Archive for June, 2007

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Stuart Moore to Edit Sci Fi/Virgin Comics Imprint

June 29, 2007

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Veteran comic editor to oversee the development of the first comic titles

New York, NY, June 26, 2007: Virgin Comics and the SCI FI Channel announced today that Stuart Moore has been appointed Editor on the first titles from the new imprint.

The new ‘SCI FI / Virgin Comics’ venture was announced earlier this year, with a stated goal of utilizing the global creative and synergistic resources that exist both at SCI FI Channel, part of NBC Universal, and Virgin Comics to create new stories for comic books, television, movies, digital, gaming, licensing and merchandising.

“This was an impossible opportunity to turn down. Virgin and SCI FI are two of the most vital entertainment companies around, and we’re all excited about crafting the best possible speculative fiction projects for the 21st century,” commented Stuart Moore. “For my part, Virgin’s been great about working out a deal that lets me exercise my editing muscles again, without interfering with my writing projects at various other companies. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

“Stuart is not only one of the greatest editors, but also one of the greatest people in this industry,” said Virgin Comics CEO & Publisher, Sharad Devarajan. “His wealth of experience is only matched by his wonderful reputation for guiding numerous creators to reach new heights in their work.”

Moore is an award-winning editor with a prolific career in the industry. At DC Comics, Stuart was a founding editor of the Vertigo imprint, where he won the Will Eisner award for Best Editor 1996 and the Don Thompson Award for Favorite Editor 1999. From late 2000 through mid-2002 Stuart edited the bestselling Marvel Knights comics line.

“We’re thrilled to have a seasoned comic book veteran like Stuart involved in the development of these new properties which are being created from the ground up for multi-media application,” added Adam Stotsky, SRVP Marketing for the SCI FI Channel.

“Simply put: Stuart Moore rocks. Ask any writer or publisher he’s worked with (and we did) and you hear nothing but the best things said. With Stuart aboard, I feel confident we’re going to deliver on our bold prediction to re-imagine sci-fi,” added Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics Chief Creative Officer.

The first SCI FI/Virgin comic titles are expected to hit shelves later this year and the imprint is currently reviewing story pitches from numerous comic book and television writers.

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Deepak Chopra Launches New Graphic Novel on Indian Mythology with Virgin Comics

June 29, 2007

Prolific author launches “India Authentic” series worldwide

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New York, NY, June 20, 2007: Virgin Comics announced today that they are launching a new ongoing graphic novel series with bestselling author, Deepak Chopra.

The new series, Deepak Chopra Presents – India Authentic, will focus on retelling numerous Indian mythological stories with modern artists and writers. Each issue will be centered on the story of a different Indian god or goddess. The first issue, Ganesha, portrays the legend of India’s cherished, elephant-headed god. The series will continue with subsequent stories on Kali, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Uma, Indra and others.

Commenting on the new series, Deepak Chopra stated, “The re-imagination of Indian mythologies and archetypes with a cross cultural flavor will ignite once again our collective yearning for achieving the impossible and embarking on a journey of mystery, magic, and adventure. It may well usher in an age that Homer never dreamed of.”

Each issue of the series will be introduced with a foreword by Chopra, describing the relevancy of the ancient myth in the context of today’s global world. Working with Chopra is a rotating team of India’s most talented young writers and artists including Saurav Mohapatra, Satish Tayade, Abhishek Singh and others.

“When I grew up, almost every child of Indian origin learned the legends and mythologies of India through comic books,” said Virgin Comics CEO & Publisher, Sharad Devarajan. “Working with an author of Deepak Chopra’s caliber allows us to recreate a series of Indian mythology comics crafted with the highest level of quality in artwork and story, bringing these cherished legends of India to audiences worldwide.”

“I grew up in Boston Massachusetts and worshiped the Red Sox and Patriots and felt bad about myself because kids teased me about believing in blue Gods with six arms. So what do I know about being authentic to India? I know I get to oversee a wildly talented group of young creators eager to tell their ‘authentic myths’ to the world and it’s exciting. And as they say, blue is the new black,” commented Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics Chief Creative Officer.

