As the trailer for “Apollo 18” ended and Avatar Press’ Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo Q&A panel began, Editor-in-Chief William Christensen and artist Jacen Burrows (“Neonomicon,” “Crossed”) traded a joke that the movie preview was put there to take the attention away from them. The panel maintained this jovial mood for the next hour as the two made a number of C2E2 announcements and entertained questions form the gathered fans.
The company’s first big announcement was the new “War Goddess” series, written by Mike Wolfer (“Lady Death,” “Gravel”) and illustrated by Pow Rodrix. Wolfer was in attendance at Avatar’s C2E2 booth, but couldn’t make the panel due to the loss of his voice.
“War Goddess,” which will be released by Avatar’s sister company Boundless Comics, centers on Pandora, and will bring back other classic Avatar Press characters like Widow, Hellina and Belladonna.
“It’s going to be a title where we bring back a lot of classic ’90s ‘bad girl’ characters, but we’re reworking them and doing new versions of them and making them slightly less ridiculous,” Christensen said.
As part of the title’s launch, Avatar is offering “retailer exclusive editions” of “War Goddess.” For retailers committing to 150 copies, retailers will receive an edition with their store’s name or logo featured on the front cover. Commitments of 350 copies or more will receive a “100% unique” cover image as the retailer exclusive edition.
Also announced at C2E2 was an all-new monthly “Gravel” series by Wolfer, Titled “Gravel: Combat Magician,” Christensen said that the first 18 issues of the series have been plotted out and should begin being released around the fourth quarter of the year.
“We’re scaling back from the giant magic stuff,” Christensen said, adding that the title would focus more on Gravel being a “combat magician.”
“There’s going to be a lot more kick-ass military stuff,” he said.
Legacy Pictures has optioned a “Gravel” film, but Christensen was unsure if it would happen or not.
Debuting at the show was David Lapham’s “Caligula,” or, as Christensen joked people had referred to it, “Cali-Gooey.”
“I think it will appeal to everybody that likes the ‘Rome’ or ‘Spartacus’ shows, except it’s even more [messed] up,” Christensen said.
Christensen also teased another “Crossed” project Lapham has in the works following “Caligula.”
Speaking of “Crossed,” “Crossed: Badlands” will be launching as an ongoing monthly series with Garth Ennis writing an arc and Burrows handling art, followed by an arc by writer Jamie Delano.
Christensen also said that the long-awaited “Crossed” 3-D book will finally be released in April, adding that the effects are “amazing.”
“‘Crossed’ continues to be an insane success for us,” Christensen said, thanking everyone for the “continued support of our depravity.”
A fan asked at what point Christensen says, “That’s enough variants!” Christensen said their variants had been extremely popular with fans and that without the collectors who buy several covers, the company would not be able to stay afloat.
“You can get pretty creative with a variant in a way that you couldn’t do with just a regular cover,” Burrows added.
Another fan asked if “Doktor Sleepless” would ever be finished, to which Christensen said he had no idea, but would love to see it concluded.
“I don’t have the scripts,” Christensen said, adding that he’s waiting on Warren Ellis to write them.
Burrows fielded a question from a fan who had a question about what he did to research drawing Alan Moore’s “Neonomicon.”
“When I’m drawing, I tend to listen to a lot of audiobooks. I went through the entire Lovecraft catalog while working on that series to stay in that mindset,” Burrows said, noting that Moore also had “very, very specific descriptions” in his scripts.
Finally, the talk shifted to movies and videogames.
“I just want to do awesome comic books. I’m not trying to make movies out of this stuff. I don’t care if this stuff gets turned into videogames. I really just actually like comics,” Christensen said.
“I do want a videogame for ‘Crossed,'” Burrows said, prompting a Horsecock reference from Christensen.
“If somebody wants to make, like, a ‘Left4Dead’ mod, I’d be happy with that,” Burrows said.