• The partnership will bring the classic 1960s superhero comics series "Thunder Agents" to life in the big screen.

The partnership will bring the classic 1960s superhero comics series "Thunder Agents" to life in the big screen. (Photo : www.thunderagents.com)

Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers Media has teamed up with “Batman” producer Michael Uslan to launch a film and TV franchise based on the classic “Thunder Agents” comic book series.

Uslan made the announcement at a panel discussion during the New York Comic Con earlier this weekend. He and Huayi, the biggest private film studio in China, later held a launch party at the United Nations headquarters, which is also a partner in the deal, along with Florida-based investment firm CEA Group, and graphic novel publishing house IDW Publishing. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a skit via video link during the party.

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Created by legendary comic book artist Wally Wood in the 1960s, "Thunder Agents" circles around a fictional group of high-tech superheroes working for the United Nations. The series was especially notable for depicting heroes as everyday people who do heroic acts as part of their day job.

The first movie is slated for release in 2018, with scriptwriters Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton tapped to write the screenplay.

"Huayi are full partners at the table, engaged creatively and in business terms," Uslan said in a speech at the U.N., adding that he has spent two years building trust with Huayi before laying out the details of the financing and production deals.

Huayi described its role as "co-producer, investor, and IP owner" with a proportional share in global revenue for the upcoming franchise.

"Taking into account such elements as the superhero concept, and the story of the United Nations agents, we believe that this IP on a global scale have to have great commercial value," said Huayi President James Wang. "It also creates the space that will allow us to integrate Chinese elements as co-productions."

"This is a paradigm shift for Hollywood, a dynamic change in the way that films and TV can be made. One that recognizes that we no longer focus on America, but live in a global village," said Uslan.

Uslan also revealed that comic book icon Stan Lee will have a cameo role in the "Thunder Agents" movie, the first for the former Marvel Comic chief in a movie not set in the Marvel Universe.

Earlier in April, Huayi struck a deal with emerging studio STX Entertainment to jointly invest in at least 18 movies before the end of 2017.

Uslan has been busy establishing relationships with Asian studios in recent years. He was previously signed to develop four films for China's Huace Group focusing on action, adventure and animation genres.

Earlier this month, Uslan and his son David agreed to represent a package of Web-based animation from Toonion, a South Korean visual artists guild, for adaptation as live-action movies.