News / Vancouver

B.C. production companies bringing White Ninja web comic back to life

The Internet’s favourite cartoon ninja is poised for a comeback thanks to two B.C. production companies.

Whiskaye Films and North of Now Films, both based in Vancouver, are teaming up to bring popular Saskatoon-made web comic White Ninja back to life as an animated series. It will be the first web series made specifically for the video app Vine.

Jameson Parker, a producer with Whiskaye Films, said fan reaction to news that the web comic is being revived has been “overwhelming" so far.

“Usually, when you have a series, you know it’s good but you’ve got to convince everybody else how great it is,” he told Metro. “But with White Ninja, there’s none of that. People are really excited about it.”

Created by cartoonists Scott Bevan and Kent Earle, White Ninja is a simple three- to six- panel web comic starring a title character that, despite his name and appearance, is almost never seen performing any martial arts.

The comic, created in 2002, quickly gathered a cult-like web following that lasted a decade until its creators decided to take a break three years ago.

When creator Bevan was first approached about reviving the series, he was skeptical at first. But Bevan said he quickly got on board once he heard the team's ideas.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It allows me to not have to worry about the business side of things, which is why it went on hiatus in the first place.”

The producers are optimistic White Ninja will become a Vine success story. A teaser posted on the web app last week saw more than 70,000 views in six days.

Parker said the web comic’s offbeat humour and simplicity lend itself perfectly to Vine’s six-second format.

“It’s like writing stand-up jokes,” he said. “You have to get to the joke, set it up quick and then you hit them hard with the punch line because you don’t have a lot of time.”

The team is in the process of finding the right actor to voice the title character. Parker said an offer has been made to an actor, but he couldn’t confirm who it is except to say it’s a “big name.”

"Nothing is down on paper yet," he said.

For now, Parker said they are writing and animating the 60 episodes that are planned for the animated series and making sure White Ninja “comes to life properly.” Bevan will be writing 25 episodes, while a new team of writers will handle the rest along with 10 fan submissions.

The biggest challenge, said Parker, is "staying true" to the magic that was the first White Ninja while also appealing to new fans.

“You can’t try to capture lighting in a bottle again," he said.

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