Elfquest creators Wendy and Richard Pini were joined by Elfquest movie producers Marv Wolfman and Craig Miller of Wolfmill Enteratanment to conduct a panel in front of a room packed with fans Friday at Comic-Con International. The quartet filled fans in on the status of the movie and also previewed several clips of test footage. The test footage was created by various animation houses to explore the different styles of traditional and computer generated animation. While much of the footage looked impressive, the panel consistently reminded attendees that these were only tests and the team had not necessarily decided to go with any one of them. The movie is currently in the storyboarding phases.
Miller, who co-wrote the screenplay for the movie along with Wolfman and Wendy, told fans that the storyline from the movie is taken from the first four volumes of the comic series. This involved boiling 600 hundred pages of comic-book story into what would be 90 minutes of animated footage. "What we tried to do is to figure out what the heart of the story is, what the story's really about and stay as true as possible to the flavor of it," Miller told fans. "One of Wendy's main tasks was, any time Marv and I might want to venture in some direction, to beat us about the head and shoulders and make sure we didn't take out anything."
"Well also I had to watch what they tried to put in," Wendy explained, "because, with Marv, it was vultures. Marv has a thing about vultures."
However, Wolfman assured audiences that the movie, and the toys, were in good hands. "One of the things that I believe is important about this particular film, which rarely happens on outside films, is that everybody connected to it really loves the property. It's not like anyone's coming in late on this," Wolfman explained. "We really wanted to preserve what the heart and soul of what Elfquest is about."
Wendy adds "The wonderful thing about this particular writing partnership is, in addition to the knowledge that Craig and Marv have about Elfquest, they took the time to carefully read the books they were going to be adapting."
"Read them again," Miller clarified.
Richard Pini also praised the partnership and was philosophical about the twenty-plus years it's taken to forward the Elfquest movie. "Things happen when they're supposed to happen. Had we, for example, gone with Nelvana in the early 1980's or CBS in the mid-1980's or whatever, who knows what we would have ended up with," Richard mused. "Had things not happened exactly the way they had happened we would not be working with Marv and Craig's company. We would not be in partnership with these people who have a love of Elfquest, who have a love of comics, who have a love of animation and a knowledge of it."
The panel opened the floor to the audience for casting suggestions. Miller expects that well-known actors will fill the lead roles. Wendy told fans that Mark Hamill, who has much animation experience including his role as the voice of The Joker in the Batman animated series, has expressed interest in voicing the character of Picknose.
The panel told fans that they expect the movie to get a PG or PG-13 rating.
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS
An inside source on the Josie and the Pussycats movie has confirmed reports that another actress has joined the cast of the film. A few weeks back Upcomingmovies.com reported that Missi Pyle (who played Tony Shalhoub's alien girlfriend in Galaxy Quest) has joined the cast. Furthermore, it was reported that Pyle will play Alexandra Cabot, not Parker Posey as we previously reported. Our source tells us this report is right on the money. Posey's evil music Mogul character is named Fiona.
Meanwhile Rachel Leigh Cook (Josie), Tara Reid (Melody) and Rosario Dawson (Val) have been busy earning their whiskers. Our source tells us the girls met this past week for "band camp" with Babyface and Tracey Edwards. Inside word for the camp is that the pussycats are really going to be hot!
Finally, our source tells us that Michael Silberkleit and Richard Goldwater (both of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) are now on board as Executive Producers.
Comics2Film spoke with Jeff Smith, Sunday morning at Comic-Con. Smith had spoken with studio execs regarding the fate of his animated Bone feature film. The option on the movie was set to expire next month.
Smith told us the meeting was very positive and Nickelodeon and Paramount are committed to going forward with the film. The next step is a polish on the movie's script, which is written by Smith, frequent collaborator Dan Rude and screenwriter Jim Cooper.
JETCAT & TUTENSTEIN
Comics2Film talked to Eisner-award nominee Jay Stephens briefly at the Comic-Con International. Stephens told us that the animated version of Jetcat is temporarily in limbo. The Jetcat shorts were aired as part of Nickelodeon's Ka-Blam! anthology show, which was yanked from the network late last year. Although it looks like Ka-Blam! will not return, Stephens told us that he will likely try to bring the animated Jetcat back to TV soon.
Work continues on the Tutenstein animated show for the Discovery channel. Stephens told C2F that the network is eyeing May 2001 as a possible start date, tying the show in with the network's Mummy's Day celebration.
Friday, at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, Reid Gershbein led a panel of comic and animation creators who are developing content for the online entertainment startup Thrave.com. On hand were Lawrence Marvit, Lynell Jinks, Bob Camp, C. Scott Morse, Bryan Andrews, Jim Mahfood, Brian Michael Bendis, Judd Winick, Chynna Clugston-Major and Eric Pigor, all of whom have projects in some stages of development for Thrave. "What Thrave is is a studio that is run by the artists and the creators," Gershbein told attendees of the panel. "The people here are getting complete creative freedom over what they are doing. "We're going to be doing animated shows for the web first, and then we're also going to be taking these shows out to television, film and video."
