Monday, July 20, 2009


New Planet of the Apes novels

At BookExpo America a few years ago, I happened to make the acquaintance of Christian Berntsen. (I'm pretty sure that Lou Anders introduced us. He does a lot of that kind of thing.) We chatted about comics and science fiction, and Christian promised to send me some of his own, as yet unpublished comics work to check out. True to his word he did, a few months later, and we struck up an email correspondence that spilled over into blog comments and Facebook posts, that kind of thing.

Christian is the editorial coordinator of Blam! Ventures, and for a while now I've been sitting on an exciting bit of news about a project that Blam! has been putting together. The press release in my inbox over the weekend means that the news isn't secret anymore.

Blam! is going to be producing illustrated novels spinning out of the original classic, Planet of the Apes. Here's the relevant bit from the press-release.

The first-ever original novel based on the classic POTA film series, Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes will hit both the direct market and major book and retail chains in spring 2010. BLAM! Ventures' Creative Director, Andrew E. C. Gaska, along with Editorial Coordinator Christian Berntsen and Developmental Director Erik Matthews, serve as the writing team for Conspiracy.

More than twenty artists are expected to offer their amazing talents to this project. The first on board are legendary artist Jim Steranko (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.), renowned book cover painter Ken Kelly (Conan, KISS), Joe Jusko (Savage Sword of Conan, Tarzan), Sanjulian (Errie, Vampirella) Mark Texiera (Ghost Rider, Wolverine), Leo Leibelman (Heavy Metal), Matt Busch (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica), Brian Rood (Indiana Jones, Star Wars), Tom Scioli (Godland), David Hueso (G.I.Joe: Storm Shadow) and newcomers Dan Dussault (Critical Millennium) and Dirk Shearer (Mouse Templar).

Fans interested in getting a first peek at the novel's artwork can do so at this year's San Diego Comic Con International, to be held on July 22-26, 2009. BLAM! Ventures will display a gallery of images at booth #2547, as well as making available for sale limited-edition prints of two Conspiracy paintings, entitled Alpha and Omega (from artists Joe Jusko and Sanjulian, respectively), as Comic Con International exclusives. BLAM! will host artist signings and answer questions regarding the upcoming novel, in addition to giving away a limited number of special Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes promotional items, including character bio trading cards and replicas of Landon's dog tags.

Blam! has launched a dandy new website in support of the project, with loads of news and images about the first novel in the series. Check it out, won't you? And if you'll be in San Diego for Comic Con this week, swing by their booth and pick up some swag.

Thank you for the kind words, Chris! See you at San Diego!
That's awesome.

Back in 2000, I approached 20th Century Fox about licensing POTA for a role-playing game -- but at the time, they were only interested in licensing the forthcoming Tim Burton monstrosity.

I wonder if I should give 'em another try....
Might be worth a shot at that, GM.
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