First Generation Films has announced it has optioned television rights to Toronto comics artist Jeff Lemire’s Essex County, a trilogy of short graphic novels published by Georgia-based Top Shelf Productions. Aaron Martin (Degrassi: The Next Generation, Being Erica) has been brought on to write the pilot script for the CBC TV series.
Essex County, which follows generations of a tight-knit, eccentric farming community, won Lemire an American Library Association’s Alex Award, the 2008 Doug Wright Award for Canadian cartooning (volumes 1 and 2), and a 2008 Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Award. The collection was also selected as one of Canada Reads’ top 10 Canadian novels of the decade after appearing on the CBC competition in 2011.
Lemire will act as executive producer, alongside Ted Adams, Aaron Martin, Chris Staros, and First Generation president Christina Piovesan. FGF’s new vice-president of scripted programming, Julie Di Cresce, will oversee the project, her first with the production company.
Lemire is currently working on The Extraordinary X-Men for Marvel Entertainment. His own graphic novel series, Descender (Image Comics), about a robot’s plight in a universe that has outlawed his kind, is also being adapted for the big screen by Sony Pictures.