CCC09: Disney's Kingdom Comics

Last weekend at Wizard World Chicagi, Christian Beranek gave a detailed overview of how his new Disney publishing division will re-imagine some of the corporation's aging properties. While the panel, called "Disney's Kingdom Comics: 2010 and Beyond," brought no surprises to the podium, Beranek did discuss details about what the brand's books will and will not contain.

"Think tonally in the spirit of 'National Treasure' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean,'" the Kingdom Comics co-founder explained.

He contrasted the style of content he and partner Ahmet Zappa want to produce with other projects like BOOM! Studios' "Muppet Show" or "Toy Story" comics.

"Our books are going to be more PG, PG-13 in tone, " he said.

Though Beranek had hoped to come to Chicago with a list of finalized announcements to make, the comics veteran who also founded the indie publisher Silent Devil promised a roster of titles in the near future. "Look for something from us announcement-wise in the next few months," he predicted. "The Mouse has told me that I must hold off on announcing anything."

The books waiting to revealed are apparently already making their way through Disney's publishing process, however. "We do have several books in production," Beranek stated.

Beranek described Kingdom Comics' place at Disney as a part of the film division, which will be part of a one-stop entry point for recreating classic live-action movie or TV properties under Disney's control and repurposing them as 128-page plus graphic novels. The books will be published as part of a partnership with Disney Publishing Worldwide that will market and distribute them after they are created and focus on a book-market audience.

"We're not going to be interested in doing the single-issue format," he said. "It's going to be on a book-publishing schedule every four months when we launch. We're shooting to have the books out Fall of next year."

The audience speculated on which Disney characters or decades-old films would be ripe for Kingdom Comics to take on. Beranek would neither confirm nor deny most suggestions. Though he did state that the scarecrow character Dr. Syn would not be among their first wave of releases. "We really wanted to do Dr. Syn," he admitted. "Sadly, we're not going to be doing it. "

As far as what Kingdom Comics will publish, Beranek described ideal candidate properties as once-popular stories that warranted revisiting. "Our purpose is to go back and re-imagine stuff that Disney may not have thought of, or they may have a mandate like 'Look, we have a lot of equity in something that is thirty years old that people are fond of.'"

Beranek also would not unveil the names of the creators who would be working on Kingdom Comics' books. Though he did say that they will be from the pages of existing comics. "The first three books we have are all comic book creators, and the artists on it are people that have been [not only in] mainstream, but indie comics too, because that's where I come from."

Beranek also expressed hope that he would be among those creators, coming as close as he did at any point during the panel to detailing one the secret graphic novels. "I am looking to write something myself. I am going with something that we're hoping will be a graphic novel musical."

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