C2E2: Oni Press

Brobee, the green-striped character from the Nick Jr. series "Yo Gabba Gabba," broke into the Oni Press panel at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo on Saturday to help announce a new anthology of stories featuring artists from other Oni series and the show itself.

The 128-page anthology will feature art by Matt Loux ("Salt Water Taffy"), Vinny Navarette ("Dear Dracula"), and Julia Vickerman, who does the storyboards for the television series. "Yo Gabba Gabba" art director Parker Jacobs is the artist for the cover of the first volume.

Asked how they could create a graphic novel based on a musical series, Oni Sales and Marketing Director Cory Casoni responded, "Those of you who are familiar with Oni Press comics will know that there is a lot of music in our comics-'Blue Mondays,' 'The Apocalipstix.'"

Casoni also announced that the first issue of "The Sixth Gun" would be a Free Comic Book Day comic. "This is not a number zero, this is not a one-shot, this is the entire first issue of 'The Sixth Gun,' and it is entirely free," said Casoni. The FCBD offering has already 'sold out,' Casoni said. In addition, issue #1 will be available with a variant cover on the same day issue #2 is released.

Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt-the same team that produced the Oni series "Damned"-"The Sixth Gun" tells the story of six magical guns that disappeared during the Civil War. "The most powerful of these guns disappeared during the war, and it has resurfaced, and the forces of darkness have converged to find this gun," said Hurtt.

The series features plenty of action. Casoni displayed one page featuring monks battling with Gatling guns. Bunn remarked, "Brian likes to tell me he can draw anything, so I like to challenge him." The creators do plan to produce more issues of "Damned" as well. Their next three-issue arc in that series, "Daughters Dance," will be the sister series to "Prodigal Sons."

In other news, Casoni announced that Brandon Graham's "Multiple Warheads" will be released in color, once Graham finishes his work on "King City."

The panel included a look at the trailer for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," a movie based on the Oni series of the same name, and a peek at a number of upcoming books for a variety of audiences:

"Spell Checkers," written by Jamie S. Rich and illustrated by Joelle Jones ("Token") and Nicolas Hitori De, tells the story of three girls who steal a spell book from a witch and use it to rule their high school. "Why not find a spell that will do your homework for you?" Rich said. "I treat magic like super powers-they can whip out different spells, tossing desks as they fight." The story has raised a few eyebrows. "I like the fact that it could be controversial. Right now, Roger Ebert is being offended by 'Kick-Ass' and Hit Girl, and people think he doesn't get it, but he really does. You're supposed to be offended." "Spell Checkers," he quickly added, is not quite in the same league, but he said, "No lessons learned. Badness rules. In my youth, I remember liking stuff that was mysterious and dangerous and a little bit wrong, like 'Where the Wild Things Are.'"

No lessons are learned in "Possessions," either. "It's an all-ages title about a young girl possessed by a pit demon," explained creator Ray Fawkes. "There's this crazy old lady who owns this mansion and she collects ghosts like pets. Her prize possession is this girl who is possessed by a demon, Exorcist-style, and is offensive and smelly and likes to barf a lot."

The other ghosts are bored by the whole thing and sit around playing cards until the old lady puts them through their paces, but Gurgazon, the girl, keeps trying to escape, which leads to plenty of slapstick.

Fawkes describes the color scheme of the book as "black and white and booger green."

Also featured at the panel was "Frenemy of the State," a series dreamed up by "Parks and Recreation" star Rashida Jones that features socialites trained to be CIA operatives. "It's a great action comedy," said Casoni. "Anyone who is a fan of the 'Blue Monday' series should pick this up."

"Jam!" is an anthology of roller derby stories written by roller derby performers and illustrated by a variety of artists, due out in June.

Vol. 1 of "Super Pro K.O.!" will debut in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. "This is 'Shonen Jump' meets old school high impact wrestling," Casoni said. "This is a two-by-four to the head." Featuring wrestlers Tomahawk Slamson and Yokum No No, the story features plenty of wrestling action and is written and illustrated by Jarrett Williams, the creator of the webcomic "Lunar Boy."

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