Comics2Film: Issue #102

Wed, January 12th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

Welcome back dear readers. It appears that the search for a Spider-

Man director may soon be over with a fan favorite taking hold of the

webs! The Lady Death website is finally, truly open for business, and

ADV Films has given us a few more peeks at the production art for that

movie. More rumors emerge surrounding the X-Men trailer. Don't forget

to watch Ripley's Believe it or Not starting this week. For now,

simply read on.

SPIDER-MAN

[Spider-Man]

Although the internet rumor-mill heralded it last week, Monday's Daily Variety came through with some concrete details on the prospect of director Sam Raimi (For Love of the Game) helming the Spider-Man movie. Although it's not yet a done deal, Sony is working hard to accommodate Raimi and bring him on board as the Spidey director. As we mentioned in our previous update, Raimi's commitment to filming The Gift looks to be in conflict with Sony's plans for Spider-Man. However, according to the Variety article Raimi, is agreeable to doing Spidey if Sony can come to an agreement with Paramount and Tom Rosenberg's Lakeshore Entertainment.

Sony is trying to convince Lakeshore to freeze post-production on The Gift so that Raimi can go directly into filming on Spider-Man in spring or early summer. Raimi would then do post-production on both movies later in the year. This is obviously a hardship for Lakeshore/Paramount and, to that end, Sony is said to be offering a seven figure compensation package to make it happen.

The article states that Raimi is a Spider-Man fanatic. He apparently wowed executives at a recent meeting and leap-frogged over previous favorites David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) and Chris Columbus (Bicentennial Man). Raimi was the #1 vote-getter in a Comics 2 Film readers poll from March 1999, which asked comic movie fans who they wanted to direct the Spider-Man movie.

A source for the Spider-Man Hype website claims that Marvel is unhappy with screenwriter David Koepp's work on the Spider-Man movie. Sony is said to be looking to bring in David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner) to "revise the script to fit Marvel's need." The anonymous source also claims that rumor has it Digital Domain (Titanic) and Fantasy2 (Terminator) have already worked CGI effects costing $20 million. To us, this sound suspiciously like the rumors that surrounded the Hulk movie and the pre-production CGI rumored to have been done on that.

LADY DEATH: THE ANIMATION

[Lady Death: Seance]
Séance


Enlarge

Want to see more of Lady Death: The Animation? Our friends at ADV Films sent a few more pieces of preview artwork our way.

The first image is of a demonic character named Sťance. We're told this character has been created just for the movie.

[Lady Death: Agnes]
Agnes


Enlarge

Next up we have the matronly Agnes. Agnes is described as Elderly townswoman and friend of Hope (as Lady Death was known when she was a child).

After experiencing some technical difficulties the website promoting Lady Death: The Animation is now up and running. Go to http://www.ladydeaththemovie.com for news about the upcoming animated feature. The current site features a run down of the characters from the cast and an interview with Lady Death creator Brian Pulido. Future updates to the site will feature production artwork and animated trailers.

X-MEN

[X]

Shoddy bookkeeping practices at Marvel may call into question ownership of several key comic book characters and jeopardize efforts to bring them to the big screen, such as the much-anticipated X-Men. A report on the Comicon website indicates that Marv Wolfman's lawsuit against Marvel over ownership of the character Blade has raised the issue.

According to the article Carol Platt, Marvel's Director of Intellectual Property and Publishing Rights, gave testimony last November in the case. At the time, she revealed that in her attempts to locate documents pertaining to Wolfman's employment at Marvel, she was unable to locate any records dated before 1979.

This revelation may work against Marvel in the Blade case, but also in instances like the upcoming X-Men movie. The Comicon report points out the Wolverine, Storm, Sabretooth, Mystique and Rogue were all created around the same time. If a dispute erupts over the ownership of these characters, it could mean a costly entanglement for the in-production movie.

Comicon consulted Louise Nemschoff, a Los Angeles-based entertainment and intellectual property lawyer who represents a number of comic book writers and artists, for her perspective on the case. "A studio that plans to invest millions of dollars to produce a motion picture wants a clear and unequivocal chain of title to the property as a whole and to all of the characters that will be appearing in the film," the lawyer explained. "If there is no paperwork confirming the publisher's ownership of rights or assigning the rights from the creator to the publisher, there is always a risk of litigation." And win-or-lose, litigation is always expensive.

In other X-Men news: Corona Coming Attractions ran a report from a scooper who claims to have the inside word on the trailer for the X- Men movie. According to the scooper, the trailer will run with the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio flick The Beach as well as with Scream 3. The scooper refutes reports that the trailer will feature computer scans of various X-Men characters.

The scooper claims an abbreviated version of the trailer is also set to run during Super Bowl. This version is said to contain short scenes of Rogue, Cyclops, Magneto, Professor X and a shot of Wolverine going 'snikt'. Music is said to be Bugman from blur.

Corona could not fully vouch for the scooper's credibility. However, they did qualify the report by saying at least one element of it checks out 100% with other information they have, so it's possible other elements may be on the up-and-up as well.

RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Ripley's Believe It Or Not fans will see the premiere of the latest TV

incarnation of the long-running comic strip this week. The new

series, hosted by former Superman Dean Cain, makes its debut on TBS

Superstation this Wed, January 12 at 8:05pm (ET). TBS promises a

weekly "journey through a world of amazing feats, facts and artifacts

that stretch the limits of the imagination." You will believe a dog

can have dentures.

WITCHBLADE

The long-awaited Witchblade TV movie may be moving forward according to a recent report from Cinescape. A tipster quoted the online magazine a passage from the Ontario Film Development Corporation's media list dated 1/7/2000. The document lists productions shooting in Ontario and Witchblade is among them. According to the report, filming is set for February 14 to March 17 or this year. This is interesting, although we've heard no casting announcements regarding the show, so it seems unlikely they could be ready to lens in just over a month. Look for more on this development here.

FOOT SOLDIERS

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum reports that Jim Krueger (Earth X) has said that his screenplay for a movie version of his outstanding comic The Foot Soldiers is "out to directors."

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

[League of Extrardinary Gentlemen #4]

Corona Coming Attractions recently spoke to producer-to-the- superheroes Don Murphy about the movie version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The producer told the website that Alex Ayers should wrap up his current draft of the screenplay in two months or so. Murphy also states that he's working closely with creator Alan Moore on the project.

SHI

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum received a progress report from Billy Tucci on the Shi feature film.

"All is going well," Tucci told The Continuum. "They're hiring an A-list writer to do a polish on the script, because now that [Warner Bros] is involved, it's really taking off and going into a big budget with A-list stars."

Tucci stated that an animated feature may also be in the works. "We also had a meeting on Friday with Media Blasters and they have a Japanimation Studio interested in Shi to make a 45-minute anime." The comic creator told The Continuum that he wouldn't mind doing the Warner Bros. feature in animation, which would give him more creative control and allow him to get it to market more rapidly.

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