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VOLCANIC REVOLVER

[Volcanic Revolver]Earlier this summer comic creator Scott Morse announced that had entered into an agreement to develop a live-action movie based on his Oni Press graphic novel Volcanic Revolver. Morse serves as executive producer on the project and will also direct from a script by J. Donald Campbell.

Comics2Film spoke with Campbell about the movie and his involvement with it. Campbell told us that he's a big fan of comic books in general and was particularly impressed by Morse's Soulwind. He struck up a correspondence with Morse after sending some e-mailed praise about that book. This prompted Campbell to seek out Volcanic Revolver.

"I read it and I said, 'I really would love to see this made into a film,'" the screenwriter told us. He showed the book to his friend, Miranda Castravelli of Taurus 7 Filmworks and asked her if she'd be interested in producing it with him writing.

In March of this year, Campbell asked Morse if anyone had optioned Volcanic Revolver for film and, at that point nobody had. "Scott's been high-energy trying to get this thing going ever since," Campbell said.

Presently Campbell's delivered two drafts of the script for the film. "What's there in the book amounts to about 45 minutes worth of film," Campbell said. "I had to double that, approximately.

"There are a few little characters I've added in. We've played around with the character of Jack a little bit. He's not quite the same as in the book," Campbell said. "Otherwise, it's very true to the book, except there's more."

Campbell told C2F that staying true to Morse's vision of the story was a major objective for him. "I tend to view adaptations as doing what the original author would want." Having Morse on board as director certainly helps keep that vision intact.

"Working with Scott is even better than I expected. He's one of the most easy-to-get-along-with people that I've ever had to deal with," Campbell said. "I'm having nervous breakdowns rewriting someone whose imagination just boggles me and he's like 'Oh, you'll do fine.'"

Campbell is likewise excited about the prospect of working with Dave McKean (Sandman). The filmmakers are negotiating to get him involved with the design of Volcanic Revolver. "Dave McKean is a phenomenon unto himself. Working with him is just too much of a dream come true," Campbell said.

According to Campbell, Morse is "quite happy" with the progress being made on the script. The writer is due to start work on the third, and hopefully final draft of the screenplay any day now. He expects to finish that up soon.

Once scripting is complete casting should begin on the film. The producers are currently targeting spring of next years as start of filming, which is set to happen on location in Montreal.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Cartoon Network has issued a press release announcing that the weekend premiere of Justice League has scored a ratings record for the all-animation net.

The Saturday, Nov. 17 premiere of the show brought in the largest adults 18-34 rating (1.5, up 114 percent) and delivery (701,000, up 125 percent) of any telecast in the network's history. The new DC Comics action-adventure series also charted a 2.1 household rating and delivered 1,672,000 homes, the highest household delivery ever for a Cartoon Network premiere and the second-highest household rating (behind Courage the Cowardly Dog).

Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14 turned out in droves as well, scoring a 4.6 (up 24 percent) and a 3.3 rating (up 83 percent), respectively. Delivery also increased by 42 percent and 104 percent vs. last year. A total of 4,320,000 different viewers tuned into the premiere.

In other news, animator Bruce Timm recently told Toonzone.net that wants the new Justice League animated series to have epic feel befitting the teaming of DC Comics greatest heroes. To that end he's designed the show to be seen in a widescreen presentation, with an aspect ration similar to theatrical movies.

The show is animated as a full-screen presentation and then matted for the wide screen. Timm told Toonzone that he hopes fans will support the widescreen broadcasts and encourage Cartoon Network to continue airing them.

"...[It] was a major battle to get Cartoon Network to agree to a regularly scheduled widescreen airing," Timm said. "We prepared the show with the widescreen ratio in mind..., and we feel the show just plain LOOKS better that way, the compositions are tighter, more focused, etc....it also helps give the show that 'epic movie' look we were trying to achieve."

Cartoon Network is airing the show in it's full-screen mode on Monday nights, while the widescreen repeats occur every Sunday at 8:30pm (ET).

Timm told Toonzone that he things the full-frame presentation works but he'd rather stick with widescreen. "If the ratings just plummet for the widescreen airings, I guess Cartoon Network will just stop airing 'em that way," Tim said. "The best of all possible worlds would be for folks to watch the show BOTH ways, but I realize that's a lot to ask!"

Toonzone gave it's readers with a comparison of various frames from both presentations of the show. For those and more of Timm's comments visit Toonzone.net.

The Justice League ratings success caps off an impressive winning streak for comic book adaptations that began this summer with the TNT series Witchblade. That show scored record ratings and is the first successful series offering from the TNT cable network. Witchblade is slated to return for a second series in 2002.

July brought the critically acclaimed Ghost World based on Daniel Clowes comic. In addition to critical praise and awards, that indie film collected a respectable sum at the box office, considering it's limited release.

