Universal Cable Productions Expands Comic Book Development Roster with Three New All-Star Deals
Signs Renowned Graphic Novel Writer Warren Ellis To Develop His First Original TV Series; Options Horror Comic Book “Night Mary” And The Kickstarter, Breakout Hit “Five Ghosts”
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As Comic-Con International 2014 #CCSD kicks off in San Diego, Universal Cable Productions (UCP) today announced three new deals that will bolster UCP’s genre library and generate excitement among comic book enthusiasts. UCP has signed award-winning graphic novel writer Warren Ellis (New York Times best-seller “Gun Machine”, and “Iron Man: Extremis” - the Marvel Comics graphic novel and basis for “Iron Man 3”) to develop Ellis’ first original TV series in collaboration with Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment (“The Walking Dead”, “Terminator”).
“There are very few writers who have been able to so completely influence a medium as Warren has with comic books. I am very excited to be able to collaborate in bringing his unique vision to television for the first time”
Additionally, UCP and IDW Entertainment have optioned the horror comic book “Night Mary” with the intent to co-develop it as a live action TV series. UCP has also optioned the Kickstarter funded, breakout hit “Five Ghosts” written by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham from Black Mask Studios to develop it as an original TV series.
“We love genre at UCP and thankfully so do audiences. We've made it a priority to seek out great properties that will attract equally great creators to adapt them,” said Dawn Olmstead, Executive Vice President, Development, Universal Cable Productions. “From Warren’s dynamic plots and complex characters to the dark and suspenseful world of ‘Night Mary,’ and the creative mash-up of five literary icons in the cult hit ‘Five Ghosts,’ they are all provocative, distinctive and have the promise to be a whole lot of fun.”
Based on the acclaimed IDW Publishing property created by Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer, “Night Mary” follows a young woman trained to be a lucid dreamer. Her father owns a sleep disorder clinic where she enters the dreams of his patients. When a patient is revealed to be a serial killer, she is placed in jeopardy as nightmares and reality become frighteningly intertwined. John Pogue (“The Quiet Ones”) has been tapped to write and direct the pilot. Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW Entertainment and David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion (“The Walking Dead”) will serve as executive producers along with John Pogue.
“Five Ghosts” is the stylish, pulpy adventure by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham that tells the story of a 1930s-era treasure hunter possessed by five literary ghosts (Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi, and Dracula) whose unique abilities he can draw on during his adventures. “Five Ghosts” was funded on Kickstarter in 2012 and previewed at San Diego Comic Con that year when Matt Pizzolo (who would later co-found Black Mask Studios) shared his San Diego Comic Con table with then-unknown writer Frank Barbiere. “Five Ghosts” was picked up by Image Comics and premiered at Emerald City Comic Con becoming one of the breakout hits of 2013. UCP has optioned the TV series rights from Black Mask and has signed on Evan Daugherty (“Snow White And The Huntsmen”, “Divergent”) to write the pilot and serve as executive producer. Chris Bender and Jake Weiner from Benderspink (“Horrible Bosses 2”, “The Hangover”) will also serve as executive producers along with Jake Wagner as producer, and Matt Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz as co-executive producers.
UCP’s currently untitled Warren Ellis project with Valhalla Entertainment marks the renowned writer’s first foray into television. "I've been strongly drawn to television over the last few years, and working with brilliant and determined collaborators like Gale and the UCP team, I'm delighted at the opportunity to add my voice to the new, novelistic TV form that's evolved so dramatically," said Ellis.
“There are very few writers who have been able to so completely influence a medium as Warren has with comic books. I am very excited to be able to collaborate in bringing his unique vision to television for the first time,” added Hurd.
Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE, currently in development at Microsoft, as well as the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The film RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His GRAVEL books are in development for film at Legendary Pictures, with Tim Miller attached to direct. IRON MAN 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel IRON MAN: EXTREMIS. Warren Ellis is currently working on a non-fiction book about the future of the city for Farrar Straus Giroux. His newest publication is the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR, from FSG Originals. His next book will be the novella NORMAL, also from FSG, and his most recent comics project is TREES from Image Comics. A documentary about his work, CAPTURED GHOSTS, was released in 2012.
About Universal Cable Productions
Universal Cable Productions (UCP) creates innovative and critically acclaimed original scripted and digital content across media platforms for domestic and international distribution. UCP’s content library spans classics such as Emmy-award winning, “Monk,” and cult favorites “Psych,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Warehouse 13.” UCP’s programming can be seen across various networks, including: “Covert Affairs,” “Dig” (fall 2014), “Playing House,” “Royal Pains,” “Satisfaction” and “Suits” on USA Network; “Ascension” (fall 2014), “Defiance,” “Dominion,” and “12 Monkeys” (2015) on Syfy; “Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce” (fall 2014) on Bravo; “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” on Machinima Prime/YouTube, Syfy and DVD/Blu-Ray; and “Side Effects” on Awesomeness TV/YouTube. Universal Cable Productions is a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. Follow us @UCPisTV.
About IDW Entertainment
IDW Entertainment launched in November 2013 to fund and develop film and television properties based on IDW's extensive catalog. The division is currently in development on a slate of properties including Chuck Dixon’s epic Winterworld, being developed with Xbox; V Wars by New York Times best-seller Jonathan Maberry with writer/executive producer Tim Schlattman (Dexter, Smallville); action packed comic series Pantheon with co-creator Michael Chiklis (The Shield); Life Undead, with showrunner Paul Zbyszewski (S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-O, Lost); and Brooklyn Animal Control, based on the darkly thrilling comic from writer/director J.T. Petty (Splinter Cell, Hellbenders). IDW also has several active theatrical projects in development: Lore, at Warner Bros. with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson set to star; World War Robot, with Jerry Bruckheimer producing at Disney and Jon Spaihts writing the screenplay; and Zombies vs. Robots, at Sony with Platinum Dunes and Circle of Confusion producing.
About IDW Publishing
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE and MY LITTLE PONY; Paramount’s Star Trek; Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; 2000AD’s Judge Dredd; The Rocketeer; Toho’s Godzilla; Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons; V-Wars from New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry; Ragnarök from Eisner Award-winner Walter Simonson; Winterworld, created by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino; and Little Nemo from the award-winning duo of Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints, Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio, and the multiple award-winning Artist's Edition imprint. IDW’s critically- and fan-acclaimed series are continually moving into new mediums. Currently, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Disney are creating a feature film based on World War Robot; Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Warner Brothers are producing a film based on Ashley Wood's Lore; Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes and Sony are bringing Zombies vs. Robots to film, Kurtzman/Orci are producing a movie based on Locke & Key at Universal.
About Black Mask Studios
Black Mask Studios (www.blackmaskstudios.com) is a publishing/production company that specializes in utilizing 'transmedia storytelling' to expand comic book creators' audiences across multiple media platforms. Launched in 2013 by musician/entrepreneur Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion, Epitaph Records, ANTI- Records), writer/director and producer Matt Pizzolo (Godkiller, Occupy Comics, Wired Magazine's "World's Most Wired in Comics"), and comic book writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), the company's mandate is to bring comic book storytelling to new frontiers. Black Mask's initial slate included the political, not-for-profit Occupy Comics (founded by Pizzolo with Alan Moore, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Ben Templesmith, and dozens more), the animal-rescuing vigilantes story Liberator, Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson's transreal, cyberpunk adventure Ballistic, and the multi-platform gangster odyssey 12 Reasons To Die by Ghostface Killah and RZA. Black Mask will unveil its Year 2 Slate at San Diego Comic Con in July 2014.