EXCLUSIVE: Studio 8 announced this morning that Warner Bros. has acquired Black, the feature adaptation of the Black Mask comic series from co-creators Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3. The comic sets out to explore a universe where only Black people have superpowers beyond what the world believes is possible.
Bryan Edward Hill, who is a producer on DC’s Titans, wrote the script. The story centers on one young man who survives a violent event and realizes that he is part of these extraordinary people, but a secret consortium wants to control these abilities and those who possess them, and he soon finds himself at the center of a war over the future of mankind itself.
Jeff Robinov, Guy Danella, and John Graham will produce from Studio 8 with Black Mask Studio’s Matteo Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz to serve as producer and executive producer. Osajyefo and Smith are co-producers as well. The team is currently looking to attach a director.
Osajyefo came up with the concept for the comic over a decade ago and it gained widespread recognition after its Kickstarter campaign raised over $90,000. Black has launched an entire universe of comics and books. Original artists and writers of the comic and its spinoffs include Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph, Jennifer Johnson, Vita Ayala and Liana Kangas.
“Part of the inspiration for Black came from my experiencing the lack of representation in comics publishing and how that directly relates to the scarceness of black characters,” said Osajyefo. “For most of comics’ history, white outcasts have been used as allegories for marginalized groups while claiming to reflect the world outside our window. BLACK strips away this veneer to juxtapose superpowers with race while allowing black people to see ourselves authentically in media and inviting wider audiences into parts of our experience. We’re excited to bring this story to everyone through film, and thankful to Studio 8 for believing in it.”
“We became involved in the development of this story over a year ago,” said Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov. “Black represents a new generation of storytellers and creators who can accurately tell black stories with the type of care the industry has lacked for decades. The thought-provoking concept caught our attention early on, and we’re proud to play a role in bringing this story to the screen.”
Osajyefo and Smith 3 are repped by Weintraub Tobin. Hill is with Verve, Heroes and Villains Entertainment, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Pizzolo and Black Mask Studios are repped by WME.