Comics2Film

Wed, December 4th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

DEVIL'S DUE

[Misplaced]Energy Entertainment continued its charge into management of comic creators in Hollywood by signing the Devil's Due studio to a first-look management agreement last week.

Devil's Due was founded by Josh Blaylock in 1999 and scored a runaway hit with G.I.Joe in 2000. That title sparked a groundswell of interest in 1980s pop-culture, with many publishers jumping on the bandwagon. It also cemented the studio's reputation as one of the hottest creative outlets in comics.

The deal with Energy won't pertain to licensed titles, but instead focuses on the studio's upcoming slate of creator-owned works.

"I'm a big fan and avid reader of whole 80s revival trend," Daniel Alter of Energy Entertainment said to Comics2Film. "Chart-topping licensed properties are not only an extremely profitable venture for their respective publishing studios, but also a good business model as to dominating market-share and building a brand name so that you have the ability to concentrate on your 'babies'."

It's those "babies" that have Alter's interest piqued. "I know they've got talent because I read their books and, like reading a spec screenplay as a writing sample, I can see the creativity inherent there. Then I talk to Josh and say 'what have you got creator-owned,' and they show me things that blow my mind."

C2F spoke with Blaylock about the deal. "We've been contacted by quite a lot of people over the last year," Blaylock said of Hollywood interest in the work. "[Energy Entertainment] seems to really understand the comic industry and to know what they're doing. I feel confident that they're going to do a good job of shopping it around and I like the fact that they really make an effort to attach producers or writers that would work well with the project."

Alter told C2F that he sees an opportunity to marry Energy's ability to spot trends in entertainment and help the studio shape their creator-owned output. "Being successful in literary management with regard to selling/setting up projects often times comes down to having your finger on the pulse, your eyes on the ball, and your ears to the ground. There's a lot of counseling and advising as to the development of new material, and I don't rule out exploring that dynamic further with Josh and company."

Interest is high in the titles that will be out next April and May from Image.

"I really love Misplaced," Alter said of one of the upcoming Devil's Due books. "It's kind of like Hi Fidelity meets Flash Gordon."

Blaylock tells us the comic, which he'll write and draw, focuses on Alyssa, a girl from another dimension which houses an all-too-perfect world. Alyssa finds herself ostracized for questioning the status quo.

"She's not necessarily rebellious but they make her out to seem that way. It turns out there's actually an underlying conspiracy going on," Blaylock said. When she's targeted for elimination, Alyssa escapes to our world and falls in with college-town slackers and punk rockers. However, her attackers follow her and she begins to unravel the mystery of why she's being hunted.

"It's a story that anybody who's ever had to deal with a lot of bureaucracy, been stuck in corporate America or just frustrations in dealing with the school system, can all relate to," Blaylock said.

The initial focus of deal with Energy will likely be on moving Misplaced into development as a movie or TV show.

Blaylock says that while he hopes to be creatively involved with any development efforts, his heart is in the comic business. "We're serious about these characters. We're not just cranking them out so they can be movies," the comic creator told us. "I look at this more as a way to get our characters out there and make them more successful, but also be a help financially so I can just keep making comic books."

Other titles in the Devil's Due library include the upcoming Kore, which Blaylock summed up as "Lord of the Rings meets Incredible Hulk," and Larry Hama's Oxido.

Of course, the studio plans to finish what it started with the 80s trend when it publishes Voltron.

SPAWN 2

[Spawn 2]Steve Niles confirmed on the message board of his official website SteveNiles.com that the Spawn 2 script he and Todd McFarlane wrote is being retooled by another writer. Niles said, "We were pretty sure this was going to happen from the beginning. The script had some pretty big problems, anyway. The biggest being that Spawn never actually appeared in it!"

Comics2Film followed up and has learned that the new writer on Spawn 2 is none other than frequent comic-to-film scribe Hans Rodionoff.

Rodionoff's involvement in the McFarlane sequel was confirmed for us yesterday by producer Don Murphy. "Hans is a god among men and is writing away," Murphy told us.

Regular C2F readers should be well-acquainted with Rodionoff's name. The screenwriter is carving a niche for himself in the comic book movie arena. He's turned in drafts of the Man-Thing and Werewolf By Night movies to Marvel. He's also attached to the development of Matt Wagner's Grendel.

