Universal Cable Productions has unveiled several new deals to grow its genre library, with the lynchpin of the new projects a deal with graphic novel biggie Warren Ellis to adapt the 1970s Mexican comic book El Pantera. The project has Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment aboard to produce and Telvisa USA, which produces the Spanish-language version of the series, co-producing with UCP.
El Pantera is a vigilante crime drama set in a fictional metropolis on the U.S.-Mexico border. When a young officer is appointed Head of Police, he only has one request: He asks that his friend, who was wrongfully imprisoned, be set free. Under the guise of his rumored death, the two create El Pantera to rid the city of the Mexican mob.
Several other genre projects were announced today as UCP preps for a full slate of panels and presentations at Comic-Con, which kicks off tomorrow. The news also comes after the company unveiled this week a first-look production deal with comic book publisher Dark Horse Entertainment.
Among the new batch of projects is adapting cult British film The Machine into a scripted series for Syfy, with the film’s Caradog James set to write the script and John Giwa-Amu to produce. The story follows a brilliant computer programmer, desperate to save his terminally ill daughter, who creates the first-ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence. But things go terribly wrong when the technology, designed to help injured soldiers, is hijacked by the government and used to create the ultimate robotic weapon.
Also announced is a project based on the Kill Shakespeare comics, created by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery and released by IDW Publishing. UCP recently optioned rights to the comics – which also have spawned a stage production and board game — pitting Shakespeare’s greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) in an epic adventure to find and kill – or save – a reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare. Del Col and McCreery are set to write.