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‘Crash Ryan’ Comic Book Movie in Development

Producer Ryan Heppe has acquired movie rights to the 1984 Marvel Comics series “Crash Ryan” created by Ron Harris, Variety has learned exclusively.

The story takes place in an alternate 1935 in a world of super airplanes and giant flying airports. Crash Ryan is a pilot caught up in the battle between the heroic United Airmen and the forces of evil, led by a masked world conqueror who calls himself “the Doom.”

David Cowper, who recently co-wrote an adaptation of “Road Dawgs” with S.E. Hinton for Tim Zinnemann, has been tapped to co-write “Crash Ryan” with Heppe.

The series was one of the first group of creator-owned titles published by Marvel Comics under the Epic Comics banner. Harris — who wrote, drew and colored the book — brought the character back in a four-part story that ran in Dark Horse Presents.

Harris said, “‘Crash Ryan’ is the product of a mishmash of influences: my childhood spent on Navy airbases; the old flying movies and Masked Villain serials I loved on latenight TV, and especially my fascination with predictions of future life made in the 1930s.”

Heppe and Harris have teamed on a 50-page outline — titled “Crash Ryan and the Eyes of Lemuria” — which reinvents the story as an earthbound, steampunk-inspired fusion of Indiana Jones and “Star Wars.”

“It’s an incredible canvas, but what attracted me was the redemption story: a man who can’t save himself being tasked with saving the world,” Heppe said.

Heppe is producing a remake of “Short Circuit” at Dimension Films and developing a feature adaptation of “T.J. Hooker” with Andrew Lazar at Mad Chance. He was previously an executive at David Foster Prods.

Cowper’s credits include supernatural thriller “Primal,” “The Harrowing” for Vertigo Entertainment and “The Untutored Soul” with David Foster and Ryan Heppe. “The Untutored Soul” won first place in the Diane Thomas Screenwriting Awards sponsored by DreamWorks and UCLA.

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