“Grubbs,” a Keenspot all-ages webcomic that draws inspiration from “Calvin & Hobbes” and “Dennis the Menace,” is slated for an animated TV series adaptation penned by M.J. Offen. Also the head writer of the Cartoon Network and HBO Max animated series “Jade Armor,” Offen serves as showrunner and is scripting the pilot, co-producing with Keenspot’s Chris Crosby, Bobby Crosby and “Grubbs” creator Max Weaver.
The announcement comes hot off the heels of the theatrical debut of “Marry Me,” which was based on the Keenspot graphic novel of the same name from creator Bobby Crosby. The rom-com, starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, rose high on streaming charts on Valentine’s Day. Adapted by “She-Hulk” director Kat Coiro, “Marry Me” currently holds a 60% critics score and a 92% audience score on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
“I see Grubbs’ potential as a troublemaker we love to see act up, like Calvin or Dennis or Bart, but in today’s world, pulling shenanigans is going to go very differently,” Offen said. “Grubbs is the lovable troublemaker we need.”
The animated show is now in pre-production with a planned launch this holiday season, with Grace Diamaranan of Glass House Studios’ Top Peg division overseeing the cartoon’s production. Voice casting is slated to happen this spring.
“Grubbs,” which is distributed in book form by Simon & Schuster, was originally drawn by newspaper cartoonist Ted Dawson and is now being illustrated by “Marry Me” artist Remy “Eisu” Mokhtar. It tells the story of 8-year-old Billy Watson (a name rather similar to that of the creator of “Calvin & Hobbes,” Bill Watterson), a “pint-sized chaos agent” who is called “Grubbs” by his big brother Zane. Grubbs, with the help of his imaginary friend Tyler, causes trouble wherever he goes. The comic is drawn in an old-school style with a modern spin. Its next comic book issue, “Grubbs Spring Break Extravaganza,” hits stores next month.
Offen previously served as head of story for girls brands at Mattel, and was also head of animation at Jash, a comedy collective co-founded by Sarah Silverman, Tim Heidecker, Michael Cera, Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts. While at Jash, Offen was involved in producing over 200 shorts. Additionally, Offen was creative director of animation at Maker Studios and is currently serving as head writer for “Jade Armor,” a French animation series from TeamTO that will begin airing this summer. Offen was repped in the deal by Peter McHugh of The Gotham Group and attorney Bradley Garrett of Cohen & Gardner Law. Evan Anglin at Zero Gravity Management reps Glass House Studios.