ComiXology distributing independents have certainly been a game changer,” believes Stephan Franck. “The only criteria is quality, not any sort of editorial pre-conception so it takes the unfortunate creative gate-keeping out of the equation.” Comic book publishing decisions are be affected by whether or not a title has cinematic potential. “Hollywood has been notorious for underestimating the audience’s appetite for wildly imaginative stuff. It’s that whole line of reasoning for turning Galactus into a cloud because, supposedly, a big giant robotic guy would look stupid on film. Then guess what, you see a Pacific Rim  trailer, and you go, ‘You know what, I think a bad ass Galactus would have worked just fine.’ Finally, the Marvel movies are changing that. So for comic book publishers to go backwards and try and auto edit themselves in advance in hopes to make the book more palatable for Hollywood is grossly misguided I feel. To me, the analogy is Green Lantern’s ring. It’s the impurity that makes it work. Remove the strange element, and all you have is a perfect ring that does nothing. You have to keep the weirdness in.” Franck was compelled to address the issue by establishing his own publishing company. “What’s worse is that publishers will also tell you, they’ll put four issues out, and if a studio doesn’t option it by then, they’ll pull the plug. So what? So the end of the story will never get published? I have a commitment to this story and others, and I want to see them out into the world, in their entirety, and in their natural form; that’s the only logic behind Dark Planet Comics. How does it stand out? I happen to believe that originality is not a value that you chase. What you chase is truth, which hopefully will come out in your own voice, and therefore be original because you are you. I’m committed to my stories, and to, hopefully a quality of execution, that I hope people will connect to.”
Silver artwork, screenplay page, and photograph courtesy of Stephan Franck.
Many thanks to Stephan Franck for taking the time for this interview and read his insights about creating The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow.
Make sure to visit the official website for Dark Planet Comics.
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.