The film adaptation of Black, a Kickstarter-funded comic about a world where only Black people got super powers, is headed to Warner Bros. following a deal with Studio 8, who will finance the picture. Black is an adaptation of the Black Mask comic series from co-creators Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3, with a screen adaptation written by Bryan Edward Hill, a producer on DC's Titans and comic book writer himself. The project gained a good deal of mainstream press outside of the comics market after generating more than $90,000 on Kickstarter, and has gone on to inspire sequels.
Osajyefo, who came up with the concept for the comic over a decade ago, has worked for Marvel and DC, and a statement from the production team says he has a "passion for bringing diverse voices to life at DC Comics. He continues to prioritize the creation of diverse characters who accurately portray experiences of underrepresented people." The success of Black has launched a shared universe of comics and books that could potentially be tapped for film and television, should the first film succeed. 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," co-creator Kwanza Osajyefo said in a statement. "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."
The film’s theme explores a shift in humanity, where only Black people develop superhuman abilities beyond what the world believes is possible. One young man 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.
"We became involved in the development of this story over a year ago," explained 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."
Robinov, who founded Studio 8, was formerly the head of Warner Bros.' film division. He left the company in 2017 to found Studio 8, but constant turnover at the studio in the last few years likely means Robinov and Studio 8 aren't dealing with a lot of the same executives who were there when he left.
Osajyefo and Smith will work as co-producers on the film. Robinov, Guy Danella, and John Graham will produce from Studio 8. Black Mask Studio's Matteo Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz to serve as producer and executive producer. The team is currently out to directors.