Today, publisher Magnetic Press announced sweeping plans for a cross-platform release of the new series Basil & Moebius.
In addition to its intended release as a quarterly series of OGNs, a pattern which defies the industry standard, Basil & Moebius will have numerous online accompaniments, including a series of short stories and a short film.
This is a trick that some smaller publishers have tried in the past, but the literary and cinematic star power that Magnetic has leveraged for this project is impressive.
The first Basil & Moebius short story will come from best-selling Star Wars scribe Timothy Zahn. The film features Zach Levy (Chuck, Thor 2: The Dark World), Hollywood heavy-hitter Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations) and none other than Darth Maul himself, Ray Park (Star Wars: Episode I, X-Men, G.I. Joe).
This sort of ambitious project is almost unheard of from a second-year imprint, and showcases the ways in which the industry is shifting. The OGN format is one that both of the Big Two publishers have been slowly sidling towards. Marvel has been releasing several a year as a supplement to their monthly line, with the likes of Warren Ellis’ Avengers: Infinite Wartime. DC has focused its OGN efforts on the Earth One line, having last year released the first volume of Jeff Lemire’s Teen Titans and with 2015 set to contain the second volume of the Geoff Johns and Gary Frank project Batman: Earth One.
That Basil & Moebius is, from its inception, and OGN-format project shows an approach which is focused on long-form serial storytelling, and bears watching. If Magnetic is capable of making the format commercially viable, it will serve as a benchmark for other smaller publishers in the future, and may indicate a longer-term trend towards volumes which deliver more story in better packaging at a slightly higher price point, as opposed to the monthly floppy format which has dominated the comic book industry since its inception.
The accompaniment of Basil & Moebius by a short film is no accident. Creator Ryan Schifrin understands Hollywood’s seemingly insatiable desire for new comic book-sourced content, and hopes that this project will find its way into that arena in a much bigger way in the future, telling the Magnetic Press site “I would love to see this become either a series of films or a TV show. Every time we screen “No Rest” at a festival, the biggest compliment we get is people coming up and saying they’d love to see it become a series.”
[FROM THE PRESS RELEASE]
MAGNETIC PRESS PUBLISHING
“THE ADVENTURES OF BASIL AND MOEBIUS,”
GRAPHIC NOVEL SERIES BY RYAN SCHIFRIN,
WITH ALL-STAR TIE-INS
BURBANK, CA — January 5th, 2014 – Magnetic Press announced today the publishing lineup for the original graphic novel series “THE ADVENTURES OF BASIL AND MOEBIUS,” created by award-winning writer/director Ryan Schifrin. Schifrin was dubbed the “Future of Horror” by ABC’s Nightline following the release of his independent film “Abominable,” which ranked as the SyFy Channel’s #1 rated show the week of its debut. THE ADVENTURES OF BASIL AND MOEBIUS marks the launch of his newest project, which will be released as four quarterly hardcover graphic novels, digital short stories, and a star-studded short film in 2015.
Produced by Schifrin’s Red Circle Productions, the series chronicles the pulp-style adventures of Basil Fox and Alaric Moebius, two scoundrel thieves who find themselves caught up in the machinations of “The Collector,” a mysterious patron who recruits them (not often willingly) to find rare and rumored artifacts that may or may not have fabled supernatural powers. Created by Ryan Schifrin, the series is adapted and co-written by legendary comic writer Larry Hama (G.I.Joe, Wolverine, The ‘Nam), and illustrated by a collection of established and up-and-coming artists.
The graphic novel series will be supplemented online between releases by a series of prose short stories written by some of sci-fi’s most recognized and respected award-winning authors, including Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Heir to the Empire), Richard Lee Byers (Forgotten Realms), and Greg Bear (Blood Music, Halo). Zahn also provides the foreword in the first graphic novel volume.
In addition to the short stories, the series will see the release of the award-winning short film “NO REST FOR THE WICKED”, starring fan favorite actors Zachary Levi (Chuck), Ray Park (Star Wars, GIJoe), and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange). Written and directed by Schifrin, this live-action short introduces audiences to the tongue-in-cheek, madcap hijinks the titular duo find themselves amidst on a regular basis. While the film has won numerous festival awards nationwide, it will see its public debut online with the release of the first graphic novel volume.
A trailer for the film can be viewed at this link:
The first volume of the hardcover graphic novel series is due to hit shelves in March, followed by volumes 2-4 quarterly thereafter, with short stories released digitally monthly in between. Each hardcover volume will run 120-160 pages with a retail price of $17.99-$19.99.
For more information about the BASIL AND MOEBIUS series, please visit www.magnetic-press.com.