The Black Pearl (comics)

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The Black Pearl
1997 omnibus edition
Publication information
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre
Publication date September 1996 – January 1997
Number of issues 5
Main character(s) Luther Drake
Creative team
Writer(s) Mark Hamill
Eric Johnson
Penciller(s) H. M. Baker
Inker(s) Bruce Patterson
Dan Schaeffer
Letterer(s) Sean Konot
Colorist(s) Bernie Mireault
Creator(s) Mark Hamill
Eric Johnson
Editor(s) Bob Schreck
Collected editions
The Black Pearl ISBN 978-1-56971-274-0

The Black Pearl is a five-issue comic book limited series published by Dark Horse Comics in 1996, written by Eric Johnson and Mark Hamill, illustrated by H. M. Baker, and inked by Bruce Patterson and Dan Schaeffer. The story focuses on Luther Drake, a troubled man who becomes a costumed vigilante "hero" by accident and media pressure.

Hamill described the "crime thriller" series as a "five-part graphic novel", less about superheroes and more about sensationalism, tabloid journalism, and "all the things that thrillers come from."[1] Originally written as a screenplay, Hamill has been promoting the idea of a film adaptation of The Black Pearl, with himself as the director, since before the first issue of the comic was published in September 1996.[1][2][3]

Publication history[edit]

The series' production staff included letterer Sean Konot, colorist Bernie Mireault, editor Bob Schreck, and designer Scott Tice. The original covers for all five issues were created by series artist H. M. Baker.[4][5][6][7][8]

Plot synopsis[edit]

Issue #1 of 5, published September 1996, introduces Luther Drake as an average man who follows a woman named Tina home but becomes a media sensation when he prevents her abduction. This issue was pencilled by H. M. Baker and inked by Bruce Patterson.[4][9]

Issue #2 of 5, published October 1996, sees Luther continue his vigilante activities while spurred on by personal demons and ever-increasing media attention. This issue was pencilled by H. M. Baker and inked by Bruce Patterson.[5]

Issue #3 of 5, published November 1996, ramps up the media "frenzy" with unauthorized Black Pearl merchandise on the market and more people trying to make money off of Luther's growing fame, including "shock jock" Jerry Delman. This issue was pencilled by H. M. Baker and inked by Bruce Patterson.[6]

Issue #4 of 5, published December 1996, puts Tina on the run after her best friend is murdered and tabloid reporter Frank Moran intensifies his search for the Black Pearl. This issue was pencilled by H. M. Baker and inked by both Bruce Patterson and Dan Schaeffer.[7]

Issue #5 of 5, published January 1997, wraps up the series with heightened danger for the Black Pearl as Frank Moran goes missing, Tina is placed in harm's way, and Jerry Delman plots his comeback. This issue was pencilled by H. M. Baker and inked by Dan Schaeffer.[8]

Collected editions[edit]

The complete run of the comic was collected by Dark Horse Comics in a 1997 trade paperback (ISBN 978-1569712740), albeit in a "remastered" form. The publisher removed the nudity and toned down the language to "make the book suitable for all ages". The 120-page trade paperback included introductions by Bill Mumy and Peter David plus a cover gallery.[10]

Other media[edit]

Computer version[edit]

In November 1998, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Hamill was at work on a "computer version" of The Black Pearl for Access Software with a scheduled release date of October 1999.[11] The company was acquired by Microsoft in April 1999 and this project was never released.[12][13][14]

Film adaptation[edit]

Although The Black Pearl was originally co-written with his cousin, Eric Johnson, as a screenplay, Hamill has reported difficulties getting Hollywood to make a film adaptation that matches his vision for the project.[3][15][16][17][18] He first expressed a strong desire to direct a film version of the story in January 1996, months before the first issue hit newsstands.[1] Hamill has allowed multiple production deals to elapse and announced several projected dates for the start of filming.[18][19][20] At the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival on April 17, 2010, Hamill announced he secured backing from British investors for a $7-million budget, and that he will direct the film.[21] He made a formal announcement at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010.[22] Hamill described his vision for the project as a "dark, edgy thriller" and that he would be seeking an "R" rating for the completed film.[21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Singleton, Don (January 21, 1996). "The Force Is Still With Mark Hamill". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 18, 2010. "And if Hollywood gets interested in the tale, he'd love to be in the director's chair." 
  2. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (October 13, 1995). "Winging It: the Star of 'Star Wars' Builds a New Empire". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Kubin, Jacquie (April 1997). "An Interview With Mark Hamill". Animation World Magazine (2.1). Retrieved January 18, 2010. "Originally done as a screenplay, it was picked up by Dark Horse Comics, and Mark and Eric adapted it themselves to the comic book page." 
  4. ^ a b "Profile: The Black Pearl #1 of 5". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Profile: The Black Pearl #2 of 5". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Profile: The Black Pearl #3 of 5". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Profile: The Black Pearl #4 of 5". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Profile: The Black Pearl #5 of 5". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hamill beyond the Jedi: After 'Wars,' he strikes back with different career". The Washington Times. August 31, 1996. 
  10. ^ "Mark Hamill's The Black Pearl presented in trade paperback!" (Press release). Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  11. ^ Doolittle, Leslie (November 29, 1998). "Knock 'em red". Orlando Sentinel. p. A2. "Hamill is working on a computer version of The Black Pearl comic books, which is due out in October." 
  12. ^ Lambiet, Jose (October 9, 2000). "Where are the Jedi Warriors when you need them?". Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. p. 1B. "Two years ago, Hamill started adapting The Black Pearl into an animated computer game for Access Software, a leading computer games maker." 
  13. ^ "Microsoft Buys Access". IGN. April 19, 1999. Retrieved January 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ "About Us". Big Finish Games. Retrieved January 18, 2010. "The partnership continued for several years after Microsoft acquired the company through a number of high profile (but ultimately unreleased) projects, including The Black Pearl, with Mark Hamill[...]" 
  15. ^ Salas, Randy A. (September 23, 2004). "Hamill Today". Bucks County Courier Times. p. 3E. "Hamill said he also is working on a film adaptation of "The Black Pearl," the acclaimed Dark Horse comic book he co-wrote with his cousin, Eric Johnson." 
  16. ^ Gelmis, Joseph (January 5, 1998). "The Stealth Actor / Mark Hamill's dream soars beyond video games". Long Island, NY: Newsday. p. B02. "What really, really interests him - the thing that obsesses him, in fact - is a movie he's trying to get made from "The Black Pearl."" 
  17. ^ Vincent, Mal (August 31, 2001). "May the Farce Be With You: Mark Hamill has come down to Earth since "Star Wars"". The Virginian-Pilot. p. E1. "After his Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back cameo, Hamill hopes to direct The Black Pearl, a film version of a five-part comic book series he created." 
  18. ^ a b Bonin, Liane (January 31, 2004). "Skywalker Rants". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  19. ^ Coyle, Jake (May 15, 2005). "Mark Hamill accepts his destiny, avoids the nostalgia trap". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  20. ^ Jensen, Jeff (September 24, 2004). "The Man Who Fell to Earth". Entertainment Weekly (785). Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Loderhouse, Diana (May 16, 2010). "Mark Hamill to helm 'Black Pearl'". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  22. ^ Pond, Steve (April 19, 2010). "Mark Hamill Making Deal to Direct Feature". The Wrap. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 

References[edit]