Press ReleaseDevil's Due Publishing (DDP) and Starz combine forces to launch a comic book mini-series this October based on the network's upcoming series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." Award-winning producers/filmmakers Rob Tapert (The Grudge, "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys"), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man and Evil Dead), and Joshua Donen (The Quick and the Dead) will serve as executive producers on the program, along with Steven S. DeKnight ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Smallville," "Dollhouse"), who will also be the show's head writer.
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" will be a provocative, violent and sexy television series chronicling the life of the famous Ancient Roman gladiator and his rise to fame. Actor John Hannah (The Mummy films) has signed on to play the devious Batiatus, the owner of the gladiator school and husband of Lucretia (action TV favorite Lucy Lawless), his scheming, insatiable wife. The series stars Andy Whitfield in the title role, a Thracian Soldier in the Roman Auxiliary who was taken prisoner and condemned to die in the gladiator arena.
Devil's Due will be working closely with Starz, the production studio for its sibling premium entertainment channel, to create four self-contained stories that intertwine with the show's continuity.
Contributing to the series will be DeKnight, DDP President Josh Blaylock and noted comic scribe Jimmy Palmiotti, with others to be announced. Evan Sult will edit the comic books with R.H. Stavis overseeing the project.
The first issue will debut as a promotional collectible at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con with a unique variant cover available only at the convention, followed by the release of the issue in stores nationwide in October.
"This is a very exciting project for Devil's Due," Blaylock said. "Not only do we get to tell an incredible story full of intense action, battles, and sexy characters, we also get to work with a project from Tapert and Raimi and the entire awesome team. We couldn't be happier."
"We have an expansive vision for the retelling of the classic Spartacus story, filled with astounding visuals and larger than life characters. A comic book is the natural extension to the world we're constructing," DeKnight said. "Josh Blaylock and the artists at Devil's Due have just the right sensibility to make this the perfect complement to our show."
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" is scheduled for a debut on the Starz premium entertainment channel in January 2010.