The webcomics blog about webcomics

This Looks A Little Different

I’m presuming you saw this from Matt Inman yesterday:

I am happy to announce that I am in development on my own animated feature for Illumination.
In short: I got a movie deal.

The good news: I’m making a movie and it’s going to be very funny.

The bad news: these things take years to make and it is an all-consuming task. This means I will no longer be working on The Oatmeal full time.

With that, Inman joins a pretty sizable list of web- and indie comics to get a Hollywood deal: You Damn Kid, Odd Jobs, Last Blood, Agnes Quill, The New Kid, Delilah Dirk, Castle Hangnail, and big kahuha build-a-franchise titles like Bone and Amulet.

Thing to keep in mind? Some of those deals go back a dozen years or more and by my count, the number of webcomic-originating properties that have made it to screen (large or small) so far¹ is one: Axe Cop, with Nimona having a release date in 2021. But this is a little bit different.

Because the movie isn’t The Oatmeal; the deal isn’t for the IP, it’s for Inman. He gets to make a movie with a studio that’s … well, they aren’t the top of the animation hierarchy, but they aren’t nobodies, either². Think about how Noelle Stevenson got the opportunity to make She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power, and has managed to get two full seasons released since Nimona was optioned, and has time for two or three more before it will release.

But also think about how nothing exists until it actually exists and all sorts of things may happen between now and a hypothetical release date that cause production to be abandoned, or the end product to be shelved. A’course, Illumination doesn’t have the resources to make movies that won’t be released. If they don’t release Untitled Matt Inman Project it’s because something went badly wrong rather than they just decided not to put it out in the world. You’d pretty much have to be the dominant, near-monopoly power-player of the entertainment industry to have the resources to do that.

Speaking of which, Kazu Kibuishi may or may not ever see an Amulet adaptation (or franchise) hit the big screen, but he’s made a movie. You’ve never seen Let’s Get Francis and you never will, because while Disney paid him to conceive and direct it, they also chose to scrap it. We at Fleen are cautiously optimistic that Inman will enjoy the next several years, but the best laid plans, etc.

In the meantime, there won’t be many comics from him as he shifts to a very different kind of creative endeavour. My money’s on him succeeding (at least on the things he’s got under his control), as it was revealed that he’s been doing creative consulting for Illumination for the past year and a half, including punch-up on the just released The Secret Life Of Pets 2. He’s not going in cold, and I think in three to five years he’ll have made something he’s proud of.

Spam of the day:

Live Chat with Asian Women

I think you got your generation scripts scrambled, Spammy. You shift from promising me access to beautiful Asian women to instead pointing me to Hot Russian Ladies (who may or may not be Desperate Girls) in the space of two lines. Pick an unfortunate mail-order bride ethnic sterotype and stick to it!

¹ I’m not counting things made directly for the web, meaning that various projects related to PvP, Cyanide & Happiness, SMBC, and Automata. The standard here is that a big company pays you for the rights to make something from your story, and they bear the costs of making it and distributing it.

² I’m speaking here about longevity and creative reputation; Illumination have, thanks to owning the Minions, made on-the-order-of billion dollar grosses on four of their ten releases so far. They don’t have the legacy of Disney, the technical and gonzo creative skill of Pixar, or the legendary mystique of Ghibli. They also don’t have the cookie-cutter sameness of Dreamworks, or the mercenary laziness of Blue Sky and Sony Animation³.

³ Which both show signs of improving as they break their past patterns. Sony’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, was friggin’ brilliant and Blue Sky are making Nimona.

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