lemire, a prolific writer and cartoonist, that has been optioned. But “with Black Hammer, it’s not just one book. It’s a whole universe with multiple books — and it will be multiple projects for film and television,” Lemire said.
As Legendary president Nick Pepper says in the Times article, with Black Hammer the studio gets their own superhero universe to play with. The characters of the Black Hammer universe are analogues for more well-known ‘Big Two’ characters like Martian Manhunter, Adam Strange, and the original Captain Marvel. After a Crisis-esque battle with the all-powerful Anti-God, the heroes of Spiral City find themselves on a farm from which they apparently cannot escape. The central question of the series is, how do they get back to where they came from—and do they even want to?
This will not be Legendary’s first foray into superhero adaptation; the company previously produced Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-winning Dark Knight trilogy, as well as Superman Returns, Watchmen, and Man of Steel. Lemire, who has previously had creator-owned work like Essex County and Descender optioned for adaptation, will be involved in helping adapt the material for the screen.
Joe Grunenwald is a writer and editor living in the Pacific Northwest. He’s taller than a lot of people but not as tall as some people.