2020 will go down as the Year without any MCU (among other things) but the success of The Boys, Lucifer and many other streaming shows guarantees that producers are still looking at comics as a fertile ground for adapting to live action and animation. Here’s a round-up of some recent announcements along those lines.
§ Webtoon is expanding into production with a new Webtoon Studios division and many partnerships, including one with Rooster Teeth, Deadline reports. The immensely popular online comics platform has more than 60 million views a month and Lore Olympus, its best known series, is already in development with The Henson company as an animated series.
Webtoon is owned by a a Korean parent company, and in Korea online comics are already often turned into TV series, so this seems a natural development.
“Today marks a huge step for Webtoon,” CEO Ken Kim said. “Webcomics have grown into a cultural phenomenon over the past 15 years – especially for younger generations. This is another important step in building a greater bridge from our creator’s works on Webtoon to film, TV and beyond.”
Webtoon has formed partnerships with companies like The Jim Henson Company as well as Crunchyroll. The platform revealed today that they are expanding its partnerships with Vertigo Entertainment (IT, The Lego Movie) and will team with Samuel Ha’s Bound Entertainment (Snowpiercer, Okja) for a live-action sci-fi series. Webtoon will also collaborate with Rooster Teeth Studios, which will serve as both theanimation studio and co-producer of a supernatural-themed action series.
§ Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is in development as an animated film. Singapore-based 108 Media has signed on to adapt the book, which won three Eisner Awards. The book follows the life of a fictional cartoonist to explore the political and social life of Liew’s native Singapore. The book was quite controversial for some of its content, but also won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2016.
It’s also an absolute masterpiece of a graphic novel, so if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss it!
§ Adrian Tomine’s short story “Killing and Dying” from the same-named collection, is being turned into a French film by director Jacques Audiard, who won the Palme d’Or for Dheepan, and was Oscar-nominated for A Prophet, Variety reports. The film will be called Les Olympiades, and it’s currently filming with stars Noémie Merlant and Geneviève Doang.
Audiard, who enjoys working with a mix of rising and well-seasoned talents behind and in front of the camera, wrote the script of “Les Olympiades” with two female auteurs, Léa Mysius (“Ava”) and Celine Sciamma, whose latest film “Portrait of a Young Lady on Fire” won best screenplay at Cannes 2019 and earned a Golden Globe nomination.
Audiard is one of France’s best known directors, so the film will get quite a bit of attention. Tomine’s story involves a father and daughter who struggle to connect after the mother in the family dies of cancer. It’s a masterpiece, if you ask me. According to Variety, “Although the plot is under wraps, the story is expected to deal with adolescence and revolve around female protagonists.” Okay then!
§ Another great comic has been optioned! Nick Abadzis’s Laika is being turned into an animated film by Asif Kapadia, who won an Oscar for Amy, the documentary about Amy Winehouse, and BAFTAs for Senna and The Warrior.
The book tells the story of Laika, the first dog in space, and the history of the Russian space program. Abadzis is writing the script with Kapadia, and the film will be made in XR (extended reality), an immersive form of filmmaking.
“From the moment I first read Nick Abadzis’ fantastic graphic novel, I’ve wanted to find a way to bring it to the screen and animated VR is the perfect medium to adapt his beautiful work,” Kapadia said. “In my opinion, VR works best when it is rooted in something real and my ambition is for viewers to believe they are really there with Laika, on Earth, during training and finally in space.”
Given that the story is a total heart-tugger, be prepared to bring many tissues to the premiere.
§ Kristen Gudsnuk’s Henchgirl is coming to Freeform as a live-action TV series. The series involves Mary Posa, a young woman who hates her job henching for a supervillain. Screenwriter Alex Ebel (Blood Drive, Deadly Class) is attached to adapt and Lindsey Shockley (Black-ish, Benched) will be the showrunner. Scout Comics, which publishes this delightful series, will be an executive producer.
Henchgirl was just collected in an expanded edition, so you can catch up on the whole story.
§ Batman writer Bryan Edward Hill continues his conquest of Hollywood with a gig writing a new Power Rangers film from eONe and Hasbro. Jonathan Entwistle, who co-created The End of The F*cking World and I Am Not Okay With This (both based on Chuck Forsman’s comics) for Netflix, is signed to direct, so this is sort of an all Team Comics adaptation.
Hill has been the busy guy:
He recently adapted Black for Studio 8/Warner Bros, penned Revenge of Magic for Stampede, and a rewrite of I Am Yours for Paramount. In television, he is currently a Co-Producer on Greg Berlanti’s new DC series Titans. Over the last year, he has written some of the biggest comics for Marvel, DC, Top Cow, Boom and Vertigo. Previously he wrote Gone for Universal/Marc Platt, Phantom for Paramount/Mary Parent and The Russian Specialist for Nu Image/Millennium Films.
The Power Rangers were depowered by their most recent film adaptation, but they are one of those sturdy franchises that will never go away as long as the world needs IP to run.