Incorporated in 2011, Supa Characters Pty Ltd ("Supa") is an Australian-based company
specializing in the creation of high concept, marketable characters for licensing use in
motion pictures, television, digital media, video games, comic books, graphic novels,
books, action figures, clothing, footware, stationary, toys, theme parks, private and
corporate functions, homewares, gifts and novelties, food and beverages, and collectibles.
Supa has a diverse roster of characters with a focus on creating and leveraging franchises.
Our mission is to create a library of characters and stories so unique, memorable and
inherently marketable that they will be treasured and admired for generations to come.
We aim to create complex, three-dimensional characters which will both attract marquee
acting talent as well as offer star-making vehicles for talented but generally unknown
One of the guiding philosophies of Supa is that most if not all characters should possess inherent appeal. This means that a character's super powers should encapsulate some element of the world with which audiences are familiar. For example, the Big Five's super powers are based on the big five animals in Africa, the Energy Men's super powers are based on sources of energy, while the Green Gang’s powers are based on flora. In this way, audiences can understand and identify with Supa’s characters without having to learn esoteric rules about foreign universes in a two hour timespan during which they are supposed to be being entertaining. From a filmmaker's point of view, basing a story around characters with inherent appeal obviates the need for lengthy expository scenes at the beginning of a film which chews into time better spent on intricate plot development and exciting action sequences. Implicit in Supa's character creation philosophy is a reluctance, even aversion, to simply slapping a cape, boots and mask on a random individual, giving him or her a "cool" sounding name and traumatic backstory, and passing him off as a "superhero" For it is precisely this lack of iherent appeal which, in my opinion, led to the box office failures of "The Punisher" and "Elektra". The public simply did not know enough about the characters to want to see them on the big screen. A case in point is the Green Lantern character, which was for the most part unknown to the majority of moviegoers. Warner Brothers faced a difficult marketing challenge in acquaitning the general public about who the Green Lantern was, what his super powers were, where he was from, what he was fighting for, and who his enemies were. Throw in a few abstruse concepts such as "parallax", "the golden ring" and "INSERT" and you have a recipe for chaotic consumer confusion. This obscurity was compounded by INSERT release of the Green Hornet movie only a few months before. Supa has attempted to avoid these obscurities by basing its characters on features of the world that most people know and love (or, in the case of villains, hate), irrespective of whether they are moviegoers or not. Other superheroes to exemplify this principle of inherent appeal include Batman and Spiderman, which are of course based on bats and spiders, respectively. Both franchises have become massive critical and commerical successes and are now deeply embedded in popular culture. Thus, by basing its characters on apsects of the world which have inherent appeal, audiecnes may be more likely to identify with and warm to characters which do not as yet have the brand recognition of say, Batman or Spiderman, and which they have never "met" before.
While Supa's primary asset is its library of proprietary characters, an additional asset is our detailed character biographies which offer third-party film and television producers and comic book houses fresh, innovative, ready-made content for their productions. Although Supa is an Australian-based company, our sensibility is very much American and global. We recognise that Hollywood is the epicenter of the entertainment industry and that the North American market is the most important and lucrative from a marketing point of view since foreign film distribution and ancillary rights largely stem from a film's success or failure in North America. To this end, our characters are created with the broadest possible appeal with American audiences foremost in mind. One feature of Supa's characters and stories which distinguishes them from other companies' characters is that they are contemporary and cutting edge without transgressing the boundaries of obscenity and crudeness. We have noticed that a great many of our competitors' characters were created in the mid-late twentieth century when times and mores were radically different to the society in which we currently live. To this end, Supa has created characters and stories which everyone can identify with and relate to: real 21 st century people dealing with real 21 st century problems. Thus, our content always remains new, fresh and innovative, entertaining consumers, challenging their intellect, and stimulating their senses. Supa's new characters may also be used with the characters of other companies in comic book, film and television crossovers, which have become a staple of the industry following Dark Horse's lead with Alien vs Predator.
The last two decades have witnessed a slew of superhero films based on comic book characters. The Superman, Batman, Spiderman, X-men and Fantastic Four franchises stand as cases in point. Hollywood has taken notice because these action-packed high- concept films are not only critically acclaimed but generate immense box-office revenues. This success is often followed by even greater profits in ancillary markets such as foreign sales, home video, and merchandising. In the aftermath of such hits, the major studios have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, snapping up the intellectual property rights to comic book characters like they are going out of fashion. For the entertainment industries two comic book giants, Marvel and DC Comics, then, this demand has led to ever greater pressure to create new characters for licensing.
However, while the "Big Two" doubtless have thousands of characters in their respective libraries, only a handful are household names. In Marvel's case, while no one can deny the global popularity of Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Blade, and X-Men (including Wolverine), Blade, characters such as Ghost Rider, Daredevil, The Punisher, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Nick Fury, Silver Surfer and Ant-Man lack name recognition beyond the boundaries of the hermetically sealed comic book subculture. In similar vein, while DC's Superman and Batman are arguably the two most popular characters in the annals of comic book history, characters such as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Sandman have not reached such stellar heights. Significantly, the most famous superheroes from the rosters of Marvel and DC - Superman, Batman, The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Ghost Rider, The X-men, Thor – have all been used (with generally spectacular success) as vehicles for filmization. This leaves a gaping void for the creation of new, popular characters which movie studios, television networks and comic book companies, including the Big Two, are scrambling to fill.
