‘Annoying Orange’ co-creator teams on publishing venture

Sheppard, Moyer and Masterson launch Dark Matter, with eye toward film, TV adaptations

Tom Sheppard, co-creator of the “Annoying Orange” TV series, has launched Dark Matter Publishing with producers Todd Moyer and Doug Masterson. Imprint will publish comicbooks, graphic novels and young adult books, with Sheppard serving as publisher and executive editor.

Company intends to publish six original comic series in the first year and expand into young adult publishing in the second year.

First four comicbooks titles to be published next year are:

•”Filthy, Stinking Heroes,” created and written by Sheppard, centers on a pair of 30-year-old costumed Hollywood Boulevard street hustlers, who unmask and usurp the lives of their real-life vigilante hero counterparts.

• “Super Rad,” by bestselling novelist and screenwriter Andrea Portes (“Hick”), revolves around a teen who flatlines and returns to life with psychic powers and uses her mindreading abilities to seek vengeance upon her enemies in a dystopian suburban society.

•”The Dark Voice,” from Chad Law (“6 Bullets,” “Hero Wanted”), about a dead man who tracks down history’s most infamous killers to silence the voice that prompted them to murder.

• “Untrue Grit,” also from Portes, follows a wisecracking, gun-toting teen who is the only one who can thwart bank robbers during a heist in an old west town.

Sheppard, a writer, director and producer, is best known for co-creating Cartoon Network’s hit series “Annoying Orange,” based on the YouTube series, and penning scripts for Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken,” the relaunch of WB’s “Looney Tunes” and Steven Spielberg’s “Pinky and the Brain,” as well as New Line’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” starring Martin Landau. He also wrote and directed indie pic “Would I Lie to You?”

In addition to the new publishing house, Sheppard is also working with Lucasfilm and Robot Chicken on “Star Wars: Detours.”

Moyer previously spent seven years at comicbook publisher Dark Horse Entertainment and helped set up a number of adaptations at studios, including “The Mask,” “Timecop,” “Virus” and “Mystery Men.” His credits also include the Steven Seagal actioners “Fire Down Below” and “Glimmerman,” and “Wing Commander,” the latter of which was produced through his No Prisoners Prods shingle.

Projects in development by Dark Matter are also being eyed as potential film or TV adaptations.

“We’re proud to unite a rare combination of talented artists and executives who will bring a fresh approach to the comic publishing and transmedia business,” said Moyer.

Masterson most recently served as CEO of international transportation logistics firm Shockwave Cargo, and as VP of sales and marketing and president and chief operating officer of live-event logistics company Rock-It Cargo, where he also launched air charter division Rock-It Air Charter.