Christendom alumnus and #1 New York Times Bestselling author and illustrator Ben Hatke’s acclaimed Zita The Spacegirl trilogy will be turned into a feature film by 20th Century Fox Animation, as announced today by Fox and Chernin Entertainment. Hatke, who recently won the prestigious Eisner Award for his children’s book Little Robot, earned his B.A. from Christendom in 2000.
Hatke’s Zita series centers on a girl named Zita, who embarks on a journey to becoming an intergalactic hero after her friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult. Along the way, she rides a giant mouse, deals with humanoid chickens as well as robots and makes friends with a blob-like creature.
20th Century Fox Animation, who have produced the hit films Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Peanuts Movie, and Ice Age, recently picked up the film rights to Hatke’s work, with Chernin Entertainment, the studio behind the recently rebooted Planet of the Apes films, set to produce the film.
The news is the latest in a series of achievements for Hatke, who has shown an immense talent for combining entertaining storytelling with beautiful artwork since his time as a student at Christendom. In addition to Zita, Hatke is also behind Nobody Likes a Goblin, the Eisner Award-winning Little Robot, and the recently published Mighty Jack, a new take on the fairy tale “Jack and the Giant Beanstalk.” He also recently succeeded the famed Maurice Sendak as illustrator of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, with the first installment of the rebooted series coming out soon.
Hatke, a resident of Front Royal, Va., believes that his education at Christendom was essential in his study and understanding of art as a whole, leading to his current success.
“Art and storytelling have been constants in my life, and most of the jobs I’ve been drawn to have included those things in some way. My liberal arts degree has given me flexibility,” said Hatke. “The foundation of reading, classics, and good study habits gave me the basic skills that I needed when, in 2006 I took a year to seriously study art. I participated in drawing and painting courses in Florence, Italy, but I also put myself through a sort of intense self-study course focusing on art history and the Italian Masters. Studying history at Christendom helped me to approach primary sources like Vasari’s Lives of the Artists.”