Hero Quest: Dan Forcey Talks "Comic Book Challenge"

Every comic book fan has a story inside of them. Every comic book fan has some special insight into their favorite character or some new concept that they feel could blow the minds of fellow comic book readers. Not every fan, however, has the talents to make those concepts come to life and to make it in the comic book industry. When Platinum Studios announced their "Comic Book Challenge," in partnership with NBC, let's just say that a lot fans took notice and began to share their ideas with the two companies. Fans submitted their comic book concepts to Platinum and San Diego's NBC affiliate, who then selected 50 finalists and offered them the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a diverse panel of judges at Comic-Con International. Just who were these judges? And who won the contest? CBR News caught up with Platinum's Communication Manager Dan Forcey to learn more.

"The judges were: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg (Chairman, Platinum Studios and former head of Malibu Comics), Marc Silvestri (CEO and founder of Top Cow), Gale Anne Hurd (producer of the 'Terminator' films, 'The Hulk,' 'The Punisher' and many more), Oliver Jones (correspondent for 'People' magazine), and Chris Marlowe (entertainment correspondent for 'The Hollywood Reporter')," revealed Forcey of the judges, who then picked their three top finalists, and let the public decide the winner. " The finalists were chosen based mainly on the strength of their in person pitches, as the judges saw nothing before the contestants stepped in front of them."

To say that Platinum faced an onslaught of submissions would be an understatement. "NBC has asked us not to release exact numbers, but let me put it this way – it took four Platinum employees four 18 hour days just to plow through the entries we received on the last two days that submissions were open," explained Forcey. "Figure five minutes each and do the math."

After carefully selecting those top 50 entries, Platinum and NBC put the contestants through a rigorous audition process, in which the public could see and hear every second of their pitch. "All 50 semi-finalists had two minutes to pitch the judges and two minutes to discuss their pitches with the judges," said Forcey. "NBC streamed the entire thing on their website, as did Platinum on the comic book challenge website, as did the LA Times on their website. With each contestant, the judges tried very hard to delve into their ideas and ask poignant questions about each idea."

In the end, a winner finally emerged, namely, "DJ Coffman, a webcomic creator from Pittsburgh, PA with his idea entitled 'Hero By Night,'" revealed Forcey. The book focuses on a man named Jack King, who is faced with a world of tough decisions after he discovers the secret base of an old superhero is located in his new apartment! Said Forcey of Coffman, "He had a really strong idea, accompanied by very strong art. His idea will be premiering in print at a major comics convention next year. He's received a contract to write and draw the idea for Platinum, he's received an acquisition agreement from Platinum and a development deal for film and television."

When Forcey explains his role in "Comic Book Challenge," it's easy to understand why he might be a bit exhausted these days. "I had my finger in every aspect of the Challenge, from the creation of the website, to the arrangement of the event in San Diego, to the fact that I walked in and introduced each of the contestants to the judges when they were pitching. I was even one of four people that read every single pitch that came in and decided who made the round of 50 semi-finalists. Now I'm going to take a long nap."

Staff Writer Arune Singh Contributed To This Story.

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