J. Michael Straczynski Talks to Fans at C2E2

Posted by at 3:31 pm on April 28, 2013

StraczynskiChicago Comics & Entertainment Expo has been a big event for J. Michael Straczynski’s new venture Studio JMS, with the launch of “Ten Grand,” their first comic. On Saturday, Straczynski took to the stage to discuss what sets Studio JMS apart from other companies, his work in television, and his past and future projects.

The panel began in earnest with an overview of Studio JMS. The outfit has fingers in television, film and comics, with projects at various stages in development. “Sense8,” a 10-episode Netflix series co-created with the Wachowskis, has been officially picked up. “The Flickering Light,” a film about a Nazi propagandist, will film later this year with a projected 2014 release date. The film is based on the true story of Leni Riefenstahl, who used concentration camp prisoners in her film; as shooting progressed, the film became their reality and the camps, their nightmare. Finally, Straczynski has partnered with Image to release several comic series. “Ten Grand,” illustrated by Ben Templesmith, will be released on May 1. The first issue sold 67,218 copies in pre-orders, a considerable number for an independent debut.

Straczynski invited the fans up to ask questions. “Keep all silly, smart questions to yourself!” he joked, “This panel is great for me. The fun for me is that I still spend all my days in a locked room with a cat and a keyboard, and the cat has the keyboard most of the time, and I don’t get to interact with people often. This panel is the next best thing!”

Discussion ranged from questions about specific works, like “Midnight Nation” to his autobiography, to his work on comics such as Spider Man and Captain America. There were several questions about Babylon 5. One fan asked if there was a chance of the series returning in comic form. “At this juncture, no plans,” Straczynski said. “The problem in terms of Warner Bros…is that they have the TV rights and we have the film rights. They can’t make new shows until they have the film rights, and we can’t do film without the TV rights.”

Studio JMS is currently locked in negotiations with Warner Bros. to take back the property, perhaps by giving the corporation a portion of the profits. There isn’t anything concrete at the moment, he said, but negotiations continue.

When asked if the negotiations extended to the B5 spin-off “Crusades,” Straczynski said he didn’t think there was as much interest. He said he’s still reeling from the studio’s treatment of the property.

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