The corollary for character licensors, then, is that even Marvel and DC must go to great lengths to market their existing brand names to achieve the same sort of name- recognition as their marquee characters. To be sure, this is a costly and time-consuming process fraught with risk given the vagaries of the public palate and the fluidity of sociocultural mores. The alternative is to create new characters. Indeed, while both Marvel and DC have been spawning new characters for decades, the success of such endeavors has, statistically speaking at least, often led to failure. Out of a library of more than 5,000 characters, less than ten characters or groups of characters generate the majority of Marvel's revenue; in DC's case, arguably less than five licensable properties account for the lion's share of revenue. In other words, it seems that for every box office hit, there are ten failures. Consumers do not remember - and studios try to forget - such spectacular critical and commercial flops as Catwoman, The Punisher, Batman and Robin, and Elektra. This difficulty in content creation for profit has opened the door to other companies who have, with varying degrees of success, spawned their own characters. For example, Name (The Walt Disney Company), Name (NBC Universal, Inc., a subsidiary of General Electric Company), and Shrek (DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.).
Thus, insatiable demand from the major Hollywood studios has paved the way for an enormous creative and business opportunity. Following in the footsteps of Dark Horse and Image Comics, both of which have emerged in the previous two decades, Supa aims to compete with industry heavyweights, Marvel and DC Comics, as a provider of original sci-fi characters for licesing within the entertainment industry. We aim to capture this new market opportunity with new characters and stories which form the basis for high- concept, action-packed, special effects-laden films which would attract audiences of all ages, and then use this event-driven marketing for other sales and merchandising opportunities.
Supa Characters Pty Ltd is a privately held Melbourne company established in 2011 by Dr Joel Beling. Corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Melbourne. Supa is one of the newest character-based entertainment companies, with a proprietary library of fresh, innovative and intriguing characters and stories reinforced by the associated copyrights and trademarks. Supa currently has 55 original properties under the Supa banner which are available for licensing by third-party film and television producers, which in turn opens up licensing opportunities for comic books, interactive games, toys, clothing and novelties.
Our strategic objective is to minimize risk by entrusting our licensable characters only to major studios, comic cook companies and merchandising outlets with the expertise and financial and merchandising wherewithal to market our characters successfully. By vesting our properties in as few larger licensees as possible, we aim to avoid creating relationships with unproven entities which may damage our brand name and decrease our revenues. We aim to become a cutting-edge pop culture operation which licenses the rights to its characters' names, stories, likenesses, images, logos and other representations to reliable, third-party providers in both the domestic and international markets.
Supa was created in 2011 when founder Dr Joel Beling tired of the arduous process of screenwriting and discovered a faster, more effective way to reach the entertainment industry and consumers in general. Beling had completed 23 consecutive years of formal schooling, including 13 years at the prestigious University of Melbourne. During this time, he completed an Arts degree (majoring in criminology and psychology) with Honours in psychology, a law degree, a Masters degree in psychology, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in American history. Needing a new challenge while running his own criminal law firm from a home office, Beling decided to apply his writing and business skills to a new medium: feature films. However, Beling quickly learned that scripts often languish for years in development hell before they are even optioned and purchased (if at all), let alone packaged, funded and greenlit for production.
Yet while learning screenwriting, acting, directing and producing, a fundamental truth emerged about what makes a good movie: that without good, complex three-dimensional characters that an audience can identify with, like and root for, even the best stories will flounder. Beling had always loved sci-fi, action and superhero movies, which, coupled with this genre’s immense profitability in Hollywood, led him to develop scripts with larger-than-life superheroes, supervillains and action heroes. Not wishing to waste years on script development while juggling a career as a criminal lawyer, Beling culled all of the protagonists and antagonists from the treatments and scripts on his development slate and - from his bedroom, armed only with an antiquated laptop and his vivid imagination - decided to form a character licensing company, Supa. In this way, Beling envisaged he could work with major studios, comic book houses and merchandising outlets to supply them with popular characters which consumers will love, while still pursuing his screenwriting, producing, directing and acting aspirations.
Library of Characters
At present Supa's roster of characters consists of the following licensable properties: The Big Five, The Super Dogs, The Energy Men, Colour Wars and The Joint Superchiefs
The Supa Universe
The Supa Universe is inhabited by the "World's Coolest Characters," the best of the best and the worst of the worst to thrill, entertain and inspire. Cutting edge neo-archetypes, heroes, villains, freaks of nature, machines and spirits do battle on a daily basis in an effort to wrest control of the Supa Universe. Supa's male heroes are those which men want to be, children want to become and women want to be next to, while the Universe’s female heroes offer positive role models for females of all ages. Supa's villains are worthy adversaries replete with bad intentions to conquer the Supa Universe and super powers to back up their threats. Battle lines are drawn, the stage is set, the time is nigh for some of the greatest showdowns in superhero history. So sci-fi fans of all ages, buckle up and strap yourself in for the most pulse-pounding journey to the most realistic fantasy battleground in the universe, the Supa Universe!
While Supa's initial business strategy is content creation with a view to third party licensing for feature films, television, comic books, and merchandising, the increased exposure through such licensing will pave the way for increased revenue possibilities and brand recognition. Once our characters have achieved sufficient recognition and popularity among consumers, Supa plans to self-develop and -produce its own films and television shows, much as Marvel and DC have done with Iron Man and Superman, respectively. This independence from major studios and networks will permit greater creative control and profit participation than if Supa were simply the licensor. In the near future, Supa plans to improve its internet site, Supa.com, with new formats and content such as videos, news, interviews, online advertising, contests, flash animation, games, digital comics, and an online retail site for Supa merchandise. We also aim to boost our online appeal and revenue opportunities by offering our content through digital media distribution through third-party websites with a global presense such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and iTunes.