Platinum Studios has signed two of the competitors in Comic Book Resources' Comic Book Idol contest, L. Frank Weber and Michael J. Flores, to draw Platinum graphic novels. Weber is attached to draw the romantic comedy LOVE BYTES, while Flores has signed to illustrate the suspense thriller SEEN.
Platinum Studios is an entertainment company that develops comics-based projects for film and TV, and is preparing a line of more than 60 original graphic novels that will be published beginning next year. Platinum's chairman, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, was the founder and publisher of Malibu Comics, where he published a wide-ranging, innovative line of comics ranging from MEN IN BLACK to the popular Ultraverse superhero line. After Malibu was sold to Marvel Comics, Rosenberg founded Platinum Studios, which both publishes comics and works to bring them to the screen.
Hiring Weber and Flores, says Rosenberg, reflects Platinum's openness to new talent and new ideas in comics. "Unlike a lot of companies, we're willing to work with writers and artists who are just getting their feet wet in comics," notes Rosenberg. "For us, it's not about having big names. We've had good luck with first-time writers and artists." Rosenberg has a long history of taking chances with new creators. At Malibu, he took a similar gamble with MEN IN BLACK, which was Lowell Cunningham's first comics work, and which had been turned down by 70 other publishers-but went on to become a billion-dollar film and TV blockbuster. "What's important to us at Platinum is great ideas and characters, and artwork that fits the sensibility of each project. We're excited to have both Luke and Michael on board."
L. Frank Weber's first Platinum Studios project will be LOVE BYTES, a graphic novel written by Joshua Elder and Randy Fairman. LOVE BYTES, which is part of the Platinum Megaverse (Platinum's own universe of characters and stories) is a comedic romance, described as "Trading Places meets HAL 9000." The world's first self-aware computer takes Sam Driscoll, a nice guy who's life is going nowhere, and offers him success, money, and the chance to be somebody. But when Sam meets Megan, the girl of his dreams, he finds out that's not part of the plan...and hell hath no fury like a computer scorned.
"We love Luke's sensibility," says Rosenberg. "There's a great dynamic energy to his art that will really bring out both the humor and the romance of this project. It's a lot of fun." Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada praised Weber's work during the Comic Book Idol competition; "This has so many great elements of Toth and reminds me a bit of Duncan Fegredo's and Jamie Hewlett's work."
A graduate of the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, Australia, Weber has made two short films, as well as working as a storyboard and concept artist on two seasons of Australia's first 3D animated children's television series. His self-published graphic novel, Crab Allan, is currently being sold in comic shops around Brisbane and San Francisco.
LOVE BYTES was one of several Platinum projects offered to Weber. "I knew we definitely wanted to work with Luke," says Lee Nordling, Platinum's Executive Editor. "We gave him a couple of choices to see which most appealed to him."
Michael Flores' first Platinum Studios book will be SEEN, an original thriller created and written by Scott O. Brown, publisher of Cyberosia Publishing and the writer of several upcoming graphic novels, including Cyberosia's Second Soul and the Platinum Studios graphic novel THE HUMAN FACTOR. SEEN is about an acclaimed photographer who devises a bold new concept for his next exhibit: he has his girlfriend hire a private detective to surreptitiously photograph him in his everyday life. The project becomes a nightmare when the detective's photos reveal a mysterious stalker following him everywhere he goes.
Brown is enthusiastic about Flores' work. "Michael's a solid artist with a real-world style, and I can't wait to see how he applies the full range of human emotions to a graphic narrative thriller."
Lee Nordling compared Flores to Paul Gulacy, or Brian Michael Bendis' work on Goldfish and Jinx, adding, "The book needs an eye for realistic detail, and Michael's chiaroscuro look will give it a great atmosphere."
SEEN is Flores' first professional comics assignment. Although he says, "All I ever wanted to do was make comic books," his new career as a comic book artist is a change of pace for Flores. A former law student and veteran of the dot-com boom, he's very pleased at getting to work in a medium he's always loved-he says he "may just be the luckiest guy in the universe." Flores lives in Manhattan with his wife, Katherine, and their dachshund, Frank.
ABOUT PLATINUM STUDIOS
Platinum Studios is a comics-to-film based entertainment company focused on comic book characters and stories. Platinum's comics division options existing comics, and takes pitches from comics creators for new stories, which Platinum may publish (licensing domestic and international distribution through a variety of publishers) or subsidize for self-publication (if the creator prefers). Platinum's publishing line includes more than 60 original graphic novels, which will be published starting next year. At the same time, the Platinum development division develops these comics projects for live-action and animated feature film and TV. Platinum is developing from works by acclaimed creators like Alan Moore, Jeph Loeb, Marv Wolfman, Dean Motter, Rick Veitch, Ben Dunn and Steven Grant. Platinum's publishing strategy, which licenses both domestic and international distribution, means that Platinum works with other publishers rather than competing against them, distributing its comics through the companies best suited for the material-and enabling Platinum to stay focused on the creators, the characters, and the stories.