Liquid Comics soaks up Virgin Comics

Liquid to continue comics-based multimedia projects

NEW DELHI -- New York-based Liquid Comics on Thursday completed a management buyout of Bangalore, India-based Virgin Comics, the company launched in 2005 by Richard Branson, director Shekhar Kapur and author Deepak Chopra.

Liquid Comics, led by Virgin Comics' founding management team of Gotham Chopra, Sharad Devarajan and Suresh Seetharaman, did not reveal financial details of the deal.

Liquid will continue to develop digital content, films, animation and gaming projects based on its original characters and stories, including such titles as Kapur's "Devi," John Woo's "Seven Brothers" and Guy Ritchie's "Gamekeeper," all of which first launched as comic books.

Since its 2005 launch, Virgin Comics inked Hollywood partnerships with Warner Bros., New Regency, Sony Online Entertainment and the Sci Fi Channel and with leading Indian media players such as Studio 18 and UTV.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kapur said he will no longer be associated with the company, except as a minority shareholder. "The company is in the process of being restructured, and I continue as a founder-shareholder," he said.

Liquid's management plans to proceed with a number of projects previously announced by Virgin and said it soon would announce project launch dates.

But it was not clear whether Virgin-associated talent such as actor Nicolas Cage, porn actress and entrepreneur Jenna Jameson and U.K. musician Dave Stewart would work with Liquid.

Ongoing projects include "Virulents," a feature based on a Virgin graphic novel to be directed by John Moore ("Behind Enemy Lines"), with Arnon Milchan's New Regency Productions producing.

In a statement, Devarajan said that Liquid remains "fully committed to continuing our mission to provide a home for innovative creators and storytellers across the world."

Dan Porter, Virgin's senior vp corporate development, said that the new company was "well-positioned for future growth in the rapidly changing global comic space. As Virgin Group focuses on its core activities in North America, we wish them well in building their exciting business."