Studio, trio pact on comic book adaptations

Disney has inked a multiyear deal with Ahmet Zappa, former Twentieth TV topper Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek to oversee Kingdom Comics, which will develop graphic novels for film adaptation and turn past live-action pics into comicbooks.

Disney Publishing Worldwide will have the first opportunity to distribute publications created by Kingdom Comics.

Zappa, who has been an actor, writer and producer for various projects, called the gig “a dream job filled with enormous fun and potential,” adding that he can’t wait to bring a fresh approach to graphic novels and the movies.

“There are a lot of great stories waiting to be told, including some familiar properties residing in the Disney vaults,” Beranek said.

Zappa, the third of Frank Zappa’s four children, started out as an actor on such shows as “Roseanne” and “Growing Pains” and has since appeared in films and reality shows. He sold the rights to his first novel, “The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless,” to Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films in 2006 and is exec producing “Fraggle Rock: The Movie” with the Jim Henson Co.

Katleman was prexy and chief exec of Twentieth Television from 1980-92, during which time the division developed “L.A. Law,” “The Simpsons,” “In Living Color” and “NYPD Blue.” He also guided the development of “The Tracey Ullman Show” and “Picket Fences,” among others. After Twentieth TV, he served stints at Mark Goodson Prods. and Jonathan Goodson Prods. He continues as a partner with Jonathan Goodson Prods.

Beranek, a writer and editor, formed his own publishing company, Silent Devil, in 1996, producing titles such as “Dracula vs. King Arthur” and “Super Frat.” He recently finished the latest draft of the “Dracula vs. King Arthur” screenplay and has consulted with Universal Music Publishing, Harley-Davidson, AOL and Mazda on graphic novels.

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