AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate – movie promotional activity ramps up

The latest teaser poster for AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate
The latest teaser poster for AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate

Los Angeles-based Saturn Harvest is ramping up work on its Axa movie project, AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate, based on the newspaper strip first published in the British newspaper The Sun from 1978 to 1986, written by the late Donne Avenell and drawn by Enrique Badia Romero.

Alongside the $100 million movie project, which the company is looking to bring to the big screen in partnership with with October Pictures (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Ghost In The Shell), Saturn Harvest has revealed it plans to release a series of tie-in collectible figures next year, utilising crowdfunding to bring them to market.

The opening episodes of Axa, first published in The Sun in 1986
The opening episodes of Axa, first published in The Sun in 1986

Axa – The Newspaper Strip

First published in 1978 and read by some eight million daily readers until its sudden cancellation, mid story, in 1986.  The newspaper strip centres on an often-scantily-clad, indeed often unclad, female rebel, and is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 2080. It has been syndicated globally, including to Australia, Denmark, Finland, France (appearing in the magazine Charlie), Holland, India Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain (where Romero wrote and drew a continuation and ended Axa’s last newspaper strip story, “The Betrayed”, in the book Los Traicionados), Sweden (in Agent X9 and Magnum, the latter featuring a new story written by Pidde Andersson), with over 2000 strips published.

Axa finds out the hard way that life outside the Domed City is far from pleasant
Axa finds out the hard way that life outside the Domed City is far from pleasant
Axa does some soul searching, wondering if she will ever find peace
Axa does some soul searching, wondering if she will ever find peace

In the United States, the strip was collected into nine books published by Ken Pierce Books, and a two-issue Axa comic was published by Eclipse Comics, also drawn by Romero, written by Chuck Dixon, .

Enrique Badia Romero

Enrique Badia Romero
Enrique Badia Romero

Born in 1930, Romero’s many credits also include drawing the newspaper strip Modesty Blaise. A self-taught artist, he began his career in comics in Spanish newspapers in 1947 (his first strips published in El Coyote and Almanaque El Coyote) through to 1957, ran his own art correspondence course and launching the magazine Alex in 1953.

Two years later, he founded the publishing company Ruiz Romero, were he started the comic strips Cromos, Hombres de Lucha and Historia de la Guerra.

He began working for publishers outside Spain in 1959, including Fleetway in the UK. His early British newspaper strips include Cathy & Wendy, Isometrics and a bio-comic of Muhammad Ali’s early years titled Cassius Clay. He initially starting work on Modesty Blaise in 1970, taking over over from Jim Holdaway.

Romero worked on Modesty until 1978, quitting due to over work to focus on Axa before returning to Peter O’Donnell’s creation when Axa was cancelled, drawing the strip until that too came to an end in 2000. He also also drew episodes of Rahan for Pif Gadget in 1976, for the French market.

Other British strip works includes “The Freewheelers” for Look-In, strips for various British annuals and and, in 2002, a “Durham Red” strip for Judge Dredd Megazine.

“I’m fond to all my characters, but Axa is my favourite because it’s practically my own child,” Romero said in an interview in 2011. “Modesty stands near Axa, very close to her. Rahan is slightly different, but also an interesting character, because I had complete freedom while doing it. I like all three characters on my own way, but Axa was always very special to me.”

AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate - Teaser

AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate

An Axa movie has been in development since 2005, with J. Pingo Lindström and William C. Brown cited as script writers. A mobile phone game based on the character was released back in 2011.

Saturn Harvest is producing and financing a number of film and television productions, leveraging international co-financing with the most marketable content, secured with international fan bases.

Brandon Blake, who’s serving as producer of the Saturn Harvest film slate, represents Academy Award winning, Emmy Award winning, and Grammy Award nominated producers, directors and artists. With more than 50 feature film and television series to his credit, he’s considered one of the most respected producers and entertainment attorneys in Hollywood.

UK-based company Unizarre and Sweden’s PenguinFilms have been working with strategic partners worldwide to bring an Axa movie to the big screen since 2008, re-imagining Axa for the new millennium – “more relevant, intense and brutal than ever”.

Her birth a mystery, AXA grows up in Dome City, a repressive but advanced mega city hermetically sealed under a dome built after the Great Contamination. The Dome citizens believe they are the last humans on Earth.
Her birth a mystery, AXA grows up in Dome City, a repressive but advanced mega city hermetically sealed under a dome built after the Great Contamination. The Dome citizens believe they are the last humans on Earth.

In AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate, Axa finds herself a Guardian of Dome City, a repressive, male dominated society hiding a dark secret. The discovery of a sinister conspiracy by the Dome Elders sends her flying from the city with a band of rebels and warriors who face a post-apocalyptic landscape of fantastic creatures and ancient magic.

Axa soon discovers the Earth itself is in danger and that she holds the key to reuniting the survivors of The Great Contamination.

Outside the safety of Dome City, AXA discovers the beauty and danger of the post-apocalyptic Earth, which has been transformed by the Great Contamination into a fierce wilderness. She also discovers the Middlemen, an unknown group of human survivors living in tree top villages in near perfect seclusion.
Outside the safety of Dome City, AXA discovers the beauty and danger of the post-apocalyptic Earth, which has been transformed by the Great Contamination into a fierce wilderness. She also discovers the Middlemen, an unknown group of human survivors living in tree top villages in near perfect seclusion.

A new Axa comic?

AXA: Battle for the Serpent Gate - Collectible FigureSaturn Harvest Comics, whose team include Julie Jacobs and others, is also producing legendary comics and collectibles, and while there’s no confirmation a new Axa comic is part of the plan, Saturn Harvest has announced post-apocalypse warrior and action heroine Axa will be the first 1/6 scale collectible figure, a project to be launched through a Kickstarter.com campaign in January 2018.

Terence Robertson-Fall, the award winning character designer from Spider-Man: Home Coming, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and the Tom Cruise action film Edge of Tomorrow, has designed the updated Axa for the planned 1/6 Scale Collectible Figure.

AXA The Movie Official Site: www.axathemovie.com | Saturn Harvest: www.saturnharvest.com

Enrique Badia Romero – Official Web Site

The Axa newspaper strip is syndicated by Knight Features

There’s a great guide to the history of Axa and her various appearances around the world here

Brandon Blake’s “Guerilla Guide” to pitching your movie project at film events

AXA™ © AXA 2238 LLC, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Based on the AXA character and universe originally created by Romero. Poster art created by Saturn Harvest LLC

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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