Comics2Film: Issue #98

Wed, December 15th, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

Welcome back readers! Matt Wagner's Mage is this week's big green

story. Comics 2 Film is thrilled to announce that Wagner has

finalized a production deal to bring Kevin Matchstick to the big

screen. We also have the scoop on the new Ash writers, and Nathan

Never's scribe as well. Sources offer us a few insights into the

future direction of the Batman franchise. We've got Spider-Man,

X-Men, Elflord and much, much more. So, read on...

MAGE

Comic creator Matt Wagner told Comics 2 Film that production has begun on the filmed adaptation of his Mage. Wagner has been working for years with producers Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie of Critical Mass Entertainment to get the project up and running. Wagner has now officially inked a deal with Spyglass Entertainment to adapt The Hero Discovered, the first arc of his Mage trilogy. Spyglass struck gold this year with the surprise hit The Sixth Sense.

Wagner, Ross and Cosby have endeavored to set up the movie that will be a faithful interpretation of the source material. "These guys and I really see eye to eye on how Mage would translate to film," said Wagner. "I've always thought that for Mage to really make it as a movie, the creative team would have to bring their own flavor to the table, while still retaining the essence of the source material's charm and style. A panel-by-panel rendition on celluloid is not what any of us sees."

"I've always thought that for Mage to really make it as a movie, the creative team would have to bring their own flavor to the table, while still retaining the essence of the source material's charm and style."
  - Matt Wagner
Mage

Also on board is screenwriter John Rogers (Jesse James). "Everybody on the production end loved his material and the minute I read his stuff, I knew we'd found our guy," Wagner continues. "John's really got the right combination of action, wit and heart that'll bring Kevin Matchstick to life on screen. Plus, he's a huge fan of the comic. Bingo."

Kevin Smith (Dogma), also a big Mage fan, has long been attached to the project and was very recently expected to write and possible direct the movie. Unfortunately, Smith will not be involved with this new deal. "Spyglass is hot to go on this film and I'm very excited to be working with them," explains Wagner. "They wanted someone who could start writing immediately and, sad to say, Kevin's schedule wasn't open for several months. I'll certainly miss his input on things but I'm quite excited to be working with John Rogers as well. I feel very good about the way this is all coming together and the focus of the creative vision behind the film. The magic feels green."

Mage: The Hero Defined, the second installment of Wagner's trilogy is set to wrap up soon. Issue #15, published by Image will be in stores this week.

ASH

Sources have informed Comics 2 Film that a new team of screenwriters has been hired to work on the movie version of Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti's Ash. Larry Wilson (Beetlejuice, The Addams Family) and Les Bohem (Dante's Peak, Daylight) are currently working on the animated feature which is in development at Dreamworks. Previously, comic veterans Marv Wolfman and Len Wein had taken a pass at a screenplay and Ed Khmara (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) had written an initial draft before that. Anime creator Katsushiro Otomo (Akira) has long been attached to direct.

Thanks to Jon Macy for the lead.

BATMAN 5

With the various rumors regarding plans for Batman movies making the rounds, Comics 2 Film decided to check in with our source at Batfilm Productions. We asked if he had any insights about the rumored Batman: Year One, Batman Beyond movies or the Bruce Wayne TV show. Our source had no information about the TV show (Batfilm may not be involved). He did say that, in regards to the next Batman movie, Warner Bros. will likely make their plans clear some time next year.

JettD60 of the Batman 5 website saw the above report and decided to do some follow-up with his own sources.

"Both people I checked with say that WB is looking to move forward with a project very soon," Jett told us. "It may come in the first 3 months of next year. Reason being: they would like to get the picture ready for a summer 2001 release."

Jett's sources tell him that scripts and/or treatments are making the rounds for both a Year One and a Batman Beyond concept. One of Jett's sources tells him that a conventional sequel, which follows the continuity of the previous movies, is also still possible, but the least likely of the three.

NATHAN NEVER

Comics 2 Film has learned that Peter Nelson, co-writer of Buying The Cow, will also co-write the recently announced Nathan Never feature film. Walt Becker, Nelson's writing partner on Cow, will also share the writing chores on Never. The movie is set up at Dreamworks.

