On Saturday at Comic-Con International fans got a chance to hear from comic book creator/actor Seth Green. However, as he was scheduled for a “Greg the Bunny” panel at the same time, Green arrived half an hour late to the panel on his book “The Freshmen.”
To fill the time, Top Cow president/COO Matt Hawkins showed trailers for upcoming video games and covers and art from new comic books. Included were “The Covenant,” written by Aron Coleite with art by Tone Rodriguez, and trailers for the anime versions of “Aphrodite IX,” “Witchblade,” and the new “Witchblade” video game for X-Box 360. (You can see those anime trailers right here on CBR.)
Next, Paul Dini, who was sitting in the audience, joined the panel to announce his new book “Madam Mirage.” The book, with art by new artist Kenneth Rockfort, is the story of two sisters, Mirage and Harper who try to take down a crime syndicate, “…working together to bring them to justice or kill them,” Dini said. He described the book as a “superhero/mystery/noirish-type fantasy book” with an “old-style detective feel.” Hawkins then mentioned to Dini that Marvel has agreed to allow him to do crossovers, with almost any character, except for Spider-Man. Dini replied that he’d think about it, but wondered how DC would feel about that. Madam Mirage is expected to launch in February or March of next year.
Eventually, Seth Green arrived and he, Hawkins, and writer Hugh Sterbakov began the discussion on “Freshmen II.” They began by clearly stating that “Freshmen II” takes place in the second semester of the characters’ freshman year. “They’re not Sophomores,” Herbakov exclaimed.
As they talked, cover art and pages from new issues were shown on a screen. With the new semester comes a new artist, Will Conrad, who will take over from artist Leonard Kirk.
|Hawkins, Green & Sterbakov|
Green and Sterbakov enthusiastically dropped hints about the future of the Freshmen characters. A new villain will appear called Mr. Fiddlesticks who Sterbakov called “a creation from a series of children’s books. He’s basically the Cat in the Hat come to life.” With the new villain, “… the story’s going to take a really serious turn,” Sterbakov said. “It kind of turns into a horror story, very dark and scary.”
In addition, the characters will continue to learn about their powers, and discover new ones. We’ll also learn more about certain characters. Sterbakov announced, “We’re going to have a whole subplot issue in between issues one and two, all on the internet, that’s basically going to tell the origin of Brady… that issue will be free on the website.”
The large cast will rotate and “we’re going to lose another [character] in the second series,” Sterbakov said. “We’ll focus on a lot more characters in this series. You’re going to find out what makes them tick, why they’re fighting and what their backstories are…”
Green and Sterbakov also hinted at big twists in the storyline. “At the end of the fifth issue we have an unbelievable turn. For those who have been following the series it’s going to knock your socks off.”
During the Q&A one fan questioned Green’s actual involvement with Freshmen. At the audience’s boos Green exclaimed, “Settle down villagers! Leave your torches and such outside.” He then went on to say that he had known Sterbakov all his life and that they had developed the book “together as friends.” Green continued, saying, “He and I wrote the characters and worked out the story, but from that point on he’s been running the show. I make approvals, but I don’t take any extra credit where it’s not due.”
In response to an audience member’s request for Freshmen toys, Green replied, “Nothing is confirmed, but Top Cow’s been talking to Toy Biz about an all-encompassing license with them, and Freshmen would be included in that… we’re so excited about the possibility of that… you guys know me and toys and I’m gonna oversee the hell out of that!”
In an even bigger un-official announcement, Green told the crowd that they have been talking to producer Gale Anne Hurd (“Terminator,” “Hulk”) about a “Freshmen” TV series. Green said, “Gale decided that she likes Freshmen and that she loves Hugh Sterbakov and we’re talking about trying to take this to TV. We were looking at ways to sell it as a feature but there’s so much character and story and content, so we’re looking at something that, not to self-reference but Buffy’s a good prototype, where you’ve got kids with superpowers that exist in the real world and all sorts of insane mysteries and it’s all grounded in reality, that’s what we’re going for.”
Green promised that they are “wide open” to doing a third series after “Freshmen II.” Sterbakov assured fans that “the last issue will end the storyline, but there’s definitely a big tease.” Green added, “Everything that’s left open in the second series is wrapped up at the end, but to say that it’s a tease is almost an insult because it’s so ginormous!”