Archive for August, 2007

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Virgin Comics brings back DAN DARE: PILOT OF THE FUTURE with GARTH ENNIS

August 27, 2007

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GROUNDBREAKING COMIC HEROES TO FLY AGAIN WITH VIRGIN COMICS’ ALL NEW EPIC STARRING DAN DARE: PILOT OF THE FUTURE

London, England – August 27, 2007 – Aviator and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson today announced that Virgin Comics (www.VirginComics.com) will be bringing legendary super hero Dan Dare out of retirement and back into the outer reaches of the galaxy, with an all new Dan Dare comic book series. The new series will be published monthly beginning November 2007 and will be written by legendary comic author, Garth Ennis (author of Preacher, The Boys, Hitman, John Woo’s Seven Brothers and other acclaimed and best-selling titles).

Dan Dare has been an icon since 1950. Elaborate stories of his space travel and galactic battles defending people of the universe captivated post-War baby boomers. Dan Dare’s adventures burst to the forefront of pop culture, selling nearly 1 million copies each week in the pages of the Eagle Comic.

Dan Dare is the quintessential British hero. He’s our Captain America, our Superman, our Batman, he’s all of them rolled into one. He’s the original and the best.” said Garth Ennis, recipient of several National Comics Awards for the best in UK comics and Will Eisner Awards for the best in US comics.

branson-with-dan-dare-aug-22_10_pres.jpgDan Dare is an heroic, thoughtful and fiercely independent character; I was an avid reader of his epic journeys. It is a pleasure for Virgin Comics to be involved with such a legendary character – one of the original great aviators” said Sir Richard Branson.

Dan Dare is the real original Super Hero. In the 50’s, on the front page of The Eagle, he was selling one million copies a week. Today, his impact and appeal to readers across the UK and around the world can be even greater with Virgin Comics. This is a perfect partnership.” said Colin Frewin, CEO of The Dan Dare Corporation. “Superman, Batman and Spider-Man beware – Dan Dare – Pilot of the Future is back to protect us all.

Virgin Comics’ Dan Dare is set in the future, albeit not too many decades from the present day. Colonel Dare is still vibrant and courageous – but now he’s retired. His retirement is a self-imposed exile, the result of his disgust with politics and the post-nuclear warfare that has destroyed North America and much of Asia – leaving the UK as the world’s last remaining superpower. Readers familiar with Dan Dare stories will recognize many of the original cast including a wiser and more experienced Digby; the innovative, brilliant and beautiful Professor Peabody; and of course the enemy of all that is good, the super-intelligent ruler of the Treens – The Mekon, together with a mix of galactic evil beings.

Dan Dare and Virgin are a perfect combination – two iconic UK brands. We are thrilled to be working with Colin and Garth to redefine this quintessential character for a new generation of readers around the world.” said Sharad Devarajan, Virgin Comics’ CEO.

“Dan Dare + Garth Ennis = AWESOME,” explains Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics’ Chief Creative Officer. “There’s not much more to say because this is a combination that doesn’t require hype – great comic heroes plus great comic writers equal a great time for all of us. Expect nothing less.”


ABOUT VIRGIN COMICS
Virgin Comics LLC is a character entertainment company creating original stories and epic myths for worldwide audiences. The company was founded in November 2005 by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Enterprises Ltd., alongside entrepreneurs, Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman. Among Virgin Comic’s titles are the breakthrough new comics and graphic novels: Devi, Ramayan 3392 AD, Seven Brothers with John Woo, and Voodoo Child with Weston and Nicolas Cage. http://www.VirginComics.com

ABOUT THE DAN DARE CORPORATION
The Dan Dare Corporation is the global rights holder in the intellectual property Dan Dare and the Eagle Comic. It represents the film, television, merchandising and publishing rights. The Company produced the highly successful CGI animated series ‘Dan Dare – Pilot of the Future’ in 2001. The $20 million production in LA has now been distributed by Columbia TriStar to over 130 countries worldwide. In October 2007, the book ‘The Best of the Eagle’ will be published worldwide. http://www.dandare.com

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Comic-Con Photos

August 18, 2007

Nic & Weston Cage after the Voodoo Child signing


Jenna Jameson at the VC booth

Jenna having fun


Jenna signing SHADOW HUNTER lithographs

Ed Burns at the DOCK WALLOPER press conference

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UTV MOTION PICTURES PLC & VIRGIN COMICS FORM PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE NEW INDIAN SUPERHEROES

August 14, 2007

Mumbai August 10, 2007: UTV Motion Pictures Plc (AIM: UTVM), through its movie production brand SpotBoy, and Virgin Comics, an entertainment division of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, announced today that they are forming a new production relationship to create four original superhero franchises. These new stories will be leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming.