In October, Marvel's Mutant X debuted as the hight-rated hour-long, weekly action-drama in syndication.

Smallville also debuted early in October. That series bowed as the most-watched show ever to air on the WB Network and continues to pull strong ratings.

The third week in October brought the feature film From Hell to cinemas. That movie debuted at #1 beating out Drew Barrymore's Riding in Cars with Boys and Robert Redford's The Last Castle. It was the first ever #1 opening for star Johnny Depp.

Early this month the Fox network debuted the live-action series based on Ben Edlund's The Tick. The series garnered great reviews, pulled respectable numbers and delivered keydemographics and a ratings improvement for the network.

It's been an exciting year for comic book movie and TV fans.

BULLETPROOF MONK

About two weeks ago Comics2Film readers learned that Seann William Scott was a contender for the lead role in the big-screen version of Bulletproof Monk. Now Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have announced that Scott has signed a mid-seven figure deal for the film.

Scott has been seen in a number of comedic feature roles, starting with his breakout turn as the obnoxious Stiffler in the American Pie movies. He'll co-star in Monk with Chow-Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

Bulletproof Monk is based on the comic published by Flypaper Press. The book was written by Brett Lewis and RA Jones (who replaced Lewis midway through issue #2) with art by Michael Avon Oeming and Jason Baumgartner. Gotham Chopra served as story editor and a consultant on the title which originated as a Flypaper idea and title.

Paul Hunter ("Lady Marmalade" music video) is set to direct from a script by Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff (Men of War). The story is described as " a tale about an immortal martial arts master who becomes a mentor to a young, street-wise boy."

The movie is to be produced by Charles Roven of Atlas Entertainment and Terence Change and John Woo of Lion Rock Productions. Michael Yanover of Flypaper Press and Chopra serve as executive producers.

SPIDER-MAN

[The new Spider-Man Web site]Sony's strategy with Spider-Man has shown a marked contrast with Fox's development of the X-Men movie in how much the studio is willing to reveal about their product.

Unlike the mutant movie, Sony released publicity stills of Spider-Man in costume over a year before the movie is due in theaters. More recently they showed us high-quality shots of the villain's costume as well.

We've also seen a teaser trailer in theaters. Fans attending the big conventions this year got a look at the opening scene from the movie.

Now, with the movie still six months away, Sony is giving fans a look at two new clips from the film on the newly revamped official website. Each clip spotlights the two major characters.

The first clip shows Spidey swinging into his bedroom window. He almost gets caught with the webs on as Aunt May shows Norman Osborn into Parker's room.

The next clip is especially exciting as it is laden with special effects and gives fans their first look at the Green Goblin in action. Fans will see the Goblin, flying on his glider, launching goblin rockets and blowing stuff up real good!

Webheads can download the impressive clips by using the secret codes (PP*050302 and ASM*014) at the official site. There's also a clip featuring Macho Man Randy Savage rambling on about his role as exhibition wrestler Bone Saw McGraw in the film. Check out Spidey's new look today!

THE TICK

Click to enlarge.

Ron Perlman will guest-star on the December 5th episode of The Tick according to the latest information from Fox TV. Perlman will play a super-hero called Fiery Blaze. The episode is called "Couples" and finds The Tick and Arthur hanging out with Fiery Blaze and his young sidekick Friendly Fire played by Patrick Breen. The show explores the strange subculture surrounding superhero sidekicks.

Perlman is well-known to genre fans for his much-loved role in the Beauty and the Beast TV series. He's also appeared in movies like Alien: Resurrection, Enemy at the Gates and and has a role in the upcoming Blade 2.

Breen may be best remembered as the alien Quellek in Galaxy Quest. His character was inspired to acts of heroism by his idol Dr. Lazarus (played by Alan Rickman).

The "Couples" episode airs on December 5th at 9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT on Fox.

In other news, The Tick fan site Evil Eye Cafe reports that the big blue avenger held 85% of its audience during its second week run. The show pulled a 3.5/5 compared to the 4.1/6 scored during the debut.

The show is taking a few weeks for the Holidays and other events but is setto return on Thursday, December 5th at 9 p.m. with a new episode.

Fans who can't wait that long for more Tick fun can tune their web browsers to TickTV.com, the official site for the show. The site recently posted a video interview with Tick producer David Sacks.

During his segment, Sacks discusses the phenomenon of Patrick Warburton and why longtime fans are getting behind the show. He also gives a glimpse of future episodes of the show which include Arthur coming out (as a sidekick) to his parents and a Courtroom drama with the villainous Destroyo.

Finally Sacks reveals that The Tick has no privates.

AMERICAN SPLENDOR

The Hollywood Reporter ran an article about the movie version of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor which confirmed much of what has been reported by Comics2Film recently, and also shed some new light on the project.

