Archaia Entertainment hosted their Transmedia in Graphic Novel Publishing panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego to discuss the company’s initiative in publishing three new graphic novels adapted from other intellectual licenses, creating cornerstone stories which compliment those unique worlds.
The panel, moderated by Joe LeFavi of Quixotic Transmedia, first introduced the idea of transmedia as the ability to integrate all types of media together into a “constructive, vast, massive, ever evolving story universe that could extend and endure in multiple forms for years to come.”
Andrew Gaska began by introducing his project “Space 1999: Aftershock and Awe,” a graphic novel based off of the ’70s TV show of the same name. The story is about an explosion on the moon which sends it out of orbit into space — along with the people inhabiting the base stationed there. “Awe” centers around select individuals who are in some way associated with the lost persons on the moon, and how they are affected by the tragedy.
The graphic novel is an adaptation of the ’70s pilot episode, but a more accurate retelling of the original intended story, which Gaska said was over three hours long before being cut to 45 minutes. Most of the cut footage had been lost, but Gaska said he found a majority of it on Youtube. Combining the found video with the original scripts, he put together the story which was meant to be told.
The release of “Awe” issue #1 was exclusive to Comic-Con with 100 copies available only during Gaska’s signings at the Archaia booth.
The next project discussed was F.J. DeSanto’s “Cyborg 009,” another adaptation, but this time of a classic Japanese Manga from the ’60s. DeSanto described “Cyborg” as the equivalent of the Avengers or X-Men of Japan.
“What’s different between this and other superhero properties is you have characters who are not necessarily super heroic,” De Santo said. “They’re people from different countries who were turned into weapons against their will, not even knowing what they could do. Then they have to break free and take these powers that have been forced upon them against the people who did this to them.”
DeSanto updated the story by injecting “Cyborg” with more of an adult theme in contrast to the original, as well as modernizing the dated content.
“Our story is a retelling of the origins story, sort of like a ‘Batman Begins’ — taking what was great about this property and creating something new,” DeSanto said, adding the creative team went through the source material “religiously.” The book is ideal for new readers to become invested.
DeSanto also noted “Cyborg” didn’t go through a “drastic reinvention,” but instead was changed to meet a Westernized audience. He announced a live-action film is in the works.
The last property discussed on the panel was “Hawken,” a mech suit-driven first person shooter video game set for a December 2012 release. Archaia’s prequel graphic novel is being developed by Meteor Entertainment and creative director Khang Le.
A trailer was shown showcasing gameplay and cinematic cutscenes, as well as concept art depicting “Hawken’s” unique dystopian world.
Archaia Publisher Mike Kennedy said a team of sci-fi concept artists has been put together to work on the title.
“It’s a fantastic lineup and they’re not just bringing comic art but painted art — they’re bringing their A game,” Kennedy said.
The graphic novel is currently in production, but Kennedy noted the look will closely resemble the game’s concept art. When more artwork becomes available, it will be leaked to keep people excited about the book’s release.
According to LeFavi, the “Hawken” prequel is an anthology of stories entering into the timeline of the events and characters featured in the world of the game.
“It becomes this very unique visual experience to see the meteoric rise and fall of this world, done in a beautiful way with this great team of artists and writers,” said LeFavi. “It’s supposed to be this great experience all within the contents of one graphic novel.”
The graphic novel does not yet have a specified release date.
Producer Dan Jevons and director Scott Waugh were on hand to announce a feature film for “Hawken” is in the works. “The creators thought the world through so well,” said Waugh, “There’s such a great human story in this crazy world.”
He added when he first sat down to view and read the material, he was so enthralled with the universe it made him believe “Hawken” is the next “Star Wars.”
“It’s so relevant to where our Earth is going and where we unfortunately might continue to go,” Waugh continued. “I feel like the human stories in the trilogy of films we are mapping out is so mind-blowing.”
A live-action trailer depicting what the film may look like was shown, including more concept art for the film and game.
Waugh closed by saying, “I hope people will really realize ‘Star Wars’ was then, but ‘Hawken’ is now.'”