Warner Bros. Pictures plans legal action against “Line of Duty” showrunner Jed Mercurio on his new graphic novel “Sleeper”.
Warner Bros., through their subsidiary DC Comics, owns the rights to another graphic novel called “Sleeper,” written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips. It was released in 2003 and has been considered several times for a screen adaptation, most recently with Ben Affleck attached to directing.
A spokesperson for DC Comics, which is owned by Warner Bros., said Variety: “DC has no comments at this time.”
“‘Sleeper’ was the first big project that Sean Phillips and I did, a long time ago when we started our partnership at Wildstorm / DC Comics,” revealed Brubaker, who created Marvel’s ‘The Winter Soldier’ in his latest newsletter. “It’s also a book that has been the subject of constant interest or development in Hollywood. Sam Raimi and Tom Cruise have tried to do this at Sony, WB recently set it up with Ben Affleck attached to the making… and the various commercial and cardboard collections of it have been in constant print for about 18 years now.
“Anyway, a month ago it came to our attention that Jed Mercurio was launching a series of graphic novels called ‘Sleeper’, Brubaker continued. Mercurio TV shows in those newsletters, so I was really upset to hear that. Somehow, no one in the whole comic book industry had heard of his. book until it’s already at the printer. Needless to say, WB owns the copyright and trademark to ‘Sleeper’ as a series of graphic novels (and for television and film I believe) and obviously they were more than concerned. So from what I understand there’s a lot of legal stuff going on with them and the other publisher right now. “
Mercurio, a doctor turned screenwriter and producer, is one of Britain’s most successful television creators. the series finale in May of this year.
He co-wrote “Sleeper” – his first graphic novel – with “Line of Duty” actor Prasanna Puwanarajah. It is illustrated by artist Coke Navarro.
According to its description from Amazon, the sci-fi western tells the story of a “biologically improved cantankerous marshal” who “finds himself embroiled in the search for a missing scientist and at the heart of a great energy conspiracy.”
Brubaker and Phillips’ version, meanwhile, “stars popular Wildcats character Grifter, investigating an attempted murder of his friend John Lynch. Meanwhile, Holden Carver, a secret agent, has been taken undercover in a villainous organization run by TAO, ”according to Amazon.
Mercurio reportedly originally wrote “Sleeper” as a screenplay but, when he failed to sell it, adapted it into a graphic novel. “No one is more surprised than me that I have become a graphic novelist,” co-author Puwanarajah told newspaper i in the UK.
A TV pilot based on the book is now “in the works,” according to a recent interview Mercurio gave to the newspaper.
Brubaker and representatives for Mercurio, Puwanarajah and Simon & Schuster, whose Scribner UK subsidiary publishes the graphic novel in the UK, did not respond at press time. Phillips declined to comment.
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