The first issue in the series has been just released in North America with a monthly cover price of US$2.99, with a Rs.15 Indian edition following later this year. The series will also be translated into numerous languages throughout Europe and Asia later this year. The first issue in the series can be viewed in its entirety as a digital comic on Virgin Comics website at: http://www.virgincomics.com/slideshow_ganesha.asp

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VOODOO CHILD: Fear of the Dark!

June 28, 2007

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There are things that live in the dark through choice. Most of your typical horror staples would fall into this category—vampires, werewolves, demons and the like. It’s in their blood. You know they’ll always gravitate to the shadows, and that’s where you expect to see them.

But you can find yourself in the dark for a lot of other reasons, too: reasons that are nothing to do with your own choices or your own nature. Imagine a monster that lives in the dark, like it or not, because the dark has been woven through it like a ribbon through braided hair; because the dark has become a necessary part of it.

A zombie without a viable physical body: a ghost haunted by itself. That’s our Voodoo Child, as envisioned by Nic and Weston Cage, and we like to think he’s a long way from the monster-du-jour vibe of the classic horror or ghost story. Pick up the first issue and you’ll see what I mean. Gabriel Moore is a night creature unlike any you’ve ever seen before – and there are mysteries about his creation and his nature that will make you, as they unfold, continually see him in different lights.

Gabe’s backstory is unique too: stretching from the last days of the antebellum South to the traumatized landscapes of post-Katrina New Orleans, and drawing the two together into an unsettling skein of secrets and revelations. As up-close and personal as most good horror is, this is also a comic book about a place: a unique and amazing city, and the people who live in it.

At this point I have to make a confession that may disturb you. I’m British.

Okay, that doesn’t bar me from writing about America. Obviously not. I’ve written many books set in New York, Los Angeles, Nevada, Arizona… But then I’ve been to those places, and I’d never been to New Orleans.

At some point when we were plotting out our first arc, I realised that this was going to be an insuperable obstacle. You can only bluff so far, and the setting in this book is so important to the story that I felt I was hamstringing myself and endangering the project by working just from travel books and documentaries.

So in February of this year I packed a case and headed out for the Big Easy, arriving a week before Mardi Gras. This was eighteen months after Katrina: the Mardi Gras after the one they talked about cancelling. I took a cab from the airport straight into the Quarter and found myself – at half past one in the morning – in the midst of a citywide party bigger and wilder than anything I’d ever seen.

My first thought was that I’d messed up the timing badly: how was I going to get a feel for the rhythms and landscapes of the city if I was fighting my way through crowds the whole time and being distracted by this massive, heroic saturnalia?

If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you can probably see the punchline coming here. For me, it took until the Monday night – the eve of Fat Tuesday – to realise that I was seeing the spirit of the city given physical form. This was New Orleans shouting itself to the skies: saying in words, in music, in dance and in a billion colored beads “we’re still alive, and we’re still here!”

I took a lot of photos too; visited voodoo temples and urban cemeteries and levee walls, Louis Armstrong Park and the convention centre. That was what I was there for, after all. But I think it was the epiphany that came to me on that Monday night, when I was walking down Bourbon Street on a rainbow-colored carpet of beads with a “big-ass beer” in one hand and a cigar in the other (only cigar I’ve smoked in the last ten years, swear to God) that justified the trip and got me on the right wavelength to write this story.

Umm… I don’t mean I wrote it drunk, by the way. I just mean that something clicked at that point; something came right. And although I felt like I was made out of cracked glass as I packed my case again and headed out for the airport on Thursday morning, I was already thinking out the first scenes of Voodoo Child#1 as I went. And, you know, wondering how much of this was going to be tax-deductible…

If you know New Orleans, I hope you recognize it as it appears in this story. If you don’t, I hope you’ll see some of the Big Easy’s many moods reflected here – and maybe get inspired to go and see the reality for yourself.

Mike Carey, June 2007

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INSIDE VIRGIN COMICS: Ramayan Reloaded

June 28, 2007

In Hollywood, movie studios refer to their big summer blockbusters as their “tent-poles.” These are the movies, ala Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Shrek, on which production budgets can far exceed the $100 million mark, with marketing budgets to match, and are expected to make that much in their opening weekend. The scale of the whole business has become so massive that these blockbusters, you’ll notice, are now almost entirely sequels, remakes of familiar titles (The Dirty Dozen is in the works), or built off of big brands (Transformers). The point is that building a new “franchise,” as they call it in the biz, is virtually impossible because, to enter the game, you’d better come with a  big wad of cash and be prepared to lose it all.  That’s a pretty tough sell.

