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MAGE

[Mage]F. Gary Gray, the director of Friday, The Negotiator and the upcoming El Diablo has officially signed to direct the big-screen version of Matt Wagner's mythological opus Mage.

Mage producer Andrew Cosby told Comics2Film that the director signed this week to do the movie after presenting Spyglass Entertainment with a top-notch pitch on the project.

Gray had extensive notes on the comics and, reportedly, had even contracted artists to do preliminary designs for Grackleflints and other creatures. "He loves the comics," Cosby told us. "I don't think he was a fan of the comic before coming into the project. I think it was more a matter of being presented with the material, he read the comics and was enamored from the word go."

Cosby told C2F that the filmmakers are trying to a comic book hero movie that departs from previous big-screen superheroes. "We want to do something that's a little more original. With F. Gary Gray it's certainly not going to feel as familiar as it could," Cosby said.

"The great thing about this story is that it's classic adventure stuff. It's the Joseph Campbell 'The Hero's Journey' archetypes being played in a different way and turned on their heads. I like a director whose going to try to do the same thing Matt did with the comic, with the movie: try to go one step further than what you expect."

Cosby is producing along with Ross Richie. John Rogers (American Outlaws) has developed the script based on Wagner's comics.

ROBUR

[Robur]Jean-Marc Lofficier told Comics2Film that things are happening with several projects from his Hollywood Comics agency.

First up is deal around Robur, a comic written by Lofficier and illustrated by Gil Formosa. "Gil Formosa, Randy [Lofficier] and I have signed our deal to develop Robur as a television series in partnership with the Jacobson Company (Mighty Joe Young)," Lofficier told us.

Lofficier's official website describes the concept as, "a series of stories featuring the mysterious Robur and taking place in a 1920s steampunk world where the Selenites have conquered the Earth."

Hollywood Comics client Darryl Kluskowski has signed a deal with Nickelodeon to develop Bumble Bee & Turkey Pot Pie as a cartoon. The creator also has his Four-Eyes concept in active development at Porchlight Entertainment, the same animation house the created the Jetcat shorts.

Lofficier also alerts fans to be on the look out for increased activity on the pilot episode for Jay Stephens Tutenstein for The Discovery Kids Channel. "And we're ever hopeful for a return of Jetcat," Lofficier said.

Finally, Hollywood Comics is in tentative talks regarding Paul Pope's Escapo. Lofficier promises more details as they become available.

DETECTIVES, INC.

Don McGregor wrote in to point out that, contrary to what was stated in our recent write-up of his Detectives, Inc. movie, Alex Simmons plays Ted Denning in the film while Richard Douglass plays Bob Rainier.

McGregor also wanted to alert fans to another piece of noteworthy casting in the film. "Billy Graham, the first black Art Director in comics, and who acted in such films as New Jack City, and illustrated many comics, including much of Panther's Rage with me, plus the 2nd Sabre story-line 'An Exploitation of Everything Dear,' plays Denning's father," McGregor said. The character is "appropriately a freelance comic artist, who gets to make a lot of commentary on what working in this industry is like.

"Billy sadly died a couple of years ago, and this industry has virtually not made a mention of his passing and his contributions," McGregor told Comics2Film. "He was a great friend, who first introduced me to many wild places in New York City, and a true talent, from stand-up comedy to artist to actor to playwright."

Detectives Inc. makes its debut at this week's Comic-Con International. The movie will run on Friday, July 20 at 4:30pm in the convention center. A discussion panel will follow the screening.

SPIDER-MAN

[Spider-Man Trailer]Fans have been buzzing about the Spider-Man teaser trailer since it's debut last week. The trailer ran in theaters in front of Sony's Final Fantasy movie.

Spider-Man Hype was invited to preview the trailer with director Sam Raimi earlier this week. The site also interviewed Raimi about his efforts to bring Spidey to the big screen.

