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ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS

[Astounding Space Thrills]Wolfmill Entertainment, the production shingle founded by comics veteran Marv Wolfman and Craig Miller, have announced the acquisition of the rights to Steve Conley's groundbreaking online strip Astounding Space Thrills. The move follows the success of Wolfmill's Pocket Dragon Adventures and the pre-production work on the animated feature Elfquest. Plans are to develop AST as a television series.

Wolfmill provides this description of the concept: A few short years into the 21st century, there was The Shift. The laws governing the universe changed - time now flows at a different angle, space folds against the grain, and positive particles aren't so sure!

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Conley told Comics2Film that the foundation for the strip was born out of a desire to create a flexible reality that wouldn't limit him as a storyteller. "I wanted a story I could work on forever, and the only way I could do that was to give myself so much room I wouldn't get bored."

AST tells the story of Argosy Smith, an upbeat, energetic, action-oriented cross between Dr. Who and Indiana Jones who's also a bit scatterbrained. An inventor and explorer, he's usually a page ahead of everyone else. For Argosy and his friends Theremin, who lost his body in the Shift and is now a humanoid bunch of globules - a living lava lamp in appearance - but who still likes the finer things in life, and Petra, a young female mercenary with a Han Solo edge, no problem is too great, no adventure too dangerous, no mystery too unsolvable... if only Argosy can remember where he put his keys…

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"Steve Conley's created a fascinating universe filled with entertaining characters who give Astounding Space Thrills a quirky humor that blends perfectly with the adventurous stories he tells," said Wolfman.

With AST Conley also hoped to revive a brand of science fiction story that seemed to be dying out. "There was a time in science fiction where everything seemed possible," Conley told C2F. "Now science fiction is in a place where it looks like just surviving seems good enough. I don't like that."

Miller adds, "Astounding Space Thrills is the kind of light-hearted adventure that every generation has grown up with since people started telling stories around a fire. And with Argosy, Theremin, and Petra and their wry humor, Steve Conley has come up with twist to the stories and characters we think will be the hallmark of the 21st century. We're excited to be able to work with him to bring AST to television."

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Conley is likewise pleased to be working with the pair. "They are actually the ideal group for me to work with. I'm a big fan of Marv's," Conley said. "I've talked with other people about possibly turning this into TV or film or animation. Those other people never really got the idea behind it.

"Marv and Craig certainly do, better than anyone else I've talked to from a creative standpoint," Conley said. "They really know where I'm coming from: the idea that this isn't kitschy, this isn't Austin Powers, this isn't poking fun at the genre."

Conley told us that he'll be involved in the creative process, although he's happy to leave the TV work in Wolfmill's capable hands, while he focuses on daily AST online strip. The strip is carried on the Astounding Space Thrills website and 3,000 other web pages around the world everyday, with over 6,000 visits to the AST site alone each day. Astounding Space Thrills is seen more than half a million times a month. It's won the Eagle Award, the Squiddie award, an Eisner Award nomination and has been recommended by the Friends Of Lulu organization as "Women and Kid Friendly".

AST debuted in 1997, simultaneously in print as a self-published comic book and on the web as one of the earliest animated Flash 'webisodes'. Over the next two years AST steadily gained momentum and exploded in March, 1999, when Steve developed 'Tooncasting", a new distribution model for online comic strips, and Astounding Space Thrills: The Daily Adventures, a full-color, daily online comic strip was born.

In addition to the 104 episode series Pocket Dragon Adventures still airing around the world, and Astounding Space Thrills, Wolfmill Entertainment is also in pre-production on Elfquest, an animated theatrical feature based on the internationally best selling comic book series of the same name.

VOLCANIC REVOLVER

[Volcanic Revolver]Comics2Film has learned that Scott Morse is in final negotiations for a big screen, live-action adaptation of his Volcanic Revolver graphic novel. Of particularly good news is that fact that Morse will likely serve as director on the adaptation.

The comic creator is in talks with a Montreal-based production house called Taurus 7 Filmworks. J. Donald Campbell has been tapped to pen the script. Storyboard artists will include Mark Andrews (Iron Giant, Spider-Man) and Bryan Andrews (Samurai Jack, Jackie Chan Adventures). Miranda Castravelli is producing with Morse serving as executive producer on the Canadian production. Dave McKean, (Sandman, Arkham Asylum, Cages) is also involved with the feature.

The estimated budget on the Volcanic Revolver movie is between $3 and $8 million. Plans are to shoot it on location in Montreal.

If the deal is signed in time, look for an official announcement at Comic-Con International next week.

This project is not related to the Flash-animated adaptation that had previously been in development. The Volcanic Revolver trade paperback is currently available from OniPress.com. You can also read Morse's acclaimed comic Soulwind online at the Oni site.

