Comics-to-film specialist Platinum Studios, which recently inked a first look deal with Walt Disney Pictures and Television, has signed two contestants from the first-ever Comic Book Idol contest. Taking a cue from the popular television series American Idol, the contest gave aspiring artists the opportunity to display and promote their work. Among the panel of judges was Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada.
Platinum had no involvement in the contest, but saw promise in the work of top 10 finalists Michael J. Flores and L. Frank Weber. While neither won the competition, they will each have the opportunity to work in the field and contribute to a growing library of more than 1,000 characters that have appeared in more than 100 million comics worldwide.
Platinum Studios chairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg has a long history of taking chances with new creators. At his previous company, Malibu Comics, he took a similar gamble with creator Lowell Cunningham, whose Men in Black had been turned down by 70 other publishers. Rosenberg produced the comic and struck a deal with Sony Pictures that resulted in a billion-dollar franchise.
In addition to the Disney deal, Rosenberg and Platinum are developing many comic-to-film adaptations at Sony, Miramax, MGM and Universal.
"All I ever wanted to do was make comic books," says Flores, a former law student and veteran of the dot-com boom who was signed to illustrate the suspense thriller Seen. The comic, which will go into production immediately, was created and written by Scott O. Brown, publisher of Cyberosia Publishing. It follows an acclaimed photographer who devises a bold new concept for his next exhibit: he has his girlfriend hire a private detective to surreptitiously photograph him in his everyday life. The project becomes a nightmare when the photos reveal a mysterious stalker following him.
Weber, who was openly praised by judge Quesada, will illustrate the edgy romantic comedy Love Bytes. The graphic novel, written by Joshua Elder and Randy Fairman, has the world’s first self-aware computer tempt loser Sam Driscoll with promises of success, money and the chance to be somebody. But when Sam meets the girl of his dreams, he finds that romance was not part of the computer’s plan and learns that hell hath no fury like a computer scorned.
Weber is a graduate of Queensland College of Art and has worked as a storyboard and concept artist in TV animation in Australia.
Comic Book Idol is the brainchild of series creator J. Torres and run on Comic Book Resources.com by exec. producer Jonah Weiland. Torres, who makes his home in Toronto, began his comic book writing career in 1995 with the publication of Copybook Tales #1 by SLG Publishing. This series was followed by Siren (Image Comics), Love in Tights (SLG), Monster Fighters Inc. (Image Comics), Sidekicks (Fanboy Comics), Alison Dare (Oni Press) and various anthology contributions and freelance work for Nickelodeon Magazine among others.