SDCC 09: Dynamite Explodes into Multimedia

Willingham on His Coming Dynamite Days

The Dynamite Entertainment: Adapting Comics to and from Film, Television and Video Games Panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego began with Joe Rybandt discussing the relationship of comics and film, and thanking the fans for Dynmaite’s 5th anniversary.

The opening announcement was that starting 2009-2010, Dynamite would be the new home of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Fighting American.

Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci said they were honored to house one of Joe and Jack’s most revered characters. He then introduced the table. First was Doug Murray, writer of Red Sonja and the just announced Militia book, and soon to be film. Next was Paul Levine- a lawyer who represents the Kirby estate.  He said it was Nick’s vision and insight into the Kirby work that made the Fighting American property possible. Then was Jeff Katz, of American Original, former Fox Exec, former Booster Gold writer, and the man behind Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. Then Samuel Shwartz, of WB, and Sony Animation. Bob Title, of State Street Pictures, those behind the Notorious film, who announced he would be teaming up on a yet-to-be-titled Alex Ross project. Marc Guggenheim, creator of Super-Zombies, soon to come in hardcover, and writer behind the upcoming Galactica 1980. There was Javier Grillo-Marxauch of Lost, Boomtown, and Jake 2.0 , and other upcoming Galactica works. Also, producer Rick Alexander, currently developing a feature film version of Com.X title CLA$$WAR with Disney-based Mandeville Films, with Dynamite work to come. Jules Urbach, a special effects guru, was also there, with teases of upcoming works. Amidst all the Hollywood types was a seatless Darick Robertson, artist of The Boys.

Rybandt spoke to Dynamite’s origins, with licensed books, like Army of Darkness, which translated to this panel, and like success of Battlestar Galactica, and the influx of creator-owned and company prepared books, like The Boys.

Murray got into Militia, a story about the end of the world. An alien race has exterminated humanity, and the few that survive are still fighting. A film seems fast in the works, with actors involved like Trever Trout. There is a connection, but the comic is coming first, and readers will see it all as soon as it is scheduled by Diamond.

A fan asked what the most important elements are to preserve in each medium- film-to-comic.

Grillo Marxaurch wouldn’t develop a project unless it had much to remain intact. There need to be things within to sustain the concept.

Murray talked about the visual emphasis of both mediums. It’s harder to translate in a novel, as there lacks a visceral vision to ideas.

Barrucci said that the format influences a lot, things like slapstick in Army of Darkness don’t translate in comics.

Here Darick Roberston announced plans to publish his earliest work. It was made during a long summer school session at 16, and fans should expect the Space Beaver Omnibus to come soon. It’s the project that taught him to do comics, and its’ the foundation of his career. Barrucci teased that there may be a Space Beavers Vs the Boys crossover to come.

Rick Alexander teased at upcoming Dynamite comic Deductible, and its unique spin on an original superhero universe. Christopher J. Albrecht is making his pro comics writing debut on the book, which will be based on his self-published, creator-owned one-shot comic and the screenplay inspired by it that he wrote for Alexander. Barrucci included that as a comic it is great and crisp, and it could translate to a film, but they’re working to make it a great comic first.

Here the panel shifted to the State Street Pictures/Alex Ross project. Bob Title met Alex Ross in 1989, at college, when Ross was only 16. Even that early, Title marveled at Ross’ discipline. They always stayed in touch, looking for something to work together on. After Notorious, Ross approached Title, to develop an African American character returning from the war, as a vehicle for them both. Title teased that there would be more information to come.

Barrucci talked about the convergence of art and comics. The characterization is so important, so they strive to launch things as a comic first, with the story beats to match the narration. From there, maybe any movies, video games, narration will come naturally after that. Alex is excited, and more information is still to come.

A fan asked Guggenheim and Katz about the crossover of studios and comics. Katz brought up that what Hollywood respects money. So while ideas of respect are nice, it’s the finances studios want.  

Katz came in with an unmade script of Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, and was looking for ways to get Hollywood guys into comics.

Robertson talked about the comics-to-film relationship, and how receptive Dynamite was when The Boys was canceled at DC, and how fair they are to creators. The better the comics come up, the better the film can be.

When a fan voiced concern that a studio may not make a film extreme enough to suit The Boys, Robertson declared that making a Hollywood friendly film might not be good for the property. If it were hardcore like Grindhouse it might be good, but he doesn’t want The Boys to be toned down. It’s premature, he insisted, since the project hasn’t been cast, or a director found, but he doesn’t feel like much has to be changed to the point it’s unrecognizable. Robertson is hopeful that by overseeing it there will be more control. It is still too early to know if Simon Pegg (whom the main character’s likeness is clearly based on) will be involved, but nothing would make the creators more satisfied.

Barrucci spoke to the jammed clusters of licensed characters on the studios’ plates, and how Dynamite will face that challenge. But they need the product first, before the movies or games.

Barrucci told the crowd that they will be doing The Green Hornet, and that it should be out in 2010. Kevin Smith is writing, so he warned that it will “be ready when it’s ready.”

A fan asked about studio interference in books.  Studios have comments, Barrucci stated, and can say whatever, as it’s their right.

Barrucci spoke to the torrid affair of Hollywood and comics, and the inevitable ups and downs. As long as the comics stay good unto themselves, success elsewhere can arise.

Before the panel closed, Barrucci encouraged the panelists to tease their upcoming projects, at Dynamite and elsewhere.

Doug Murray is in the middle of a Red Sonja series, and the upcoming Militia. He also mentioned 50 Girls 50 from Image next year.

Jeff Katz told the audience to be on the lookout for American Original announcements to come tomorrow.

Marc Guggenheim is hard at work on Galactica 1980, due in August, and Resurrection from Oni Press.

Javier Grillo-Marxauch is busy executive producing the Day One television series.

Darick Robertson encouraged fans to check out the second trade of The Boys, and again mentioned his adolescent work to come to the mass market, Space Beaver.

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