Archive for May, 2009

Arcana Newsletter May 2009

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Two of the Greatest American Heroes!

The third and final issue of Stephen J Cannell’s beloved cult classic arrives in stores TODAY complete with a special Barack Obama cover! The Greatest American Hero himself teams up with writers Christopher Folino and Derek McCaw and superstar artist Clint Hilinski for this exciting re-imagining of the cult classic series.

Buy the Red Foil edition of this collector’s issue now:

Camilla d’Errico’s Burn Now Available As Webcomic!

Welcome to a world where humans and mecha co-exist. What was once thought to be a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines has turned into a full-scale war due to rising resentment by their human creators. In one of the towns, a 13 year old boy named Burn will find out the true meaning of horror. The arrival of the sentient Shoftiel, a machine programmed to destroy mankind, will forever link the two in a battle of fates. One action, one desperate act of self-preservation will forever change the fate of man and machine.

Superstar artist Camilla d’Errico has now made her critically accalimed series availabe as one of Arcana’s webcomics. Read the entire series at:

Don Bluth’s Space Ace!

Arcana Comics is proud to announce that Space Ace is coming back! Fan favorite writer Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible) wrote these reprintings from CrossGen, and a new writing team will carry forward his momentum with issues #4-6!

Follow the adventures of the musclebound hero Ace! The villainous Commander Borf attacks Ace with the “Infanto Ray,” a weapon that transforms him into an adolescent version of himself, and kidnaps his girlfriend Kimberly. It is up to Dexter – Ace’s younger incarnation – to rescue Kimberly and prevent Borf from using the Infanto Ray to conquer Earth. Based on the classic 1980′s video game!

In Previews

This month in Previews, for items shipping July, Arcana will be publishing the Don Bluth’s Space Ace #1 (MAY090645) and Ultima Thula GN (MAY090646).

Shipping This Month

This May sees the release of Arcana’s Matriarch TP (MAR094065) .

Interview with Rock Shaink and Mark Jonathan Stanley

This month, Arcana’s Vice President of Operations, Mark Poulton interviews Rock Shaink and Mark Jonathan Stanley regarding their involvement in the slate of Arcana properties that are currently in development.

MP: What can you tell us about your involvement in Arcana’s Grunts, Ripped, and Coma?

RS: Let’s see. Where to begin? I guess everything started when Sean got in touch with me about the possibility of working together on something. We grabbed a few drinks a week later, and talked about what I was working on, what we (Mark and I) were working on, and what Arcana was working on, and ultimately how we could come together on something. But, really it ended up being a long conversation on comics, the industry, film, television, etc. that was a total blast. After a few hours at the table we realized we hadn’t really discussed the topic of collaboration in too much detail. So, we finished the first meet with Sean giving me a handful of books, and some scripts/artwork from future projects. I in turn promised to send him a few ideas that may work with what Arcana was planning in the future.
When I got back to my office I couriered copies of the books to my co-writer and read… a lot. I think I read half the Arcana library in one sitting, and immediately fell in love with what these guys were doing.

The next day Sean and I had a great follow up chat, where I gave my thoughts on what I’d read, and Sean then told me he had 2 books he HAD to send us. I in turn told him I had an idea, I’d loved, that was a bit darker then the rest, but judging by what Arcana was publishing and a few of the books they were coming out with later in the year, I think it may just fit the kind of “edgy” thrillers they were willing to take a shot on. So, we again exchanged emails — Sean sending us two soon to be published books (which turned out to be GRUNTS and RIPPED) and myself sending him COMA. And that was the beginning of what became the… well, the beginning. And wow, I just chatted everyone’s ear off.

MJS: Yep. What he said.

MP: How did these projects come about?

RS: As I’d said, Sean sent me a few select books (Ripped, Grunts) he thought fit what we were doing, and I in turn sent him one of my favorite projects (Coma). Ripped was the first one I read, and I immediately called my co-writer to have him read it first. Unfortunately, him being a Brit, and it being 4am over there when I did so, he did not answer.

But, anyway, had he picked up, I’d had told him how much the comic had blown me away, and how well it matched what we were looking for. The creator had done a great job of capturing a fun and exciting story and dropping it into this unique, yet relatable world.

MJS: With Time travel.

RS: Right. So, the next day, or early the next morning, I hear back from Mark and he’s going on about how this book is definitely our next project. I’m of course ecstatic that he’s read RIPPED already. Only to quickly realize…

MJS: I think it was when dinosaurs entered the conversation.

