Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin has acquired the rights to the initial “The Hero Discovered” arc of Matt Wagner’s Mage.  First published by Comico from 1984-1986, “The Hero Discovered” was followed more than a decade later by “The Hero Defined,” which was released by Image Comics starting in 1997.  Wagner has planned a third arc, “The Hero Denied,” but no firm publication date has been set.

According to Variety, Levin, whose producing credits also include both Hellboy movies, The Rocketeer, and The Green Zone, will “finance development and production of Mage before taking it to a studio for distribution,” which is basically the Kick-Ass model, and which should allow Levin considerable freedom to make the movie the way he wants. 

Wagner, clearly pleased that Levin has acquired the property, told Variety, “It’s great that Lloyd is taking on this material because his approach is to capture the essence of the original source material.  The timing is good too, because in the past (filmmakers) tried to fix the material.  Now they try to adhere to the material.”

The Mage property, which Levin called “one of the great untapped comic books from the '80s renaissance that also spawned Watchmen and Batman: Dark Knight,” has had a checkered history in Hollywood.  Optioned by Disney in 2002 (see “Disney Greenlights Mage”), the property was most recently at Spyglass Entertainment with Zack Snyder attached to direct.