Thank God the comics industry plays by a different set of rules! At Virgin Comics, we like to say that money is no issue because, in a sense, we don’t really even have budgets. As a creator, if you want to create the Universe on page 3 and blow it up on page 4, so long as you can make that organic to the story, I’m all for it. In Hollywood, they’d run the numbers first, price out the scene and it’d be more than likely that it would never happen.

The re-launch of our series Ramayan 3392 AD is our equivalent of the tent-pole movie. The scale of the story is massive. The Universe of the story is massive. The main characters themselves are Gods–hence they are massive. In turn, to produce it, to “reload it” as we say, we needed massive talent. That’s why we’ve brought in story editor Ron Marz to guide a creative team that includes stalwart Shamik Dasgupta (the original series’ writer) and Virgin titan Jeevan Kang (artist on Spider-Man India and John Woo’s Seven Brothers). We know that Ramayan 3392 AD, which is based on India’s seminal 3,000-year-old myth, is not an easy story for the unexposed reader. It’s full of exotic character-names and settings, and a different type of story-telling than much of what you’ll see at your local comic shop.  But that is what makes it so special–it is a legendary tale of honor and sacrifice, tragedy and amazing triumph told through a different lens that, we think, our readers will find themselves connecting with despite the newness of it all.

We’ve crafted the reload as a fresh beginning, so that new readers can come aboard now and not feel lost. We encourage you to go back and read the “prequels,” if you will, out in trade paperback this summer.  But we also assure you that not doing so won’t get you lost in the matrix. And here comes the interesting twist of fate, Hollywood is waking up to it. Some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest seem to have got their hands on our crazy comic Ramayan 3392 AD. I know too well the perfect storm of scenarios that is required to get a movie made in Hollywood, so I am not making any predictions, but watch out Spider-Man 8 and Pirates 5– our Blue Boy (read the book and you’ll get the reference) may be showing up at a theater near you very soon.

Gotham Chopra
Chief Creative Officer
Virgin Comics

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Ron Marz: Working at Virgin Comics

June 27, 2007

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Click here to read Ron’s recent interview with Newsarama. It explains his role as editor, the plans for Devi, and the relaunches of Sadhu and Ramayan 3392AD. Also, click here for the interview when Ron Marz joined Virgin Comics.

Click to view larger versions of the covers (L-R): Devi #14 cover by Luke Ross, Ramayan 3392AD Reloaded #3 (Variant Cover) by David Peterson.

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DEVI: A Living Goddess?

June 27, 2007

Her name is Sajani Shakya, she is 10 years old, and is worshiped in Nepal. Sajani is considered to be a living goddess and earthly manifestation of the goddess Taleju—though some sources refer to her as the incarnation of Durga or even Kali. A recently published New York Times article, talks about Shakya’s visit to Washington D.C. a couple of weeks back. Shakya was in the US primarily to promote an upcoming British documentary, “The Living Goddess” that focuses on the young goddesses of the Nepal valley. (For more info in the Kumari Devi from Nepal, click here.)

In Virgin Comic’s story of DEVI created by Shekhar Kapur—Director of the eight-time Academy Award nominated film, Elizabeth and the critically acclaimed movies, Four Feathers, Bandit Queen, Mr. India, and Masoom—a native of the mythic Indian city of Sitapur, Tara Mehta has no idea that she is about to become the centerpiece of a divine battle between the Gods of Light that created her, and the demon Lord Bala. In a never-ending war, innocent souls are the unfortunate but acceptable collateral damage. Tara Mehta, all-too-human Goddess and reincarnation of the divine female force, begins to wonder if either side deserves to win in Sitapur—a modern city atop the ancient, mixed amongst the profane, and where the divine drifts towards diabolical!

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Weston & Nicolas Cage’s Voodoo Child: Sneak Peeks from Ben Templesmith

June 22, 2007

Ben Templesmith is doing some covers for this book (written by Mike Carey and art by Dean Hyrapiet) that hits the stands on July 11th. He has posted layouts from idea generation to final (for cover #1) on his blog. Click here to check it out.

Thanks Ben and look forward to more soon.