Group's first project is animated series, ‘The Adventures of Skelly;’ strategic partnership includes former Cartoon Network Studios SVP Brian Miller, and will emphasize shows that feature and target underrepresented BIPOC audiences.
TwentyOne14 Media has just announced a strategic partnership with Brian Miller, the Emmy Award-winning former Cartoon Network Studios executive, and his company, Pat & Mike Productions, along with award-winning author and graphic novelist, Dan Abnett, and Miami-based animation house, Team Legend Studios, focused on creating and producing both adult and youth-oriented animation projects that feature BIPOC talent and characters and speaks authentically to BIPOC audiences.
The group’s first offering is the original animation series, The Adventures of Skelly, a coming-of-age story that revolves around Skelly, the son of the Grim Reaper. In the show, with the help of his best friend Bonnie and guidance from his dog, Bones, Skelly travels across dimensions with his father’s scythe to learn what it takes to become a luchador. Now Skelly has to choose between following in his father’s footsteps and become the next reaper, or to follow his dreams of becoming the greatest luchador and risk disrupting the balance of life. Miller will serve as the project’s show runner and executive producer.
According to TwentyOne14 Media, people of color represent more than 40% of the U.S. population, and hold a growing share of buying power in the American economy. A recent Pew Research study noted that the combined buying power of people of color reached more than $3.9 Billion dollars in 2019, and continues to rise by half a percent annually. “This growing and diverse audience segment is a highly engaged consumer of entertainment, and prefer film and television content populated with characters and storylines that reflect their own lives and experiences. In particular, the team believes that representation in children’s animation is critical for the younger generation to be exposed to and understand diversity, and to grow up with visual representations of what justice and equality can look like,” the company stated.
The partnership will focus on curating, developing and producing programming that is
authentic, diverse and inclusive,” adopting the philosophy that African American, Latinx, indigenous, and Asian American markets are valuable and should be represented in all facets of entertainment output, including animation. The team believes there is opportunity in this focus and that there is a deficit in quality, authentic programming targeting this segment.
Miller served as SVP & General Manager of Cartoon Network Studios from 2000-2021, overseeing projects such as Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Regular Show, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and Ben 10.
“TwentyOne14 understands the exigent importance of bringing the voices of diverse storytellers to the forefront,” said Miller. “I’m looking forward to partnering with them to produce content that speaks authentically to an underserved and underrepresented audience; Quincy [Newell] and Mykel [Mitchell] are seasoned diverse content producers who fiercely foster new and established talent; and I can’t wait to get started!”
Abnett is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning comic book writer. He has written over 50 novels, including the acclaimed “Gaunt's Ghosts” series, the “Inquisitor Eisenhorn Cycle,” and volumes of the million-selling “Horus Heresy” series. Other novels include “The Silent Stars Go By (Doctor Who),” “Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Steal the Galaxy,” “Triumff,” and “Embedded.” In comics, his 2008 run on “The Guardians of The Galaxy” for Marvel formed the inspiration for the blockbuster movies. He is also noted for significant work on DC’s “Legion of Superheroes” and “Aquaman” and, for the Vertigo imprint, “The New Deadwardians.”
"Twentyone14 Media’s Quincy Newell and Mykel Mitchell are sharp, astute and vigorous,” Abnett added. “They've got an ambitious outlook, great projects, and a clear ability to make them happen. I am very excited to be working with them."
“We’re excited to join forces with these extremely talented creators to help close the gap that exists in this category,” said Newell’s business partner and TwentyOne14 Media’s head of business development, Mykel Mitchell. “We aspire to be a team that supports and encourages diverse voices and create an opportunity for creators of color to expand their landscape of storytelling into animation. Our mantra at TwentyOne14 Media is to support and create content that is rooted in authenticity and inclusiveness, and has the power to create cross-cultural connections.”
Founded by Thiago Levy and Jonathon Ovalle, Team legend is an animation studio primarily focusing on the development and production of animated cartoon series and features.
Source: TwentyOne14 Media
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.