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January 28, 2005

Fight to free Holy Grail of comic properties succeeds

GrimJack, one of the best selling and most desired original comic book characters in the history of independent comic book publishing, is about to be loosed upon an unsuspecting world once again.

The creation of John Ostrander and Timothy Truman, GrimJack was originally published in 1983 by First Comics, Inc. as a back-up story in Mike Grell’s long running hit series STARSLAYER. A true overnight sensation, First Comics promptly moved GrimJack into its own stand-alone monthly title. GrimJack was published in more than 80 original comic book issues, an original graphic novel, and three spin-off series.

After the demise and, ultimately, the highly contentious bankruptcy of First Comics’ public parent/owner, all rights to the GrimJack property became tied up in a knot of legal complexities. Ken F. Levin, one of the country’s leading developers and producers of comic art properties for movies, television, publishing and video games, immediately undertook a crusade to free the rights. Levin, a co-founder of First Comics, and his fellow First Comics co-founder Mike Gold, GrimJack’s longtime original editor, then began an odyssey of blind alleys and intense negotiations. Their efforts have finally resulted in the resolution of all rights issues and the formation of a new company, The NightSky GrimJack Rights and Production Vehicle (Four Wheel Drive Model), LLC. GrimJack creators John Ostrander and Timothy Truman have substantial equity positions in the new venture.

In an interview Mr. Levin commented, "GrimJack is just flat-out cool. Period." Mr. Levin, who has been involved with a great many comics-to-movies deals, including the blockbuster Tom Hanks / Paul Newman film "The Road To Perdition" and the spring 2004 hit "Hellboy," added that "GrimJack’s stories and variety of characters are so wonderfully strong, I suspect the comics world is as thrilled as I am that these rights are finally free."

"Tim, John and I couldn”t go to a comic book convention in the past decade without being repeatedly asked about GrimJack’s return," Mr. Gold noted. "There’s this legion of GrimJack fans who have kept the spirit alive through message boards, websites and emails," Gold concluded. "And we are all enormously appreciative of their continuous support."

GrimJack’s creators are long-standing stars of the comic book field. An internationally-produced playwright ("Bloody Bess"), Mr. Ostrander’s comic book writing credits include "Batman," "X-Men," and "Superman." Mr. Truman’s comic book art credits include "The Justice League of America," "The Lone Ranger, and "Star Wars." Mr. Truman is also known worldwide for his ongoing artistic work with Grateful Dead Productions. Stated an exultant Mr. Ostrander, "The best news of all is that we have the original team committed to creating an entirely new GrimJack comic book series, and we’re also hard at work preparing repackagings of the First Comics’ books with behind-the-scenes and new material. We couldn’t be having more fun." An announcement as to a new publishing agreement is expected in the next few weeks.

Parties interested in GrimJack property rights should contact Mr. Levin at Kenneth F. Levin and Associates, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 4200, Chicago IL 60606, (312) 827-9000; email

GrimJack and the distinctive names and likenesses of the characters and concepts therepart, and all related indicia are copyright and trademarks of The NightSky GrimJack Rights and Production Vehicle (Four Wheel Drive Model), LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Posted at January 28, 2005 05:40 PM

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