Fans can also see Morse's work in the upcoming Cartoon Network pilot Ferret and Parrot. Morse created the show about two critters who believe whatever's written in the papers that line their cages. Lawrence Marvit (Sparks, Mike Allred's Spaceman) is the art director on the show. The pilot airs August 3rd at 8:00 pm (E.T.).Fans can vote to send the show to series on August 24, 25, and 26th.

DAREDEVIL

[Daredevil]Fans who have been anxiously awaiting the live-action Daredevil movie can now find the teaser trailer online. What's that you say? The Daredevil movie from Marvel and New Regency Productions is still in the early stages of development. How can there be a teaser trailer already?

Well, it's not an official film. It is an engaging 6 minute clip directed by French filmmaker David Sarrio. The movie can be downloaded from Cine-courts.com in a variety of formats.

Filmed in Paris, the movie depicts an acrobatic man without fear fighting bad guys in a not-too-shabby looking version of the classic red costume. The short ultimately leads DD into a confrontation with his nemesis, Wilson Fisk, the kingpin of crime. Like our hero, The Kingpin is dressed in his purple and white comic book duds.

Nice action cinematography and a cool techno soundtrack make this short movie well worth the download. A making-of film is also planned to be available this week.

THE TICK

[Tick - Warburton]Spoon! The website for the Tick TV show is no active. Fans can point their browsers to TickTV.com for loads of big blue goodies. Here's a list of the current site features:

  • Clips from the pilot
  • Screen savers
  • Wallpapers
  • E-Cards
  • About the show
  • History of The Tick
  • About the cast (and crew)
  • About the characters
  • Tickism of the day
  • E-mail newsletter
  • This week's show

The site also reveals that the show will debut in its 8:30 Thursday slot on November 1 of this year.

Thanks to William of The Evil Eye Cafe for ticking...er...tipping us off!

JUSTICE LEAGUE

[JLA]World's Finest Headlines reports that the Justice League animated show has been assigned a premiere date on the Cartoon Network. According to an unnamed source at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the show is slated to debut on November 17th, 2001.

Comic-Con will play host to a preview of the show. The presentation, which starts at 3:30pm at on July 21st in room 6CDEF will feature never before seen video and slides. Mike Lazzo and Linda Simensky of Cartoon Network will moderate a select panel of Justice League producers including Bruce Timm, Rich Fogel, James Tucker, and Glen Murakami. The panel will discuss the show's direction, challenges and new character developments.

Thanks to James Harvey for the tip.

DETECTIVES, INC.

Talk about development hell. A project that first started rolling around in the head of comic scribe Don McGregor in the 1960's is finally set to debut as a film at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego. The movie is Detectives, Inc., a film adaptation of McGregor's comic book of the same name.

McGregor is a comic veteran who created (along with Detectives, Inc.) such characters as Sabre, and Lady Rawhide. He's also written Jungle Action (featuring The Black Panther), Amazing Adventures (featuring Killraven) and Zorro.

McGregor told Comics2Film that he first conceived of Detectives as a movie in 1960's. He envisioned starring as Ted Denning, while fellow comic writer Alex Simmons (Blackjack) would play Bob Rainier.

Instead, the characters eventually appeared in comic books published by the now-defunct Eclipse Comics. By the mid-1980's McGregor realized he could use emerging video technology to make his movie independently. His take would serve as a pitch-reel for both the concept and for McGregor as director. "The initial idea was that I'd write and direct it, and then the producer would have an entertainment agency shop it around," McGregor said.

As planned, Simmons played the Rainier character and Marsha McGregor playing Deirdre Sevens. However, McGregor stayed behind the camera while Richard Douglass stepped into the roll of Denning. The movie was later adapted as the graphic novel, A Terror of Dying Dreams with Gene Golan. That book was recently re-released in May of 1999.

Now, over a decade of post-production later, Detectives Inc. is set to premiere at 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.

"I showed 21 minutes of the film at last year's annual James Bond Weekend festivities headed by Matt Sherman, and the audience responded enthusiastically. There were gasps at shots I had thought would provoke gasps. It was great," McGregor said. "The vocal concern to what happens to our intrepid trio of Denning, Rainier and Deirdre, convinced me I should go forward. So, with the invaluable help of Paul Scrabo, I was able to finish the film I'd begun long ago."

A recent press release provides this description for the concept: Private investigators Bob Rainier and Ted Denning are hired by social worker Deirdre Sevens to look into a case of domestic violence that takes them from the suburban communities of Flushing Meadows, Queens to the Coney Island Brighton Beach boardwalks. Relationships are formed, broken, stripped away, re-evaluated, and some are ended by murder!

The graphic novel can be ordered directly from from McGregor at www.DonMcGregor.com.

DAN DARE

[Dan Dare]The big budget CGI animated TV series is apparently just the start for Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future. An article in today's Variety indicates that the British comic-book hero is aiming for the big screen as well.

