News flows out of Comic-Con International like an avalanche: Sometimes the interesting announcements gets buried by the more glamorous and higher-profile projects. One story that caught my eye was that filmmaker Duncan Jones and 2000AD/Preacher artist Glenn Fabry will be collaborating on a graphic-novel adaptation of Jones’ unproduced script Mute for Dark Horse.
Mute was originally planned to be Jones’ second film, after the much-praised Moon. Failing to secure funding for the ambitious, Blade Runner-influenced, project meant Jones was forced to move on. His second film instead was Source Code, a rollicking adventure that showed Jones as a capable director of action, after the more sedentary thrills of Moon. He’s now in the pre-production stages of the World of Warcraft movie, the sort of potential franchise tentpole film that could result in Jones being trusted with a budget large enough to make any feature he wants. Jones debuted a “mood piece” — a teaser trailer — for Warcraft, currently unavailable online (but a few souls in attendance in Hall H have posted their descriptions of it). He’s been talking up turning Mute into a graphic novel since 2011, when he told Gordon and the Whale:
“I can sort of tell you that I’ve been talking to my producer today and we have decided that we’re going to release Mute as a graphic novel. Because we’ve had so many problems trying to get this film made, you know? The people who are involved with financing films have just been…shy…shy of making the script. So what we decided to do is we’re going to make a graphic novel of it, prove it…prove it to an audience that this works and maybe in the future get the chance to come back and make it.”
This is a policy that has worked for others in the past: When funding from Warner Bros. fell through in 2002 for Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, the filmmaker reserved the right to produce a graphic novel of the script, which was published by Vertigo in 2005 with art by the great Kent Williams. Keeping the production alive in this way meant the production maintained momentum, finally reaching the screen in 2006. I’m pretty fond of that movie, but I absolutely love the book.
At Comic-Con, Dark Horse gave away a mini-poster of a double-page spread by Fabry from Mute. Jones stopped by to sign some (“Come for the art, stay for the scrawl!” he joked via his Twitter feed).
Hell of an image, that; “immersive” might be one word to describe it. Fabry is best known internationally these days as a cover artist, but this is the second job he’s producing comic interiors for that has been announced recently: He’ll also be returning to “Slaine,” the strip that made his name at 2000AD, to draw a sequence of the anniversary arc “The Book of Scars,” alongside that other artist launched to super-stardom on that feature, Simon Bisley.
Fabry posted some grayscale images of the penciled versions of these Mute pages to his Facebook page:
Awesome work, and yes, they do evoke Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner to a degree, but also the work by Moebius that influenced Scott, those vertical cityscapes from The Long Tomorrow. The insane level of detail in these pages also brings to mind Geof Darrow’s crowd scenes from Hard Boiled. It’s just two pages, but they’ve managed to sorely whet my appetite for the book. And for a cheeseburger.