LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney is getting into
the graphic novel business with a plan to adapt the works into
Walt Disney Studios has created Kingdom Comics, and signed
a multiyear deal with writer-actor Ahmet Zappa, TV executive
Harris Katleman and writer-editor Christian Beranek to oversee
The aim is to create titles that will be the basis of new
film projects for the studio as well as to reimagine and
rejuvenate movies from Disney's library of live-action films.
No writers or artists have been announced, though the trio
is on the hunt for new and established talent to create the
books. Kingdom, which will be located on the Disney lot, has a
first-look deal with Disney Publishing Worldwide to distribute
the publications. If Disney chooses not to publish a book,
Kingdom will explore other venues. Also, there is no set number
of graphic novels that are mandated to be published per year.
The studio will pluck titles, putting them into development
on a case-by-case basis.
The creation of Kingdom Comics positions the studio as a
player in the scorching comic book scene. Many studios have
aligned themselves to the big companies -- Warner Bros. owns DC
Comics, Marvel has a distribution deal with Paramount,
Universal has a first-look deal with Dark Horse Comics --
leaving very few players up for grabs. It also will put the
company in business with established and untapped talent in
what essentially will be a R&D division.
Zappa, the younger son of late musician Frank Zappa, sold
the rights to his first novel, "The Monstrous Memoirs of a
Mighty McFearless," to Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films in
2006. He is writing the second installment in that series and
is executive producing a feature version of "Fraggle Rock" with
the Jim Henson Co.
Katleman, a former president and CEO of 20th Century Fox
Television, working on such syndicated shows as "House Calls"
and "Dirty Rotten Cheater." Beranek formed his own publishing
company, Silent Devil, in 1996, producing such titles as
"Dracula vs. King Arthur" and "Super Frat."