“Black Mass” screenwriter Mark Mallouk unwinds another dramatic tale in graphic novel form with the launch of “Sunflower.” It’s the story of CJ, a mother battling to find solace 10 years after the murder of her family, until one day she gets a message that her daughter is still alive.
The message contains only one word: “Sunflower.” She believes it’s a sign.
The plot isn’t the only part of this comic that’s intriguing. Mallouk wrote the story in conjunction with 451 Media, the company co-founded by filmmaker Michael Bay. 451 Media combined Mallouk’s words with a “technological ink” used in the comic’s printing process that responds to mobile devices unlocking video and audio content. Marvel Comics launched a similar initiative a few years back with its augmented reality tags, but it’s still not a widely used advancement.
Hero Complex caught up with Mallouk to chat about the graphic novel, the innovative ink, and the prospects of an onscreen adaptation.
Did you research what happens to someone psychologically when losing a child?
Absolutely. It’s paramount to get that right; the paralyzing shame, the helplessness and anger. Then, the chance to set things right after 10 long years. That’s the engine for the story of “Sunflower.”
Was there a situation or character that provided the genesis of the story?
Well, I wanted to write a story with a female lead that didn’t need to be rescued by a man and wasn’t worried about if a guy liked her or not. That was the embryo of the story of “Sunflower.”
Just watching the trailer, the art is amazing! How did that particular style help tell your particular story?
It reassures me moving forward. I’ve only written the first act of “Sunflower” and now I have the confidence that there are no limitations with future pages. 451 Media Group can convert anything in the script into something cinematic.
The technology and interactive quality involved with this book is very unique. What do you think about the printing process?
It’s fascinating. I have to admit, when Doug Nunes first approached me about working with 451 Media Group, I didn’t really understand the interactive aspect of the story. I thought to myself, “just send in a good script.” Now that I see what can be done, I’m thinking about my future pages differently.
Do you have a favorite part of the additional content that readers should look out for?
I recently wrote “The Rise of Rush,” the origin story of Rush Bridge, the commune leader that killed CJ’s husband and kidnapped Sunflower. I believe 451 Media Group plans on using it as additional content. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
With the cinematic nature of “Sunflower,” could you see a “Black Mass"-like on-screen adaptation?
Oh, absolutely. I’m planning an adaptation of “Sunflower” for sure. My only question is if “Sunflower” will be a film or an hour-long, cable drama.