Lions Gate Films hasacquired worldwide rights to a host of comic books by author Steve Niles andsealed a first-look deal on all projects by or found by Niles and hiscollaborator - actor Thomas Jane.

The deal includes hit title TheLurkers, The Dark Country by TabMurphy, In The Blood and a newproject which will shortly be unveiled at the upcoming Comic-Con convention inSan Diego.

Jane, who played ThePunisher for Lions Gate, will takeleading or supporting roles in the films, while he and Niles will service asproducers alongside Lions Gate Films.

Overseeing the projects forLions Gate are president of acquisitions and co-productions Peter Block, seniorvice president of acquisitions Jason Constantine, president of Lions Gate FilmsProductions Michael Pasoernek and director of development Alex Franklin.

"Steve Niles' graphic novelsare horrific and visionary, and are ripe for adapting into atmospheric,terrifying feature films," said Block in a statement. "We are veryexcited to be in business with Niles and the talented actor/writer Thomas Jane,and are looking forward to working with them to bring these properties to thescreen and to the large number of fans eager to see them realized on film."

The deal was negotiated byBlock and Sam Wollman, director of business and legal affairs, for Lions Gatewhile Eddy Yablans of ICM, Bryan Wolf of Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca &Fischer LLP and Alex Kohner of Barnes, Morris, Klein, Mark, Yorn, Barnes &Levin represented Niles and Jane.