Rodionoff takes over writing chores from Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, who developed the initial take on the movie.

C2F spoke to Rodionoff to get his perspective on the project. While one of his goals is to bring Spawn back into the story, he agrees with the decision to emphasize Sam and Twitch over the dark hero.

"One of the challenges of doing a movie where the protagonist is a demon is that it's kind of hard to feel for that character. One of the things Niles and Todd did with the last draft was have it be more of a Sam and Twitch story," Rodionoff said. "The problem is it became solely a Sam and Twitch movie and there wasn't enough Spawn."

Rodionoff plans to depict the detectives in a less comedic light, and play up the maverick hearts that Sam and Twitch often display in the comics. "The way that I see these two characters is not so much like a fat guy with a donut stuck on his ass and a nerdy guy with big coke-bottle glasses," Rodionoff said. "These guys are more like Riggs and Murtaugh [from Lethal Weapon]. If you dropped Blade into Lethal Weapon, you've got sort of what I'm going for."

The new script will strike a balance, keeping the detectives front and center, but bringing in the chains, glowing green eyes and red cape elements as well. However, the tone will remain dark and eschew some of the goofier aspects of the first movie.

"When the Spawn elements play out it'll be more about watching him scare the crap out of bad guys. His power comes from how damn scary he is. He's a character who is evil for the sake of good," Rodionoff said. "He comes down out of the rafters and, if you're a bad guy, you know you can't escape this thing."

The screenwriter said he's a big fan of the comics and the animated Spawn show. "I think Todd's a pretty genius guy," Rodionoff said. The screenwriter grew up on Marvel horror titles like Man-Thing, Werewolf By Night and Tomb of Dracula, where monsters show up as heroes. "I remember reading Spawn and thinking Todd must have grown up on all those same titles."

It's uncertain how closely Rodionoff will work with McFarlane, but the screenwriter said he welcomes the opportunity.

Work is in progress on the script, with a first draft expected early next year. Plans are for a PG-13 take on the material. Spawn 2 is set up at Columbia Pictures where it quickly landed after New Line Cinema passed on it. New Line was the studio behind the original, moderately successful live-action Spawn movie.

LADY DEATH

Comics2Film recently chatted with ADV Films honcho Andy Orjuela about the progress of the Lady Death animated feature. Orjuela, who serves as producer and art director on the project told us that the movie will complete pre-production by the end of this month.

During the summer Orjuela visited SunMin Image Pictures in Korea where the animation will be done. Some animation work has already been completed and a trailer is being prepped for the beginning of 2003.

"Next year is going to be a pretty big year for this movie," Orjuela said. With the start of 2003 SunMin will begin full-on production of the animation. At this point the voice actors for the film have not been cast.

Orjuela told C2F that the Chaos! Comics bankruptcy has not hampered the production of the movie.

"We were more concerned about where the property was going to go. The whole point was to have a marketing tie-in with an existing character," Orjuela said. ADV Films is pleased to see the character already poised to return to comics with a new series from CrossGen Entertainment.

Lady Death, the animated feature, is targeted for a 2003 release.

TEEN TITANS ANIMATED SHOW

A recent posting at comic creator, screen writer and animation producer Marv Wolfman's website reveals much about the upcoming Teen Titans animated show. The show is partially based on Wolfman's long, successful and acclaimed run as writer of the New Teen Titans comics.

Wolfman reveals that the cast of the show is as follows:

Scott Menville (Mission Hill).....Robin
Hynden Walch (Stanley).....Starfire
Greg Cipes (Club Dread).....Beast Boy
Tara Strong (Batman Beyond).....Raven
Khary Payton (Swatters).....Cyborg

Guest voices include Dave Coulier (Full House) as Tramm and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Aqualad.

Wolfman said that he's had much contact with the show's story editor, David Slack. He was invited to sit in on the taping of the "Deep Six" episode, which features Wheaton as Aqualad.

"As a Trek nut - I've seen every episode of every Trek - it was great meeting him," Wolfman said, "and the fact that he turned out to be a nice guy and a comics fan helped a lot."

