EXCLUSIVE: Sam Mendes is in early talks to develop through his Neal Street banner and potentially to direct My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, the critically lauded graphic novel by Emil Ferris that Sony Pictures won in a bidding battle last week. Pending the close of a deal, he will produce with Amasia Entertainment’s Bradley Gallo and Michael Helfant. Palak Patel is overseeing for Columbia Pictures. The graphic novel already is getting critical raves for its originality and artistic flourishes.

As I wrote last week, the graphic novel is set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, and this is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes. It is infused with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazine iconography. Karen tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, where the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. Present throughout are monsters, real and imagined

It is the latest buy for Sony, which under president Sanford Panitch has been very aggressive in the material marketplace. The author, who grew up in the turbulence of ’60s Chicago, has been an illustrator and toy sculptor, with an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. This is her first graphic novel.

CAA reps Mendes, who last directed Spectre for Sony and MGM.