ELFLORD

A recent press release reveals that SyCoNet.com, Inc. has retained the licensing rights of Elflord from Davdez Arts, Inc. Initial plans call for the development of video games, apparel, toys and figures, and collectable card games based on the comic book. However, Sy Picon, CEO of SyCoNet.com adds, "We also hope to secure the rights to produce an animated series as well."

RICHIE RICH ONLINE TOONS

Spunky Productions, a digital media company producing and syndicating the largest collection of original interactive cartoons for kids on the Internet, today announced an agreement with Harvey Entertainment to produce and distribute the first Richie Rich web cartoons based on the Harvey Classic Character.

The cartoons will be exclusively distributed over the Internet on Spunky Productions' cartoon network, www.SpunkyTown.com, and the Harvey Entertainment site, www.harvey.com. Spunky Productions will convert stories from late vintage comic books about the fictional life of the world's richest kid into episodes that will run 2-5 minutes in length. The first of up to six web cartoons premiere during the height of the Christmas season.

The companies are planning to launch other classic Harvey characters into cyberspace early next year. They will also collaborate on creating new merchandise tied into the cartoons, which will be sold on both websites. Family-friendly advertisers will be invited to sponsor the new cartoons. Richie Rich, "the poor little rich boy," has starred in his own international comic books in 1953. His adventures frequently pit his pals Dollar the Dog, Gloria Glad, Cadbury, and the perfect Butler against people who don't play fair, such as nasty crooks, snooping spies, and his sneaky cousin, Reggie Van Dough.

"We're proud to showcase this internationally-known character on our network and align ourselves with a powerhouse of children's' entertainment brands," said Karl Kronenberger, President and co-founder of Spunky Productions. "This agreement will bring Richie and his friends to a new generation of children who watch cartoons in cyberspace."

"Spunky Productions is a pioneer in the area of interactive cartoons," said Dan March, Director, New Media, of Harvey Entertainment. "And it makes perfect sense that Richie would use the most advanced technology possible to share his adventures with his friends."

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

SPIDER-MAN

Word from Daily Variety is that Sony has pared down its list of potential directors for the Spider-Man movie. According to the report the studio is trying to decide between David Fincher (Fight Club) and Chris Columbus (Bicentennial Man). The studio is expected to settle on a director before Christmas.

Columbus seems like the more likely bet, with a proven track-record at the box office and a penchant for feel-good fare.

However, the article states that insiders claim that "a warm, endearing" Spidey isn't exactly what Sony has in mind. Insiders also claim that project executive vice president Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal have had "long and extremely positive" meetings with Fincher.

Interested in reading James Cameron's complete "scriptment" for the Spider-Man movie? How about a 1993 screenplay based on that treatment? Lovecraft13, webmaster of the Van Gough Experience dropped us a line to let us know that he has a copy of both. The works are available for download on his site.

The online script critic known as Stax also has a posting of interest on his Flixburg, USA website. Stax recently posted a review of Dan Gilroy's draft of Superman Lives. Swing by Flixburg and check it out.

AsterixASTERIX SEQUEL

Dark Horizons reports that a sequel to last year's French film Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar is in the works. The site reports that French director Alain Chabat has been hired to helm the sequel called Astérix Légionnaire. The movie is said to be in the early stages.

Fans in the United States have yet to see the original which broke box office records in France when it was released in February of this year.

RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Dean Cain

Dean Cain is set to return to series television in a new show based on a

comic strip. According to Daily Variety, the former Superman will be the

host of Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The reality show is set to premier

January 12 on the TBS Superstation cable network and will air Wednesdays at

8:05pm. According to the article, the show is part of a low- to mid-seven

figure deal the actor has with the network.

X-MEN

Cinescape reports that Fox has hired a special effects team of seven

companies to work on the X-Men movie. Citing Daily Variety as their source, Cinescape names Digital Domain, Kleiser Walczak Construction, Cinesite, Hammerhead Prods., Matte World, CORE and POP as companies involved in the FX work.

An article in the Hollywood Reporter gives official confirmation to the news that the X-Men movie's release date is now set at July 14, 2000.

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