Saturday, July 22, 2006

Comic-con Wheels and Deals

By Ian Brill, Karen Holt and Heidi MacDonald. This article originally appeared in PW Comics Week on July 22nd. You can sign up for their weekly e-mails here.

Comics’ influence on other media continues to be evident throughout the San Diego Comic-con. There was much excitement at the announcement that artist John Cassaday (Planetary, Astonishing X-Men) is slated to direct a film version of his comic I Am Legend for producer Pierre Spengler’s (Superman Returns) new production slate. Shooting is planned for next year.

Perhaps the biggest news splash at the con, however, is that Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) will write and direct a film version of The Spirit, Will Eisner’s comics classic.

Agent Denis Kitchen, who represents the Eisner estate, told PWCW, “Michael Uslan had the property optioned for about 10 years.” In that time, several writers have been attached to developing the story, including writer Jeph Loeb, who was announced last year. Now, however, the property has landed at Odd Lot Entertainment, headed by Daborah Del Prete and Gigi Pritzker, who will co-finance and produce the film. Batfilm’s Benjamin Melniker is on board as executive producer.

Miller made his directorial debut as the co-director on Sin City, which was based closely on his own comics. Details of the production and his approach to The Spirit will be announced Saturday at the Spirit movie panel. Kitchen praised Miller as a huge admirer of Eisner’s original who would remain faithful to the tone of the original.

Cassaday and Miller will join Dave McKean (Mirrormask) and Enki Bilal (Immortel) as cartoonists making the jump to film directors. And cartoonists are also writing screenplays. Dan Clowes has signed a deal with Jack Black Productions for his Deathray series. "Jack Black has always been a supporter of comics," says Clowes. The deal to option "Deathray" was signed this past Tuesday, July 18.

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