According to the write-up, the film will run on the HBO cable premium channel. It'll be a mix of documentary elements, archived footage, animation and fictional sequences. The film will track Pekar's everyday life as a file clerk at his local veterans hospital and his relationships and personal problems.

In a related report, Variety mentions that the film is budgeted at $2 million and may enjoy a theatrical release, rather than going direct-to-cable.

As has been previously reported Paul Giamatti (Man on the Moon) and Hope Davis (Mumford) are set to star.

Documentary directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are set to helm the feature. Ted Hope will produce for Good Machine.

ZITS

Shawn Levy will direct and produce the big screen version of Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman's comic strip Zits according to The Hollywood Reporter. Levy has served as the director on several TV shows including Disney's The Famous Jett Jackson. He recently completed his feature film directing debut with Big Fat Liar starring Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle).

The movie is set up at Universal Pictures. Shady Acres and Marc Platt Productions will also produce. Universal is said to be negotiating with a pair of writers who will rewrite the current script with Levy.

KABUKI

David Mack has closed a new deal for the development of his Kabuki movie with 20th Century Fox. Mack recently announced the deal on his message boards.

"After two and a half years of developing Kabuki as an animated film (with me working for Fox as a writer, co-producer, visual designer, and creative consultant), a new division of Fox has taken over the project and decided to do it as live action," Make told his readers. "We just closed the main deal for this and are now rolling on the project."

Comics2Film talked to a source at Fox earlier this month, who informed us that the movie was moving to Fox Searchlight, the studio's specialty brand shingle.

Mack also indicated that there may be movement on the casting front. " The PERFECT actress for it has already been discussed and approached for the role," the comic creator said. "Lots of great things happening, but I can't talk about any of them yet due to disclosure agreements. Be very excited!"

MEN IN BLACK 2

[Men In Black II]The folks at Corona Coming Attractions have infiltrated the Men In Black agency. Their spies have recovered the teaser artwork for Men In Black 2. Feast your eyes.

THE HULK

Regular Comics2Film reader Count Enance wrote in to tells us about a recent Hulk sighting. The Count saw Hulk star Eric Bana on an Australian TV show called "The Panel" on the night of Wednesday, November 14.

Bana talked about the movie. He revealed to the audience that he was going to play Bruce Banner in the movie and "in a way" he would also play The Hulk. Pressed for answers from the panelists, Bana kept mum.

Word is that the Hulk will be a CGI creation in the movie. It's possible that the actor will be providing some advanced motion capture for the character. Could it be that the state of the art of technology would allow CGI artisans to capture Bana's facial performance as well as body movements? Fans will have to wait and see.

SMALLVILLE

Back in September Comics2Film reported that Canada's GlobalTV was taking a wait-and-see attitude in terms of picking up the Smallville TV show. At the time, the carrier was planning on holding the show for early 2002.

Now KryptonSite reports that the network is planning on starting the show later this month. This may be due to the show's strong performance on The WB network in the U.S.

GlobalTV will be playing catch-up with other outlets, like the A-Channel and even other GlobalTV stations, who have been running the show in synch with it's U.S. broadcasts. The carrier will reportedly air a marathon of three episodes on Friday, November 23 and two more episodes on Friday the 30th. After that, the show will maintain a weekly schedule.

File it under comics-to-film-and-back-again but ICv2 reports that DC Comics is planning to publish a funny book based on the hit WB TV show Smallville. According to the report, DC hasn't settled on the specifics of the book yet, but is targeting it for some time next year.

Smallville is featured on the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly topping the magazine's list of the 5 best new TV shows.

Similarly, TV Guide is set to publish four Alex Ross painted covers depicting cast-members from the show. That issue of TV Guide will also contain the first Smallville comic book story penciled by Terry (Harley Quinn) Dodson.

X-MEN 2

Fox has added a modest X-Men 2 area to their main movie site. Currently the X2 content is a small, pop-up window that announces the production on the film is slated to start in Spring of 2002.

In related news, X-Men producer Ralph Winter has signed an exclusive, two-year overall production deal with 20th Century Fox. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Winter will serve as creative producer or assigned line producer on films for Fox and the Fox 2000 production division.

First order of business for the producer is X-Men 2.

WITCHBLADE

Fans who missed out on TNT's successful Witchblade TV series will have another chance to catch the show starting in January.

TNT kicks off the series repeat with the original two-hour movie on Monday, January 21, 2002 at 8 p.m. An encore presentation airs Tuesday, January 22 at 11 p.m.

Following that, reruns of season one will air Mondays at 9 p.m. and Tuesdays at 11 p.m. starting January 28.

The series is set to return for a second season, tentatively scheduled for summer of 2002.

Thanks to blade wielder and super-fan Dex!

RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Former Superman Dean Cain is getting a new sidekick on the Ripley's Believe It or Not! TV show. Variety reports that Kelly Packard (Baywatch) will co-host the show appearing in the live-action segment.

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