Who knew Vulcans liked comics?
and Heroes star Zachary Quinto and his company, Before the Door Pictures, is developing comic books in a partnership with Archaia Comics. The business relationship was announced at San Diego Comic-Con during the Archaia panel on Saturday.
Quinto, who isn't the first person from Hollywood to turn his attention to the comics industry, said his intention is not to just use the medium to develop movies.
"Our goal is to tell good comic book stories," Quinto told Newsarama. "I know there's a little bit of skepticism among true comic book die-hards where Hollywood sweeps in and sort of makes up stories so they can go off and spin them into multi-million-dollar franchises. And that's really not our goal.
"I think Archaia and our decision to work with them is emblematic of our desire to be ambitious in our story-telling within this medium," he said. "Our primary goals are to tell good stories, to align ourselves with great artists, and to see where that goes. That's not to say we aren't open to the evolution of those stories down the line. But our first priority is to be respectful and to be successful within the comic book world."
Before the Door Pictures was started a year ago by Quinto and his business partners, Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa.
"I was in a situation where I was able to generate opportunities for myself and not just sit around waiting for people to tell me it was OK to be a part of this project or that project," Quinto said. "Our foray into comic books is one aspect of a diverse platform of development that we have going on in terms of film and television and internet-based storytelling."
Although he admitted he wasn't a comic book fan as a kid, he became aware of the opportunities for storytelling within comic books after his involvement in the television show.
"It was clear to me from the early success of that there was an opportunity to connect with a wide-ranging fan base that transcended the television and film medium," he said. "And then adding to that Corey's long history of being a comic book fanatic and bringing an incredible amount of insight and knowledge of that medium really helped us shape the kinds of stories we wanted to tell. So I really followed his lead a lot because I wasn't an organic comic book fan. Growing up, it wasn't something I spent a lot of time engaged in, but as I got exposed to it more through my connection with that world, through Heroes, it was something that was very exciting for me. And it was something I felt would be really fun to immerse ourselves in."
Dodson said comic books also allow the company to tell stories that are imaginative and forward-thinking in a way that is more difficult to accomplish in Hollywood.
"It's an exciting opportunity for us to tell stories in this realm that don't hinge on multi-million-dollar conglomerates telling you what you can do," Dodson said. "This gives us a lot of freedom. And Archaia is providing us with a lot of that in terms of the stories we want to tell."
Quinto said one of the tenets of the company is to align with talented people that the three have known for a long time and can trust to develop projects with them. So both of the projects that were announced at Comic-Con were written by people that they've known for years: Victor Quinaz will be writing a project called Mr. Murder Is Dead, and Michael McMillan is writing a comic called Lucid.
"For me, one of the biggest things when I started the company was the notion that the rising tide lifts all, and if I'm going to have an opportunity, I'm going to make sure I'm going to bring other people who have a lot of faith in, a lot of trust, into that experience and give them opportunities as well," he said.
"Mr. Murder is Dead is going to be about 65-year-old guys who are trapped in a noir," Dodson said. "Victor's an old friend of ours who is a writer and director out of New York who's been a huge comic book fan for many, many years, and he's also a huge fan of noir and pulp. And he's pulled a lot of that noir and pulp feel into the story of Mr. Murder and into the writing of it. We're working with him on several other things as well because his writing excites us so much."
McMillan, an actor on the HBO series , is also a huge comic book fan. "He has one of the most insane comic book collections of anyone you've ever seen and has been steeped in it for many, many years," Dodson said. "And this is an opportunity for us as a company to provide something that he's wanted to do for many, many years."
Moosa said one of the goals was to find stories that were really original and didn't just copy things that have already been done in comics. "We didn't want to just do capes and superheroes, but we still wanted to be honest with the comic book audience," he said. "But the stories we're telling can reach out to an audience well beyond just current comic book fans. And that's why we're so excited about Mr. Murder. It's going to satisfy that need for anybody who is a comic book fan, but anybody should be able to pick this graphic novel up and say, 'This is really just a wonderful, kick-ass story that I'm really interested in.'"
And although Quinto said he is keeping the opportunity open, he's not going to write any of the comics for now.
"We've talked about it. But I feel like my instincts as a writer probably lend themselves more, at this point, toward screenwriting. But Corey and I have talked about fleshing out some ideas that we've bandied about in the coming years," he said. "I wouldn't rule that out as a possibility. I think right now I'm mostly just so focused on my career as an actor and a producer that it's going to take me awhile to get that solid under my feet before I branch off into any other arenas."
But Dodson pointed out that all three of them have been very hands-on in the development of the projects, working with the writers in conjunction with Archaia.
"I like to tell people what to do," Quinto laughed. "Don't get me wrong."
The actor said he had the opportunity to work with many comic book companies, but he feels that Archaia has the same type of goals of quality and respect for the comic book industry as Before the Door Pictures.
"We met with a lot of publishers when we made this decision," Quinto said. "Stephen Christy and the people at Archaia were right on track with the type of things we want to do, and in terms of their ambition and growth and imagination. So we feel really grateful that they understand the types of stories we want to tell. And we look forward to telling them with them."