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Disney gets a new Kingdom

28/05/2008. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Walt Disney Studios sets up a graphic novel arm. Kingdom Comics are to hire various graphic novelists and artists in the genre who will collaborate on their upcoming projects.

Walt Disney Studios has signed a deal with Ahmet Zappa (Frank Zappa's son), Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek to oversee their newly christened Kingdom Comics, a fresh venture developing graphic novels to create new film projects for the studio as well as re-imagining motion pictures from the Disney live-action Vault.

Commenting on the announcement, Aviv over at Disney told SFcrowsnest.com, "We're very excited to be working with Harris, Ahmet and Christian in developing this new business devoted to creating stories and properties for the graphic novel audience, as well as for moviegoers. They are three of the top talents in their respective fields and together they have the knowledge, expertise and instincts to create great publications and film properties. Some of these exciting publications will be inspired by films and characters in the vast and storied Disney library, while other original graphic novels are sure to spark great ideas for future Disney classics. Our vision for Kingdom Comics is to bring a fresh, contemporary approach to Disney properties that already have a strong connection with moviegoers and readers all over the world, and to add to that storytelling legacy."

Zappa added, "The ability to create new publications based on properties from the Disney vaults, and to develop original ideas for graphic novels and possibly future Disney films, is a dream job filled with enormous fun and potential. Being a storyteller myself, I can't wait to work with some of today's top writers and artists in bringing a fresh approach to graphic novels and the movies. We're also excited to discover and develop promising new talents in this field."

Katleman said, "I have been involved with my share of exciting projects and worked with lots of great talent over the years. Working with Ahmet and Christian in creating Kingdom Comics for Disney is as exciting as anything I've ever done. We're all looking forward to working with Oren and his team in developing some fantastic new projects for the printed page and the silver screen."

Beranek noted, "Graphic novels continue to have an enormous following all over the world and we're hoping to bring something new and different to those devoted fans. There are a lot of great stories waiting to be told, including some familiar properties residing in the Disney vaults. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and we can't wait to get started."

Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa is the third of four children born to the late rock musician/composer Frank Zappa and psychic businesswoman Gail. He started out as an actor on such shows as Roseanne and Growing Pains. This led to feature film work and a run as a host on reality shows. In 2006, he sold the rights to his first novel, The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, to Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. He is currently writing the second installment in that series, and executive producing Fraggle Rock with The Jim Henson Company.

Harris Katleman served as president and CEO of Twentieth Television from 1980 to 1992, during which time the Studio developed L.A. Law, The Simpsons and Doogie Howser, M.D." (in association with Steven Bochco Productions), and NYPD Blue.

Christian Beranek formed his own publishing company, Silent Devil, in 1996, producing Dracula vs. King Arthur and Super Frat.

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