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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bestselling American author James Patterson is expanding into comic books under a new deal announced on Tuesday that is designed to help him boost his profile in Hollywood.
The author of adult and children's thriller novels will adapt two existing books, "Witch & Wizard" and "The Murder of King Tut," as well as develop an original new comic series, IDW Publishing and James Patterson Entertainment said on Tuesday.
"It extends his storytelling into a segment that doesn't necessarily read books," Steve Bowen, President of James Patterson Entertainment told Reuters of the comic series deal. "It (comics) is an incubator for Hollywood. It helps inspire filmmakers to see the potential in stories -- this is a test lab in some ways."
Bowen said the 62-year-old author, who has sold more than 170 million books worldwide, was looking to "more effectively" translate his books into films and attract movie studios.
He has sold the film rights to previous books that have been adapted to movies including "Kiss The Girls" and "Along came a Spider" from his Alex Cross detective series.
Under the comics deal, the main characters of siblings Whit and Wisty Allgood from "Witch & Wizard" will be adapted to explore new storylines to be released under five issues in the United States in May, said Ted Adams, CEO of IDW publishing.
Patterson's non-fiction adult thriller "The Murder of King Tut," will be adapted to a comic series using the same storyline for another five issues to be released in the United States in June. Both series will also be collected into two separate graphics novels.
Patterson will also develop an original new comic book series under the working title "Beer Belly and Fat Boy" to be released at a later undecided date -- an idea Patterson had already developed for a video game and movie possibly released in two to three years, Bowen said.
"He understands mainstream storytelling and entertainment like probably nobody else on the contemporary scene does," said Bowen. "We want to more effectively translate that into films."
Ted Adams, CEO of IDW Publishing, said Patterson would collaborate with artists to create the comic books. "The writing and story ideas will come directly from Mr. Patterson," he said.
Patterson has a current publishing deal to author 17 books until 2012 in a deal worth $150 million with Hachette Book Group and sells an average of 20 million books a year, according to Forbes.com.
Editing by Jill Serjeant