Kingdom Comics, a new wholly owned Disney company, will develop original graphic novels and reinvent live-action brands from the Disney's film library. Disney Publishing Worldwide will have the first opportunity to distribute Kingdom Comics publications.
Where appropriate Disney will adapt the graphic novels into family-friendly live-action and possibly animated films appealing to a range of ages from children to 'tweens' - a highly lucrative market for Disney these days thanks to brands like High School Musical, the Jonas brothers and Miley Cyrus - to young adults.
Kingdom Comics will shortly announce collaborations with leading graphic novelists and artists in the genre and the first titles are expected to be unveiled later this year.
Disney did not say which live-action brands might be ripe for adaptation however it is understood the pool may include National Treasure and older hits from the 1970s like Freaky Friday and The Black Hole.
'Some of these exciting publications will be inspired by films and characters in the vast and storied Disney library, while other original graphic novels are sure to spark great ideas for future Disney classics,' president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production Oren Aviv said.
'Our vision for Kingdom Comics is to bring a fresh, contemporary approach to Disney properties that already have a strong connection with moviegoers and readers all over the world, and to add to that storytelling legacy.'
'The ability to create new publications based on properties from the Disney vaults, and to develop original ideas for graphic novels and possibly future Disney films, is a dream job filled with enormous fun and potential,' Zappa, a writer and former actor who is the third child of the late rockstar Frank Zappa, said.
'Being a storyteller myself, I can't wait to work with some of today's top writers and artists in bringing a fresh approach to graphic novels and the movies. We're also excited to discover and develop promising new talents in this field.'
Katleman served as president and CEO of Twentieth Television from 1980 to 1992 and went on to become COO and partner in Jonathan Goodson Productions. Beranek is a writer who formed the publishing company Silent Devil in 1996.
Steve Katleman of Greenberg Traurig brokered the deal.