In January 2014, Heavy Metal was sold to film producer Jeff Krelitz and digital and music veteran David Boxenbaum, who announced big plans for “Heavy Metal” magazine and the overall brand. One of those plans involved the launch of a comic book line, starting with “Hoax Hunters.” The series, created and co-written by Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley, was previously published by Image Comics and centers on three Reality TV hosts who travel the country debunking paranormal mysteries. In fact, what they’re really doing is covering up the existence of aliens, monsters and things that go bump in the night.
At Comic-Con International in San Diego, CBR TV’s Jonah Weiland welcome “Hoax Hunters” co-creator Michael Moreci to the world famous CBR Floating Tiki Room to discuss the book’s move to “Heavy Metal,” his current Image Comics series “Roche Limit” and what it’s been like dipping his toes into the Hollywood waters with both projects currently in development as feature films.
In the first part of the discussion, Moreci talks about why “Hoax Hunters” transitioned from Image Comics to Heavy Metal, and whether or not his new publisher was prepared for how the market would react to the same book without the familiar Image I on the cover. They also discuss what progress has been made on the “Hoax Hunters” movie adaptation since “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” writer Craig Titley started working on the project.
On why “Hoax Hunters” is moving from Image Comics to Heavy Metal:
Michael Moreci: It was all just like a strategic thing because the guy who — so Heavy Metal was recently bought by a guy, Jeff Krelitz and his business partners, but mainly it’s Jeff — or Jeff and David Boxenbaum — and they’re the guys who have the rights for the “Hoax Hunters” film, and they wanted to consolidate everything under one umbrella with film and comics and merchandise and stuff like that. It was just a move that made sense. And Eric [Stephenson] at Image was totally understanding, he got why it was happening, so there was nothing bad or anything between Image and “Hoax Hunters” or I, I mean obviously I’m still doing work there. [Laughs] It’s fine, it was just a strategic thing to get everything consolidated and have it branded under Heavy Metal.
On the progress of the “Hoax Hunters” film adaptation:
It’s going pretty well. There’s a writer, Craig Titley, who is a writer — he’s kind of a great match — he’s written the “Scooby-Doo” movies, he writes “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” right now. He did the treatment for it and the outline, and he had to go on hiatus for it, take a break, because he was called away to do “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” You gotta do that. [Laughs] But I think now — we’re supposed to talk this weekend — but I think he’s now on his break from writing that and he’s supposed to start getting to the script, so that piece should come together pretty soon.
In part two, Michael Moreci discusses “Roche Limit,” his Image Comics series with artist Vic Malhotra about a colony situated on the cusp of a mysterious energy anomaly, with plenty of crime and secrets. The writer explains what kind of sci-fi he’s a fan of, the book he’s glad he didn’t start reading until after he started writing the comic, and developing the idea with “Hoax Hunters” co-writer Steve Seeley. He also talks about collaborating with screenwriter Seth Sherwood on the film adaptation and what his early Hollywood experiences have been like.
/?page=article&id=53414Moreci Explores the Cosmos in “Roche Limit”
On the origins of “Roche Limit,” his dystopian sci-fi series:
I love that sci-fi world building. I’m actually reading “The Expanse,” those novels, I’ve been reading those and that’s really kind of my wheelhouse. Luckily I read those after “Roche Limit” because otherwise I’d be like, “Man, I’m ripping these guys off.” [Laughs] It started off with that germ of an idea of like this colony — it was conceived by myself and Steve Seeley, who I do “Hoax Hunters” with — he had this idea, he was like, “What if there’s like a space colony and it was by like a black hole?” And I was like, “Oh, man, that’s pretty rad.” So I ran with it and it became like this building the world and populating the world and really thinking about what would happen if we found this planet that sort of habitable, we could go there and use that as the launch pad for our next step into space. What would happen? And in my mind, it was like, it would go terribly wrong, of course. Because we’re people, and we mess up everything. [Laughs] That’s where things kind of developed from there, and so what would that look like building the characters and getting into more like metaphysical, existential stuff that the book touches on.
It took a while to really kind of — you know, that boulder of like an existential sci-fi thing, to craft that into something people actually want to read. [Laughs] To add that popcorn fiction element to it took a while, but once I got those piece into place and had that marriage between, “Okay, here’s the things I want to do thematically. Here’s the things I want to do a story that’s cool and make it work.” It all kind of developed from there, and it’s been fun. “Roche Limit’s” like my baby — besides like my actual, real baby, you know. [Laughs] It’s my book baby.
On talking with “Roche Limit” screenwriter Seth Sherwood and getting used to the Hollywood process:
I’m such a like novice to like the Hollywood — how those interactions between Hollywood and comics happen. And I do kind of here these like nightmarish stories, “Oh, they’re gonna take your thing, it’s gonna be something totally different.” I’ve had experiences now with “Hoax Hunters” with Craig — and he’s been awesome in talking, being like, “So what do you think about this?” It’s so weird, I’m like, “I dunno, just do what you want, man. [Laughs] You write ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'” And the same thing with Seth. Seth and I have talked on the phone a lot. We met just a few days ago and he’s always been so very careful about the decisions he makes and, if he’s gonna make a change, explaining why he makes it and what he thinks about it. The one thing he’s made really clear, and it’s been really cool, is he really gets the property and like explained why he loves it. Like me, he’s a sci-fi nerd and loves “Mass Effect” and loves Asimov and loves all that stuff. We share very similar sensibilities so it’s cool that he’s working on that because he super, really really gets it. We’ve had like some pretty close contact in developing this stuff. Obviously, when the time comes, he’s the guy at the helm for this, so final decisions are gonna belong to Seth and I can look at that go, “I’m totally comfortable with that, because I know that he’s gonna do the right things, and what changes need to be made. Because there needs to be changes, without question. If you made “Roche Limit” the comic into a direct movie, it would be a mess. [Laughs] It’s a messy book, and it’s meant to be a messy book. I think that he will like have the sensibilities to bring that to where it needs to go.
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