Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
Like with the pulp space pitch the other day, Tony Lee has shared several other failed pitches on his Twitter feed (#ForgottenPitch). I’ll leave most of them for you to discover yourself (there are lots of wonderful ideas on show), but Shieldmaiden caught my eye for a couple of reasons: First, it would have been drawn by Dan Boultwood, creator of the current series It Came! that I’m enjoying so very much. And second, Vikings.
Sadly, it was the Vikings that killed the comic before it began. Lee pitched the idea in 2011, the year that Vertigo canceled Brian Wood’s Northlanders. Ivan Brandon’s Image series Viking had ended prematurely the year before after only one story arc. So, when Lee was told that no one wanted new Viking comics, publishers had some evidence to back that up.
Still, Lee and Boultwood had a different take from the realistic comics by Wood and Brandon. Shieldmaiden would have included a mythological element as a young woman led her clan in battle against the gods during Ragnarok. That, plus Boultwood’s art, makes me wish it could have found a home.
A lot of these “What Could Have Been” posts are focused on pitches for corporate-owned characters. It’s easy to imagine DC Comics or Marvel looking at those and saying, “Yeah, no, it looks great, but that’s not the direction we want to go in.” But very often creator-owned ideas don’t go anywhere either, for many many reasons.
Tony Lee (2000 AD, Doctor Who) shared one of those on Twitter not too long ago: an idea for a pulp space adventure that he and artist Stefano Martino created after they worked together on their DC/Zuda project Where Evils Dare. The main character was named Crash Landing, and Martino’s pinup for it evokes a strong Flash Gordon feel. Lee wrote that it was “basically Flash Gordon meets The Rocketeer via Warlord of Mars,” but it never happened because Martino was “lured away by Europe.”
Since then, Martino has returned to American comics, penciling George R.R. Martin’s Doorways for IDW Publishing and even an issue of Dynamite Entertainment’s Warlord of Mars, so it would be cool to see if he and Lee could do something like Crash Landing. There’s a lamentable lack of pulp space comics these days (Christopher Mills and Gene Gonzales’ Perils on Planet X being one of the few I know).
Hardly a week goes by that some film studio or producer doesn’t snatch up the rights to a comic book, intent on transforming the property into the next big Hollywood franchise. While it’s rare for one of those projects to move beyond the development stage, it’s rarer still for the people involved to go out of their way to stress what a movie isn’t based on.
Such is the case with Dodge and Twist, a sequel of sorts to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist from Sony Pictures, said to be based on an idea by producer/actor/writer Ahmet Zappa. The third paragraph of The Hollywood Reporter announcement reads, “The project is set on an idea by Zappa and not on the more serious book of the same name by Tony Lee.”
That book would be Dodge & Twist, a graphic novel by Lee and Paul Peart-Smith announced as early as 2007 that at one point was targeted for release by AiT/Planet Lar (you can still see an unedited 19-page preview on the company’s website). Although the graphic novel was never published, Lee released Dodge & Twist in 2011 as a prose ebook set 12 years after the events of Dickens’ classic, with Oliver forced to assist the Artful Dodger in stealing in the Koh-I-Noor diamond from the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Friday was a busy day in San Diego, with a full slate of announcements capped by the Eisner Awards in the evening.
• Image Comics will resurrect the classic television show MacGyver as a five-issue miniseries written by MacGyver creator Lee David Zlotoff and Doctor Who writer Tony Lee, and illustrated by Becky Cloonan.
• Brian Wood’s newest project was announced — The Massive, about environmentalists who survive the last environmental collapse. The comic will start its run in Dark Horse Presents #8 in January.
• Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger confirmed that Scalped will end with issue #60.
• Marvel teased the return of the Scarlet Spider.
• DC Comics released more interior art for several of their “New 52″ titles, including Aquaman, Mister Terrific and more.