MGM Options Indie Comic Mercy Sparx for Film Adaptation

MGM has acquired the film rights to Josh Blaylock and Matt Merhoff's long-running, creator-owned comic book series Mercy Sparx. The film is set to be written by Nick Shafir, characterized as an up-and-coming screenwriter in a statement from the studio. The comic centers on a demon hired by the higher-ups in Heaven to hunt down renegade angels. It began in 2008 and has been a staple of the Devil's Due publishing lineup since. On earth, Mercy has an existential crisis and begins to see the gray area between good and evil, forcing her to choose her place within it.

The Picture Company and Assemble Media are producing. In spite of the similarities to TV's Lucifer, Devil's Due's announcement describes the film as being "akin to a female Constantine with an irreverent tone."

"I am so immensely proud of this project and grateful to everyone who got it this far," Shafir tweeted in response to the story breaking today. "I think you guys are gonna love it!"

Mercy Sparx marks the second spec script sale in the last few months for Shafir, and gives MGM a comic book franchise to mine for a potential franchise -- something that is getting harder and harder to acquire with major Marvel and DC properties tied up at their parent companies.

Mercy Sparx was created and written by Blaylock, with art from Merhoff helping to shape its unique look and feel. The comic has been a cult hit for more than a decade, and crowdfunded an ongoing series beginning in 2017. It fits in tonally with a property like Wynonna Earp, featuring a badass woman at its center and supernatural elements. There is no word yet on who might direct the film.

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Jack Heller of Assemble will produce along with The Picture Company partners Alex Heineman and Andrew Rona. Comic creator Josh Blaylock will exec produce along with Assemble’s Scott Veltri. Heller and Assemble developed the script and controlled the rights to the property, then partnered with The Picture Company. MGM’s Elishia Holmes will oversee the project for the studio along with Sandino Moya-Smith.

The trajectory of indie comics is always hard to guess; some, like Invincible and The Umbrella Academy, get fast-tracked (often with the help of a famous contributor to the source material), while others are optioned over and over before they finally get made. That Mercy Sparx seemingly has a script in place that people already like is a boon to its hopes for actually going into production.