License to Toon!
Comics publishers find a hot niche with hip adaptations of new and old animated show. By Tom McLean.
“I wanted something that I could read with my children that I could find entertaining as well as them so i wanted to create a true all ages book,” he says. “I was also disappointed with the diversity scene in comics and I wanted to make sure any comic I made for all ages showed more diversity than your standard Western comic.”
Setting it in the oceans seemed ideal, with Taylor citing the recent discovery of giant squids that show just how little is really known about the waters that cover 70 percent of Earth.
Working together, Taylor and Brouwer developed The Deep as a series of original graphic novels. The first two were published by Gestalt Comics and quickly gained the attention of Stephen Wendland at Technicolor, who was spearheading the company’s jump beyond providing animation and filmmaking services to developing original content.
“We saw it first as a graphic novel and I have to say that everyone on my development team had the exact same reaction to the first graphic novel,” says Wendland. “We all said this is great writing, beautiful visuals and there’s nothing else like it out there.”
Taylor is writing many of the scripts for the 26-episode series, which is being produced in Australia via A. Stark Productions. Brouwer is art director on the series, and the look is one that very much attempts to stay true to the comic.
A New Look
“So much of the animation is dictated by the environment, the setting, which is underwater,” says Taylor. “So we’re seeing these very, very big blues and bioluminescence coming in and then these small coral forests that everything goes through. So it’s hard to describe, it’s hard to say it looks like Max Steel or something because it really is its own thing, and having James as the art director as well means we’re trying to make it look as much like the graphic novels as well and we’re really succeeding.”
According to Wendland, the show has on board several high-profile broadcast partners in a number of territories.
And while Taylor may be too busy to make the trek this year to Comic-Con because The Deep is in the midst of production, he’s not giving up comics by any stretch and he’s poised to become a hot talent in animation, too.
“Just last week, I finished reading one of his recent scripts and I can say it was a genuine page turner,” says Wendland.