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Just a reminder for everyone: Witchblade premieres on TNT, this Sunday, August 27 at 8 pm (ET). Encore showings follow at 10 pm and Midnight. Additional airings are Tuesday, August 28, at 11 pm, Wednesday, August 30, at 8 pm, Saturday, September 2, at 10:30 pm and Monday, September 4, at 10 pm.

BATMAN BEYOND

[Batman Beyond]

Rumors of a live action Batman Beyond movie started circulating late last year but were never substantial enough to lead one to believe that such a film might actually happen. Well, this weekend Ain’t It Cool News broke the story open with a report that Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) had been signed to direct. Even more exciting was the news that Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, masterminds behind the animated show, would be writing the movie.

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum wasted no time in gathering the facts in this story. Allstetter confirmed the above with Dini himself. “Boaz is co-writing the script with us as well as directing,” Dini told The Continuum. According to Dini, an official announcement about the project should be forthcoming shortly.

A subsequent report Variety discussed further details about the movie. The Variety article confirms that Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) is signed on to direct. However, it also reports that Paul Dini and Alan Burnett are currently “in negotiations” for the writing chores.

Variety also reported a bit of new information, stating that novelist Neal Stephenson (Necromonicon) is in negotiations to provide creative consulting.

Finally, the article points out that the live-action Batman Beyond feature would be developed in addition to a Batman sequel, not in place of.

SHEENA VS. SHEENA

[Sheena w/ Cat]

[Sheena]

[Animated Sheena]

The battle over the classic comic book character Sheena, Queen of the Jungle took an interesting turn this week, when Galaxy Publishing, Inc. announced their intention to produce an online, web-based Sheena show. The web show would compete directly with the upcoming TV show which stars Gena Lee Nolin and has been developed for syndication by Sony/Columbia Television.

In an online video presentation, which can be viewed at Sheena.com, producer Paul Aratow and graphic designer Cy Bowers talk about their plans for web based Sheena episodes. Aratow has held the rights to the character for over twenty years and was the producer of the 1984 Sheena movie. He is also currently involved in a lawsuit against Sony over the aforementioned TV series.

“We want to do some good and have some fun and create something in our culture that we think it needs sorely, which is to say, a real hero,” Aratow says in the video presentation. He goes on to discuss what “the real Sheena” is like, “She’s more of an icon of femininity, she’s a modern woman, she’s the new feminism”

Bowers seemed eager to pit their web show against television programming from a major studio, “What’s really cool is that we’re going to do a web episode…which for the first time in history competes directly with TV,” Bowers said in the video. “We’re competing with the TV program.”

Sony is less enthusiastic about the idea. Aratow tells us that they’ve been careful not to impinge on the studio’s rights in regards to the televison show. Never-the-less, according to Aratow, Sony is taking action against the competition in federal court.

DEADMAN

Variety reports that DC Comics’ Deadman is the latest comic book property to be cultivated as a TNT original movie. The report indicates that the concept is on “the fast track” as a movie and could turn into a weekly series.

The movie is to to be written by Jason Pomerance, who Variety credits with writing the comic book as well. The concept is described as the story of “a murdered stunt man who is allowed to return to earth as a spirit that can occupy the body of his nerdy accountant brother.”

Thanks to ShadoJakk for the tip.

RISING STARS

[Rising Stars]

Variety confirmed recent reports that J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars is on its way to the big screen. Straczynski has struck a million dollar deal with MGM and Atlas Entertainment/Gold Miller/Third Rail to develop the comic property into a trilogy of movies. Straczynski is set to handle the scripting chores on the movie.

Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will be producing for Atlas. Mark Silvestri and Spike Seldin of Top Cow are also named as producers.

Straczynski commented his aspirations for his super-hero opus. “What I tried to do with this story is take all the tropes and clichés of comic books and turn them on their heads.”

EDDY CURRENT

On Monday, Dark Horizons reported Ted McKeever’s Eddy Current may be headed for the big screen. An anonymous scooper tells them that McKeever has begun development on a movie with a New York based producer. A script has allegedly been written by “two no-name writers.”

