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Comicbook publisher Radical Studios raises $3 million

Studio plans to broaden digital strategy, licensing

With the bigscreen adaptation of “Oblivion” on the horizon, comicbook publisher Radical Studios has raised $3 million in equity to help broaden its digital strategy and licensing capabilities.

Co-founders Jesse Berger and Barry Levine have been working on the series B funding for months, with the ultimate goal of raising $9.5 million. The $3 million marks the first round and closed last week.

Coin came from WolfIskin Prods., a production shingle best known for its musicvideo work. WolfIskin topper Luisa Iskin says the investment will allow both companies to work more collaboratively on production (Radical currently does not have inhouse production facilities).

“We would come in and fill in a gap that doesn’t exist for them at this moment,” Iskin told Variety .

Radical has gained recognition by partnering with major studios on comicbook properties.

Universal will unspool Tom Cruise starrer “Oblivion,” based on a graphic novel by “Tron: Legacy” helmer Joseph Kosinski, on April 12 (Kosinski also directed). MGM’s “Hercules,” starring Dwayne Johnson and slated to bow in 2014, is based on Radical’s graphic novel “Hercules: The Thracian Wars,” a revisionist take on the classic Greek myth.

Radical hopes it can focus most of its new coin on developing more of its catalog of intellectual property, as opposed to creating projects from scratch. While the studios hang on to most of the ancillary rights to Radical’s films, they don’t get everything.

“Radical reserves a certain kind of digital publishing right that allows us to have a little more creativity in the user interface of the experience, without it being a game,” Berger told Variety , adding that the company hopes to develop different ways for fans to interact with Radical’s content. “We’re always on the hunt for new IP, and we’re always looking to develop new IP with the top creators in the business, and at the same time, we have a tremendous catalog,” he said.

Radical engaged boutique investment bank MESA for the larger raise process. MESA facilitated this initial close by helping Radical position itself with Iskin, who had first met Berger through a mutual friend.

Radical is trying to broaden its reach into other areas as well. In 2010, the company announced a new in-house music division, Radical Music, and a partnership with Sam Worthington’s Full Clip Productions (although the latter venture is no longer active).

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