Comics Anonymous


KAPOW! 2012: COMICS PANELS RUN-DOWN by G-Man
June 4, 2012, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , ,

Kapow 2012 had a lot to offer those in attendance with signings, stalls, artist alley, movie previews and screening – but it was the comics panels that Comics Anonymous were most interested in. With many big name panellists and some interesting announcements, here’s a run-down of what was on offer over the weekend.

IMAGE SUPERSTARS

Anyone still arguing a ‘Big Two’ chokehold over the Kapow! convention must still be keeping their eyes shut. Image comics were represented excellently at the con this year. Many of the creative guests have current or forthcoming books with the publisher and they also hosted some of the best panels of the weekend, the first of which was modestly titled ‘Image Superstars’.

Most publisher ran panels tend to eschew any form of discussion in favour of an information download, straight into the brains of their most dedicated customers. Image are no different, but with the affable hosting skills of Eric Stephenson, the jovial disposition of the panel participants and the adoring eyes and ears of the audience, the whole experience really was much more pleasant than usual.

The ‘Superstars’ panel kicked off with Charlie Adlard letting us know just how much work he’s putting in to get The Walking Dead’s 100th issue out on time. This issue will be accompanied by a range of variant covers including one by Frank Quitely. There was also much joking about which characters should be drawn with one or two arms and the many mistakes made in this regard.

Paul Grist and Sean Phillips were also seated on the panel. Grist told listeners about the forthcoming Mudman collected edition whilst Phillips discussed Fatale in a similar capacity. 

The most exciting announcements on the panel came from David Hine who announced a new book called Storm Dogs, in collaboration with Doug Braithwaite. Hine bills it as a sci-fi noir detective story and showed several images from Braithwaite’s concept and character work. You can find out more details on this project, the upcoming collect Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred and others in my forthcoming interview with Hine.

Also present on the panel was the legendary Shaky Kane who discussed both his love of Freddy Krueger and a forthcoming project: Cowboys and Insects, although whether this was taken seriously or not is up for debate.

Linsay – @softlyspokenlas

          

          

IMAGE MEGASTARS

The second of the weekend’s Image panel, titled the “Megastar” panel, had fewer guests than the first – head honcho Eric Stephenson and the glorious Nick Spencer returned, this time joined by Marvel’s The Ultimates artist Bryan Hitch and comics newcomer and TV Presenter Jonathan Ross. Since all of the current slate announcements had been made in the previous panel, this was an opportunity for the audience to ask the four guests anything they liked.

As expected, most of the questions were directed towards Jonathan since it proved a rare opportunity to get him talking about comics. He admits himself that he tries not to be too evangelical about comics since he usually gets the same look from people that he makes when people talk to him about golf. He’s keen though for comics to have more of a presence in today’s media, and although it’s good press for him and his books, it does annoy him that UK tabloids like The Sun will write articles about him as a comic writer just because he’s well known to everyone, but they’d never consider writing about someone like Warren Ellis. As well as more comic projects on the horizon with the likes of Tommy Lee Edwards, Bryan Hitch and Ian Churchill, he also dropped in that he’d like to do some sort of comics podcast in the near future.

There was plenty of discussion around plotting comics since Jonathan revealed that he’s made some changes to America’s Got Powers following some reader’s reactions to a fairly predictable end to the first issue. Nick Spencer revealed that he plans for Morning Glories to run into issue #100 and he does have an ending planned for it all – but stressed that it was also important that whatever happens between an issue #1 and it’s end should always be just as interesting. Since plotting the larger arcs to the series he has found that his plans do change once he gets a feel for them and used the current P.E arc in Morning Glories as an example – original planned as only 5/6 issues it has swelled to well over 12 now due to all the curveballs he’s written in.

Finally there was some interest to find out what TV & film plans Image might have in the future since the success of The Walking Dead, however Eric Stephenson was happy to disclose that those types of decisions lay with the creators of the books and that Image are dedicated to producing comics. So there’s always the possibility that we could see Morning Glories as a TV series!

Craig – @hastiecraig

MILLARWORLD

Competing with the big three publishers, Mark Millar and friends were on hand to talk about the upcoming Millarworld releases, however, unlike last year, there was very little in the way of big announcements. The panel kicked off running through various slides featuring some new covers from Jupiter’s Children, Hit-Girl and The Secret Service, as well as some interior pages from upcoming Kick-Ass spin off Hit-Girl (check these out below). During the presentation Millar enthused over Phil Noto and his Hit-Girl variant cover, and was keen to get him over to Millarworld full time (watch this space). One detail that seemed to be glossed over quite quickly was Millar saying that a sequel to Chosen (American Jesus) would be out about December time – another one to watch out for.

Done with the official presentation, the panel opened for questions, allowing the audience to ask Frank Quitely, Dave Gibbons, film director Nacho Vigalondo and Mark Millar anything they liked. There was no surprises that a lot of questions focused on the Millarworld movies, both those planned and the potential for others. The closest thing to any exclusive news on the film front though came from Nacho and Millar’s wish list of actors for the Supercrooks movie including Bradley Cooper, Jon Hamm and Ryan Gosling – no doubt a ploy to get their names out there and the rumour mill stirred up enough to get the actors’ attention. As for the other movies in the pipeline – for Kick-Ass 2, there’s 2 new actors that will appear in the film that have yet to be announced , and although nothing has been officially signed, Liam Neeson was asked publicly if he would play Nemesis.