Wolfman comments that the concept has, of course, been streamlined for television. "For instance, in the comic, Raven's mom was raped by an inter-dimensional demon and Starfire was sold into slavery by her father. Not exactly kiddie fare," Wolfman says. "This show emphasizes action and fun."

During the taping some of the actors asked Wolfman about their characters. "I answered best I could, but I don't think I could provide a lot of help; these Titans are very different in so many ways and I didn't want to confuse them with the comic book versions which they weren't playing," the comic creator revealed.

Check out Wolfman's site for a picture of the writer with the cast of the show.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the lead.

DAREDEVIL

[Daredevil]Daredevil is on the brink of going from comics to film. Which means, of course, he'll also be going from comics to film and back to comics. But the latest twist in the tortured life of Daredevil has the character going from comics to film to comics to web!

Confused? You won't be when you tune your browser to Marvel.com.

The comic publisher unveiled this week the dotComic version of the Daredevil: The Movie comic book. That's right: a webified presentation of the first 16 pages of the comic that adapts the February movie that is derived from the Marvel comics of the same name.

If you're one of those people who don't mind a spoiler here and there, check out the preview which tells the big-screen origin of the character leading up to him putting on the horns for the first time.

The comic (we're talking the actual paper one) comes out on January 15th, a month before the February 14th release of the film.

[Daredevil]
[Daredevil]
[Daredevil]
[Daredevil]
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With the impending release of the movie, Twentieth Century Fox continues to increase its advertising intensity, most recently with the debut of new visually interactive advertising technology from Reactrix Systems, Inc.

Installed earlier this month, the technology consists of a device mounted on the ceiling of the venue with a companion "screen" opposite the device on the floor. Projecting and scanning the surface of the "screen", the device is able to adapt to the changes in light that result in human interaction over the surface of the "screen".

Witnessing the technology firsthand, many curious bystanders were unfamiliar yet nonetheless intrigued by the new advertising device. As crowds approach the installation (children mostly), their presence under the scanning device changes made the images of characters from Daredevil movie and change. Tiny "DD" logos floated around, appearing to bounce off the shadows and bodies of those standing over the surface of the advertisement.

Starting with the Great Mall of Milpitas, CA, this light sensitive advertising will soon begin appearing in venues across the county.

CONSTANTINE

Fans of the DC/Vertigo title John Constantine: Hellblazer will have to wait a bit longer for the movie version of the occult comic. The long-in-development Warner Bros. pic, simply dubbed Constantine, has seen its share of twists and turns while making its way through development hell.

According to today's Variety, the production will now have to wait for star Keanu Reeves. The star is wrapping up work on back-to-back sequels for The Matrix and will then go directly into filming on two comedies.

One of the new projects is an untitled pic with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, directed by Nancy Meyers. The other is a starring vehicle called Thumbsucker.

Only after all that, Variety reports, will Reeves step into the trench coat of Constantine.

Reeves became attached to the project after a previous effort, set to star Nicolas Cage, fell apart. Director Tarsem Singh had been on board to direct but bailed on the project early this year. That move sparked back-and-forth litigation between Singh and Warner Bros. No new director has been attached.

CAPTAIN RIBMAN

The Michael Jackson of superheroes made his debut on iFilm.com last week. Animated episodes of Captain RibMan, previously only available on SuperComics.com are now up for download on the venerable movie site.

First up is The Happy Lollipop and the Temple of Carnage in which the bad Captain (voiced by Fred Willard) gleefully demonstrates why he's perfectly capable of dangling infants over hotel balconies. Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim) puts in an appearance as his impressionable young friend Billy.

Then RibMan pitches one of his sure-to-fail products to playmate Shae Marks in a short called B owel Ointment.

Stop by and anger parents everywhere by making Captain RibMan their #1 iFilm movie!

ROAD TO PERDITION

The most critically acclaimed comic book movie of 2002 is coming home. IGN DVD reports that the Road To Perdition DVD is slated for a February 25th release. The disc will be available in both widescreen and full-frame editions, which will be released separately on the same day.