Fans in the US may not be familiar with Eddy Current but they may be more familiar with it’s outstanding sequel Metropol, which was published by Marvel/Epic in the early 1990’s. He’s also know for Plastic Forks (also from Epic) and, more recently, Junk Culture, Industrial Gothic and Faith for DC/Vertigo. He also recently illustrated the Elseworlds tale Batman: Nosferatu (both written Jean-Marc Lofficier).

In a follow up to their original report, Dark Horizons provided the following information about the alleged movie based on Ted McKeever’s Eddy Current. An anonymous scooper told Dark Horizons that the no-name writers mentioned last time are John DelVecchio & Jason Beauregard. McKeever is working with producer C. James Baron Von Schloz on the movie.

The scooper provides the following logline for the script: “Eddy Current is the story of a lunatic escaped from a mental institution, wearing a Dynamic Fusion Suit he ordered from a comic book, out to save the world before bedcheck the next morning, who is mistaken for the Savior by a mad nun. He is the only man who can stop the Mothers of TV station WSAP from censoring the world…and everyone’s mind.”

HULK

[The Hulk]

Who’s stronger Superman or The Hulk? If strength was measured by the number of screenwriters involved, then Hulk is catching up to the man of steel.

The latest report from The Hollywood Reporter tells us that David Hayter is the latest writer to take a pass at the green-skinned goliath. Hayter received the sole writing credit for this summer’s super-hero smash X-Men. Hayter has been hired by Universal Pictures to take Hulk’s scripting chores over for Michael Tolkin and Michael France and a whole slew of writers before them.

Uni has also hired the writer to work on a sequel to the surprise hit Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel.

JLA ANIMATED

Rumors of a JLA animated TV show made the rounds last year, all has been quite recently. That is until last week when 4 Color Review broke the story that such a show may be in the works after all. Sources at Warner Animation have told 4CR that the network has finally given the green-light for a JLA/SuperFriends cartoon.

The site had few other details, although they did report that Bruce Timm is involved and is set to begin development on the show. Fans are cautioned that, even if these reports are corroborated by another source, the show would still be in the very early stages. Many shows never progress beyond those stages.

ASTROBOY

A source at Sony told Comics2Film that development efforts on Astroboy are progressing. Although there is little new information to report, our source did tell us that screenwriter Todd Alcott has turned in a draft that has the development team excited.

BLADE 2

While talking with TV Guide this week, Wesley Snipes shared some details about the storyline for the upcoming Blade sequel. “”The basic premise is that there’s been some genetic engineering between humans and vampires,” Snipes told TV Guide. “And a super vampire is created. This super vampire feeds off other vampires. So the vampires want to call a peace treaty with Blade, because they need his help to get these other super vampires out of the way. So now his enemies become his allies.”

Snipes also commented “The original Blade is going to look like child’s play compared to the sequel.”

Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.

CROW: LAZARUS

Corona Coming Attractions reports that Hype Williams (Belly) is interested in directing the fourth Crow movie. An anonymous scooper claims that Williams is definitely interested in the sequel, which is to be called The Crow: Lazarus.

It was announced last month that rapper/actor DMX (Belly, Romeo Must Die) had signed a multi-picture deal to play the title role. CA’s scooper tells them that DMX is eager to spawn a sub-franchise around his character and wants the producers at Pressman to hype the project more.

THOR

Earlier in the month we heard reports from the Wizard World convention in Chicago that actor Tyler Mane (who played Sabretooth in X-Men) was gunning for the part of The Mighty Thor. The actor said as much in a panel discussion. He even revealed that he’d talked to Stan Lee, who agreed that Mane would be good for the part.

However, in his column at the X-Fan website, Drew Reiber states that interest in Mane playing the God of Thunder exists on both sides of the equation. According to Reiber’s report, Mane actually admitted that Artisan, who is developing Thor as a television show, approached him about the prospect that very morning. Obviously this would just be considered early discussions, but interesting talks they be!

DALLAS COMIC AND TOY FEST

The Dallas Comic & Toy Fest will have some opportunities for comic book movie fans. Artist Timothy Bradstreet, who will be involved with the upcoming Blade sequel is set to make an appearance. Likewise Kevin Eastman will be on hand for a screening of Heavy Metal 2000.

The show tales place at the Dallas Marriott Quorum on Saturday, September 2, 2000 from 10am-6pm.

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