KENN VISELMAN TEAMS UP WITH SQUEEZE TO BRING ALEX SIMMONS’ BLACKJACK TO THE SCREEN
Mega-hit maker and producer Kenn Viselman has announced he has teamed up with Squeeze Animation Studios to bring Alex Simmons’ classic character, BlackJack to television.
Adapted from the popular graphic novels, Arron Day, aka Blackjack, is an African-American soldier of fortune battling powerful enemies, the ghosts of his past, and the bigotry of his time. Created by Alex Simmons, Blackjack first appeared in comics in 1996 under the banner of DAP (Dark Angel Productions) Comics. With more than a dozen BlackJack stories and millions of copies of these stories in print, this self-published graphic novel series has been met with both critical and commercial success.
Simmons says, “The 1930’s was a time when bigotry was not just accepted it was the norm… I wrote BlackJack in that time period to shine a light on our history and our heroes so that we would never allow ourselves to go back to that level of hatred again.” He continues. “Without the help of modern technology or civil rights movements, Blackjack is a human target, a professional adventurer, a challenger of death… a black man alone.” The TV series has been a long time coming. “I am delighted to finally see BlackJack come to life on the screen, it’s been a long arduous journey.”
Kenn Viselman notes, “Recent events like the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter and The MeToo movement have raised the consciousness for many of us in our society today. BlackJack, the original unsung hero, gives us an opportunity through his exciting and often tremulous journey to acknowledge the role of black men in history, but also lends a voice to those of us who have ever felt marginalized and minimalized for our age, race, religion, sexual orientation or countless other reasons. BlackJack speaks to and for all of us. There couldn’t possibly be a more opportune time for BlackJack.”
“Squeeze is thrilled to be a part of BlackJack’s development” says Denis Doré, CEO and Co-Founder. “It is a very unique project, simultaneously bold and nuanced. BlackJack presents an opportunity to stand out, by its subject, storyline, and by its artistic potential.”
In addition to Squeeze tackling the visual challenge of bringing this hero to life, Viselman will serve as showrunner and exec producer, Michele Manelis (Follow Your Bliss) and Marcio Franca Domingues and Melissa Caron will be joining the producing team along with Simmons who will take an active role in the writing of the series.
Alex Simmons is the recent winner of the Inkpot Award and multiple Glyph awards. He is the founder / co-producer of KIDS’ COMIC CON as well as the co-founder and curator of the COLOR OF COMICS art exhibition representing the portrayal of people of color in comics. This event was chosen by the American Embassy Dakar to be part of the Fessman International Cultural Arts Festival in Senegal Africa. Simmons has written children’s books, an original Sherlock Holmes play, and numerous celebrated comic book stories – from Batman to Archie – as well as three authorized biographies, including one on Denzel Washington.