Aimed at India’s 550 Million youth as well as the growing worldwide fascination with superhero characters, the new partnership intends to create new entertainment characters that are rooted in an Indian ideology and borne from the minds of the country’s leading writers and artists. According to a recent Hollywood study, films based on comic books earn more on average than films based on any other source material, averaging $215 Million per film worldwide.

Virgin Comics’ CEO, Sharad Devarajan
commented “In the same way the West created an age of heroes wearing capes and tights, our goal with UTV Motion Pictures is to redefine the archetype of the superhero and infuse a new sensibility that relates to today’s Indian youth. Virgin’s studio of leading Indian artists and writers have already created comics that are being published worldwide and turned into films, games and animation – this new relationship with UTV Motion Pictures is a perfect extension of what we do best and we are thrilled to be working with Ronnie and his team.”

Ronnie Screwvala, Chairman of UTV Motion Pictures Plc said “Virgin Comics is an ideal partner as we look to develop new content in the character entertainment space. Their expertise and global resources will allow us to create superheroes that touch the hearts of audiences worldwide.”

“For too long, western superheroes have dominated the stage, but in India, the original mythic characters were born and we are now ready for a re-launch of larger than life heroes that will reflect the ancestral ethos of the region from which they spawn. We expect this partnership with UTV Motion Pictures to launch a whole new universe of heroes and I couldn’t be more excited,” commented Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics Chief Creative Officer.

The new stories, will be co-created and co-owned by Virgin and UTV Motion Pictures and initially be released as graphic novels to be published worldwide by Virgin. The partnership anticipates the first comic books will be released by the end of 2007.

Suresh Seetharaman, President of Virgin Comics and Vikas Bahl Creative and Business Head, Spotboy will be managing the partnership and supervising the creative development.

“At SpotBoy we want to capture the imagination of audiences from all dimensions and mediums. So when we will create stories for all mediums the creative is bound to take a leap.” added Vikas, “Our characters will exist in every creative form.”

“It’s time for a new wave of Indian superheroes to fuel the imaginations and foster the inspirations of the next generation of global kids and teens,” commented Mr. Seetharaman.

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SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT UNITES WITH VIRGIN COMICS TO CREATE ONLINE VIDEO GAME FRANCHISE

August 9, 2007

Leading Game and Worldwide Comic Companies Join Forces to Develop and Publish Massively Multiplayer Online Video Game Based On the Popular Ramayan 3392 A.D. India-Mythology Inspired Comic Book Series

SAN DIEGO, California & NEW YORK, New York (AUGUST 9, 2007) — Through a deal that joins two of the world’s most innovative entertainment brands, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), a global leader in the online gaming industry, is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra’s Virgin Comics to bring the popular, India-based Ramayan 3392 A.D. comic book universe to life as an MMO video game initially for the PC. The deal was announced today by John Smedley, President of SOE and Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgin Comics.

“Ramayan has inspired the lives of millions of people through the ages. The re-imagining of this great ancient epic through the creativity of a game platform re-affirms the fact that Ramayan is one of the greatest stories ever told,” said Deepak Chopra. “The fact that the same creative team of young Indians that created the story will be involved in working with SOE’s game development team, is a testament to the innovative and mythic minds of these gifted Indian creators who will take a new generation to new frontiers across the seas of consciousness into new realms of mystery, magic, adventure, and transformation.”

Through this exclusive multi-year, worldwide license agreement, SOE will develop and publish an MMO based on Ramayan’s story of mythological lore. Virgin Comics will serve as a creative consultant on the project. Virgin’s creative involvement with SOE’s game development team will be spearheaded by its President and head, Suresh Seetharaman, who has also overseen the development of the comic series. Also involved is acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, a co-founder of Virgin Comics.

