One of the more odious trends I noticed at the San Diego Comic-Con was the one where new comic publishers start publishing comic books not to make great pieces of fiction, but to create high-concept properties to garner some Hollywood interest. More than one publisher I visited put more work into Hollywood Studio press kits than into their own books.
Radical Publishing seems to be one of the biggest of these culprits. Thier publishing output to date consists of an updating of a Greek myth, a western take on the Arthurian legend, and an Asian import. Nothing 100% original in the lot but yet all three are in the works for the movies.
However, while Radical might be just an intellectual property factory, their adaptations have attracted some of Hollywood’s brightest stars.
Action-master John Woo has signed on to direct a movie based on Caliber. The property updates the Arthurian legend to the Old West. Instead of a magic sword we get a mystical six-shooter. Instead of Merlin being a wizard he is an Indian shaman. The film is being produced by Woo’s Lion Rock Productions, Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil shingle, and the publisher’s own Radical Pictures company.
Peter Berg, fresh off this summer’s Hancock, will be bringing Radical’s version of Hercules to the big screen. The film is produced by Berg’s Film 44, Spyglass Entertainment, and, once again, by Radical Pictures.
The first issues of Caliber and Hercules have barely made it to the back issue bins and they already are being optioned for movies. But Radical has beat itself with its third project, which has a movie in development before the comic book even hits the stands.
Radical’s Freedom Formula: Ghost of the Wasteland #1 is set to be released this Wednesday, but the company announced last week that Bryan Singer will produce a movie based on the comic. The title is adapted from an pre-existing Asian “mecha” property. Singer’s Bad Hat Harry will co-produce with, you guessed it, Radical Pictures.
People complain about the way Hollywood is being dominated by the comic book movie. I think this shows that the trend isn’t that good for comics either. When publishers think movie first, comic book later, everyone suffers.