St. Olaf College | News

Percy produces new titles for Starz network and DC Comics

PercyBen350x300St. Olaf College Writer in Residence Benjamin Percy has added two new titles to his ever-growing oeuvre. He is now developing his second series for television, a show for the premium cable network Starz titled Black Gold, and will also write DC Comics’ reboot of its series Green Arrow.

Black Gold, “a modern-day Western set in a Dakotas boomtown that revolves around oil drilling and fracking (hydraulic fracturing),” will be produced for Starz by FreemantleMedia, known as the force behind shows like American Idol and the popular sitcom The IT Crowd. James Ponsoldt, director of The Spectacular Now and Smashed, is signed on to direct the pilot.

“The North Dakota oil boom feels like the equivalent of the California gold rush,” Percy says. “It’s a new Wild West, a place of fast fortunes and shallow graves, the perfect stage for drama. My characters are lawmen, roughnecks, farmers, prostitutes, politicians, eco terrorists — tangling up the many perspectives on the dramatic changes taking place there.”

Percy has also been hired by DC Comics to write its reboot of the Green Arrow series, the first issue of which will publish in July. Percy, who also wrote a two-issue Batman story for DC, is collaborating with artist Patrick Zircher on the series.

“My Batman story arc served as a kind of industry audition,” he says. “I ended up in conversation with some editors and artists, and I was one of several writers they tapped for pitches on Green Arrow. I wrote up a 20-page document that detailed a new direction for the series, and thankfully they hired me on as the writer.”

Green Arrow, the alias of billionaire businessman Oliver Queen, is a Robin Hood-esque superhero who uses his archery skills to fight crime. Since the first appearance of the character in 1941, Green Arrow became known as the voice of progressivism in DC’s universe.

“I’m taking on a darker, more literary aesthetic for Green Arrow,” Percy says of the reboot. “Think True Detective with superheroes.”

Percy is also the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Wilding and Red Moon, both of which he is currently developing for the screen, as well as two books of short fiction. He serves as a contributing editor for Esquire, and his work has been published by GQ, Time, Men’s Journal, Outside, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and Tin House. His third novel, The Dead Lands, will be available in April.

“I plan to continue to write across boundaries,” Percy says. “Novels, feature screenplays, TV and comic scripts, magazine writing … I’m a storyteller, no matter the medium.”