Although the filmmakers initial wanted to include Peter Parker's first love, Gwen Stacy, in the story they eventually opted to go with Mary Jane instead. "It seemed like the most dramatic element of Gwen Stacy was her death," Raimi told SMH. " Looking in the books the early part of her life was less interesting, you know, her actual relationship with Peter. She is just very fond in memory. If you actually look through the books and see her relationship with Parker there isn't a lot of dynamics there. So, that had a lot to do with it."

Raimi told SMH that he had not signed on to do a sequel, and seemed reluctant to speculate on a sequel story line. With some coaxing he did say that, if he were doing a sequel, he would want to continue to develop Peter Parker's story. He would move Parker from high school to college, and also further develop his relationships with Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborne. Raimi said, "I'm hoping, whether it's me or another director and writer, that they would get these elements effective, they would pick up where the story left them and set the new story from there. So I do think it would be a continuing story."

The theatrical screening of the trailer was followed by a web release last Thursday night, as scheduled. The clip features a team of bank robbers fleeing the crime-scene in a helicopter when their plan hits as Spidey-esque snag. That's followed by some impressive shots of the web-slinger doing what he does best.

Fans can download the clip in formats that should suit most websurfers, regardless of hardware or software available. Formats include typically cheesy RealMedia clips, better quality Windows Media clips and high quality QuickTime for folks with fast connections.

The lab-techs over at Spider-Man Hype have been studying and dissecting the reel since its debut. They've uncovered some interesting properties buried in the teaser footage.

Sharp-eyed fans can find none other than Dr. Octopus in a few frames of the trailer. During the bank heist sequence, a worker ducks under a desk with the name plate "Robert Harris." Freeze frame there and you'll see a painted portrait on the wall. The plate on the portrait reads "Otto Octavius."

Another shot of one of the bank desks displays a paperweight, with a scorpion encased in Lucite. In yet another shot, a bank patron sports a lapel pin...in the shape of a lizard. Are these allusions to other Spidey villains?

Fans in the UK who want to see the trailer on the big screen will be able to do so this week, according to SMH. That site claims the trailer will run there with Jurassic Park III, due in theaters on the 20th.

GHOST WORLD

Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes along with John Kuramoto have designed and opened a new website promoting the upcoming movie. The new site resides at GhostWorld-TheMovie.com.

The new site offers extensive biographies and photos on over 24 cast members and 9 crew members.

A video gallery allows fans to download the trailer. It also features a humorous clip of the nunchaku-wielding Doug "Doug" Wilson (played by Dave Sheridan). Coming attractions include a clip of Steve Buscemi's acerbic Seymour.

Other features include:

  • A release schedule maps out Ghost World screenings across the U.S.
  • Copious production notes
  • Samplings from the soundtrack
  • Information about the comics
  • exclusive artwork by Clowes on every single page.

The new site compliments the other Ghost World website opened by MGM earlier this year.

Fans in San Diego this week can try to check out an exclusive showing of the movie at a top-secret location at 8:00pm on Thursday. Tickets are available at the official Comic-Con Boutique Booth. They're going first-come, first-served and the screening is limited to 300 people, so get there early.

Fantagraphics also promises Ghost World goodies at their Comic-Con booth (#215). Clowes will be on hand for book signings from 5pm-7pm before the screening, and again on Friday noon-2pm.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

[TMNT]Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Peter Laird continues to hype the new, CGI animated series that'll mark the return of the heroes on the half-shell. Laird recently did an interview at The official site in which he talked about plans for the Turtles on the big screen and on the small screen.

Currently it is unknown who will be handling the writing chores on either the movie or the TV show. However, Laird reports that he will be working with the writers on the movie plot. "I expect to do some tweaking of the script," Laird said. However, TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman will not be involved creatively.

At the moment there are not plans to involve voice talent from the previous animated shows with the new efforts, but that could change. Laird said, "I'm actually thinking that new voice actors might be a good idea, to inject some fresh energy into the movie and TV."

