The Wildstorm panel at Comic-Con International saw a number of the studio’s creators and editors on hand to discuss the Wildstorm line. Wildstorm General Manager Hank Kanalz moderated the panel, with editor Ben Abernathy, Darick Robertson, Adam Beechen, Phil Hester, TJ Fixman, Ricardo Sanchez, Kurt Busiek, Tom Taylor, Stu Paul, Cruddie Torian, editor Scott Peterson, and editor Jim Chadwick also attending.
Beechen said that the next issue of “Wildcats” would have “lots of blood, and possibly no survivors.”
Hester spoke about his “Gen13” run, saying “Superheroes really work for me when they’re fighting for something and they have something to fight for.” He also praised newcomer artist Cruddie Torian. The very soft-spoken Torian was prompted to say a few words. “It’s been a blast working with Phil,” he said. “It’s like a dream come true being here.”
Abernathy then talked about Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaac’s “DV8: Gods and Monsters.” “This was sort of his dream project,” Abernathy said of Wood, due to that writer’s love of Warren Ellis’s original run. On Isaac, he said, “it’s amazing the progress she’s made as an artist in just a year.”
Next up was Gail Simone’s “Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave,” the first issue of which recently debuted. The six-issue miniseries picks up where the first left off. “I feel like there’s something special she puts into each issue, because she created these characters,” Abernathy said, adding that he loves all of her work.
Jim Chadwick then talked about the upcoming “Wetworks” special, which is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as “Wildcats” and “Authority.” It is written by Kevin Grevioux with art by Julius Gopez.
“Ex Machina” #50, the final issue of Brian K. Vaughn and Tony Harris’s political superhero epic, is now at the printer. “You are going to be blown away by issue #50,” Abernathy said. “It is not going to be what you expect.” The editor added that it would be a 48-page oversize issue with no ads. The covers to #48-50 are a mosaic of Mayor Mitchell Hundred’s journey, but it is not being shown now because Wildstorm does not want to reveal the full #50 cover.
Kurt Busiek was up next talking about “Astro City,” which has just had a movie deal announced with Working Title pictures. “What you’re looking at is the cover to ‘Silver Age’ #2, which if you put it together with #1, you get two pictures,” Busiek joked, referring to a slide. After “Silver Age,” “Astro City” will return as a monthly, which will introduce “some new questions.” “You’ll be learning about the Broken Man, the Hollow Blocks and Johnny Crash,” Busiek added.
“‘Ides of Blood’ is the story of the assassination of Julius Caesar by vampires,” creator Stu Paul said, adding that vampires have become the slave class in Rome and “they don’t like that very much.”
Next up was “Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom,” a miniseries now in progress. Abernathy recounted the events of the first two issues, which saw the world shifted into a reality in which the Nazis won World War II, due to his son finding the titular robots. Abernathy said that writer Peter Hogan had spoken with Tom Strong creator Alan Moore to get the legendary writer’s blessing.
Kanalz announced more “Victorian Undead.” A one-shot will see Sherlock Holmes facing off against Jekyll and Hyde. It will be an oversized special shipping in October, followed by a five-issue miniseries setting Holmes against Dracula.
Cully Hamner will present “Red: Eyes Only” in conjunction with the upcoming film, one of several prequel one-shots. The artist, who co-created “Red” with Warren Ellis, will be both writing and drawing. “This will be the story of what drove Paul Moses into retirement from the CIA,” Abernathy said, adding that further detail will be revealed at Hamner’s spotlight panel tomorrow.
A new “Fringe” miniseries will feature two stories per issue, the first focusing on a character from the show. The second story will be set in the world of ‘Fringe.’ The covers have been blown up as posters in the “Fringe” offices, editor Scott Peterson said.
“X-Files/30 Days of Night” #1 is in stores now, and Abernathy said that writer Steve Niles “just bubbles over with creativity.” “He creates what could be one of the best episodes of the ‘X-Files.'”
Video game tie-in “Gears of War” followed, which Chadwick describing how the first mini introduced character Jace Stratton, who was later worked into the game series, including the upcoming “Gears of War 3.”
Another licensed series, “God of War,” was next. “This is a prequel story set between the first and second games,” Abernathy said, adding that it would follow Kratos’s early struggles.
“Telara Chronicles” was next, with Rick Sanchez saying the game would “make you stop playing ‘World of Warcraft.'” Sanchez moved on to “End of Nations,” also based on an MMO from Trion Worlds. Copies of a number #0 issue of both series are available at Wildstorm’s booth.
The next game tie in was “Kane and Lynch,” which will also soon be a film. The miniseries picks up after the first game, and the sequel game will be released next month. “They’ve eliminated the seven, but unfortunately the Seven had a scorched-earth policy if they were ever all eliminated,” Abernathy said.
To discuss “Ratchet and Clank,” artist Adam Archer was brought on stage to speak about the book and join writer Fixman, who also writes the games. “Especially in the last few PS3 games, people have become more and more invested in these characters,” Archer said. “We wanted to make sure characters fans haven’t been able to see in every game, that they would be able to see them and find out what happened to them.”
The final title up was “Driver,” written by David Lapham with art by Greg Scott and covers by Jock. “When you’re doing a seven-page car chase in comics it can be a bit of a challenge, but Greg Scott is up to the job.”
“I am currently working on a project with Christos Gage, which we can’t quite announce the title yet,” Robertson said when Kanalz asked why he was on the panel.
Busiek then announced “Witchlands,” which he had first discussed last year as “American Gothic.” “‘Witchlands’ is a much better title for it. It’s kind of like ‘Astro City,’ but this time the genre is urban fantasy,” he said. The series will be illustrated by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled “Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know,” which will be “heavily illustrated by Carlos Pacheco.”