“Virgin Comics approached us with a portfolio of amazing comic properties based on Indian lore. We particularly love Ramayan 3392 A.D., as we feel Virgin Comics’ telling of The Ramayana is particularly gripping, graphically brilliant and lends itself extremely well to an MMO,” said Smedley. “This a fantastic time for us to expand our games to include this culturally rich storyline and we are honored to do this with a diversified, creative and experienced company like Virgin Comics.”

Virgin Comics’ Ramayan 3392 A.D., initially released as a comic in late 2006, re-imagines one of India’s greatest epics into a futuristic realm. Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics’ Chief Creative Officer commented, “While many of the characters and settings remain familiar to the original lore, we never intended to re-tell the story, but essentially use it as the key inspiration for something fresh. What remains intact to our story are some of the core universal themes like duty, honor, sacrifice, and fraternity while also mining uniquely Indian ideas like karma (how action and consequence are linked) and the malleability of time itself. To bring all of these ideas into a game with SOE is just awesome.”

Devarajan concluded, “In a world increasingly dominated with games influenced by a western Tolkien mythos, Ramayan will offer gamers a chance to experience a whole new universe of characters and archetypes derived from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Our mission at Virgin Comics has always been to allow this generation of Indian youth to have a creative platform through which to speak to the world. Through this collaboration with the likeminded visionaries at SOE, our young Indian creators will make gaming history worldwide.”

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Ron Marz Introduces Ramayan 3392A.D. Reloaded

August 7, 2007

I’m a sucker for the epic stuff.

I was in the theater for the first show on the day that “The Fellowship of the Ring” opened. And first in line when the DVD went on sale. Seeing “Star Wars” was a huge, formative experience in my childhood, and probably one of the main reasons that I do what I do for a living.

 

So when the opportunity arose to edit a post-apocalyptic retelling of one of India’s most famed epics, it was a no-brainer. When I agreed to take on some editorial duties for Virgin, we settled on three books in the Shakti line: Devi, Sadhu and Ramayan 3392 A.D. They were all, in one way or another, about the process of becoming a hero, one of my favorite subjects both as a reader and a writer. I’m a fan of Joseph Campbell’s work, especially his seminal “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” which explores the commonalities found in myths from many cultures. Not coincidentally, it was a big influence on George Lucas in his creation of “Star Wars.”

 

I liked the first bunch of Ramayan 3392 A.D. issues. They presented a completely new take on an ancient story, in a unique setting. They were … epic. But I felt like we could do better. I felt like we could keep that epic sensibility, but bring even more focus to the characters, to the people we’re supposed to care about. Because that’s really what keeps you coming back every month – you want to find out what happens to these people. The spaceships and lightsabers in “Star Wars” are great, but you come back because you want to find out what happens to Luke and Leia and Han Solo, not to mention Darth Vader. Most writers will tell you that any good story begins with character. We wanted to make sure this one did.

 

So we decided to bring Ramayan 3392 A.D. to a close, take a few months off while we retooled our approach, and then put our best foot forward. The result is Ramayan 3392 A.D. Reloaded #1, which we just sent off to press and should be on the shelf in no time.

 

For those of you who have been reading Ramayan from the beginning, the story continues. For those of you who haven’t been picking it up, this new #1 issue represents a perfect place to jump on. It tells you who’s who, what’s what, and how we got here in one fell swoop (as they say). You meet our hero, Rama, his brother Lakshman, the beautiful Seeta, and the inhuman villain Ravan. You’re introduced to the visually stunning landscape they inhabit, a far future where civilization exists only in pockets, savage beast-men roam the land, and a dark lord threatens to crush the world under his heel. Plus, you get a pretty nifty adventure while you’re at it, as Rama’s long journey in exile from his homeland continues.

Shamik Dasgupta remains as writer on the book. I can’t even count the number of e-mails he and I have kicked back and forth, honing our approach to the book, making sure the characters are front and center, and coming up with the most visual way to tell the story.

The “new guy” on the team is the supremely gifted artist Jeevan Kang, who already put his stamp on Virgin’s 7 Brothers. Jeevan has made the book utterly his own, spending weeks on design and exploration artwork before ever drawing his first page. When his first pieces came rolling in, both in pencil and in color, we knew we’d found not just the right guy for the job, but the perfect guy. Jeevan breathes life into the world and people of Ramayan 3392 A.D. Reloaded. We’re tinkering with a project now that will give you a chance to check out a lot of the amazing artwork Jeevan generated.

