Artist and film auteur Steven Paul Judd has signed a deal to direct a film connected to one of today's hottest comic book titles, Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth, which is published by Image Comics. Titmouse, Inc., the animation studio behind Metalocalypse and Black Dynamite, which are part of Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" programming, recently put Todd into development as an animated TV series.
At the same time, in an unusual switcheroo, co-creators M.K. Perker and Ken Kristensen have decided that a fictional crime TV show from the pages of Todd, called The Albanian, will be getting its own comic book. “We are both heavily influenced by the crime genre,” says Perker. “Much of our past work is in that world. Even Todd, which is a comedy, has a crime at the center of it."
A page from Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth
"One of the things I love about doing The Albanian comic book and having it be loosely related to Todd is that there’s a division of fictional universes," Perker continues. "In the Todd universe, which is absurdly comedic, The Albanian is a TV show that the Todd characters watch. In The Albanian comic book, which is a gritty realistic fictional universe, a character might walk into a Barnes & Noble and see a copy of the Todd trade paperback sitting on the shelf." Like Todd, the spin-off Albanian comic will be published by Image.
But plans for The Albanian go even further, and that's where Steven Paul Judd comes in. Judd, fresh off his latest feature Death Factory (co-produced by Kristensen), has committed to direct the film adaptation of The Albanian. "We couldn’t be more flattered to have a director of [Judd's] talent bring The Albanian to the big screen,” says Kristensen. "Steve has a passion for crime stories and a directing style that fits with the sensibility of the comic book."
"When I saw some of the original art for The Albanian, I immediately responded to it," Judd says. "It had this really '70s feel to it, a very gritty, grindhouse feel, but yet I didn't see anywhere that it was set in a certain time. So that's what I want to try to capture."
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth has just been published in a trade paperback edition (available at Amazon.com). To keep up with Kiowa/Choctaw artist/filmmaker Steven Paul Judd's various projects, visit his Facebook page.
Steven Paul Judd, center, giving instruction on the set of Death Factory. Photo courtesy Steven Paul Judd.