Disney Publishing held an intimate but lively panel on Friday at New York Comic-Con, where they took time to cover everything from “Tron” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” to Mickey Mouse and digital comics with just a little bit of “Flight of the Navigator” and “Caption EO” trivia thrown in at the end.
The panel started with a look at two “Tron” books coming out this fall, both of which are linked closely with the new film. “Tron: Betrayal” is graphic novel that works to bridge the original movie with upcoming sequel, “Tron: Legacy.” It features a cover by Jock and interior art by Andie Tong. The book runs 128 pages with a 10 dollar price tag. Disney will also be releasing “The Art of Tron: Legacy,” a book that showcases the concept art from the film as well as some insight into the design of game. The coffee-table style book will also show how the design team integrated the look and feel of the first movie into the sequel.
It was reveal time after that, as Disney unveiled the new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Chanties” graphic novel. The book fills in stories throughout the “Pirates of the Caribbean” canon, featuring tales from before the first movie and at least one story that serves as a prequel to the new film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” The book will be an anthology, with a large cast of creative talent including big names like Tom Mandrake and Rob Kidd – the author of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” young adult novels. The stories will be populated with familiar characters from the film and also introduce some new characters, such as Blackbeard, who factors in heavily to the plotline of the new movie. The book is still in its early phases, though the Disney crew did promise a cover by Eric Powell (of “The Goon” fame) and at least one story featuring zombie monkeys. Both of these promises were met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.
One of the Disney presenters then noticed artist Andy Kuhn in the back of conference room. Quickly announcing that Kuhn is one of the artist to be featured in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Chanties,” the Disney crew asked Kuhn why he agreed to the project. Kuhn yelled in response , “Because pirates are cool!”
Next up was Mickey Mouse, who has a slew of comics set for release this fall and early 2011. There is a graphic novel based on the video game “Epic Mickey,” another original graphic novel set in the world of the video game and a restoring of the classic Carl Barks Strips which will be collected in partnership with Fantagraphics. There is even a Mickey Mouse “Choose Your Own Adventure” style book in the pipeline titled “Epic Mickey: It’s Your Call.”
It was during their Mickey Mouse discussion that Disney began to really stress their commitment to digital comic books, going as far as stating that their goal was to have everything published in both print and digital from now on. In the end of November, Disney will be releasing the “Epic Mickey” graphic novel on the Apple App Store with the first issue (of six) being available for free. The remaining issues will be available as a bundle for $8.99.
In the realm of digital comics, Disney is working to release a motion comic version of BOOM! Studios “The Muppet Show” series by Rob Langridge. A brief teaser trailer was shown that really seemed to capture the feel and humor of the old Muppets television show. The Disney team stressed that The Muppets would be a coming back has huge franchise in the next few years.
After showing some concept art and a few pages from the upcoming “Epic Mickey” graphic novel, the time was turned over to questions from the audience. When one audience member ask if the Carl Barks collection would be really expensive, Nachie Castro replied, “Depends on what you consider expensive. It’ll be under a hundred bucks, hopefully closer to forty.”
The Disney team then turned the questions on the audience, offering prizes to those who could answer the Disney-centric trivia. The panel came to a close with a bit of “Captain EO” reminiscing with one presenter admitting, “That thing gave me nightmares.”