San Diego Comic-Con is proof of the way Hollywood has helped evolve comic books. And no, I'm not just talking about the hundreds of "Twi-hards" that line up outside of Hall H the night before the panel just to catch a glimpse of Robert Pattinson. Some of the biggest booths at San Diego Comic-Con are the movie and television booths, and the fact of the matter is, Comic-Con caters not only to comic book readers, but to people who love all kinds of media. But it's not just Comic-Con that is catching this "Hollywood fever," it's comic books as well.
The most obvious influence of Hollywood on the comic book industry doesn't begin and end with the creation of "DC Entertainment" or the Disney buyout of Marvel Comics. More frequently than ever independent comic creators are not only making books for the sake of getting published, they are making books to turn their ideas into movies, television shows and video games.== TEASER ==
Day "zero" of Comic-Con 2011 started off with ICv2's Media and Digital Conference hosted at the Marriott Hotel, right down the street from the comic book convention prior to the opening of the show floor. The discussion kicked off with Hollywood's influence on the comic book industry titled "Selling Comics In Hollywood -- State of the Market." The panel featured Scott Agostoni, a talent representative for graphic novel creators and publishers, Nick Harris, Co-head of Media Rights, International Management and Rick Jacobs, Producer and Manager of Circle of Confusion. These three guys covered a lot of ground, focusing on everything from what (specifically) type of content Hollywood is looking for to adapt, as well as the transmedia licensing of creative content. The panel was moderated by veteran journalist and commentator Anne Thompson. In order to give you an idea of some of the more interesting topics that were covered during the discussion, we took some excerpts and posted them for you below.
Anne Thompson: What is Hollywood looking for?
Rick Jacobs: Franchising. Sometimes you get lucky with The Walking Dead, or with CHEW. It depends on whether or not the content is good, because when the content is good then things are fine. The truth of the matter is, no one sets out to make a bad movie or TV show. No one wants to put out crap, it just happens that sometimes they do. - Unless you get to season two, you haven't made as much money as you would have if it were a featur-ette.
Nick Harris: Most buyers want to bundle the packages, bundle the rights. Making these deals on a multi media platform. The publishers are releasing e books and apps, very recently we've been dealing with studios that have said that the e books are encroaching on the bundle deals. If you're trying to sell the rights you have to be clever about how to sell it. The studios have power, have the leverage. Hopefully there will come a point where buyers and sellers will come together.
Anne Thompson: What are some things you have discovered at Comic-Con? Creators? Ideas?
Rick Jacobs: I think its interesting. Years ago, ten, twelve years ago you could walk around the floor and "discover" something, but I dont think thats the case now.
Nick Harris: For all of us its just a place to meet with clients. I do my walk every year. It's a small business - its a family business [comics]. There is some competition to some extent...it is a good event to socialize, but picking up talent here isn't as common as it was years ago.
Anne Thompson: If we're tired of tights, vampires and zombies, what's the next thing?
Nick Harris: It's going to keep going on because I have a mortgage to pay, and kids to put through school. [Laughter]
Anne Thompson: Are you worried about [the] impact [of over saturation of the market, not lining up video games, comic book story arcs, movies with continuity] ?
Nick Harris: Yeah. Of course.
Rick Jacobs: When the game sucks, it's sometimes because the movie studio kept it [the rights] and they have waited until the movie has been green lit, and then they realize that they only have 9 months to get a video game out there in time -- and everyone knows you can't make a 'good' video game in 9 months.
Scott Agostini: You are dealing with a different beast. You're dealing with video game publishers. You have to have massive pre-orders, something "brand ready," like Twilight. Otherwise you have to get a "dujour" developement team on board. Merch rights and video game rights, they [movie studios] clamp right down on those things.
Nick Harris: A lot of what I am getting now from movie studios and producers is "Can you get me a toy that I can then turn into a movie?"
Rick Jacobs: [In reference to what Hollywood "wants"] Let's try not to second guess the market, let's just write something brilliant.
If Hollywood ever gets tired of "tights, vampires and zombies," they can always look to independent creative content for their "next big thing." With the highly successful independent properties drawing Hollywood attention (Kirkman's The Walking Dead, Cowboys and Aliens, Brian Michael Bendis' POWERS) there is no doubt that Hollywood will continue to look to comic book properties for future film and television ideas.