Following the release of Ezra Claytan Daniels’s Upgrade Soul, for which he was the recipient of the 2017 McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, Lion Forge has announced that the moving work of interactive science fiction will be developed by My Friend Dahmer producer Adam Goldworm’s Aperture Entertainment, with Ezra Claytan Daniels to serve as an executive producer.
“Upgrade Soul is the most unsettling yet thought-provoking graphic novel I have read since my old friend Marc Meyers brought me My Friend Dahmer,” says Aperture’s Adam Goldworm. “Ezra creates a magical, romantic, and terrifying vision of the world that asks big, timely questions and slowly peels away our preconceived notions until we end upwith unexpected and uncomfortable answers. Yet throughout the book, romance and hope color every frame, and between these two seemingly opposed worldviews lies the magic of Upgrade Soul and the beauty of Ezra’s creation.”
“My Friend Dahmer is without a doubt one of the greatest comic-to-screen adaptations of all time, and that owes largely to its uncompromising, singular vision,” says Ezra Claytan Daniels. “Aperture’s production on that film makes me confident that the idiosyncrasies of Upgrade Soul won’t have to be smoothed out for it to work as a film.”
Upgrade Soul is the story of an elderly couple who become the guineapigs of a visionary procedure that aims to revivify them by filtering toxins from their bodies on a molecular level. When the procedure experiences a fatal complication, the couple is faced with severely deformed, though intellectually superior, duplicates of themselves. Soon, it becomes clear that only one version of each individual can survive, and the psychological battle for dominance begins.
“Upgrade Soul is, quite simply, one of the best comics I’ve ever read,” says Andrea Colvin, Lion Forge Editor-in-Chief. “It is a poignantly touching examination of love, marriage, intellect, science, ethics, and mortality; but it’s also a thrilling page-turner of a story, with myriad twists and turns, and a breathless finale. I am beyond proud to be publishing this singularly unique book and can’t wait to see how it may be adapted for the screen.”
Adam Goldworm continues, “I think Ezra is the most exciting and unique new voice in comics, and I’m honored that he has let me help bring his masterpiece to the screen. I’ve been reading comics for the last three decades, and Upgrade Soul now sits on my shelf next to Art Spiegelman, Charles Burns, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and, of course, Derf Backderf. Reading Upgrade Soul, I felt the same sense of joyous discovery that I experienced reading My Friend Dahmer. I was instantly obsessed and knew I needed to see this on the big screen with the same level of quality, sincerity, and humanity that made My Friend Dahmer so impactful.”
Upgrade Soul was released in bookstores everywhere on September 18.
About the Author
Ezra Claytan Daniels is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles, California. His critically acclaimed graphic novel series, The Changers, began a unique career peppered with a number of collaborative multimedia projects ranging from video games to animation to feature documentaries.
Ezra is the creator of the popular live art spectacle, the Comic Art Battle, which was a staple of the Stumptown Comics Festival and the template for countless iterations at comics and art events throughout the country, as well as Loaded Blanks Greeting Cards, a line of fill-in-the-blank comic-art greeting cards featuring both established as well as up-and-coming comics artists.
Ezra collaborated with Chicago-based chamber group Fifth House Ensemble on the narrative concert series Black Violet. He also contributed animation to experimental hip-hop luminary Alexis Gideon’s Video Musics series of animated rap operas and has worked on several interactive projects with esteemed interactive artist Erik Loyer. His most recent collaboration, The Golden Chain, an animated short film co-directed with experimental video artist Adebukola Bodunrin, has screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the British Film Institute, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, MFA Boston, REDCAT Theater, ATA San Francisco, and at Art Basel, Switzerland. In 2017, The Golden Chain was acquired by the Whitney for their permanent collection.