Legendary Pictures has spent the last decade taking over the Hollywood scene, co-financing films as varied as The Dark Knight and The Hangover while quickly establishing itself as one of the premiere locations for elevated genre content. Not satisfied to simply make comic books into movies, the studio has branched out into making comic books. But like, as comic books.
On Friday afternoon at Comic-Con 2012, the newly minted Legendary Comics – which previously released Frank Miller’s controversial Holy Terror! – took to the stage in Ballroom 6A to discuss their new line of graphic novels including The Tower Chronicles from Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley with cover art by Jim Lee and Alex Ross, Shadow Walk from Max Brooks, Mark Waid and Shane Davis, and The Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski. Hit the jump for the details.
After a brief introduction from moderator Chris Hardwick and executive Bob Schreck (Thomas Tull was scheduled to appear but bowed out in order to deal with pressing business matters involving Legendary proper), fans were shown concept art, cover art and finished pages from The Tower Chronicles, which Wagner described as a story about an, “Aloof mercenary who tracks down monsters for money. […] He teams up with a female FBI agent who comes to him with a case she cannot solve.”
Everyone on the panel had a different take on the graphic novel’s protagonist. Wagner framed the assassin in terms of Clint Eastwood’s various anti-heroes while Schreck intoned The Fugitive and Bisley characterized the arc as being similar to that of The Borne Identity, in reverse.
“He starts out as a sort of super hero, but as we go we discover that he’s a real guy,” said Wagner.
The first edition hits in September, with three graphic novel collections planned, each made up of four volumes. Wagner is currently over 500 story pages in and Bisley has 140 pages of art completed which will enable the comic to come out in a timely fashion instead of trickling out months late. “The train will hit every stop on time,” said Schreck. The first issue has a cover drawn by Jim Lee. The second comes from Alex Ross.
Up next was Shadow Walk, a supernatural thriller that sprung from an idea hatched by Tull, who developed it with Brooks before handing it off to Waid to write and Davis to draw. The creatives were sparse with their details, saying only that the series deals with the real world repercussions of discovering that a well-known fictional location is actually very real. Though they would not divulge the specific location, Brooks noted, “Everyone is familiar with it from childhood…and Sunday school.” Judging by the art style, it looks like they find hell.
Complete Speculation; I think that the series will deal with the discovery of a place that is first thought to be the Garden of Eden or possibly Heaven. But, when scientists arrive to investigate, they discover that it is more a mixture of Heaven, Hell and the Garden of Eden mashed together. Several statements also seemed to allude to both The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost, the latter of which was previously in development at Legendary with Alex Proyas set to direct and Bradley Cooper starring before it was aborted because of budgetary concerns.
I have no idea what Shadow Walk is actually about, and the one piece of promo art on display was decidedly mediocre, with unfortunate looking ‘bio-suits.’ However, Brooks is a preeminent talent and his previous novel, World War Z is so much better than one could possibly expect that I am still optimistic about this one. The graphic novel hits stores in the third quarter of 2013.
Finally, the crew brought out surprise guest, J. Michael Straczynski and announced that he has begun work on a new series called The Majestic Files that appears to take an Altman-esque approach to Roswell Conspiracy theories. The nascent project is still fairly sketchy, but the cover art shown promises little grey men.