The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #5 Michael E. Uslan

Michael E. Uslan is the undisputed father of the modern Batman film. A comics lore legend, he was the first professor to teach a course on “comic book folklore” at an accredited university (his alma mater Indiana University.) He famously convinced the Dean of the school to allow his course after equating the Dean’s recollection of the story of Moses with the story of Superman. Since 1979, he and co-founder of Batfilm Productions #8 Benjamin Melniker have owned the feature motion picture rights to the DC Comics Batman franchise. Uslan has shared production credits on every one of Melniker’s comic book screen works, including every Batman film since 1989. He was the first to pitch the idea of a darker Batman, as opposed to the campy 1960s TV Batman, to producers, but was turned down repeatedly. His persistence, however, eventually led to the production of Tim Burton’s 1989 classic, and he has remained the Batman authority since then. In addition, he was executive producer of 2008’s direct to video Turok: Son of Stone, based on the Dell, Gold Key and Valiant Comics hero. He is set to produce Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam, based on the original DC Comics Captain Marvel. With #11 Sam Raimi, he will be producing a film adaptation of The Shadow, a long time pet project of Raimi’s.

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The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #11 Sam Raimi

Sam RaimiPrior to his infamous run on the Spider-Man franchise, Sam Raimi was best known as the man behind the Bruce Campbell classics The Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, and their progeny.  Raimi has always been a fan of comic books and pulp fiction protagonists, particularly The Shadow.  After trying and failing to secure the rights to a feature film production of The Shadow, Raimi decided to make his own superhero film in the same vein, creating 1990’s Darkman.  In 1994 he produced Dark Horse’s Timecop with executive producer #6 Mike Richardson and #17 Lawrence Gordon‘s company Largo Entertainment. By 2000, Sony had hired him to direct Spider-Man.  His passion for the character earned him the job, and the film was finally released in 2002 after two years of filming delays, a tragic death during filming, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The film was a huge success, and in 2004 Spider-Man 2 followed with an even bigger and better box office and critical reception. In 2007, Sony released Spider-Man 3, this time with Raimi writing the story and screenplay as well as directing.  The film was not nearly as successful as the two previous films in the series, but it was good enough to persuade Sony to have Raimi at the helm of Spider-Man 4, due to be released in 2010 or 2011. In 2007, Raimi also produced an adaptation of the horror comic 30 Days of Night, published by IDW, working again with executive producer Mike Richardson. Raimi is working on producing a film adaptation of Korean graphic novelist Min-Woo Hyung’s Priest with #25 Michael De Luca, currently scheduled for release in 2009, and on his beloved The Shadow, to which he finally acquired the filming rights.

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