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Tuesday October 29, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday October 29, 2013 MYT 11:04:27 AM
by richard verrier
‘This is the next big step for us as a content company,’ says IDW chief executive Ted Adams.
EXPECT to see more vampires, werewolves and the undead come to life on television.
In the latest sign of Hollywood’s growing appetite for comic book properties, San Diego comic book company IDW Publishing is launching a TV division managed by an executive producer of the hit series The Walking Dead.
IDW, also known as Idea and Design Works, already publishes a wide range of comic books and graphic novels based on film and TV titles, including Doctor Who, G.I. Joe, Star Trek and Transformers.
Some of IDW’s own comic book series also have been turned into movies, including Sony Pictures’ 30 Days Of Night in 2007.
Now, the company wants to develop and finance TV shows based on its catalogue of tales that delve into dark, supernatural worlds.
The move is part of an effort to capitalise on the popularity of comic-inspired TV shows such as AMC’s The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s comics, and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., created for ABC by Joss Whedon.
The new TV division, called IDW Entertainment, will be headed by former Starz Media executive David Ozer and housed in the Los Angeles office of production and management company Circle of Confusion, one of the executive producers on The Walking Dead.
“The success of The Walking Dead has opened the door for all sorts of comic books to go to the small screen,” said David Alpert, a partner in Circle of Confusion. “We find the stories that are told in comic books are natural adaptations for television.”
Following a path similar to that of Marvel Studios, IDW plans to develop and finance its own projects and retain the rights, thereby maintaining more creative and financial control.
“IDW is a powerhouse of creativity, and the studios recognise that potential,” said Rick Jacobs, chief creative officer of the new division.
The live-action projects already in development include Life Undead, about a New Orleans detective who gets sucked into a supernatural underworld; and Brooklyn Animal Control, about a unit of the New York Police Department charged with overseeing a community of werewolves.
A third project is V Wars, the chronicle of the first “Vampire War”, for which IDW is in discussions with a major network.
IDW executives said they hoped to have at least one project on the air by the end of next year.
“This is the next big step for us as a content company,” IDW Publishing chief executive Ted Adams said.
Movie projects in the works are Lore from writer T.P. Louise and artist Ashley Wood; World War Robot, also created by Wood and in development at Disney with Jerry Bruckheimer producing; and Zombies Vs Robots, created by Wood and IDW executive Chris Ryall. The last one is in development with Sony Pictures.
IDW, founded in 1999, initially focused on providing artwork and graphic design for a variety of entertainment companies.
Today, it is the world’s fourth-largest comic book publisher, behind Image Comics, DC Comics and Marvel Comics. IDW has 42 employees and relies on a network of about 275 freelance artists from around the world.
IDW’s primary business is publishing comic books. This year the company expects to sell 5 million comic books, which typically retail for about US$3.99 each (RM13), and more than 1 million graphic novels, which often sell for as much as US$19.99 (RM63).
Demand for comic books and graphic novels has been brisk in part because of the proliferation of new digital outlets. IDW’s sales, which exceed US$20mil (RM63mil) annually, are up 35% percent this year over last, Adams said.
“Unlike most print media that has been savaged by digital versions of content, our digital distribution is up and our print (business) is up as well,” Adams said. “People are discovering comics on their digital devices.” – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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