EXCLUSIVE: Heavy Metal, the iconic science fiction and fantasy magazine, is making its first moves into television with an adaptation of Blake Northcott’s trilogy of novels Arena Mode Saga.
The company is adapting the books for the small screen with the first book in active development after optioning the rights to the sci-fi thriller.
Heavy Metal, which was first published in 1977, is known for its blend of dark fantasy, science fiction, erotica and steampunk. It is responsible for the illustrated magazine, a slate of comics, a podcast network and the 1981 feature film Heavy Metal, which featured the voices of John Candy, Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman.
Heavy Metal Entertainment CEO Matthew Medney, Tommy Coriale, and Canadian author Northcott will develop and produce the series. Northcott is set to discuss plans for the Arena Mode adaptation at the Heavy Metal Creators WonderCon virtual panel on Saturday.
The first Arena Mode novel follows Matthew Moxon, a young man living in a dystopian future in the year 2041. Moxon discovers he has an aggressive brain tumor and enters a deadly sporting event with the hopes of winning enough money for life-saving surgery. But in Arena Mode, a deathmatch-style tournament where thirteen superhumans fight for a multi-billion dollar prize, he’s the only competitor without a super power. With the odds stacked impossibly against him, Moxon fights to not only survive the wrath of his competitors, but to unlock the mysteries buried within the Arena itself.
The trilogy of books was originally crowdfunded on Kickstarter and became the most-backed series of fiction novels ever in Canada and was subsequently nominated for a British Science Fiction Association Best Novel award in 2013. The books are also part of the high school curriculum in Florida.
Northcott’s other credits include writing the 2018 magical spy thriller novel The North Valley Grimoire, and writing Catwoman for DC Comics in 2020. She currently writes the quarterly SYNAP$E series for Heavy Metal Magazine and crafted a story for the first issue of Evanescence’s upcoming Echoes From the Void comic series under Heavy Metal and Incendium’s OPUS imprint.
“When I started Arena Mode almost a decade ago, I set out to write a novel that had a cinematic feel, blending action, adventure, and a lot of heart,” said Northcott. “I’ve always envisioned it as a series, so I’m thrilled to be working with Heavy Metal to bring it to the screen.”
“During my time as CEO of Heavy Metal, I have had the privilege of collaborating and creating with some of the best talent from the world of genre comics and books,” said Heavy Metal CEO Matthew Medney. “When I met Blake, I was impressed by her ability to envision the scope of her worlds beyond the written word. Her talent for creating incredible science fiction stories is second to none. I am beyond excited to explore the universe that Blake has created and develop Arena Mode as a series.”
“Blake is a powerhouse talent, and the universe she built in Arena Mode is going to blow viewers away,” added producer Tommy Coriale. “The action, scale, and sheer awesomeness of this story are matched up perfectly with grounded, character driven storytelling. I genuinely cannot wait to get this out to the world.”
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