Since I didn’t want Shamik and Jeevan to have all the fun, I wrote a series of five short backup stories, one each for the first five issues of the series. Each story focuses on a particular member of the cast, fleshing out each character even more, and I invited five stellar artists along for the ride.

 

In issue #1, I’m joined by Mike Oeming as we tackle Rama. In issue #2, my friend and mentor Jim Starlin contributes the art for a tale of Ravan. My issue #3 collaborator is David Petersen, whose book Mouse Guard is a deserved sensation; David and I will be introducing Hanuman into the series. In issue #4, I’m joined by my Samurai: Heaven and Earth partner (and upcoming Devi cover artist) Luke Ross, for a story about Seeta. And my buddy Bart Sears contributes some eye-popping art for a Lakshman story in issue #5.

Like I said, I’m a sucker for the epic stuff. That’s exactly what Ramayan 3392 A.D. is. It’s also a damn good book, and I’m proud of it.

– RON MARZ

Pages 1-3 of Issue #1:

 


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AUGUST PREVIEWS

August 3, 2007

Check out what’s out this month from Virgin Comics and let us know what you think or will be picking up. Click on the images for a bigger size.

DEVI #13 (August 22, 2007)

Her past was Tara Mehta, powerless young woman in the big, bad city of Sitapur. Her present is DEVI, super-powered reincarnation of an ancient celestial warrior fighting to make the world a better place. It is her future that is uncertain, as she encounters a darkness within herself that threatens to consume her, a loved one who returns from the dead possessed by a spirit of apocalypse, and a hated enemy who becomes an uneasy ally.

Tara has sworn to make Sitapur a safer place and starts using her powers to take on the Sitapur underworld. But the strain is taking its toll on her. Nothing makes sense in Tara’s life anymore as the lines between DEVI and Tara start to blur. Meanwhile, Kratha, the razor-clawed assassin, returns to make good on her contract to kill DEVI.

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WESTON & NICOLAS CAGE’S VOODOO CHILD #2 (August 8, 2007)

Gabriel Moore’s life should have ended almost 150 years ago—and in some ways, it did—but he was brought back by John Messenger, to the world of post-Katrina New Orleans. As he closes in on his human enemies, his path once again runs across Detective Robert Julien’s murder investigation, with violent results. But Gabriel is being hunted in his turn, by the most powerful of the voodoo loas, and Baron Samedi has his own terrifying ways of dealing with the risen dead… Don’t miss this latest installment from the creative minds of Nic and Weston Cage, and scripted by Mike Carey!

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GUY RITCHIE’S GAMEKEEPER #4 (August 22, 2007)

As Brock begins to piece together the mystery behind the death of Jonah Morgan, his own mysterious background is brought further to light. And now he is out of his element on the streets of Amsterdam, and has to put this new, urban environment into his own language of the wild in order to survive. Yet, as he closes in on his prey—the shadowy figure seemingly at the center of his quest—even his animalistic intuition can’t prepare him for the harshest twist yet in this electrically charged tale.

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DEEPAK CHOPRA’S INDA AUTHENTIC #4: UMA (August 8, 2007)

“One life claimed by tragedy, one birth consumed by the flames of separation, I have been given a second chance by destiny, a second birth, a new life, to redeem myself and reclaim the love of my life.

I am UMA, the all-mother. I too am Shakti, the power divine and this time I shall move mountains, march into the very mouth of hellfire to reunite with my love, my liege, Lord Shiva, God of Gods.”

Virgin Comics and Deepak Chopra invite you to a timeless lovestory of epic proportions that transcends even the barriers of death and rebirth. Relive the legend of Uma, the benevolent mother goddess and her undying love for Lord Shiva.

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SADHU: THE SILENT ONES #1 (August 15, 2007)

In the 19th century, when the sun did not dare set on the British Empire, James Jensen went to India as a soldier in Her Majesty’s Army. Losing his family to betrayal and brutal violence, Jensen became a SADHU, a mystic warrior who must walk the spiritual path to salvation. As the latest chapter of the saga begins, emptiness rules James Jensen’s heart, and he wanders aimlessly. His travels bring him to the Kumbh Mela, an epic gathering of mystics, where deadly enemies and shadowy allies lie in wait. But an even bigger surprise awaits James, as he learns that a loved one might still live.

