WWLA: Silent Devil/Zenescope Talk Hollywood & The Graphic Novel

"Graphic novels are a new access that writers have to a different kind of storytelling," Leekley said. "If you can't get a 100 million dollar movie made, you can do this. You can hold it in your hand. Graphic novels have become the research and development for the feature film business. It's what mitigates against the expense of a movie, for the people who can say yes. They want to have a safe yes, a safe decision so they can keep their job."

Leekley continued, "When I realized this was happening I formed Kompany X. We're creating new myths. 'Star Wars' was so successful because the myth works so well. Joseph Campbell says that myths are the things that hold a society together. The best graphic novels are the ones that have the best mythologies….and they make the best films. '300,' for example is a seminal moment in western culture."

"I think all TV shows and all films will be so influenced by graphic novels that they will be required to be made. 'Go make one,'" Leekley said.

David Wohl gave some background on his experience in transition to Hollywood, with a note of caution. "Top Cow started in '92 and I joined them in '93. Once we started rolling in Top Cow, we were based in Santa Monica, and suddenly Hollywood was at the door."

"Our stuff had been optioned over and over again and nothing really happened," Wohl said. "'Witchblade' came on in 2000, five years after we created it and many people had been through it in that time.

"It's important when the time comes to fight for yourself," Wohl continued. "They'll say 'You have no idea what your character is about and you don't know what is going to sell.' You have to think it's not really going to happen and when it does happen you have to dig in your heels and not be all excited about it happening."

Leekley interjected, "There's a wall that is formed between graphic novel creators and filmmakers. It's starting to break down."

Olmos said that most of that wall is made up of studio executives. "There are great, creative executives out there, but some of them just want to say something. The have nothing to say, they're just validating their jobs."

Zenescope Ralph Tedesco talked about their hybrid approach to film and comics.

"We took a reverse approach initially," Tedesco said. "As a new publisher in the industry we wanted to break out with some titles that might catch some eyes right away. We approached New Line Cinema about doing a prequel to the movie 'Seven.' We came out with the prequel comic book series that put us on the map. We put out another property that we though would speak well to the public, 'Grimm Fairy Tales.'"

Joe Brusha, also from Zenescope added, "We want to do stuff that can be mainstream entertainment."

"DC was mad that we got ['Seven'] because they didn't think of it," Brusha said.

"Because DC and New Line are sister companies," Tedesco explained.

"When a movie like '300' can do 70 million in its opening weekend, it's clearly a mainstream property."

Lastly, Beranek outlined his path to publishing and film.

"I started out as a self publisher because no one would tale a look at my work," Beranek said. "My brother and I formed a company, we had no idea what we were doing. [We] sold everything we owned and started Silent Devil. I learned the hard way, we made a lot of mistakes, We went on the road to every single convention, and I think that where I made my mark, networking with people around the country."

Now, after publishing his creation 'Dracula Vs. King Arthur,' and seeing some success from that venture, Beranek says "the filmmaking world is coming to me to find out how we [make graphic novels] and I'm writing my own characters.

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