Literally years in the making, Paul Pope’s Battling Boy has finally been scheduled for this October by First Second. Born of Pope’s feeling that we lacked a 21st Century superhero, the graphic novel series has been plagued with delays that have only enhanced its status as a Big Deal That Was Much Anticipated (It was due in 2010, and has been in the works for many years before then). Here’s Entertainment Weekly explaining the delay:
In 2008, Pope pitched the idea of Battling Boy to an exec at Paramount that he had gotten to know during the course of [working on an abandoned attempt to bring Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay to the big screen]. The studio bought the property for Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, with hopes that the star would play a key role. Pope, as consulting producer, began helping screenwriter Alex Tse (Watchmen) on the script. They worked together for many months and through many drafts. In 2010, David Gordon Green was recruited to rewrite the screenplay and direct. In 2011, there were reports – quickly debunked — that Pitt wanted to cast his son, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, in the lead role. Over this span of time and activity, Pope was supposed to be drafting Battling Boy: The Printed Object, which was originally scheduled for a 2010 release. But this wasn’t happening. Pope says his inability to find the time to draw was beginning to affect the movie team’s ability to find the right vision for the movie, as the film needed to be informed by the comic. “It was this terrible conundrum. The film can’t get made until the book is done, but the book can’t get done until I get off the film to finish it,” says Pope, who adds that his time management during this period was also challenged by a “once in a lifetime offer” to develop a Grand Theft Auto-like videogame for Animal Logic. “How could I say no to that?” he laughs.Eventually, Pope had an epiphany: “I had to superglue my ass to a chair and finish the book.” He says he did so with the blessing of Paramount and Pitt, who was committed to other projects, anyway, including Moneyball, Killing Them Softly (now in theaters), and the forthcoming World War Z. In retrospect, Pope says, “Maybe if it was a Faustian mistake to sell the book so fast.” But he has no regrets, and in fact, Pope reports that he’s “getting back into the movie” beginning this week before embarking an aggressive promotional campaign for the graphic novel. He’ll then buckle down anew and draw the second volume of Battling Boy, which is expected in 2014.
Along with an interview with Pope about the project, EW also has a ten page preview of the first volume of the series itself, and it looks worth the wait with the creator channeling Kirby channeling the great myths. I’d say that I can’t wait, but I’ve already had to; instead, I’ll just say that this is one of my most eagerly anticipated releases of the year.