The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #4 David S. Goyer

     Despite his career ups and downs, David S. Goyer has become the go-to guy for getting screenplays written for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and other comic book publishers. In 1996, he wrote The Crow: City of Angels, the sequel to #20 Jeff Most’s dark hit The Crow. Alex Proyas, director of The Crow, hired Goyer to write a polish for his next film the sci-fi/fantasy success Dark City. Goyer’s first adaptation of a Marvel Comics character was the 1998 television film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., starring David Hasselhoff. The same year, the cinematic feature Blade was released, written by Goyer and executive produced by #22 Michael De Luca. Goyer created the original character of Whistler, Blade‘s mentor, for the film. Marvel later added the character into the comic book’s continuity. Goyer would follow Blade as writer and executive producer of Blade II, directed by #10 Guillermo Del Toro in 2002 with designer #13 Mike Mignola on board.  In 2004, New Line released Blade: Trinity, which Goyer wrote, directed and produced himself. Although Trinity received an unfortunately ill reception from critics and fans, Goyer found redemption in 2005’s Batman Begins, for which he shared story and screenplay writing credits with director #18 Christopher Nolan. Goyer also wrote the dialogue and story for the accompanying Batman Begins video game. In 2006, Goyer returned to Blade as writer for the short-lived televisions series “Blade: The Series,” which aired only 12 episodes. His last released works include 2007’s Ghost Rider, for which Goyer served as executive producer. The film’s final script was written by director #14 Mark Steven Johnson. Goyer also wrote the screenplay for the segment “In Darkness Dwells,” part of the animated compilation Batman: Gotham Knight to be released on July 8, 2008.
     David Goyer’s future projects include The Dark Knight, set for release on July 18, 2008, on which he again shares story writing credits with director Christopher Nolan. He is working on a final version of a screenplay for X-Men Origins: Magneto, after the original screenplay by Sheldon Turner.  Goyer is also attached to direct the Marvel film, set for release in 2009. He is credited as a writer of the screenplay for the currently in-production film adaptation of the DC character The Flash, scheduled for release in 2010. Hollywood.com reports that he has been announced to produce Super Max, based on the DC character Green Arrow.  He is also announced to produce a film adaptation of Vertigo ComcisY: The Last Man, and to direct an adaptation of Platinum StudiosUnique. Variety reports that Goyer will be directing a film adaptation of the 2007 graphic novel Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, co-written by Mike Mignola.

Influence Meter: ++++++++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #6 Mike Richardson

Mike Richardson     So you saw a sci-fi or fantasy movie, and it featured some off-the-wall characters, and maybe you thought it was entertaining, and it got some hype, but you didn’t realize until later that it was a comic book movie.  There’s a good chance that it was produced by Mike Richardson, the president of the world’s third largest comic book publisher, Dark Horse Comics. Since 1986, Dark Horse has been a beacon for restless artists and writers fleeing the ranks of Marvel and DC wishing to make a name for themselves with their own “creator owned” comics.
     In 1994, Richardson served as executive producer of two films made through Dark Horse subsidiary Dark Horse Entertainment.  One was The Mask (with co-executive producer #22 Michael De Luca), based on Richardson’s own comic of the same name, created in the late 1980’s/ early ‘90s.   The film earned several awards and nominations and was instrumental in propelling Jim Carrey’s comedic career forward. The Mask was followed by the three season long “The Mask” animated television series, which ran from 1995 to 1997, and by the Razzie Award winning Son of the Mask in 2005 (also executive produced by Richardson). The other film for which Richardson was an executive producer in 1994 was Timecop, made with producer #11 Sam Raimi and #17 Lawrence Gordon‘s production company Largo Entertainment. It was again based on Richardson’s eponymous comic, published by Dark Horse. This film was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film and was particularly lauded for Jean Claude Van-Damme’s surprisingly competent dramatic performance in the starring role.  The film was followed up by the 1997 television series “Timecop” (which he co-executive produced with Gordon) and the 2003 direct-to-video sequel Timecop: The Berlin Decision.  In the latter half of the 1990s he produced two films; 1996’s Barb Wire, another Razzie Award nominee starring Pamela Anderson as the eponymous character published by the Dark Horse imprint Comics Greatest World, and the 1999 comedy Mystery Men (with producer Lawrence Gordon), loosely based on characters appearing in Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics, published by Dark Horse in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Richardson was also the executive producer of the 1999 movie Virus (producer #21 Gale Anne Hurd‘s first comic book film) based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name. Once again, this film was almost universally panned.
     By the end of the ‘90s, Mike Richardson was making movies, but was in a slump with the critics. Not to be dissuaded, Richardson regrouped, and 5 years later he came back with his production of Dark Horse’s flagship property, Hellboy.  With the all-star team of producer Lawrence Gordon, producer/designer/writer/creator #13 Mike Mignola, and visionary director #10 Guillermo del Toro, Richardson had made a box office and critical success that reinvigorated his company and the independent comic book industry all at once. Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms won him a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, followed by Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron a year later. He was executive producer of both and again worked with the invaluable talents of Del Toro and Mignola.  He is currently working on his production of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, starring Ron Perlman and Selma Blair.  He has brought Gordon, Mignola, and Del Toro back together again for the sequel which is set for release on July 11, 2008.  Other Mike Richardson projects include 2004’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator, based in part on the Dark Horse comic series, and 2007’s 30 Days of Night, produced by Sam Raimi and based on the limited series published by IDW. Richardson served as executive producer on both films.
     Future projects for Mike Richardson include feature length productions of Dark Horse comic series R.I.P.D., Damn Nation, Criminal Macabre (based on Dark Horse/IDW character Cal McDonald), Concrete, and Black Cross.  He is slated to work as producer on all of these films.  Release dates have yet to be announced.

