Writers and artists joined the panel as needed, with Marketing Manager Mel Caylo leading a slideshow that presented Archaia’s catalog of recent and upcoming books, with Director of Development Stephen Christy chiming in with his expertise as the panel moved along.
The WonderCon panel began with announcements of books currently out from the publisher, such hits as “The Killer Vol. 2,” “Days Missing Vol. 1,” “The Secret History Omnibus,” “Gunnerkrigg Court Vol. 2” (originally presented as a webcomic, and described by Mel as “Wednesday Adams meets Harry Potter”), a third reprinting of “Mouse Guard Fall of 1152 Vol. 1” and much more.
The panel then switched gears to discuss upcoming hardcover releases, the first three of which were all originally published in France and have been translated by Archaia for the English-speaking audience.
A new hardback collection, “The Killer Vol. 3.” The collection takes place four years after the last book and features the unnamed Killer going to Venezuela on a new assignment.
A new volume of “Okko” will be available soon. The new volume takes place in the Spring of 1110, when Okko and his men are called on to help save the daughter of an influential person.
“The Secret History Vol. 8” is on its way, and will focus on the alternate histories of WW I and II.
April 21 will see the release of the highly anticipated “Fraggle Rock #1.” Each issue of the new monthly series will feature one lead story and two short back up stories. Heather White writes the lead story in the first issue, with art by Jeff Stokely. The format of the book will be similar to “Mouse Guard,” measuring 8” x 8” as opposed to the traditional comic size of 6 Â½” x 10”
The series will have different artists and writers for each issue, but characterizations and tone will remain consistent as the publisher is committed to making each issue like an episode of the television show. The writer and artist of the lead story on issue #1 were truly excited about the project, telling the audience that they really wanted to bring the property back exactly as they remembered, but still accessible to new readers.
“Titanium Rain Vol. 1” by Josh Finney and Kat Rocha will be available in hardcover April 14, as well. The story takes place 20 years in the future, where a civil war in China spirals out of control, eventually becoming a worldwide conflict where genetically modified soldiers fight in futuristic fighter jets. The new collection comes with a 60-page supplement that reveals the history and background details of the dark future. Described by the creators as edgy sci-fi akin to “Bladerunner,” the creators told the crowd that they were heavily influenced by HBO’s “Generation Kill.” Finney also revealed that the book was actually banned in China. Archaia Comics uses Chinese printers, and they refused to print the book once they discovered the subject matter.
“Hybrid Bastards! Vol. 1” comes out in May. Full of humor, the book tells the story of Zeus’ illegitimate and half-inanimate children. After being drugged by his angry wife Hera, the amorous sky god goes down to the earth where he ends up having sex with a variety of inanimate objects, all of which magically produce living children due to the ‘godly sperm’ of the Greek deity. It’s a story about the weird offspring looking for acceptance from their estranged father. One child mentioned was named Walter, his ‘mother’ having appropriately been a wall.
On May 1, Archaia will release a Free Comic Book Day “Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock Flip Book” with all new, never before seen material. Also for Free Comic Book Day, Karen Prell, the original puppeteer for Red Fraggle, will be appearing at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles in association with Archaia.
A “Mouse Guard” spin-off monthly book will also launch in May, as “Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #1” comes out. The new series will be an anthology of sorts, featuring mouse soldiers hanging out in a bar telling tall tales in an attempt to one up each other. Various writers and artists will take part in each issue, each chosen by series creator Dave Peterson.
A new digest-sized hardcover comes out in May titled “Tumor,” a story that was originally exclusive to the Amazon Kindle and was the digital book reader’s top selling comic book. A private eye named Frank, dying from a brain tumor, has accepted one last missing persons case. The original pitch was, “A private eye can only trust his mind, so what happens when their mind can’t be trusted.”
In June, the “Starkweather Immortal Vol. 1” hardcover comes out, and will feature an exclusive short story by Piers Anthony. The book tells the tale of Alex Starkweather, a young male witch with dangerous and hard to control magical abilities. Having forgotten about his heritage after his parents died when he was only a child, the young man rediscovers his powers years later, whereupon a group of witch hunters relentlessly chase after him.
“The God Machine,” a hardcover written and drawn by Chandra Free, is about a young man who begins a journey into madness after his girlfriend dies. Somehow, he has this undeniable belief that she is somehow still alive and trapped in his dreams. The book will be out in October.
“The Return of the Dapper Men Vol. 1” hardcover by Jim McCann was then discussed. Described as “Dark City,” but with children, the surreal comic tells the story of a world populated only by children and robots, where time does not exist and all the clocks are stuck at 3:14. The Dapper Men come out of the sky, and tell the children that time will be starting again and that they all have to be in bed by 8pm.
This August, a new series called “Lucid” will debut, written by Michael McMillan with art by Anna Wieszczyk in association with Zachary Quinto and his production company. Described as a pop-action fantasy and “James Bond with magic powers,” Stephen pointed out that the art of the book is very reminiscent of the popular manga series “Cowboy Bebop.” Each issue will be standalone, but will all be linked together in telling one larger story.
The panel ended with Mel telling the audience that there will be more announcements coming in the next few months, and that in only a few weeks, the Archaia online store will launch.