EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning film and TV composer, actor and rapper Common is adding another storytelling medium to his extensive entertainment resume — digital comics.
The artist has joined forces with digital comics publisher LINE Webtoon to portray the title character in digital comic book series Caster. The story, due out next year, revolves around a globe-trotting antiquities dealer whose search for his next payday leads him into a world of international espionage.
“It’s different than Indiana Jones,” said Common, who will also score the series. “What drew me to him — it’s something about his taste and (his knowledge of) antiquities. It’s very unique.”
The creative team at Noble Transmission — CEO Austin Harrison, author of the graphic novel Wild Blue Yonder, Zach Howard, a comic book illustrator whose work has appeared in Marvel, DC and Dark Horse titles, and Mike Raicht, a former Marvel Comics editor and author of the graphic novel, The Stuff of Legend — developed the original concept.
Harrison said he was inspired by an object he saw in San Francisco.
“The character jumped into my head,” Harrison said. “Caster chases down rare antiquities. But they’re not going to museums, they’re going to bidders who give him money.”
Freedom Road Productions, a film and television production company founded by Common and his long time manager and business partner, Derek Dudley, is producing the comic.
LINE Webtoon provides the publishing platform. Its app — which is available for Apple and Android devices — provides a daily dose of comics, from the humorous My Giant Nerd Boyfriend, to the action-packed Rise from Ashes. It publishes some 150 titles, across a variety of genres, and distributes another 7,000 created by emerging talent. It attracts around 10 million daily readers around the world.
Tom Akel, LINE Webtoon’s head of content, said Common’s participation adds a new dimension to its digital comic offerings — music integrated into the experience. Hopefully, A-lister will further broaden LINE Webtoon’s appeal.
“We definitely think Common brings new audience,” said Akel.
Caster is envisioned as a multi-platform character, who its creators hope will leap from the small smartphone screen to the wider one in cinemas. G-Base, Gerard Butler and Alan Siegel’s production company, is on board to produce a live-action adaptation.