In another example of sympatico between comics, publishing and the movies, Larry and Andy Wachowski, the writers and directors of the blockbuster The Matrix Trilogy, have founded Burlyman Entertainment, a publishing company focusing on periodical comics and graphic novels.
Although BE released The Matrix Comics, volume one, an anthology of comics based on the films, late last year, the company is marking its beginning with the launch of two monthly periodical series in November. Doc Frankenstein, written by the Wachowski brothers and illustrated by Steve Skroce, is a new, futuristic version of the Frankenstein story. BE is also publishing Shaolin Cowboy, written and illustrated by the critically acclaimed comics artist Geoff Darrow and described as an unusual western, set in the far future. Both series will be collected and published in trade paperback editions in the fall of 2005.
BE is releasing the second volume of The Matrix Comics (volume one sold more than 60,000 copies) this December in trade paperback. The new volume will also feature stories set in the Matrix universe and written by the Wachowski brothers as well as writers such as Neil Gaiman and a host of all-star illustrators. BE's books will be distributed to the book trade by CDS, and its comics will be distributed to the comics specialty market by Diamond.
Spencer Lamm, director of publishing at Burlyman, told PW that the Wachowski brothers are longtime comics fans he met while working as an editor at Marvel Comics in the 1990s. The brothers were writing stories for Marvel comics at the time. Since then, Lamm said, he has worked as a producer and designer on their films. Lamm noted that the group (including creators Skroce and Darrow) decided to start Burlyman Entertainment while they were all working with the brothers on Matrix: Revolution in Australia. "We talked comics all the time, so we decided that first chance we got, we'd start a publishing company," said Lamm.
Burlyman is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., and has about a dozen employees. Plans call for the house to publish the books in foreign language editions and to add new series. Lamm said BE also expects to develop a significant number of merchandising products based on the books, such as action figures and T-shirts.