Archive for the ‘press release’ Category

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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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Virgin Comics/Sci Fi announce “The Stranded”

July 31, 2007

Virgin Comics and Sci Fi have announced their first original title under the SCI FI/Virgin Comics banner. The Stranded, created and written by Mike Carey, is an adventure spanning two worlds as seen through the eyes of five ordinary people and whose abilities may ultimately spell doom or salvation for the entire universe.

The comic book is expected to be released later this year and will be distributed by Diamond Comics.

“As SCI FI evolves and expands its business beyond the television screen, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Virgin Comics to create compelling characters and stories that are designed to live across multiple media platforms, ” said Dave Howe, over at SCI FI. “The Stranded is the first original concept to be born out of this new joint venture. Mike Carey has created an incredibly rich and mysterious world and a unique cast of characters with the power and potential to come to life everywhere their story is told.”

“This partnership with SCI FI creates an opportunity for comic writers to develop stories that move far beyond the printed page,” added Sharad Devarajan, CEO of Virgin Comics. “From the concept stage, Mike Carey has been able to craft his story with some of the top creative and marketing minds in television today.”

“The fact that we are seeding our new imprint with an original idea from Mike Carey gives me great confidence that this is going to be an awesome collaboration,” added Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics Chief Creative Officer. “Further nurturing that idea with the minds of SCI FI’s creative team and having Stuart Moore as editor to guide it makes me believe that we are at the start of a story that many people in comics and beyond will enjoy for a long time.”

What if your entire world – your childhood, your family, all your memories – was a lie? The Stranded cast: Sisera, a conceptual artist; Endo, an art gallery worker; Drum, a new York City librarian; and Cullen, a Washington DC lawyer are all secretly from a world called Standfire – and now their past is returning to try and kill them.

One by one, The Stranded are assaulted by Janus, an altered human working for a mysterious, otherworldly force that seeks their destruction. Their only hope: Tamree, a dark, mysterious woman sent to Earth to protect them. She must awaken the buried individual memories of The Stranded – along with their powerful, unique psychic and physical abilities. But even if they can defeat Janus and his unseen masters, they must also deal with one of their own…who, damaged and unable to deal with her incredible new powers, cuts a swathe of incredible destruction across the Earth.

The Stranded’s writer/creator is Mike Carey. His current work includes X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Voodoo Child and his own creations Faker, Crossing Midnight, and The Re-gifters. His long runs on Lucifer and John Constantine, Hellblazer have been particularly well received. He has just completed a coast-to-coast book tour for his first novel, The Devil You Know.

The first issue of The Stranded will feature two covers with artwork from Marc Silvestri (Cyberforce, Witchblade, The Darkness and the X-Men) and Greg Horn (Elektra, Emma Frost).

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ED BURNS AND VIRGIN COMICS ANNOUNCE NEW COMIC SERIES

July 27, 2007

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Filmmaker and Actor creates “Dock Walloper” series for Virgin’s “Director’s Cut” Comic Book Line

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON—July 27th, 2007—New York filmmaker and actor, Ed Burns (Brothers McMullen, Saving Private Ryan) is creating a new series of comic books, it was announced today by Burns at Comic-Con, the industry’s annual super-festival in San Diego.

The series, entitled Dock Walloper, debuts in comic shops and online comic retailers in November. The complete 144 page Dock Walloper book will be available in May 2008 at all major book sellers. A new site, DockWalloper.com will host additional information, previews and pre-orders of the comic art and books. The comic series will be written by Burns, along with comic book legend, Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane, Monolith). Cover and interior art for the series will be created by Virgin Comics’ in-house illustration studio and led by rising comic book star, Siju Thomas.

“As we are approaching the centennial of Prohibition in America, I wanted to re-imagine some of the characters and icons of that era with a mythic spin, in a story set in a stylized New York City of the 20’s,” said Ed Burns. “The story takes the classic American gangster tale, and transposes it to this atmospheric landscape, where the characters and inhabitants possess exaggerated strength, ability and power, capturing a modern American mythology.”

