CCI, Day 3: Lightning Strikes: Wildstorm Reveals '04 & '05 plans

If you weren't sure if the Jim Lee founded Wildstorm ever lived up to its name, today's fan frenzy proved the company is going to take fans... by storm.

At Comic Con International in San Diego today, in the infamous Room 5AB, Wildstorm spoke about its plans for 2004 and early 2005, bringing some surprises for the devoted "Stormtroopers," as some have nicknamed fans of the DC Comics imprint, and CBR News was there to catch all the surprises. In attendance at the panel were a multitude of creators from Wildstorm and some surprise guests.

Bob Wayne began by introducing the cast of creators and, to laughter, tossed out a Marvel sign saying "No, Dan Buckley's not here." In the introductions, writer/artist Howard Chaykin revealed he has a new project called "City of Tomorrow" next year (for more on the book, see the Newsarama interview with Chaykin) and director John Ridley ("Undercover Brother," "Three Kings") has a series called "Razor's Edge" featuring Wildcats favorite Warblade. Joe Casey laughed, "I'm the writer of three cancelled Wildstorm books."

The first book spotlighted was "Authority: Revolution," the twelve-issue maxi-series from writer Ed Brubaker and artist Dustin Nguyen, which Nguyen laughed is different because, "It's me and Ed... telling a lot of the origins." Brubaker called "Authority" his "favorite comic and I really wanted to do it. It was the first superhero book I got back into when I got into mainstream comics." He commented on how he'll put his stamp on the series and said there will be the, "the requisite amount of stuff blowing up" though he planned to flesh out the characters more and see what happens when the problems come from within.

John Ridley spoke about two projects- the first was "Authority: Human On The Inside," a hardcover graphic novel that will bring the team close to their "Stormwatch" days with heavy characterization. The book is illustrated by new comer Ben Oliver. The other series, "Razor's Edge," is a series with mini series inside of it, the first with Ridley writing and British sensation Simon Bisley providing the art. "It's very unique and if you're expecting aliens and big asses, it ain't that. It engages you every step of the way thanks a lot to Simon."

The "Sleeper" slide drew a lot of applause and Brubaker said, "If your retailers aren't carrying it, you need to kill them." Everyone laughed and Bob Wayne added, "We do not need to make comic book retailers an endangered species," which drew more laughs.

A few new Warren Ellis series are coming from Wildstorm: "Desolation Jones" with J.H Williams is an unusual detective series, with spy overtones and as Williams said, "Warren's usual insanity." "Ocean" is a big, giant sci-fi epic, starting out on Earth and winding up on Europa. All six issues are written and completed by Ellis.

For those who get confused reading about geography in "Astro City," there'll be an "Astro City Visitor's Guide" in October with a cover from Alex Ross and art by legends such as George Perez, current stars like Carlos Pacheco and more.

Howard Chaykin's new series is "City of Tomorrow," the adventures of a Special Forces deserter who returns home. "It's about tolerance" said Chaykin and when people laughed he said, "My career is based on me saying things like this and you never believe me." The world of the stories has a ton of robots who have all the guns and are now crime enforcers.

One of DC's big announcements was a new deal with their UK sister company IPC, wherein DC will bring back the Silver Age UK heroes with new creators and adventures. The characters and stories are said to be macabre, very different from the usual superhero comics. Alan Moore and his daughter Leah Moore are said to be working on one of the projects and British creators are foaming at the mouth to work on the characters.

CBR's own Rich Johnston was in attendance at the panel and added some details about IPC for American readers not familiar with the publisher.

"The last time Alan Moore wrote the IPC chracters was disguised in Marvel UK's 'Captain Britain' series," Johnston said. "And he had The Fury kill the lot of them in about two pages. I'd like to think that Leah would provide a restraining hand, and they'll last a little longer this time..."

Leah Moore is also working on a six issue mini series called "Wild Girl" from ABC with art by Shawn McManus. For more on the series, see the Newsarama Interview. She has said she will consider showing up at the CCI next year as long as no one asks her if her dad is retiring from comics.

One of DC's hit series this year is "Ex Machina" and Harris said the creator owned series is like "lightning striking twice," comparing it to his fond memories of "Starman." The series will also go to 12 issues a year instead of ten.

DC/Wildstorm has been promoting "The Intimates" like crazy, with huge posters, and the Jim Lee/Joe Casey created series elicited a lot of applause. "I decided to give Wildstorm another shot," laughed Casey and explained the series takes place at the Seminary, a top secret school where people learn to be heroes. "DC told me 'it's time for you to sell out' and I said 'what about some teen superheroes?'" laughed Casey. Jim Lee will be illustrating a comic inside the series that the characters like. Brubaker described it as "X-Men or the Teen Titans meet 'Curb Your Enthusiasm."

John Rogers, a producer on the upcoming WB television series "Global Frequency" made a surprise appearance. Rogers talked about the show and said the idea is, "once you see one episode, you could imagine you could be on the show... you could save us!" Apparently series creator Warren Ellis loved the pilot script and the show will be a mid-season replacement on the WB- he also approves all the stories and will be writing at least one of the 13 episodes. There was a joke about not wanting the series cancelled and then forced to release it on DVD to make lots of money, like Joss Whedon found on "Firefly." It was also added that no characters in the show is "safe" and "Frequency" is going to bring back suspense to American televison. For more information, check out CBR's interview with Rogers from June.

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