There was plenty of questions for Millar around his process of writing and if he plans / pitches his stories as films, however he confirmed that he never pitches anything since “a sense of eagerness turns producers off”. Instead he’ll find people beating down his door to be first in line for the next best thing – a humorous example of this being when Nemesis was first announced with only Millar and McNiven’s names and a date – his agent called to say that there were 2 people keen to buy the rights as they’d read it and loved it, with his agent adding that he had also thought it his best work – even though, as Millar reminded, he hadn’t read it yet! Nacho clarified that the screenplay for Supercrooks was quite different to the comic, with a “different rhythm”, understanding that it would be boring if they were exactly the same and this is why a lot of comic adaptations have failed previously.

Movies aside, Quitely and Gibbons didn’t get much of a say during the panel, the best bits coming from some advice to young artists: for Gibbons he reckons if “you want to do it enough , just keep doing it – persistency is key” and also to listen to feedback. Quitely’s view was to ensure that whatever you’re working on, make it the best work you can possibly do, no matter how small it is.

Overall it would have been nice to hear some more exclusive announcements and a little more from the others on the panel, but it’s at least nice to see other publishers still giving the big 2 a run for their money.

Craig – @hastiecraig

                                                                 

DC: BEFORE WATCHMEN + VERTIGO

With 2 panels over the weekend, DC kicked off the weekend with a panel looking at both the line up of Vertigo titles and the launch of “a little project” called Before Watchmen.

Proceedings were kicked off with DC big wigs Bob Wayne and Dan Didio taking a pole of hands from the audience if they’re looking forward to the Before Watchmen books – and surprisingly enough, a lot of the audience were brave enough to put their hands up. It was clear that Dan had come prepared for a fight, spending lots of time comforting the audience about how much time and effort had gone into the project and how they wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t have the right people involved. Talking about him and Jim Lee taking over at DC, they both knew they had to do something drastic to help a fading industry, and so Before Watchmen and the DC New 52 became the shock to the system that was needed – he knows though that BW is a “crown jewel” that they can only do once. As well as talking about the ideas behind the project, many of the covers and interior work was shown too (check it out below)

Moving to the Vertigo side of things, Mark Buckingham, Peter Milligan, Mike Carey and Scott Snyder were invited to the stage to help discuss the current line-up of books currently published by the imprint. The highlights of these included new title Punk Rock Jesus from Sean Murphy – described as a “what if they made a clone of Jesus and then made a reality TV show with him?”. Snyder talked a little about the upcoming arc of American Vampire, that he describes as “nothing will be the same after this”, as well as an upcoming AV mini series Lord of Nightmares, featuring the biggest and baddest vampire of all time, taking place between London and Paris. Finally, Paul Milligan spoke about Simon Bisley’s upcoming interior art on Hellblazier adding “I don’t know what he’s on, but he’s enjoying it.”

Onto questions, and the obligatory ask of what Alan Moore thought about Before Watchmen was answered simply with a “there’s plenty of opportunities to get his thoughts from the media” answer. One of the most interesting questions though was around the Vertigo line itself – Didio commented that, like what they’d done with the New 52, Vertigo was in need of a “re-push and re-energise” citing 2013 as a “rebuilding phase” for Vertigo.

The final question of the panel asked about the possibilities of an “After Watchmen” book, which Didio was quick to answer with “let’s get through BW first – I’m not sure I’d want to go through this hell again!”

Craig – @hastiecraig

                                   

DC: THE NEW 52

DC’s second panel of the weekend shifted it’s focus towards it’s recent New 52 relaunch – starting with Dan Didio and Bob Wayne once again and gauging the audiences enjoyment of the New 52 so far. There was plenty of love for a wide variety of books, from Batman to Resurrection Man, leaving Dido pleased that there was so much diversity and reminding us that it’s “their job to keep us [the readers] excited”.

Kicking off the scripted part of the panel was Scott Snyder talking all things Batman and Swamp Thing. Batman is now about to head into it’s final two issues of the Court of Owls arc with issue 11 offering a “big climax” – Snyder claims that he “hasn’t worked harder on another story in my life” – so it’s guaranteed to end well. Talking about the recent crossover to the other Batbooks, he knew that the battle would be “big enough to take over all of Gotham” so enlisted the other writers to bring the Talons into thier own books, ensuring that they “behaved in the same way as the Batman book, and try and show some of  the history of Gotham within the story that we haven’t seen before”.

As for Swamp Thing, Snyder’s next favorite character after Batman, he’s been amazed by the reaction he’s had from people reading the book, with many being first time Swampy readers, now keen to go back and read more of the character. Snyder has wanted to write the character ever since joining DC’s Vertigo imprint, and is keen to expand the main character, as well as it’s villains. Upcoming issues with Arcane will explore more about the villain’s past – who was he as a person? What makes him so terrifying? He’s also really excited about the upcoming crossover with Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man too, mentioning that the pair have lengthy phone calls where they act like excited school girls.

As well as the original 52 line up, the recent second wave of books was also touched upon. Dido explained the thinking behind it, keen to make sure that the 52 books are “constantly fresh” so there’s likely to be further waves in the future. He also commented on the several “Where is my favorite character?” questions that frequently get asked – explaining that if every character was in the New 52 then they’d be “exactly where we were before”. He was also proud of the fact that in what has almost been a year since the relaunch, out of the 52 books each month, only 2 have shipped a week later than expected – they are committed to get these books out when you expect them.

Out of the follow up Q&A came some interesting questions – including the now infamous change of sexual orientation for relaunched characters, which has subsequently been revealed as Alan Scott. Many of the answers were pretty cryptic, with Didio letting slip probably more details than Bob Wayne would have liked – including the possibility of future animated DC features being based on the New 52, Booster Gold playing a big part in the Justice League International Annual and the fact that we’ve already seen The Question, we just don’t know it yet. Overall, a packed panel with lots of interesting bits and pieces to look out for in the coming months.

Craig – @hastiecraig


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