RS: Haha. Yep, it was at the mention of dinosaurs that Mark stopped me, and asked me how the hell I was planning on getting dinosaurs in to WW2?

MJS: It was then we realized we’d not only read two different books, but that neither of the other had read the one we were going on about. Rock had accidently sent me two copies of Grunts, but none of Ripped, and in turn had 2 copies of Ripped, but none of Grunts. So a trade was organized, and back to reading we went.

RS: The next day we chat again and suddenly find ourselves in a bit of a dilemma. We really, really love both books. Two dream projects dropped right in to our laps, and now we had to make a decision as to which to do.

MJS: A few days later we made one of the easiest and most difficult decisions we’ve ever made collectively. Easy because we decided we wanted to do both. Difficult because… well, we decided we wanted to do both.

RS: We sat down, looked at our already well-booked schedules and decided one way or another we had to make room for these. So, we set our reps and Sean (Arcana) to chat to see what we could do to make it work.

MJS: Shortly there after we get word from the powers that be that it’s a full go. And off we go. We decided to dive in to RIPPED first, while we chatted with Shannon from Grunts on some ideas for where the book could go beyond the page.

RS: With Ripped we’re staying inside the world created, while bringing some new unique elements to it, but in chatting with Shannon on Grunts, he had some excellent ideas for where the story could continue off the page, so we wanted time to work that out with him while we attacked Ripped.

MJS: Don’t forget Coma.

RS: And Coma. Yes, Coma, as I’d said was a passion project of mine that I needed to get out of me. I sent Sean a copy of the treatment for Coma that I’d written really for myself. I was immediately unsure of the decision, knowing that the story does dive in to some dark topics, and doesn’t shy away where others may. So, I have to say I was absolutely thrilled when Sean got back to me about thirty minutes later saying “We have to do this”. And from there Coma swiftly joined our burgeoning Arcana/Romark family.

MP: Were you a comic book fan growing up?

RS: Growing up at the end of a dirt road in a tiny little town, where we didn’t even have the option of television until I was 12, left me few options in form of entertainment. I remember my father usually paid my little brothers and I for our chores in the form of baseball cards, but one week he returned with a few packs of cards and a comic book. The choice had to be made. I ended up reading my first ever comic book that day, and I’ve never looked back.

MJS: Being a Brit, and growing up around the time of 2000 AD (the comic, not the actual period!), I was always a big fan of characters like Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper. It’s that element of fantasy, and the great sense of escapism they provide. Comic books were always like movies to me. Something which I probably didn’t realize until I became a little older. But to me, it’s always been like watching a film on the page.

MP:  Arcana fans are probably more familar with Grunts and Ripped, what can you tell us about Coma?

MJS: Coma is going to be a kick ass ride from the sick, twisted mind of Rock Shaink. A comic book, and a movie. Other than that, I am sworn to secrecy! But meet me in the bar later. I’m partial to beer!

RS: You know, try as I may, I don’t think I could’ve said it any better then Mark just did. I will add simply that it’s a passion project, and one that jumps right into the deep end of the noir-esque psycho-thriller genre. A pull no punches, no turning away, vivid journey down a very very dark path. Wait, “noir-esque psycho thriller” – did I just make up a new genre?

MP: What do you find most appealing in each of these properties?

MJS: I think it’s the great mix of fantasy meets reality in each project. You see, Rock is more of the reality guy, whereas I tend to lean more toward fantasy. We’ve always been able to combine that to good effect, and usually end up with something that’s absolutely unique on both terms. So finding Ripped and Grunts, two projects that jump in and out of both elements, and pull it off in spades, was something I knew we needed to sink our teeth into.

RS: Each of these books allows us room to flex our own creative muscles independently, and then to bring our work together for the story. With Ripped, I was the guy with the dry-erase board trying to quantify this unique form, or potential idea of “time-travel”… while Mark was at the same time thinking of cool characters and times in history we could mess with. For Grunts it’s the similar process, just this time with behemoth-sized super soldiers and the Germans.

MJS: Both projects feel real, yet of course, they‘re not. But there’s just something happening with them that works on an unconscious level. You’re both connecting and escaping at the same time. It’s the ultimate magic trick. And my hat goes off to all those involved.

MP:  What do you think makes for a successful comic book adaptation?

