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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Film, Book & Comics news


So the big movie news that has been circulating lately is that of Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones, Jaws, Jurassic Park) & Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) working together to bring Tintin to the big screen. If you’ve never heard of Tintin, well, I hadn’t either until I met my wife, but apparently he’s the main character from a French comic book that dates back to 1929…and he’s pretty popular. Because of my wife, I’ve read some of the comics, and we even have some DVDs based on the comic, and I have to say they’re pretty good, funny and family-friendly. So, I think Spielberg is definitely a good fit, and if they’re able to pull off what they hope…making it live-action while maintaining the look of the comics…then it might be worth checking out.

Frank Miller is on fire. First, his graphic novels Sin City and 300 were adapted into successful films, then Warner Bros. got the rights to another of his properties, Ronin, and now Lionsgate (Saw, Hostel) has won the distribution to The Spirit, a film adaptation of Will Eisner’s classic comic book, which Frank Miller scripted and will direct, his first solo effort (co-directed on Sin City).

Apparently Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby) is set to star in the film adaptation of “Fang Land” by author and ex-60 Minutes producer John Marks (The Wall, War Torn). No real thoughts on the casting, but the book is supposed to be a contemporary reimagining of Bram Stoker’sDracula”. It actually sounds pretty interesting and I’ll probably pick it up.

Thanks to Dino De Laurentiis (Hannibal Rising, Barbarella) and some German producers, Frank Schatzing’s best-selling eco-disaster thriller “The Swarm” (2004) is going to be adapted into a major motion picture with Ted Tally of The Silence of the Lambs fame writing the script. Look for another Mr. Schatzings novel, “Death and the Devil” (originally published in Germany in 1995) to come to the United States via William Morrow on September 1, 2007.

Just heard about another fantasy series being adapted into film…there’s so many I can’t keep track of them all…but this one is all ready to go, set for release October 5, and is based on the Susan Cooper classic “The Dark Is Rising”. I’ve never read this series, but it’s mentioned in the same breath as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, so I should probably check it out sometime. Anyways, the cast includes Ian McShane (Deadwood, forthcoming-The Golden Compass & Coraline), Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) and Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, Heroes), with a script by John Hodge (Trainspotting), so there’s some hope for the movie.

Production company Hyde Park Entertainment (Premonition, Walking Tall) and Dark Horse Entertainment (Hellboy, Aliens Vs. Predator, 30 Days of Night upcoming) are joining forces on a number of independent films, starting with the Dark Horse comic miniseries The Blackburne Covenant, written by Fabian Nicieza (X-Men, Avengers) and drawn by Stefano Raffaele.

And some more interesting comic book-related news:

After making a name for himself as a game developer, most notably as one of the founders of the video game company Naughty Dog (Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter), Jason Rubin left to create his own comic book, Iron and the Maiden, which was designed by fan favorite Joe Madureira (Ultimates 3, Battle Chasers, Uncanny X-Men) and Jeff Matsuda (TV shows The Batman, Jackie Chan Adventures), with Francis Manapul (Witchblade) and Joel Gomez penciling. Recently it was announced that Michael Turner’s (Witchblade, Identity Crisis, Civil War) publishing company Aspen Comics (Soulfire, Fathom) will release the four-issue mini-series with #1 debuting August 1st. Expect guest covers from the likes of Joe Madureira, Jeff Matsuda, Jim Lee, Michael Turner, Chris Bachalo and many more. Since I'm a huge fan of the Jak & Daxter games, loved the Battle Chasers comics, and admittedly collect anything touched by Michael Turner, I’m definitely looking forward to Iron and the Maiden.

In Dabel Brothers Productions (GRRM’s The Hedge Knight, Robert Jordan’s New Spring, etc.) news, be sure to check out a 3-page preview of Lords of Avalon: Sword of Darkness HERE, which is based on the novel written by NYT bestselling author Kinley MacGregor, also known as Sherrilyn Kenyon. For GRRM fans, the street date (Wednesday, June 20th, 2007) has been announced for the first issue to the new series The Hedge Knight II: The Sworn Sword. Don’t forget to pick it up! Finally, if you’re a Myspace fanatic, Dabel Brothers Productions have started a bunch of new profiles for their properties and staff, which you can check out HERE. So, if you’re looking for some new friends for your profile be sure to check that out :)

Hard to believe but Top Cow Productions comic book The Darkness (1996) has been around for over ten years now. Heck I still have the first issues that were drawn by Marc Silvestri (Top Cow CEO) and written by Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Punisher). While I liked the comic, I never thought it would last as long as it did. I guess I was wrong. Not only was the film rights sold to Dimension in 2004, but it was made into a first-person, action-adventure video game, which comes out June 25, 2007 for both Playstation 3 & the Xbox 360, with the game story written by comic book writer Paul Jenkins (Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, The Darkness) and voices provided by Kirk Acevedo (Band of Brothers, Oz) & musician Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Peeping Tom). Following that, Top Cow has plans to release a number of novels based on the property, the first of which, The Darkness Volume 1 Novel (150 pages), is tentatively due out July 2007, with Kerri Hawkins (Blood Legacy) writing.

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