According to IGN, both editions will contain the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary with Sam Mendes

  • Deleted Scenes

  • HBO's "Making Of" Documentary

  • Production Notes

  • Photo Gallery

Road To Perdition is available for pre-order at many online vendors.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Justice League showrunner Bruce Timm slipped ToonZone.net a list of episode titles and partial credits for the second season of the show. Check it out:

Episodes 1 - 2: "Twilight"


Written by Rich Fogel and Bruce Timm, Directed by Dan Riba and Butch Lukic

Episodes 3 - 4: "Tabula Rasa"


Written by Stan Berkowitz, Directed by Dan Riba

Episodes 5 - 6: "Only a Dream"


Written by Stan Berkowitz, Directed by Butch Lukic

Episodes 7 - 8: "Maid of Honor"


Written by Dwayne McDuffie, Directed by Dan Riba

Episodes 9 - 10: "Hearts and Minds" (working title)


Written by Keith Damron, Directed by Butch Lukic

Episodes 11 - 12: "A Better World"


Written by Stan Berkowtiz, Directed by Dan Riba

Episodes 13 - 14: "The Terror Beyond"


Written by Dwayne McDuffie, Directed by Butch Lukic

Episodes 15 - 16: "Eclipsed"


Written by Joseph Kuhr, Directed by Dan Riba

Episodes 17 - 18: "Hereafter"


Written by Dwayne McDuffie, Directed by Butch Lukic

Episodes 19 - 20: "The Secret Society"


Written by Stan Berkowitz, Directed by Dan Riba

Episode 21: "Comfort and Joy"


Written by Paul Dini

Episodes 22 - 23: "Wild Card"


Written by Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie

Season two will end with a three-part movie/arc which is as yet untitled.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE

The Comics Continuum reports Ted Raimi confirmed he will reprise his role as a Daily Bugle reporter in The Amazing Spider-Man. Raimi, who played reporter Hoffman in the first movie, appeared at the Mid-Ohio-Con last weekend. The actor also confirmed shooting has begun on the sequel, despite the lack of a script.

"Spider-Man 2 has begun shooting already, and we don't even have a script," Raimi said, laughing. "That's very typical Hollywood. 'Let's shoot it!' 'What are we shooting?' 'I don't know, roll cameras! Get Tobey Maguire in here, where is he?'"

Raimi also said the role of Hoffman in the sequel might be larger than in the original.

"I have more scenes with J.K. Simmons, who is J. Jonah Jameson," Raimi said. "Yeah, there's a bunch more scenes. We've done some preliminary rehearsal, even if we don't have a script. He's a good guy to clown around with. He is J. Jonah Jameson."

Check out The Continuum for the whole story.

SPIDER-MAN, MEN IN BLACK 2

Sony is reporting record worldwide box office for 2002, due in large part to the success of Spider-Man. A write-up in today's Variety states the studio raked in $2.75 billion in combined domestic and international sales this year, sinking the previous record held by Twentieth Century Fox during their Titanic year.

The webbed wonder gets the lion's share of credit, accounting for $815 million in receipts. Credit also goes to top performers like the comic-based Men in Black II as well as xXx and Panic Room.

Fans who purchased the Spider-Man DVD will have a chance to sit down and watch the pic with actors Tobey Maguire and J.K. Simmons on December 15th. The official Spider-Man movie site has announced the presentation of "The Spider-Man Online Theater".

The world premiere event takes place Sunday, December 15, 2002 at 8:00PM EST, 5:00PM PST. There, fans can watch the movie again, this time enjoying an exclusive commentary track by Maguire (who plays Spidey, of course) and Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson).

You will need your Spider-Man movie DVD spinning inside your computer's DVD player in order to participate in the event.

The site recommends you show up 30 minutes early for the event, so you can win cool prizes, like a framed piece of the Spidey suit. Simmons will host a pre-event introduction which begins at 7:30 p.m. EST, 4:30 p.m. PST. The announcement does not specify whether or not this is a pre-recorded warm-up.

Unfortunately, the site also has posted a warning that the event is using MS Windows technology and therefore is only open to Windows users.

KING CONAN: CROWN OF IRON

Last Monday IGN FilmForce broke the news that Warner Bros. scuttling work on the planned third Conan movie called King Conan: Crown of Iron. John Milius, director of the first Conan movie had been attached to write and direct, with Arnold Schwarzenegger on board to reprise his star-making role. The Wachowski brothers had also been involved as creative consultants.