Influence Meter: ++++++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #10 Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo del ToroIf #13 Mike Mignola is Hellboy’s father, then Guillermo del Toro has got to be his big brother that got him into all that trouble growing up. The Mexican director began making movies in the 1980s, venturing into comic book territory with 2002’s Blade II with writer/executive producer #5 David S. Goyer and designer Mignola. In 2004 Del Toro directed and wrote the story and screenplay for Hellboy, which he followed with Hellboy II: The Golden Army (arriving in theaters July 11, 2008), both of which he made with producer/designer/writer/creator Mike Mignola and producers #6 Mike Richardson and #17 Lawrence Gordon. Between these films, in 2006, he wrote, directed, and produced the critically acclaimed and Academy Award winning Pan’s Labyrinth, displaying some of the same visual style that will be evident in Hellboy II. Del Toro also wrote and consulted on the Hellboy: The Science of Evil video game and served as creative producer for the Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms, Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron, and Hellboy Animated: Iron Shoes animated features, the first two of which were executive produced by Richardson.  Guillermo is attached to direct the 2010 release of Marvel’s Doctor Strange (with David Goyer also on the project) and a future film adaptation of Phil Hester’s The Coffin, originally published by Oni Press.

Influence Meter: ++++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #13 Mike Mignola

Mike MignolaWhile Professor Bruttenholm may be Hellboy’s father on screen, the real father of Hellboy and the Hellboy franchise is none other than Mike Mignola.  While illustrating for Marvel and DC Comics during the 1980’s and early ‘90s, Mignola ventured into film by illustrating the storyboards for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version of Dracula.  The same year he created a new character design for Warner Bro’s Batman animated TV series (with #8 Benjamin Melniker and #5 Michael E. Uslan as executive producers).  In 1994 Dark Horse was the first company to publish Mignola’s original concepts in the 1994 Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. Since that time, his work on Hellboy has grown exponentially, leading to a popular spinoff comic known as BPRD (also published by Dark Horse) and numerous screen projects.  His artistry has been described as “German expressionism meets Jack Kirby” by esteemed comics creator Alan Moore.  In 2002 Mignola worked as a concept artist on #10 Guillermo Del Toro’s Blade II (with executive producer #22 Michael De Luca and writer/executive producer #5 David S. Goyer). In 2004 he saw his red-handed creation reach the big screen with Hellboy, for which he was the associate producer and design consultant along with director Del Toro, producer #6 Mike Richardson, and producer #17 Lawrence Gordon. He has served as consulting producer and writer for the animated features Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms, Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron, and Hellboy Animated: Iron Shoes, the first two of which were executive produced by Richardson, and all of which were released in 2006/2007.  In 2006, Mignola oversaw the art direction for the television adaptation of his comic The Amazing Screw-On Head, featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti and David Hyde Pierce. Mignola is currently credited as a consultant and co-story writer for the up-coming Hellboy: The Science of Evil video game, writer and consulting producer for 2008’s Hellboy Animated: The Phantom Claw, and co-story writer and co-producer (again with Gordon, Del Toro, and Richardson) of the highly anticipated Hellboy II: The Golden Army, to be released on July 11, 2008.  Variety reports that another future project is in the works for Mignola, specifically a film adaptation of his 2007 graphic novel Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, to be directed by David S. Goyer.

