In a New York Comic Con panel hosted by representatives from Disney’s various publishing arms, including editors Rich Thomas, Steve Behling, Nachie Castro, Christian Beranek and Ahmet Zappa, the group unveiled this year’s plans and teased at more future announcements.
The panel began with introductions, and quickly shifted to discussing why each property is suited for its particular publisher.
Disney’s so-called “Fab Five” classic characters of Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Pluto and Minnie are at Gemstone Publishing, who produces series for fans of classic comics in a premium format. The panel complimented the publisher for preserving Disney’s classic stories.
BOOM! Studios will be releasing original comics based on Pixar Studios’ films “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Toy Story,” and Jim Henson’s “The Muppet Show.” The Muppets will also appear in a new series called “Muppet Tales,” which will feature public domain stories refitted with the Muppets’ unique personalities in mind. With the announcement of a Peter Pan story starring the Muppets, Kingdom Comics’ Zappa and Beranek wanted to know which puppet would be playing Tinkerbell.
“Is it Beaker? Gonzo?” joked Zappa. “Gonzobell?” joked Beranek.
Slave Labor Graphics, publishers of Disney’s immensely popular “Gargoyles” comic and its spinoff “Gargoyles: Bad Guys,” will continue marketing to teens and older readers, releasing new stories throughout the year.
For children and their parents, Hyperion Books will be focusing on what it called “comics for the youngest readers” – picture books with comic-like panels and word balloons. Among Hyperion’s offerings is a new entry in the popular “Pigeon” series by Mo Willems, as well as “Hip and Hop Don’t Stop,” a retelling of Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare fable in which characters compete in a rap battle instead of racing.
As Disney’s own in-house comic imprint, Kingdom Comics, they’re reimagining Disney’s Disney’s live action films into 120-page graphic novels. Beranek and Zappa hinted at a release schedule in 2009, but forced themselves to speak in “vagueries” for fear of giving away too much information.
The panel closed by answering questions about specific properties and speculating on which Disney movies each panel guest would convert to a comic story in a fantasy scenario. Zappa and Beranek stole the show with several ideas. After telling multiple anecdotes about printing Disney comics on lunch meats, praying that an “Escape from Witch Mountain” star would marry Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander and borderline advocating watching a leaked “Tron 2.0” movie trailer, Zappa effectively ended the presentation musing to a laughing crowd, “We’re not going to be invited to speak with [the rest of the panel] anymore.”