William Shatner’s “TekWar” being developed as animated series, prompting memories of “TekWorld”, its comic book tie-in

William Shatner’s Shatner Universe is partnering with Pure Imagination Studios to develop and produce a mixed reality adult animated series based on Shatner’s thriller, TekWar, which began as a book series, then spawned a comic series published by Marvel Comics, drawn by Lee Sullivan, video game and 1994-96 TV series.

TekWorld #1 Cover by Lee Sullivan
TekWorld #1 Cover by Lee Sullivan

“We are very excited to work with the legendary William Shatner to reimagine the world of TekWar at a post-pandemic time,” said John P. Roberts, Pure Imagination’s Chief Content Officer. “TekWar was truly ahead of its time envisioning a future filled with AI and the world of simulated reality. It’s becoming our reality now and we’re excited to build a storyverse around it.”

TekWar is being conceptualised as a mixed-reality animated series where viewers will be able to participate with the show in different forms of technology via mobile, tablets or wearable devices. The series can be viewed stand-alone, but the level of immersion into the show, its characters and technology is enhanced by the ability to become part of the narrative.

The producers say the series is the first step in building a real-time multiverse around a property and Shatner, who has been involved in pioneering new frontiers his entire career.

TekWar is set in the year 2043 and follow a former detective in futuristic Los Angeles who was framed for the crime of dealing an illegal mind-altering drug in the form of a bio-digital microchip. It poses a great threat to humanity and has the potential to become a virus that will lead to an unrecoverable future.

A look back at William Shatner’s TekWorld

The original TekWar novels spawned a comic series, William Shatner’s TekWorld (or Tek World), published by Marvel under its Epic Comics imprint, from 1992 to 1995, the entire series drawn by Lee Sullivan, providing the art for 16 issues and all the covers, on the recommendation of Evan Skolnick, who he’d worked with on Marvel’s RoboCop series.

  • TekWorld #2 Cover by Lee Sullivan
  • TekWorld #10 Cover by Lee Sullivan
  • TekWorld #12 Cover by Lee Sullivan
  • TekWorld #19 Cover art by Lee Sullivan
  • TekWorld #19 Cover by Lee Sullivan

William Shatner’s TekWorld was a very enjoyable comic to work on,” Lee says of the project on his official site, recalling how much he enjoyed working on it, and sharing memories of meeting Shatner. “It’s very rare that you get to design a future world from scratch whilst being overseen by a childhood hero and icon.

RoboCop had been cancelled, because circulation had dropped to something like 40,000 per month… but Evan Skolnick, a colleague of mine from the earlier days of that comic had become assistant editor of the proposed Marvel/Epic Comics TekWorld title and put my name forward to editor (and X-Men writer) Fabian Nicieza.

“I wasn’t the first choice,” he reveals. “I sometimes think of myself as the ‘Roger Moore of comics’ (though obviously not as tall, handsome and rich) as I have often stepped into someone else’s shoes . . . the artist already assigned decided to go for something else, I believe, and Fabian asked me to submit samples [… which …] had to be approved by the owner of the copyright, Big Bill Shatner of Captain Kirk/Star Trek fame, and I clearly remember the delicious feeling of unreality, knowing that one of my screen heroes was scrutinising my work (I was always a Kirk fan).

The first episodes of the comic book were adapted by Ron Goulart from the first novel featuring the – as I drew him – rather ‘Shatneresque’ Jake Cardigan, ‘Tek War’, and were subsequently published as a graphic novel.”

When TV movies based on the books were mooted, Bill called Lee to to encourage him to bring the setting of the comic closer in time to the present day, to tie in with the show’s format. “He also invited me out to Canada to see the filming of the pilot episode which he was directing. Which of course I did!”

TekWorld Cards Trading Card art by Lee Sullivan
TekWorld Cards Trading Card art by Lee Sullivan

As well as the comic, Cardz commissioned Lee to produce a series of 100 trading cards forming an original story by Goulart, which he produced in line and full colour. You can still buy sets direct from the official William Shatner Store.

As well as continuing his varied career, in comics and illustration, including some fantastic Gerry Anderson show-inspired “Goodies and Baddies” prints, Lee Sullivan is also a member of WIRED, a seven-piece band and covers rock/indie/pop classics from the 70’s to the current day, playing the saxophone.

The Shatner Universe Team

William Shatner
William Shatner

Shatner Universe is headed up by Emmy Award-winning William Shatner, who has cultivated a career spanning over 50 years as an award-winning actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist, and horseman. 

He’s authored nearly 30 best-sellers in both the Sci-Fi, fiction and non-fiction genres.

Scott Liggett
Scott Liggett

Partnering him on Shatner Universe is Scott Liggett, an Emmy Award-winning music and audio producer who has had a successful career as a musician, arranger, composer, music producer, and executive.

As a musician, Scott performed with Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Van Morrison, Bette Midler, Boz Scaggs, and Sarah Vaughn to name a few. As a music producer, he has worked with William Shatner, all major TV networks, NFL Super Bowl, Howard Stern, Robert Goulet, and hundreds of TV commercials and network promos.

Gary Laird
Gary Laird

Also on board is Gary Laird, an Emmy Award-winning digital artist who has had a successful career as a producer, director, and editor. He has created and designed hundreds of digital animations and DVD promotions for Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

On a global scale, his projects have included Pirates of the Caribbean, Roger Rabbit, Power Rangers, and more. He also won several Best Animation awards for William Shatner’s War Chronicles and Stan Lee’s God Woke projects from various Film Festivals.  

Pure Imagination Studios started in 2012 as a diversified entertainment company built by a team of creators who shared a true passion for storytelling. Since then, clients and projects have been increasing in quality, quantity, and magnitude, and has a portfolio of more than 50 diverse projects and dozens of clients, including The Amazing Stan, a posthumous project focusing on Marvel’s Stan Lee, LEGO Batman, Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild for Netflix, and the  the Army of the Dead Immersive Virtual Reality Experience.

Check out artist Lee Sullivan’s memories of the TekWorld comic project here on his official web site

Check out Shatner Universe at shatneruniverse.com | Twitter

Pure Imagination Studios is online at www.pistudios.com

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Animation, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds, US Comics

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