MJS: I think it all comes down to keeping the spirit intact, whilst also staying true to what works on the screen. And that’s something, I feel, which carries all throughout the process. Not just in the writing. There’s a template, but it has to be treated with respect. Sometimes it means changing certain elements. But in the end, if the spirit is still there, then usually what made the comic work, will also make the film work. Usually!

RS: Yes, “Usually!” indeed. I can’t agree with that more. I’m a huge comic fan, but at the same time I’m a huge film fan. Finding the ability to stay true to one, while ensuring it works for the other can be quite tricky. However with the blessing of all those involved, I think it’s also one of the most fun elements of what we do as writers. Think about how many times you’ve seen something, heard about something, or read something and said to yourself… “This would be a great movie”. Luckily, we get a shot at actually making that a reality, whether it be; adapting short stories, magazine articles, video games, comics, novels, etc.

MP: You guys are both really busy these days, with many projects in development including the remake of the 80s cult film the Hidden. How did you get involved with this remake? Were you fans of the original?

RS: We can’t really say too much about the project, or it’s current status. This project has been a roller coaster ride itself, with lots of ups and downs as far as those involved, etc. All-in-all, it was a ton of fun to write, we had a blast researching it, and luckily for us it’s still a script that gets us a lot of work.

MP: These projects are all going through your company Romark Films. What can you tell us about the company? How it was formed? And what made you guys decide to do it?

RS: Romark was born out of our expanding responsibilities as writers, directors and producers. As writers our work was taking on a life of it’s own, and we were suddenly flush with projects that we were shepherding as producers and those we were stepping into as directors. I think for us, Romark became the home in which we could make them all work together.

MJS: I think it was also out of our desire to oversee projects from beginning to end. Being a writer is great, but at times it can be very frustrating. Building a company like this not only gives us more freedom on the creative side, but also on the business side. So hopefully it becomes the best of both worlds.

RS: I think also as filmmakers this was ultimately a dream we both shared. A place we can both focus on our own creative endeavors, but that also allows us the opportunity to work with other creative writers and directors we highly respect, and at the same time seek out new rising talents with a voice, and passion similar to our own.

MP: Tell us a little bit about the process you guys take when writing something together?

RS: We pay our ghostwriters extremely well, and then go on an extended vacation. Haha! But seriously…

MJS: I think the best way to look at it would be to compare us both to architects of a great house. (The script being the house in this example.) Together, we’d both meet up and build a sturdy, creative foundation. At that point I would go off and put up the four walls of the house. Meanwhile, Rock would move inside, and decorate each room. Then we’d both meet back up at the top to finish the roof.

RS: Can’t agree more. Mark was always the structural engineer to my extravagant painter. I’d jump inside and work on character and dialogue, while Mark would lock down the plot points and act breaks we needed to work around or within.

MJS: Over the years though, I’d say the line between those two roles has really started to blur.

RS: Definitely. I know on one of our last projects there were actual full scenes we could not for life of us recall who wrote originally. Something I’m finding a lot more in our last few years of work together. And something I think is only allowing us to become better writers in the process.

MP: What else are you guys working on? For yourself? For Romark?

MJS: Between us, we’re looking at adapting another comic book – the name of which we can’t mention yet, but which will star rising action star Scott Adkins (Bourne Ultimatum, Wolverine). And we’ve just signed on recently to adapt the brilliant graphic novel “I am Spartacus” by Dan Wickline (30 Days of Night). Solo-wise, I’m also working on a project with Justin Stanley. The title of which, we’re keeping under wraps.

RS: We’re stoked to work with Scott on the new project, which is going to be such a fun, fast, and intense actioner. And “I Am Spartacus” was a project we both read the day it came out and fell in love with, so being hired to adapt it, is a fantastic opportunity. Beyond that, and the obvious projects, and development deal surrounding the interview (Coma, Ripped, Grunts) we’ve just wrapped up post on a new comedy TV pilot that I wrote/directed entitled “Weed Shop”, and we are actively moving forward on two others in which we trade off producer hats. Independently, I’m directing a few more music videos and commercials in the oncoming months, crossing my fingers that we get to continue the journey on “Weed Shop” and being excited for the team we’ve just locked down on a new hush-hush psycho/thriller I’m writing/directing for Romark.

MJS: Yes, we just left you with a cliffhanger.

RS: Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnn.