From Comics Should Be Good:
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: 30 Days of Night was a movie pitch BEFORE it was a comic book series.
The success of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith’s 30 Days of Night comic was an influential event in comic book history, as the series demonstrated to many others the value of having a comic book to use to make a movie pitch. Soon, a great deal of independent publishers began to look at comic pitches as basically, “Could this be optioned for a film?”
Reader Kris N., though wrote in last week to ask, “Is it true that 30 Days of Night was a movie screenplay before it was a comic?”
And the answer, interestingly enough, is basically yes.
I say basically only because it was not actually a screenplay, but the development from comics to film for 30 Days of Night did, in fact, begin in the realm of film.
I think Steve Niles can tell the story better than I can, so here he is, courtesy of an excellent article by Scott Collura and Eric Moro over at IGN.com:“I pitched it as a movie for two or three years,” recalls Niles, who prior to 30 Days has been best known for his work in the comics industry. “I pitched it to just blank faces. And they’d say, ‘It sounds like Buffy, it sounds like Buffy.’ And honestly I had just about given up.”
Following the rejection of the 30 Days pitch, Niles continued to focus his energies on his comics work, writing various books for Todd McFarlane including Spawn: The Dark Ages and Hellspawn. It was on the latter comic that he first worked with Ben Templesmith, a first-time artist who would go on to partner with Niles on the 30 Days comic.
“It was just one of those weird things,” says the scribe. “Ted Adams from IDW called and said, ‘We want to do some comics. We can’t pay, there’s no money, but you can do whatever you want.’ So I just pulled out a sheet of my pitch list and said, ‘Here’s pitches that nobody ever bought.’ And he was like, ‘This vampire in Alaska thing looks kind of cool!’ Ben liked it, IDW wanted to do it, so we just did it and didn’t get paid a dime. And the day the ad for the first issue hit, we started getting calls from every studio, every producer, even people I had pitched before. People to this day deny that they rejected it, and I love it! Even one of the producers on the movie had originally rejected it.”