Garnering lots of "oohs" and "aahs" from attendees was C. Scott Morse's Volcanic Revolver based on his Oni Press. "It's a mafia story set in 1929 about a gang war between the Irish mob and the Italian mob. It's the lower echelon of the mob structure."
Although Morse called it a rough version, the trailer featured painted backgrounds and animation that seemed significantly smoother than what one might expect from Flash animation. The trailer should be available on the Thrave site within a few weeks.
Morse is writing, producing and co-directing the feature with Bryan Andrews. "You can tell we're not worried about censors. There's people getting shot in the head, stabbed in the eye. There's going to be a lot of ethnic slurs, how people would talk in 1929; how they would refer to people."
Thrave plans to release Volcanic Revolver on an unnamed affiliate site, who they are currently negotiating with. The feature will be released in four minute chunks which Morse said won't be episodic. All told, the online feature will probably amount to 45 minutes worth of footage. Proceeds from the online showing will be used to finish the film, "putting another 20 to 30 minutes of animation into it, flushing out the story a little bit more, making it work more cohesively in film. It will be released on tape and DVD," Morse said. The movie may also see a release in theaters with digital projectors.
Animator Bob Camp showed his trailer for his tag-team concepts Abject Puberty and Pain and Envy. "What I wanted to do is to create two shows in one town that would sort of cover the demographics for the entire community," Camp explained. "One is called Pain and Envy which is an adult, cutting edge, much more twisted version of Days of Our Lives or any kind of adult soap opera. The other's called Abject Puberty [which] is an in-your-face, Real World, MTV type." Characters from both shows will cross between the shows. The intertwined trailer featured a number of laugh-out-loud images and was met with applause from the audience.
This trailers is also due to be displayed on the Thrave site in coming weeks.
An animatic of Lawrence Marvit's Cupids was also displayed. The animatic featured still sketches set to dialog which described the action of the show. Cupids will feature the classic god of love, depicted as a mob hit-man. Gershbein showed the pilot episode for his Seat of Life animated series. The movie was written, produced and directed by Gershbein, with Lynell Jinks doing the majority of the animation and Marvit handling the backgrounds. Gershbein described the concept as The Fifth Element meets The X-Files. This trailers is now available for viewing on the Thrave site.
Brian Michael Bendis was also on hand to unveil his intro for the Jinx movie. The black and white episode animates a scene that appeared in the first Jinx comic. Panel attendees enjoyed the the episode, although the gritty dialog irked some parents when it was shown on the convention floor. As with some of the above, the Jinx intro will be on the Thrave site in coming weeks.
Toxic Toons author Eric Pigor presented some seriously gross/funny test footage for his Spookhouse program. Pigor described the concept as an "interactive haunted house, with creepy, short cartoons by different artists."
Additional creators were on hand to talk about projects, although trailers were not available.
Jim Mahfood is doing an animated version of his Grrl Scouts. Chynna Clugston-Major will be bringing her Blue Monday to the web screen. Judd Winick is developing "an action comedy about a guy who investigates monsters and stuff. It will be the most wholesome thing I've done yet."
According to a brief mention in today's Daily Variety, Tobey Maguire (The Cider House Rules) is on the short list of actors in line to play Spider-Man. The article also mentions that the role will have to be cast soon as production is set to begin in November.
JON SABLE, FREELANCE
Daily Variety reports that Gene Simmons is set to produce another comic book property. This time Simmons is developing Mike Grell's Jon Sable, Freelance with Pacifica Entertainment.
The article describes the property as "an action-adventure serial about Jon Sable, a former Olympian, war veteran and African game hunter who lives in Manhattan and splits his time between mercenary assignments and writing children's books."
Sable was also the subject of a 1987 TV series starring Louis Van Bergen and Rene Russo.
Thanks to Scott and burbank309 for the lead.
A scooper for Dark Horizons attended the Comic-Con panel discussion for the Tick TV show this weekend. Ben Edlund, Randolph Heard and Chris McCullough, the writers for the show, were on hand to run a clip and answer question.
Edlund told fans that only characters that were originally part of the comic have a chance of appearing on the show. Characters created for the cartoon will not appear.
Edlund also told fans that he will not work with Fox on an animated movie.
Thanks to FreedomFighter for the lead.
Cinescape magazine reports that the movie version of Jack Kirby's Satan's Six is heating up. Word comes from Tracy Kirby, Jack's granddaughter who spoke to Cinescape contributor Gina McIntyre. Apparently the positive buzz on comic book movies has helped S6.
Kirby told McIntyre that Jack's Challengers of the Unknown, which he created for DC Comics is in development as a movie.
Rob Allstetter of The Comics Continuum has obtained images of Sabretooth for the upcoming X-Men: Evolution animated program. The show is set to air this fall on Kids' WB! The Continuum reports that except for Storm and Wolverine most of the characters will be depicted as teenagers. The rivalry between Wolverine and Sabretooth will remain intact for the series.