Graphic novel to be next franchise

Eyeing its next movie franchise, Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has inked with Gallic graphic novel publisher Casterman for the bigscreen adaptation rights to Jacques Tardi’s classic comicbook series “Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adele Blanc-Sec.”

EuropaCorp plans a three-movie bigscreen transition, the first being skedded for delivery in 2009.

EuropaCorp will also produce “From Paris With Love,” the next feature from longtime collaborator Pierre Morel, whose latest film with EuropaCorp, the Liam Neeson starrer “Taken,” hits French theaters next month.

Published since 1976, with nine novels to date, “Aventures” is set between 1911 and 1922 in a Paris traumatized by World War I. Their heroine, Adele Blanc-Sec, a fetching popular novelist pursued by dumb cops, monsters, rancorous villains and wannabe lovers, is sometimes taken as an early feminist figure in French comic books.

Graphic novels hold a special place in French culture — where some auteurs are venerated — and in EuropaCorp’s heart.

EuropaCorp’s acquisition of the rights to “Aventures” follows its purchase of a stake last July in Septieme Choc, a graphic novel publishing house aimed at encouraging work by young artists from underprivileged areas.

The first titles, including Dikeuss’ “Les banlieuZards,” are published this month.

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