According to the write-up, Columbia TriStar Intl. Television has acquired the worldwide rights to the $20 million, 26-episode show. Columbia may also be a partner in the planned feature film.

The write-up also said that Colin Frewin's Dan Dare Corp. is developing a second series of animated shows as well as a script for the film.

Robbie Coltrane, Tim Curry and Charles Dance are named as actors on the series.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man Hype reports that they will be one of only three online outlets where fans can view the Spider-Man teaser trailer.

The teaser is set to run with Sony's Final Fantasy when it's released into theaters on Wednesday, July 11. The trailer will then be seen on Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, July 12th.

Finally, the trailer will hit the web at 9PM (PT) on Thursday. Fans will be able to download the trailer from the official Spider-Man site, Spider-Man Hype and Apple.com (home of many QuickTime presentations). Fans will want to have QuickTime version 5 installed before then.

In other news, Spider-Man Hype also reports that fans in Argentina will have to wait a bit longer to see the movie. Columbia Pictures' Argentinean website gives the release date as December 1st, 2002.

Finally, fans headed for Comic-Con International in San Diego are reminded to attend the Sam Raimi panel on Saturday, July 21st.

SMALLVILLE

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Annette O'Toole will, indeed, play Martha Kent in the upcoming Smallville TV series. The casting had originally been reported by KryptonSite late last week, but was unconfirmed by official sources until now.

O'Toole has been part of the Superman mythos in the past, starring as Lana Lang in the Superman III movie. She replaces Cynthia Ettinger, who played Mrs. Kent in the Smallville pilot.

GHOST WORLD

Fans headed for the Comic-Con in San Diego will be able to catch a preview screening of the Ghost World. The movie is to play in an area theater at 8pm on Thursday the 19th. Interested parties are directed to Comic-Con Boutique booth #1235 for tickets.

BLADE 2

New Line Cinema has purchased a handful of domain names supporting the upcoming Blade sequel. A quick scan of the WhoIs registry shows that the studio owns Blade2.com, BladeBloodhunt.com and BladeMovie.com. This is not exactly new news as these domains were all purchased in 1999. Currently BladeMovie.com takes users to the New Line home page while the other two are simply inactive.

UpcomingMovies.com reports that a target release date has been set for the movie. According to that site the film is now due out on March 22nd, 2002.

GAIMAN PROJECTS

Neil Gaiman is touring the country promoting his hit novel American Gods and chatting up his various movie projects at every stop. The latest Gaiman road report comes from Dark Horizons where a scooper saw the author at a signing in Minnesota.

According to the report, Gaiman has been given the go ahead to pen a second draft of his Death: The High Cost of Living. He plans to begin work on that next month.

His Books of Magic movie (which he is a producer on) has reportedly gone through the "second draft stage."

Finally, Stardust has had its ups and downs. Apparently that projected looked as if it was running out of steam. However, an unnamed female star is said to have picked up the rights to develop the movie as a vehicle for herself. Recent rumors have indicated that Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) is the star in question.

SUPERMAN AND BATMAN

It's not too late for fans to put Superman or Batman on the Cartoon Network's Toonami afternoon action-adventure block. Starting last Monday, fans have been able to log on to Toonami.com and select one of four Toonami series to join the afternoon line-up. But don't delay! Voting wraps up on Monday the 9th.

The candidates are: Batman, Superman, Outlaw Star and Reboot. The chosen series will then begin airing on Monday, July 16 at 5:30pm (ET, PT).

The Toonami programming block runs weekdays from 5-7pm (ET, PT) and features programs like Gundam Wing, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyo! and Big O. Intermittently throughout the two-hour block, Toonami features popular music, computer generated 3-D animation segments and the block's host, TOM, an animated character who inhabits the space vessel The Absolution. The Toonami Midnight Run airs weeknights on Cartoon Network from midnight to 1am (ET, PT).

FAUST

UpcomingMovies.com points Faust fans to the RoadrunnerRecords website featuring the soundtrack for the film.

The site tells fans that the CD soundtrack could be considered "the ultimate metal compilation." Here's the track list:

  1. Fear Factory - Replica
  2. Coal Chamber - Loco
  3. Brujeria - Colas de Rata
  4. Sepultura - Old Earth
  5. Type O Negative - Everyone I Love is Dead
  6. Machine Head - Take My Scars
  7. Vision of Disorder - By the River
  8. Obituary - Chopped in Half
  9. Cradle of Filth - From the Cradle to Enslave
  10. Soulfly - Bleed
  11. Ill Nino - Nothing's Clear
  12. Spineshank - Asthmatic
  13. Sepultura - Choke
  14. Amen - Everything is Untrue
  15. Glassjaw - Babe
  16. Nailbomb - For Fuck's Sake
  17. Deicide - Bible Basher
  18. Carnivore - Sex & Violence
  19. Fear Factory - Timelessness

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