by Gene Turnbow
J. Michael Straczynki
This year Comic-Con was treated to an appearance by J. Michael Straczynksi. His work spans across multiple platforms: comic books (Amazing Spider-Man, Superman: Earth One, Rising Stars), TV series (Babylon 5), feature films (Thor, Ninja Assassin) and video games. He was there mainly to talk about his brand new studio, StudioJMS, the aim of which was to bring all his work in various media under one umbrella. From the Facebook page, StudioJMS is a multimedia, multi-platform studio creating television series, feature films, web content, comic books and games.
In the program guide he hinted that there could possibly be another big announcement, but declined to state what that was unless it actually happened – apparently the news he was waiting to hear didn’t get to him in time for him to make the announcement at Comic-Con. He did speak of his current projects, including The Flickering Light, is a docu-drama about how Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl that required Spanish actors, who rented ethnic-looking Jews and gypsys, men, women and children imprisoned in the Max Glan Concentration Camp outside Berlin. Said Straczynki, “She didn’t care about them at all, only about her movie, and it was the crew that looked after them. This was a surreal existence, moving from escapism on a movie set back to a nightmare imprisonment. The script is written, we’re out to actors and we will have partial funding from the German government.”
He also talked about a number of other projects under development by StudioJMS, Ten Grand, Sidekick, Apocalype Al, and Living Dead: The Musical. He said that all the scripts for the new DC mini-series Before Watchmen were done (at least one ones he was working on), and that he was working on new scripts for Brave & The Bold comics for DC, and something called Samaritan X, a book about a what happens at a hospital for superheroes. Imagine the story opportunities in something like that!
“The center of the storm is what comes out of my keyboard,” he said. “It’s all about creating IP. For twenty years, I’ve had the remarkable good fortune to work successfully as a writer and producer in a wide variety of fields, from television to comics and movies. I’ve always dreamed of creating a mini-studio where I can put all of that work under one roof, telling stories that I want to tell and which can be spun up between various platforms: comics that can become TV shows, TV shows that can become movies, and movies that can become comics. With the tremendous recent success of films such as The Avengers, Thor, and the Batman series of films, this feels like the best time to tackle that dream. Best of all, unlike many other startup ventures, I’m not looking to get into these areas, I’m already working in them; now it’s just a matter of taking the next logical step: consolidation.”.
He discussed a TV series based based on (and I believe called) “Vlad Dracula”, that takes the vampire story paradigm and digs down to the foundations by doing a story about the very first vampire, and how he discovers his new role in the world and its advantages and limitations, and how this affects his leadership of his country.
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