“Ed Burns is one of New York City’s favorite sons and there is no one better to tell this story,” said Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan. “Dock Walloper is the perfect addition to our Director’s Cut line, which allows iconic filmmakers the creative freedom to develop new stories in the visual medium of graphic novels, akin to a movie with an unlimited budget.”

Dock Walloper is the story that takes place in the roaring 20’s of New York City. America’s great metropolis has become the nexus of high society culture, cutting edge industry and perhaps the most shocking crime wave in our country’s history. Known for its sinister and treacherous underworld, there’s a new power waking up the city that never sleeps. It’s name… John “The Hand” Smith.

The Nickname is a given. An outcast and an orphan, Smith’s massive right hand is nearly twice as large as his left, and when push comes to shove, you’d pity anyone that’s gets in his way. Smith’s only friends in the world are a fellow orphan and low-rent black gangster nicknamed Bootsy, and a Asian femme fatale known as Ring–a-Ling. In a world of crime, passion, and a touch of the fantastic, they will attempt to change organized crime…or die trying.

“From the first moment I sat down with Ed at an LA coffee shop and heard him talk about Dock Walloper, I knew we were gonna create something really cool and unique,” said Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics Chief Creative Officer. “Ed’s intensive involvement already up to this point in the development of that actual comic and now having Jimmy Palmiotti doing the writing on the series insures that the industry is about to change forever.”

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VIRGIN COMICS and MYSPACE CREATE COALITION COMIX

July 20, 2007

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Leading Social Networking Site Provides New Creative Showcase for Its Members

New York, NY—July 20, 2007—Virgin Comics and MySpace have teamed up to launch Coalition Comix (http://www.myspace.com/coalitioncomix), a new online comic book platform, allowing thousands of participants to work with leading comic book creators in the development and creation of new characters and stories.

Coalition Comix will open up the role of comic book writer to the world at large, allowing participants to providing artistic direction for the comic by voting on the plot twists and turns at each step of the way.

Coalition Comix will commission some of the comic book industry’s leading creators to collaborate with users as virtual “Story Masters.” Leading creators will guide participants to collectively craft new story properties for comics and subsequent development into film, games and animations.

“Coalition Comix will allow readers to collaborate artistically with both a leading comics professional as well as thousands of like-minded MySpace users all over the world,” said Sharad Devarajan, CEO of Virgin Comics. “It opens the door to a new world of interactions and collaborations, taking an exciting step into the creative possibilities of the internet, and a new form of collaborative art without borders, barriers, or limits.”

“MySpace is about self-expression and the interactive format of Coalition Comix will allow the MySpace community to make themselves part of the story,” said Shawn Gold, senior vice president of marketing for MySpace.

Each digital issue will have a real time creation period of two weeks, with sketches, artwork and scripts continuously uploaded for interactivity with the community. The first comic planned will be guided by leading comic book author, Mike Carey (Voodoo Child, X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four).

Carey will dialogue with readers and guide the development of the plot at each step along the way by reviewing feedback from readers, and posing questions with five or six choices for the Coalition Comix community to choose from. During this time the Story Master will evaluate progress at timed intervals to give feedback to the community. Their ideas and votes will determine the final plot, generating a final work of sequential art that was created and influenced by hundreds or even thousands of contributors.

Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comic’s Chief Creative Officer added, “Creativity and innovation our the core ingredients to everything we try and do at Virgin Comics. So when we decided we wanted to experiment online and do something different, there was only one partner that made sense to work with – MySpace. What are we gonna
create together? No one knows, but it will be cool. That’s the point.”

Users can join up to participate in Coalition Comix on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/coalitioncomix.

Comic book fans can also learn more by visiting the official MySpace Comic Books profile (www.myspace.com/comicbooks). This profile is the official community for manga, graphic novels and comic books on MySpace, where fans and friends of MySpace Comic Books can find the latest comic book news, interviews, special features, contests, exclusives and more. MySpace Comic Books spotlights the most exciting projects, creators and events in the industry including user generated comics by MySpace members themselves.

JOIN VIRGIN COMICS’ MYSPACE FRIEND LIST: http://www.myspace.com/virgincomics

CLICK TO DIGG THIS STORY: http://digg.com/tech_news/VIRGIN_COMICS_and_MYSPACE_CREATE_COALITION_COMIX

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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