Fans shouldn't expect to see the fifth, female turtle in the new projects. "As long as I am alive and in charge of this ship of Turtles, Venus DeMilo, the female Turtle, will NEVER again appear in any Mirage-approved TMNT project, unless it is a book about the history of the TMNT property and it is necessary to refer to her as an undeniable part of that history. She is GONE," Laird said. Venus was created as part of the short-lived live-action TMNT show called The Next Mutation.

Plans do call for the evil Shredder to return along with turtle allies April O'Neil and Casey Jones. Laird hopes to the movie and TV series will match the tone of the original Mirage comics. Characters from the Mirage comics may appear as well. Triceratons and Mousers appear in the 5 minute pilot reel. " I would love to see Leatherhead, Rat King, Savanti Romero, Stainless Steve Steel and the Justice Force and the Fugitoid, among others, in the new show. We'll see," said Laird.

Laird continues to provide frame-grabs from the pilot footage that was shot for the program. He reports that there is only about 5 minutes of footage that was basically put together to demonstrate the potential of the concept.

DAREDEVIL

The big screen version of Marvel's Daredevil may go in front of the cameras as early as November according to the Popcorn.co.uk website. Producer Gary Foster told the site that a great script by Mark Steven Johnson (Grumpy Old Men) and Brian Helgeland (A Knight's Tale) is ready with Johnson set to direct.

Production is "just at the point of preparing the movie to start shooting in November," Foster is quoted as saying. Foster tells fans to expect a superhero movie that is "more character-driven", "darker" and "edgier".

No casting announcements are ready to be made. Foster did run down a wish-list of lead actors that includes Ed Norton (The Score), Guy Pearce (Memento), Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting) and Mark Wahlberg (Planet of the Apes).

CONCRETE (AND OTHER DARK HORSE MOVIES)

[Concrete]Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics had a talk with Widgett over at The Last Comic Site. During the extensive interview Richardson talked briefly about the history of Dark Horse as film producers (starting with the quirky horror flick Dr. Giggles) and about the current hot projects at Dark Horse Entertainment.

Richardson makes mention of Hellboy dropping Guillermo del Toro's name as director and also mentioning that Vin Diesel is "interested." Richardson also said that Peter Lenkov is working on another draft of his screenplay for R.I.P.D.

The Dark Horse mogul goes into slightly more detail on the movie version of Paul Chadwick's Concrete. "A short time back...Paul [Chadwick] wrote another draft," Richardson said. "We also had a draft written by a huge director, whose currently working on a project, who we believe is going to come and write a final...himself write another version of his draft, and...hopefully commit to direct the project. We have high hopes for Concrete."

In the past, Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) has been attached to the Concrete movie. This may be the director Richardson is referring to.

Check out the complete Mike Richardson interview at The Last Comic Site.

SMALLVILLE

Fans looking for a peek at the Smallville TV show can direct their browsers to Zap2It.com. The site is playing a 5 minute promo reel for the upcoming WB show which chronicles the life of young Clark Kent in his Kansas hometown.

MUTANT X

According to the official Mutant X website, the syndicated Marvel show is set to make its debut the first week in October.

Fans interested in the comic book version of the TV series can check out Comicon.com Newsarama for a preview. The site features five pages of artwork from newcomer Lee Ferguson. The preview is part of an interview Matt Brady did with Ferguson. In the interview Ferguson talks about breaking in to comics and working on the new book with scribe David Tischman.

DAN DARE

The producers of the Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future animated show have launched the official website for the program. The Flash-enhanced site allows users to download several Dan Dare goodies, including a nice trailer for the show. Other content includes character bios, desktop wallpaper, screen savers and an e-mail newsletter.

Thanks to the Dan Dare e-mail discussion group for the lead.

BLOODQUEST

Exile Films continues to keep fans of the Warhammer gaming and comics universe in the loop on the development of the CGI animated movie BloodQuest. Once again, the Exile website has been updated with articles and artwork that give die-hard fans great insights into the development effort.

Subscribers to the Exile e-mailer were treated to a first look at an article that details the development of the model for the Space Marine armor that will be seen in the film. The first of the multi-part article is accompanied by design illustrations and an early animation test. The second part promises to show more detailed models and animation.

