Channing Tatum’s Free Association and Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment are going to The Maxx with their latest project. The partnership is developing the reality-bending superhero saga called The Maxx for a live-action adaptation .
The title character of The Maxx is a masked hero who protects the Jungle Queen in the Outback, a realm that resembles primordial Australia, but he also exists in our world as a homeless man whose masked face and fantastical mutterings are dismissed as mental illness.
The Maxx was created by writer and artist Sam Kieth and published first in 1993 by Image Comics but the brand’s widest reach was with the award-winning animated adventures that aired on MTV’s Oddities in 1995. The Annie Award-winning adaption melded traditional animation, CG craft, and live-action interstitial content in an off-kilter amalgam that suited the story’s surreal premise (which at times evoked Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King).
The Maxx wasn’t the first homeless superhero (he was preceded most notably by Rorschach in the DC Comics classic Watchmen in 1986) but bringing themes of disaffected mental illness and a scabby outsider existence into its superhero storytelling was part of the cult appeal when the hero debuted in 1993. Those themes also put the pioneer property in line with screen portrayals in high-profile fare such as The Boys, Doom Patrol, Happy, Kick-Ass, Hancock, and, of course, Watchmen.
It remains undecided whether the project will be steered toward a feature film or a television series. Producers are Tatum, along with Free Association principals Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan, plus Lee and his producing partner, Tal Vigderson. Michael Parets is overseeing the project for Free Association.
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