The Open Page: Comics News Edition -- 11/26/07
1) Benderspink Productions has been snapping up the options for film rights of numerous graphic novels. Their most recent acquisition is the comicbook series Starkweather from Archaia Studios Press, written by David Rodriguez, about a young boy who comes from a line of sorcerors and finds out the family secret as a 20-something slacker when he’s attacked by a mysterious coven. Benderspink has also optioned the graphic novels Drafted, Y: The Last Man, and Power & Glory, which are all in development at New Line, Hyperactive, with MTV Films and Paramount, the DC comics series Preacher for HBO, The Pro (Spike TV,) Pet Robots at Disney, and The Ghouly Boys with Mandate Productions.
2) Marvel Comics got a big splash in the comics world when they killed off beloved superhero character Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rogers. In the fifth issue of a special comic series published specifically for the military, The New Avengers: The Spirit of America, Marvel decided to bring the character back for a brief appearance. The issue features as part of the story a “videotape” made by Rogers shortly before he is shot by an assassin, asking his fellow heroes to help protect a female soldier and her brother from a terrorist organization. Marvel was specifically asked to bring the character back for the flashback appearance because it was felt that Captain America exemplified the heroism and patriotism of the American soldier. Marvel plans next year to create a new Captain America character, the mantle being taken up by a different person in the wake of Rogers’ death, and the signature costume revamped.
3) Marvel Comics is also opening up its legendary vaults for its new online subscription service, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Subscribers who pay a monthly fee will be able to access digital versions of historic comics from Marvel’s archives, including the first issues of Amazing Spider-Man, The X-Men, Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four. Currently, Marvel is offering 2,500 titles and 20 new titles will be added to the digital catalog each week, including new titles and titles designed for young readers. To celebrate the launch of the new service, Marvel is offering a free sampling of 250 titles for a limited time. Information about the new offerings can be found at Marvel.com/digitalcomics.
4) Dabel Brothers Publishing is building an impressive list of comic book adaptations of leading SFF literary works and series, and have just inked a new deal with Del Rey/Ballantine Books to distribute the graphic novel editions of these projects in the trade book market and the library market. In Spring 2008, the company will launch new comic series for New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son, Jim Butcher’s bestselling fantasy series, The Dresden Files, and George R.R. Martin’s bestselling anthology series Wild Cards. The graphic novel editions will then be made available in the summer and fall of that year.
Dabel previously has had success with adaptations and graphic novel versions of such titles as George R.R. Martin’s The Hedge Knight in 2004, and Laurell K. Hamilton’s fantasy series, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, published this year. The comic book studio has also produced adaptations of work by bestselling authors such as Orson Scott Card, Raymond E. Feist, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams and Robert Silverberg. Del Rey/Ballantine Books has become a leading distributor of SFF graphic novels and manga series in the U.S. market.