Also posted online is an excerpt from an early draft of the script. Although that draft is not going to be used for the movie it does demonstrate a loyalty to the source material that should please fans.

WITCHBLADE

Comics2Film has received several inquiries about the music from the TV show Witchblade. Some fans have asked who provided to singing voice for Conchobar in the recent "Sacrifice" episode. Sources at TNT tell us that Grant Lee Phillips of Grant Lee Buffalo provided the tunes for that show. TNT would not comment on whether or not there was to be a soundtrack released for the show, which features a nice selection of techno music.

TNT did provide a few descriptions for upcoming episodes.

Episode 7 is called Periculum and it airs on July 24th: "Sara is subjected to the ultimate Witchblade trial. Will she be accepted as a true-wielder, or will she pay the ultimate price? Jake is propositioned by the fearless leader of the precinct (Nestor Serrano) when he is asked to join the underground brotherhood of vigilante officers who use their own methods to exact justice."

Episode 8 airs on the 31st and is called Thatntopolis. The synopsis for the show reads, "Jake and Sara tail an arms dealer, but their surveillance takes a starling turn when their suspect is shot. Evidence left behind links the shocking crime to Irons (Anthony Cistaro) and to Sara."

Once again, blade wielder Dex writes in to tell us what's new on the WitchbladeTV.com website. Fans can download:

Thanks to Dex!

ATLANTIS

Plans for an 39-episode animated series based on the Disney movie Atlantis have been sunk by a fearful executives according to one insider, who wishes to be known as Kevorkian. Over half-the episodes written and recorded and a handful shipped overseas for animation. Kevorkian tells us that, like the movie, the series would feature "extremely cool monster designs by [Hellboy creator] Mike Mignola."

"The execs cite many reasons -- movie not performing, ABC didn't want it because it didn't fit into their 'baby show demographic', Toon Disney thought it was too scary," Kevorkian said. "When actually, it had the potential to be the coolest show ever produced by Walt Disney TV animation."

SUPERMAN 3D

[Superman]Press Release: Warner Bros. Online, a premiere online entertainment destination and official Internet home to all things Warner Bros., has ordered an additional 30 installments of the 3-D animated "The Multipath Adventures of Superman" from producer Brilliant Digital Entertainment. These new adventures, which debut in fall 2001, expand the total number of "Superman" webisodes ordered by Warner Bros. Online to 75.

"The Multipath Adventures of Superman" feature full screen, full motion, real-time 3-D interactive animation produced using the Brilliant Digital's b3d Studio tool set for a unique Internet experience.

Brilliant Digital President Kevin Bermeister commented, "Warner Bros. Online provides us high visibility for our proprietary full-screen Internet-delivered animation technology, content and in-house production capabilities. By utilizing b3d, and its complementary Digital Projector, viewers can easily and quickly enjoy the most sophisticated story telling and 3-D rendering engine available via the Internet today."

In addition to the "The Multipath Adventures of Superman," the Warner Bros. Online site currently offers two other serials from BDE, "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Choose Your Own Nightmare." Starting this fall, the site will also offer selected animated music videos from BDE, which has previously produced videos from such musical artists Ja Rule, Ludacris, Redman and Lady Luck.

THE LOCKHORNS

Before The Simpsons, before Married, With Children there was Loretta and Leroy Lockhorn. The couple was created by Bunny Hoest and her late husband, Bill in 1968 as the main characters in the long-running strip The Lockhorns. The strip focused on the ups and downs of married life.

Now, according to an article in The Stamford Advocate, Hoest is developing the concept as a television pilot. Few details are given about the project.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL!

I'll be making for Comic-Con International in San Diego this morning. This year's show looks to be a good one with a Ghost World screening, previews of Smallville and Justice League, and Sam Raimi showing up for a Spider-Man presentation. Check this site regularly from now until Sunday for Comic-Con updates live from the convention floor. [Learn more about CBR's extensive coverage of Comic-Con International: San Diego read our full report.]

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