CCI, Day 1: Aspen Comics Comes Out Swinging

Aspen comics had a dedicated following at their panel Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Michael Turner opened the panel with a synopsis of his medical troubles for the past four years. After being diagnosed with sarcoma in his right pelvis, there have been two recurrences. But for now, even though he's on crutches, "everything's looking good, I'm doing great."

Frank previewed the cover to "Soulfire" issue 8. Turner is "really excited to finish this series," he said. Issues 8-10 will be out later this year.

Leading out of that was a hefty section dedicated to "Soulfire: Chaos Reign," launched two months ago by Marcus To, who was not in San Diego. Issue #1 will be in stores in two weeks, #0 should be in stores now. There will be a Chicago convention exclusive by Turner and Peter Stockwell for issue 1. Set in a more ancient time, it's "a King Kong meets Soulfire" sort of story.

The next slide was a teaser for a new "Soulfire" series by Francisco Hererra for next year. The project has no title yet, and should be out in spring of next year. Hererra is reportedly at work on the first issue and Aspen will be promoting it through the fall and holidays.

The "Soulfire: Dying in the Light" TPB will include a 7-page "Beginnings" story, and should be out before the holidays.

"Shrugged" #2 will be on the shelves in the next two weeks, and there will be another Chicago convention exclusive cover. Issue #4 will have four interlocking covers.

"Fathom" is wrapping up its second volume. Issue #9 it out now, #10 is at the printers. The slide show included a preview of issue #11, the last issue of this season, which will include a few extra pages. Volume 3 is set to start next year.

A "Kiani" miniseries by Marcus To will debut soon, later this year or early next.

Following up on the success of the "Aspen Splash" swimsuit issue, "Aspen Seasons: Summer" will be released in mid-August, story and art by Peter, Vince and Kari. There will also be an "Aspen Seasons: Winter."

"Ekos," by Turner, is still coming; as soon as he finishes "Soulfire" and his Marvel project.

The show then turned to the cross-company covers the Aspen group is doing. Covers for "Wolverine," "Black Panther" #18, "Civil War" #1, and the Aspen Exclusive covers for 'Civil War' #2, 3, 4, and 6 were shown. "Civil War" #5 contains spoilers and was not shown. They'll be working on the seventh issue when they get back from the convention. They also showed off Turner's DC project covers: "Justice League of America" #0, 1, and 3.

The show then turned to the Fathom busts which will be available in two months. Kiani, Cannon and Aspen from Fathom all get bust treatment, and the Aspen store will have an exclusive Kiani in Black Armor bust for sale. Next up was an example of Dean Mason's work: a Kiani statue, in production right now, available to see at the con.

The company has been talking about doing its own swimwear line.

Asked about a "Soulfire/Fathom" crossover, Turner replied there were no current plans, "we're keeping the worlds separate ... the problem is 'Soulfire' is 200 years in the future, and Fathom is present day."

According to Turner, the Fathom movie is in "what's called 'development hell.'" He also added that most scripts are changing Fathom so much that it's not Fathom anymore.

A "Fathom" or other Aspen videogame is a possiblity as well.

"We have some great contacts in the videogame industry." Turner is doing some preliminary work on a next-gen game that hasn't been announced yet.

There are possibly plans to send the "Ekos Preview" back to press, as well as some some extras leading up to the main series.

Asked whether "Shrugged" will be a continuous story, Turner said, "we don't do an ongoing series, per se, but we're doing them in seasons." But it's going to continue.

Turner will be illustrating a 6-issue miniseries for Marvel that will be announced in Chicago.

Turner will not be doing any more "Witchblade" covers "for a while," due to his exclusivity contracts for covers with DC and Marvel.

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