RAMAYAN 3392AD RELOADED #1 (August 22, 2007)

The epic tale Ramayan 3392 A.D. has just been reloaded! The quest of the hero Rama, his loyal brother Lakshman, and the beautiful Seeta has just begun, with the original creative team now guided by comic impresario Ron Marz. This issue marks a jumping-on point for readers, and sees the beginning of a regular series of character-driven back-up features, penned by Marz and drawn by a series of superstar comics artists. In this issue, Marz and Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Red Sonja) tell the tale of Rama himself, while in the lead feature the wounds Rama has suffered in battle have left him at death’s door, and only a miracle can save him. If Rama perishes … so does the world’s hope.

Alternate cover by Michael Avon Oeming.

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Jenna Jameson Interview at SDCC

August 2, 2007

Recently, adult film star and New York Times best-selling author Jenna Jameson teamed with Virgin Comics for her latest endeavor, “Shadow Hunter,” which follows the exploits of a risque superhero whose near death experience has her battling the forces of the evil on a daily basis. Making her first appearance at Comic-Con, Jameson talks with Erin Maxwell of variety.com about her upcoming foray into comics, as well as other mainstream projects in the pipeline:

Erin: So, this is your first Comic-Con. Are you excited to be here?

Jenna: I talked to my friends a lot about it. For the past five or six years, my friends have been signing here and they will call me and say, Jenna, you have to come down here. It’s like a world unto itself. And I guess it’s really hard to fathom until you experience it. So, I’m pretty excited. Just driving down here to the convention, it’s totally different. There were Chewbaccas on the road.

Erin: This is a good place for it. On my way out yesterday, I had my car attacked by 30 zombies being chased by Shaun from “Shaun of the Dead.”

Jenna: Oh my god, how cool. I think I’m going to love this convention because I’m a nerd at heart. I think a lot of the times people talk about these things and sometimes they just don’t know, but I’m a fan of these things.

Erin: Are you a big fan of comics in general?

Jenna: I’m a huge fan of MacFarlane. I love the Spawn series. I’m very horror driven. When Virgin approached me, I was like please tell me I can (put) my ideas into effect. The “Spawn” series is something that I would want to model my whole career in the comic industry after.

Erin: Your new comic “Shadow Hunter” won’t have any adult content, but it will still be for mature readers. Can you explain it a bit?

Jenna: It’s about a girl who has a near death experience, and when she is revived, she comes back with super powers. Not overt super powers, but powers of a more sexual nature. Kind of what a girl can already do to a man, but to the tenth power.

Erin: Like Poison Ivy?

Jenna: Yeah. Just be able to mind meld people with her beauty and sexual power. The storyline is still evolving. I want to make sure there is as much of me in this as possible.

Erin: What have you contributed to it so far?

Jenna: It’s all fairly new. It all came about in the last month. I told all the guys at Virgin that I would wake up in the middle of the night and write down all my notes on my Sidekick. I want to be able to work with the writers. I never want to just put my stamp on anything and just walk away. I want to put my heart and soul into something. But that’s who I am. I think that’s why I’ve been so successful in my career. Because everything that I do, I embrace 100%. I never sign on to anything without knowing I can devote all of my time to it.

Erin: Are you hoping “Shadow Hunter” will make it to feature film?

Jenna: I really would love for it to get to the point where it would be adapted into a feature film. It would be something I would be excited to actually star in. Right now, I’m working on pre-negotiations with Universal on my movie based on my book (“How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale”), but I’m not going to star in it, and that’s by my own accord. I don’t want to. I don’t want to relive my life.

Erin: Who do you have an eye for?

Jenna: Scarlett Johansson. She has a depth to her, and sexiness. I think she could capture the ins and outs, the hard times and the good times of my life. She’s my first choice. There are people vying for the role that you would not believe. I mean, people you would never think of as an actress. A lot of pop stars. Maybe it would work. Maybe it will be great. But the bottom line is that I want it to be edgy, dark and real. We are talking to Peter Berg about directing it.

For this comic moving onto the feature film avenue, I would love to star in something sci-fi where I can be physical. I don’t want to play myself. This would be fun. I can bring sensitivity to the character that I don’t think has really been tapped into with any of the other characters that have come out. Women know I’m not just a sexual icon. I’m a feminist also. There are so many different facets to me that I would want to make sure are played out in this story.

Via: The GameLink Blog