Hollywood talentmanagement agency Relativity Management has teamed up with Platinum Studios,which controls one of the world's biggest libraries of comic book characters,on the computer animated thriller Dylan Dog: The Fourth Kingdom.

The partners have selected computer animation productionhouse Vancouver-based The Shop Animation Studios to develop and co-produce theproject, based on Tiziano Sclavi's bestselling Italian comic book series aboutan investigator of nightmares on the trail of a serial killer.

The Shopco-founder Ian Pearson will direct based on a screenplay he co-wrote with GavinBlair. The Shop's president and co-founder Aaron L Gilbert and Platinum Studioschairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg are producing, with Relativity chief executiveofficer Ryan Kavanaugh serving as executive producer with Ervin Rustemagic.

Production isset to begin in March 2005 and the parties are in talks with domesticdistributors. Relativity is handling foreign sales.

'The Shopknows how to push boundaries on both style and efficiency - a very rarecombination," Rosenberg said in a statement.

"With The Shopas our theatrical animation partners, starting with Dylan, we have theresources to brand our characters worldwide by utilising our digital assets forgames, licensing and all other media."

"For years I'vebeen trying to find the right character to tell a more mature story usinganimation and Dylan Dogis the perfect vehicle," Pearson said. "Although it has a lot of humor, Dylanis a much darker animated feature. It will surprise the animation audience."

"Dylan is one of those rare opportunities when a projecthas global commercial appeal and a unique story," Kavanaugh added.

"It is perhapsone of the most well branded properties in the world and Pearson and Blair havewritten a compelling story which, combined with The Shop's production andtechnical team, will deliver a stunning film unlike any other animated featurefor audiences around the world."

"We created created The Shopto make computer-animation accessible to a broader audience," Gilbert said."It's time to go in different directions with the stories being told. Starting with Dylan Dog, we aretargeting a more mature, visually literate audience, and providing content forthe gamer generation."