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January 10, 2013

‘Django Unchained’ producer: Comic book offers ‘straight-up hero’

Posted in: Comics

“Django Unchained” has raked in more than $100 million at the box office, but Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked revenge drama is finding success in another format too — on the paneled page.

This week, DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint announced that the first installment of its planned six-issue adaptation of “Django Unchained” sold out; a second printing is set to land in stores in early February, just before Issue No. 2 hits stands Feb. 13.

No. 1 Cover | No. 1 Variant Cover | No. 2 Cover | No. 2 Page 4 | No. 2 Page 13

The success of both the movie and the comic book is welcome news for Reginald Hudlin, the Oscar-nominated “Django Unchained” producer who penned the miniseries. Hudlin was a logical choice for the assignment — the former BET president and “House Party” director wrote the “Black Panther” series for Marvel from 2005 to ’08.

Speaking by phone this week, Hudlin said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to adapt Tarantino’s screenplay, which ran about 168 pages.

(From left) Producer Stacey Sher, producer Pilar Savone, director Quentin Tarantino, executive producer Bob Weinstein and producer Reginald Hudlin on the set of "Django Unchained." (Andrew Cooper/ The Weinstein Co.)

Producer Stacey Sher, left, producer Pilar Savone, director Quentin Tarantino, executive producer Bob Weinstein and producer Reginald Hudlin on the set of “Django Unchained.” (Andrew Cooper/ The Weinstein Co.)

“Quentin and I, we love to talk and one of the things we love to talk about is comic books, specifically western comic books,” Hudlin said. “The main thing was to be as faithful as possible to the original script.”

The $3.99 comic book still recounts the story of how the grandiloquent bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz finds and frees Django, enlisting the former slave in his search for a trio of ruthless overseers known as the Brittle brothers. However, artist R.M. Guéra took an original approach to the character design rather than drawing likenesses of the actors from the film.

As for any controversy that “Django Unchained” has generated for the way the film handles the subject of slavery, Hudlin said simply, “It’s a Quentin Tarantino movie.

“It would be different if we were telling a story about people just being victims, but this movie is sort of the antidote to that,” he continued. “This is a straight-up hero, people fighting back and winning.”

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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