Moderated by "Batman" (1989) and "The Dark Knight" producer Michael Uslan, New York Comic Con's Comics to TV Shows panel featured a pair of Hollywood movers and shakers and a pair of comics creators discussing just what goes into moving from the printed page to the small screen. Producers David Uslan (Michael's son) and Tom Lynch are bringing BloodFire Studios' independent title "Kindergoth" to television as an animated series. Series writer/creator Lee Kohse was on hand to add his perspective, as was industry legend Len Wein, who is on board as a writer for the show.
David Uslan opened by saying that New York Comic Con and San Diego's Comic Con International are the two best places to find properties for development. It was at last year's Sand Diego con that the younger Uslan came across "Kindergoth," an absurd comedy about a young goth girl surviving Kindergarten, which stood out immediately. Lynch, a producer of shows aimed at the youth market, added that what drew him to the project was the idea of "a girl in Kindergarten that just kicks ass."
Michael Uslan then asked what the challenges were in adapting one medium to another. Lynch said the major difference is that comics are a very immediate form of storytelling, not requiring the long first acts of film and television. He added that they intended to adapt the artwork of "Kindergoth" in a way not dissimilar to the "Sin City" film.
Len Wein, who worked on the '90s "X-Men" cartoon for Fox, said the most important thing is to remember is the medium you are working in, and be aware of its restrictions and advantages. "Don't bring a bat and ball to a football game," he said. When he first started on "X-Men," he was asked to adapt one of his own comics and did not shy away from such changes. Kohse agreed, saying that changes always have to be made.
David Uslan said he has two principles while working on such projects: stay true to the vision, and keep the creators involved as much as possible. The only reason the source material worked in the first place was because of that vision, and a creator should turn down anyone who would compromise it. Kohse added that he had been approached by over ten producers before working with Uslan and Lynch.
Michael Uslan asked about the importance of "branded franchises" in developing new properties. Lynch answered that it is important, that a studio is always more willing to work on something established, but he also added, "A hit makes a brand new franchise." The property also needs to play across all platforms, from regular channels and cable channels to international networks and consumer products.
David Uslan agreed, saying that while the concept has to be catchy, it's also important that a property can spawn video games, direct to DVD movies, and action figures. "When I look at a property," he said, "and I can see myself playing with those action figures, I know its something special."
Lastly, Michael Uslan asked the panel what to do if you've got a great idea. "Beat the competition," Wein joked, but then added, "Be passionate." Kohse added, "Get off your ass." He said the most important thing is to make quality books and to self promote. David Uslan said to be prepared for rejection and to never let that deter you. Kohse agreed, saying that "Kindergoth" was something he created in high school, and had been in his head for 17 years before he got it published.