Influence Meter: +++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #17 Lawrence Gordon

Lawrence GordonSelznick Award winning producer Lawrence Gordon became known for making films such as 48 Hrs., Predator, Field of Dreams, and Die Hard.  He has been President and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox, Chairman and CEO of Largo Entertainment, and is the founder of Lawrence Gordon Productions. His first foray into the comic book movie world came with his production of Disney’s 1991 film The Rocketeer, based on the Pacific Comics and Comico Comics publications of the same name.  Despite the fact that The Rocketeer was not an enormously popular title in the comic book world, the film garnered a fair amount of success, both critically and at the box office.  In 1994, Largo Entertainment produced Timecop (with executive producer #6 Mike Richardson), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, although Gordon himself was not credited as a producer.  Gordon did serve as an executive producer (again with Richardson) for the 1997 spinoff television series “Timecop.”  His second credited feature length film was the 1999 comedy Mystery Men, which Gordon again produced with Richardson, based on Dark Horse’s semi-underground title Flaming Carrot Comics. Gordon subsequently produced the successful Hellboy in 2004, and is credited as a producer for the up-coming Hellboy II: The Golden Army, (both made with the multifaceted talents of Mike Richardson, #13 Mike Mignola, and #10 Guillermo del Toro) set to be released July 11, 2008. He is also set to produce the eagerly anticipated Watchmen, based on Alan Moore’s seminal work, to be released on March 6, 2009.  Hollywood.com reports that Gordon has been announced as a producer, with Mike Richardson, for an upcoming film adaptation of Paul Chadwick’s Concrete and of the Dark Horse publication Black Cross. Release dates have yet to be confirmed.

Influence Meter: ++++

Some movies I’m eagerly anticipating: 2008

Iron Man               5/2    Directed by Jon Favreau, Starring Robert
			   Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow
                           AWESOME!!!
Speed Racer            5/9    Directed by the Wachowski’s, Starring
			   Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox and Christina
			   Ricci
The Chronicles of
Narnia: Prince Caspian 5/16   Directed by Andrew Adamson, Starring
			   Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes
Indiana Jones and the
Kingdom of the Crystal
Skull                  5/22   Directed by Steven Spielberg, Starring
			   Harrisson Ford and Cate Blanchett
                           NOT BAD.  KINDA LIKE WATCHING A VIDEO GAME.
Kung Fu Panda          6/6    Directed by Mark Osborne & John Stevenson,
                               Starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and
                               Angelina Jolie
                           VERY GOOD. IN THE SAME LEAGUE AS ICE AGE.
The Incredible Hulk    6/13   Directed by Louis Leterrier, Starring
			   Edward Norton and Liv Tyler
                           HULK SMASH! (BUT HE’S NO IRON MAN.)
The Happening          6/13   Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Starring
			   Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel
Get Smart              6/20   Directed by Peter Segal, Starring Steve
                               Carrell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne
                               Johnson
Wanted                 6/27   Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, Starring
			   Morgan Freeman, James McAvoy and
			   Angelina Jolie
                           EXCELLENT ACTION & VISUALS, THIN STORY.
Wall·E                 6/27   Directed by Andrew Stanton, Starring
                               Ben Burtt, Paul Eiding, and John
                               Ratzenberger
                           LOVED IT LOVED IT LOVED IT!!!!
Hancock                7/2    Directed by Peter Berg, Starring Will
			   Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron
                           I LIKED IT.
Hellboy II: The Golden
Army                   7/11   Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Starring
			   Ron Perlman, Doug Jones and Selma Blair
 LACKS PUNCH OF PAN'S LABYRINTH AND GRIT AND COHESIVENESS OF HELLBOY I.
The Dark Knight        7/18   Directed by Christopher Nolan, Starring
			   Christian Bale, Michael Caine and
			   Heath Ledger
                           THE MOST POWERFUL BATMAN FILM EVER.
The X-Files: I Want to
Believe                7/25   Direted by Chris Carter, Starring David
                               Duchovny and Gillian Anderson
Pineapple Express      8/8    Directed by David Gordon Green, Starring
                               Seth Rogen, James Franco and Gary Cole
                           NOT NEARLY AS FUNNY AS I'D HOPED.
Vicky Cristina
Barcelona              8/13   Directed by Woody Allen, Starring Rebecca
                              Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem,
                              and Penelope Cruz
Death Race             8/22   Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, Starring
                               Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson and Joan
                               Allen
Babylon A.D.           8/22   Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, Starring Vin
                               Diesel and Michelle Yeoh
Burn After Reading     9/12   Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, Starring
                               Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton,
                               John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand
W.                     10/17  Directed by Oliver Stone, Starring Josh
                               Brolin and Elizabeth Banks
Max Payne              10/17  Directed by John Moore, Starring Mark
                               Wahlberg and Mila Kunis
Quantum of Solace      11/7   Directed by Marc Forster, Starring
                              Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko
Punisher:War Zone      12/5   Directed by Lexi Alexander, Starring Ray
			   Stevenson and Julie Benz
The Day the Earth Stood
Still                  12/12  Directed by Scott Derrickson, Starring
                               Keeanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly
The Spirit             12/25  Directed by Frank Miller, Starring
                              Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva
                              Mendes and Scarlett Johansson

Last revised and updated August 20, 2008
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