Frank Miller has teamed up with gaming art maker Concept Art House and blockchain game company Gala Games to produce nonfungible token (NFT) collectibles based on the Sin City franchise.
The NFTs are being designed now in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Sin City, the noir-style comic book that Miller created in the 1990s and later helped turn into a popular 2005 movie starring Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke.
NFTs use blockchain, the transparent and secure decentralized ledger technology that can verify the uniqueness of collectible NFT digital items. NFTs have exploded in other applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $500 million in sales, five months after going public. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Investors are pouring money into NFTs, and some of those investors are game fans.
A big chance
Miller sees the potential of blockchain and tech.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity. A lot of fun, and a bit of mystery,” Miller said. “Nostalgia is something I want to avoid. I don’t want it to be a wistful look back as much as a part of a dynamic continuum.”
At the same time, he wants to tread carefully and get the concept for the NFT right so that fans see a lot of value in it.
“This all seems extremely exciting, but I’m in the listening stage,” Miller said in an interview with GamesBeat. “I’m just getting to wrap my head around the whole concept here, because I know this is where no man has gone before. This is a wonderful time for Sin City because, after a sizable gap, I’m jumping back into it on a whole bunch of levels.”
The end of April is the 30th anniversary of Sin City, a gritty world with a lot of amazing imagery. Concept Art House will handle a lot of the art work involved, while Gala Games will provide the blockchain technology and its art platform.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think this was literally the next phase of the internet,” said Eric Schiermeyer, the CEO of Gala Games and a cofounder of Zynga, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Everything that touches ownership is going to be affected by what’s happening here. Art and music and everything that has a digital life is going to be touched by this. Anything that you thought was digital that you thought you owned but didn’t really own — that’s what’s about to be revolutionized.”
A land grab
Zhang said there is a land grab going on now with NFT art.
“But the NFTs that are created with care, with the creators in mind, those are the NFTs that are going to last,” Zhang said.
There could be some long-overdue monetization in the marketplace coming for artists like Miller, who have had limited ways to monetize their creations and have often been victims of copycatting. Miller has created iconic works such as Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns, 300, and Daredevil: Born Again.
“For us, it’s a different form of storytelling than what Frank has done for 30 or 40 years,” said James Zhang, the CEO of Concept Art House, in an interview with GamesBeat. This is a way to enter the digital age.”
Miller, who is represented by UTA, acknowledged the value of authenticating the uniqueness of digital art. But he added, “The other part is to not have it done by people who don’t get the joke, so I can make [the NFT art] something more like what I want to have in my hands.”
“This is a way that you can really make a verifiable connection with an artist for the first time,” said Schiermeyer. “This technology is going to feel way more personal.”
Zhang said, “You can buy a piece of art from Frank. You can see him painting it and get a chance to own this unique piece of art. That’s going to be authenticated by Frank. That’s pretty cool.”
A physical and digital NFT
The NFT art will likely include both old drawings as well as new ones, Miller said. And they’re working on digital collectibles that Miller designs and is created by Concept Art House, and buyers will be able to use a physical object to authenticate a digital object.
“That’s very cool, ” Miller said.
The physical NFT will be part of an open edition, on sale for a limited time, where the first thousand will come with a physical crystal. There will be additional pieces where there are exclusive editions, or one-of-a-kind items.
“There would be interest from my base audience that could capture my hand while I drew something from start to finish,” Miller said. “They could speed up the time and the effect is rather magical.”
Miller said there could be other “byproducts” such as rough drafts that could show some behind-the-scenes material on Sin City, and that material could also be turned into NFTs.
Zhang said that the parties have worked together for about six weeks. In the meantime, Gala Games has invested in Concept Art House.
“This whole space is vast,” Schiermeyer said. “It’s absolutely enormous. But we wanted to start it off right. We couldn’t think of a better person to do this with than Frank Miller.”
“I don’t really create for other people,” Miller said. “I create for myself and it’s no like I switch a dial and say this is aimed at one person or this is aimed at a lot. I just do my best.”
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