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Interview: David Schulner Reveals the Future of CLONE TV Series, Comic, and Adapting an Oni Press Book for TV

Schulner opens up about his newest comic to television projects and discusses the future of his current book, CLONE.

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Skybound's CLONE is about to hit issue #20 and it has been optioned for a television show. Although news about the show has bee sparse, CLONE writer David Schulner opened up about what's going on with the once NBC show as well as what's coming up in the comic book.

COMIC VINE: The Clone television series has bounced around a bit. It was once going to be at NBC, then a few months ago, it was going to Syfy. What's the status of the show now?

DAVID SCHULNER: Yes, first we sold Clone to NBC. Network television is very much incident driven so our executive, who had surprisingly read the first five issues of Clone (I know it shouldn't be surprising that they would actually read something they bought but unfortunately it is) and basically said we don't want to ask you to put all five issues into the pilot but... can you put all five issues into the pilot? So against our better judgement (which is a phrase that comes up a lot when writing network television) we jammed a ton of story into the pilot. Then when the show didn't move forward Syfy immediately picked it up. But they were like, woa, slow down, why so much story? Let's get to know the characters more. So we slowed everything down, spent time with our characters, fleshed everyone out, and I wrote something we were all excited about. But, alas, they too decided not to move forward.

CV: What led to the show not moving forward?

DS: It was too awesome. Too good for TV. And something about a show already on called Orphan... something. Maybe Orphan White? Anyway...

CV: Is Clone something we may one day see on the small screen?

DS: Imax or bust, baby. We were approached about turning Clone into a feature before we went down the TV road so, we'll probably go back to those people, tail between legs, and see if they'll still have us.

I know how you feel, Eva
I know how you feel, Eva

CV: There's also some news about the CLONE series as well. What's going on with that?

DS: This is the heartbreaker. Those you who follow our sales know that we've been hanging on by a thread. We needed the TV series to shine some love onto the comic to keep it going. But without the TV series Image and Skybound can't afford to lose anymore money on us. And they've lost a lot because they believed in me and believed in the book. So, sadly, our next issue, #20, will be our last.

CV: What can we expect from the finale?

DS: Well, my co-writers Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyre and myself didn't intend it to be a finale, so we do what we always do: give you the biggest most insane mind-blowing cliffhanger you can imagine. But we do tie up most of the stories and then... well, you have to read it.

CV: How do you feel about the series as a whole?

DS: Insanely proud. This was my first comic. I got to make 20 issues. Meet extraordinary writers and artists. Everything comes to an end. I've been through the rollercoaster of emotions and now just feel the joy.

CV: Do you know the secret to Jose Juan Ryp packing his panels with detail and still hitting deadlines?

DS: Dude, he asks us to make things more complicated. He asks us to come up with jammed cover ideas. His secret is that he couldn't do it any other way.

CV: Any future plans to work on another comic book series?

DS: I'm like a junkie looking for my next fix. I'm pitching away just like everyone else.

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CV: Not everything is ending for you though. You have a pretty exciting project coming up for Universal Television. What can you tell us about that?

DS: Damn, you're breaking a lot of stories here Mat. I'm adapting Jamie Rich's and Dan Christensen's Archer Coe and The Thousand Deadly Shocks put out by ONI Press.

CV: How did you land this gig?

DS: ONI actually pitched the book to me. How about them apples? As soon as they told me the premise I was hooked and knew it'd make a great series. And when I read it I was blown away.

CV: When can we expect to see ARCHER COE?

DS: Well, let's say you never asked me that first question at the top of this interview and pretend I never answered it. Then my answer would be 'next season on your favorite channel!'

CV: Although you're adapting the show for television, did you do any research for ARCHER COE, like see a hypnotist?

DS: Tons. It's been awesome. Ask any writer and they'll tell you doing the research is the best part of the job. (Well, I wrote a play about the effects of the Holocaust on contemporary Jews so needless to say that research... less fun). I'm still looking for the right hypnotist. If anyone knows Derren Brown would you tell him to call me back? I'm in awe of him.

CV: You've worked in both television and the comics mediums. Do you think comic book series work better in the film or television format?

DS: Well, one of the reasons I wanted to write Clone the series vs. Clone the movie is that the series could last for years. The story could follow the comic pretty closely. In film you have to tell one specific story with one definitive ending.

CV: As a viewer, what do you look for in an adapted show?

DS: "Tell all the truth but tell it slant." I can't say it better than Emily Dickinson.

CV: What comic book inspired shows are you currently watching and enjoying?

DS: The Walking Dead is the gold standard that the rest of us aspire to. Can't wait for Powers. But hands down the best show based on a work of fiction is Fox News.

Thanks a ton to David Schulner for the interview and make sure to check out the finale of CLONE and catch up on ARCHER COE by Oni before it hits tv!