‘Masterminds’ minted

Korea puts toon on spot

Korean animation studio DG Spot and its production arm Morph have optioned an American property — the graphic novel “MasterMinds” — to adapt into an animated feature.

“MasterMinds” is the lead franchise of Los Angeles-based animation house MasterMinds Unlimited.

Production on the film, which will include a role voiced by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, is slated to start this summer.

In an age when American companies frequently look abroad for material to adapt, deal is distinctive in that it marks one of the first times a Korean company has mined American creative wells.

Deal reps DG Spot’s move into original content production after years as a production house for TV and videogames.

“MasterMinds” is the story of five freakish felons who have only one thing standing between them and global domination: each other. The group, led by the Maniacal Monocle, includes mad scientist Doktor Pimento, giant robot CPU-571, mobster Vinnie DiThug and the mutant monkey Gorilla King. Ultimately, their dream of being able to call the shots for one day is marred by overly complicated plans and infighting.

The twist of the story is that it’s told from the villain’s point of view.

“Who doesn’t want to rule the world?” said MasterMinds co-creator Aaron Sowd. “MasterMinds” is a “story for everyone who ever wished that Wyle E. Coyote would catch the Road Runner. It’s about five guys who stick to their dreams no matter how utterly misguided those dreams really are.”

Sowd was an award-winning art director at Stan Lee Media before starting MasterMinds Unlimited with comics writers James Denning and Lance Karutz. Together they’ve published three stories in anthologies by Komikwerks and created more than 20 original properties.

Soo-Mi Kim, partner and head of U.S. operations for Morph, was put in touch with Sowd by MasterMinds Unlimited manager and Circle of Confusion partner David Alpert, who brokered the “MasterMinds” deal in conjunction with Komikwerks.