However, anonymous source told FilmForce that all came to a halt this month when Conan Properties, Inc., who control the film rights, decided not to let Warner renew the option on the character.

On Tuesday, FilmForce was contacted by Fredrik Malmberg of Conan Properties, Inc., who commented on the story.

Mr. Malmberg would not comment on any future direction they may take with the character noting, that Conan Properties "always and regularly receive pitches about how and when Conan should be made. Some people tell us Conan should be kinder. Some say less expensive. A lot think quicker. There are always advises left and right. This is because Conan is at the top of many people's minds and Conan is a great franchise. I can definitely tell you the next Conan movie will NOT be cheaper. It will have the best production value, the best studio and the best director. There are no exceptions. As far as we are concerned, Warners is not out and we are in discussions with them about the project."

Malmberg would not comment on whether or not the above principals would remain involved and stated that to do so would be to participate in the rumor mill. Conan properties plans a new website that will allow them to "get closer to the fan community."

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

Former Charlie's Angel Kate Jackson guest stars in "It's a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot Christmas", this week's episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart), Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye) and Morgan (Elisa Donovan) spend Christmas with Leonard (John Ducey) in Florida where they run into Roxie's recently paroled mom, Candy (guest star Kate Jackson, "Charlie's Angels"). But when the vacation home is robbed and Roxie's mom is accused, it's up to Sabrina to prove Candy's innocence and give Roxie the Christmas she always dreamed of. Melissa Joan Hart directed the episode written by Dan Kael.

"It's a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot Christmas" airs Friday, December 6 at 8:00pm on The WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

It's a grab bag of reruns for Justice League this week on Cartoon Network.

First up, Superman gets thrown into Mongul's gladiator arena in a repeat airing of "War World - Parts 1 and 2", on the Saturday presentation of Justice League.

"War World - Part 1" airs Saturday December 7th at 12pm. "Part 2" immediately follows at 12:30pm.

Later that evening fans can catch the guest appearance by Etrigan in "A Knight of Shadows - Part 1", which airs at 9:30pm.

Then, Wonder Woman returns home to find Paradise Island destroyed in a rerun of "Paradise Lost - Part 1." That episode airs Sunday, December 8th at 7:00pm.

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

In case you missed it last night, The WB is going to rebroadcast the Smallville episode "Heat", in which Clark gains an unsettling new power and Lex gets married.

Clark (Tom Welling) goes into hiding after he discovers a startling new power that quickly gets out of control and accidentally harms Lana (Kristin Kreuk). However, after a hot new teacher (guest star Krista Allen) uses kryptonite-enhanced pheromones to convince Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) to marry her, then spellbinds Jonathan (John Schneider), Clark must get a grip on his new power in time to keep Jonathan from killing Lex. James Marshall directed the episode written by Mark Verheiden.

"Heat" re-airs Sunday, December 8 at 5:00pm ET on The WB.

Then, in the show's regular timeslot, one of Clark's friends discovers the spaceship in the cornfield in a repeat airing of "Duplicity".

After one of Clark's (Tom Welling) friends discover the spaceship in the cornfield, Clark goes against his parents' (John Schneider, Annette O'Toole) wishes and reveals his secret, but is shocked when the reaction he gets makes him question his friend's loyalty. Steve Miner directed the episode written by Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer.

"Duplicity" re-airs Tuesday, December 10 at 9:00pm on The WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info

NEXT WEEK ON BIRDS OF PREY

Lori Loughlin guest stars as The Black Canary in a repeat airing of "Sins of the mother," next week's episode of Birds of Prey.

Barbara (Dina Meyer) and Helena (Ashley Scott) learn the truth about Dinah and Dinah learns the truth about her own past when her mother, Carolyn Lance (guest star Loughlin), comes to New Gotham in search of the daughter she abandoned years before. Dinah is shocked to learn that Carolyn was once Batman's protégé, Black Canary. Meanwhile, Helena learns that Detective Reese (Shemar Morre) has family issues of his own when he becomes secretive about a ruthless gangster. Jeff Woolnough directed the episode written by Melissa Rosenberg and Hans Tobeason.

"Sins of the Mother" re-airs Wednesday, December 11th at 9:00pm on the WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

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