The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #3 Kevin Feige

Kevin Feige is Marvel’s 21st century boy. He began his comic book movie career as associate producer of X-Men in 2000, and moved on to become co-producer of X2 in 2003 and executive producer of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, working with the likes of #19 Ralph Winter, #16 Lauren Shuler Donner, and #9 Bryan Singer. By this time, Feige had also worked in some sort of production capacity on eight other Marvel films, including Daredevil, Elektra, Hulk, Spider-Man 2, The Punisher, Blade: Trinity, Man-Thing, and Fantastic Four. In 2007, Feige was named President of Production at Marvel Studios. He continued to serve as executive producer of more Marvel properties that year, including Spider-Man 3 (made with #11 Sam Raimi at the helm) and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (working again with Ralph Winter). In 2008, he produced the enormously successful Iron Man and the also popular The Incredible Hulk (with the contributions of star writer #12 Zak Penn and famed producer #21 Gale Anne Hurd.) With the success of these two films, things look good for the future of Feige and Marvel Studios. Marvel’s relatively new comic book movie production studio has several ambitious new projects in the works, as does Feige himself. He is serving as executive producer of the soon to be released Punisher: War Zone, and will be an executive producer, with #22 Micahel De Luca, of a planned 2009 release of The Hands of Shang-Chi, based on the Marvel character of the same name. Feige will return to the X-Men franchise, accompanied by Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, with their production of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, scheduled for release on May 1, 2009.

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

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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: #22 Michael De Luca

Michael De Luca

Now a producer at Columbia Pictures, Michael De Luca has been the president of production at DreamWorks Pictures and the president of production at New Line Cinema. A self-avowed lover of comic books, he got his comic book movie start by serving as the executive producer (with #6 Mike Richardson) of The Mask, based on the Dark Horse Comics publication.  Shortly after that, he collaborated on the story to 1995’s Judge Dredd, along with William Wisher, Jr., which was based on the British comic character of the same name published in the comics anthology 2000 A.D.  He was the executive producer for Blade and Blade II (although he was uncredited for Blade), working with #13 Mike Mignola and writer/executive producer #5 David S. Goyer.  In 2007 he produced Ghost Rider with director and writer #14 Mark Steven Johnson and executive producer David S. Goyer to a dismal reception.  However, he is set to be an executive producer for Marvel’s martial-arts piece The Hands of Shang-Chi to be released in 2009, and will be producing Priest, based on South Korean graphic novelist Min-Woo Hyung’s work of the same name, also to be released in 2009.

Influence Meter: +++