CCI: Devil's Due Presents Milo Ventimiglia & Russ Cundiff

Though the panel was mainly focusing on Divide Productions' Milo Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff, Devil's Due Publishing moderator and marketing director Brian Warmonth started by making a few announcements for the fans in attendance at Comic-Con International in San Diego. On the panel were Humanoids' Pierre Spengler and Larry Hama, Josh Blaylock, Ryan Schifrin, Tres Stamos, Mark Powers and Steve Stern.

The first announcement was that Humanoids Publishing would be working with Devil's Due on bringing over some previously non-translated European comics. The first series they will be Humanoids' "I Am Legion" with art by "Astonishing X-Men" artist John Cassaday. While the first volume of "I Am Legion" was translated to English already, Devil's Due plans on publishing all the remaining volumes.

Warmonth also followed up on the previous announcement that Devils' Due would be publishing a Bionic Commando comic book based on the Capcom video game by telling the audience they were also going to be two more books based on Capcom games, "Monster Hunter" and "Dark Void." Both titles will be making their way to comic book shops this winter.

In an announcement fresh from Brian Warmonth's iPhone, Devil's Due will partner with "Scream" creator Kevin Williamson on a new horror/crime thriller comic book called "Shadows" that would be premiering in spring '09. The title has been in the works for a very long time but they had only just received confirmation on it mere moments before the panel had started.

Warmonth then showed some slides and discussed some titles that people should keep an eye out on such as "Hack/Slash." This fall, "Hack/Slash" crossovers with "Re-Animator" and will explore the origins of Cassie Hack's family. Warmonth pointed out that not only would this story be in continuity with "Hack/Slash" but it would also be in continuity with the "Re-Animator" films as well. He also reminded fans that may have missed the "Hack/Slash" annual it was now available and included the webcomic creator Tim Seeley created for Suicide Girls (Cassie Hack is the only fictional Suicide Girl on the popular site).

Warmonth continued by talking about "The Corps," a new book from Rick Remender and Robert Carlos coming out in October 2008. Talking about Remender, Warmonth said, "He has this fantastic series called 'Fear Agent' that's not by us but he's coming over to do another series equally as fantastic."

Also coming out this August, "Voltron: A Legend Forged" #2, written by Josh Blaylock and artwork by Mike Bear. The story delves into the origins of Voltron. Fans of the "Halloween: Night Dance" miniseries, now available as a trade paperback, should look forward to a new "Halloween" one shot also available this August. The giant-sized issue will be a collection of new "Halloween" stories all written by Stefan Hutchinson, the writer of "Halloween: Night Dance."

The next slide that came up was for "Mercy Sparx," Josh Blaylock's creator-owned property about a devil girl who is sent to hunt down fallen angels. The next slide was one for the new comic book series, "Dawn Of The Dread Force", which is being drawn by many of the artists that worked on Dreamwave's Transformers series and will be out this Winter.

At this point, the slide for Larry Hama and R.A. Salvatore's "Spooks: Omega Team" came up. "It's an elite U.S. Combat team, they're not fighting terrorists they're fighting supernatural beings," Hama said, "so it's like G.I. Joe versus monsters." Hama is looking forward to this project as it gives him the chance to do the military in a really gritty way without a lot of the restrictions he has had in the past. "If you like telepathic fish monsters with fangs in the Amazon jungle, you'll like 'Spooks.'"

It was then announced that Barry Josephson ("Enchanted") was on board to produce a "Spooks" feature film and to look forward to more announcements about the film in the near future.

Stamos then introduced Steve Stern, co-creator of "Zen: Intergalactic Ninja," who took the time to give the audience a refresher course on the origin of Zen. Created back in 1987 with Dan Cote, Zen was a genetic experiment that was deemed a failure that, instead of being destroyed, was ejected into space and raised by the Masters of Om becoming their greatest acolyte. Stern then announced that Joe Casey would be writing the new Zen book at Devil's Due, which would have covers by such artists as Jae Lee, Sam Keith and Mike Mignola. There are also going to be some trade paperbacks collecting classic Zen comics, the first being available in November. The first trade will include such stories as "The Jewel of Forgetfulness" the first Zen story that Stern and Cote created, and "The Rawhead Saga" which has Zen up against an irradiated terrorist.

Stamos then introduced Ventimiglia and Cundiff to cheers from the audience. Ventimiglia started talking about the book "Rest" and how excited he is for the audience to get the chance to read it as he is a hard critic and he loves the book. Mark Powers, who is adapting the story of "Rest" from a screenplay, then went into detail about what the book is about, citing the main character's "relatability" as one of the drawing points of the title. "The main character is John Barret, a very normal guy in his mid-20s or so, works in New York City, lives in New York City" Powers said. "And basically spends every waking hour working, getting to work, getting home from work. Really giving up all his hopes and dreams just to keep things going. I think everyone here will understand what that feels like."

"What happens with John is that he becomes involved in a program that's testing a drug so you don't have to sleep anymore," Powers elaborated. "Now what it basically does is [give] extra time. It's the most valuable commodity there is in life and John is at a point in his life where he is beginning to realize that time is limited." Of course, there is always a cost and the cost of using this drug is what is going to be explored in the comic.

Stamos then asked Ventimiglia what it was about the project that made him devote what little free time he had to working on "Rest." Ventimiglia cited the strength of the script and, as Powers noted, the relatability of the main character as the main reasons that he wanted to see the story told. When asked about the likeness of John Barret to himself, Ventimiglia joked that he thought it looked more like his partner Russ then himself.

The floor was then opened up to questions from the audience. The first fan asked about the origins of "Rest" and Ventimiglia explained that it was originally a script by Mike O'Sullivan which was retooled by the Ventimiglia, Powers and Cundiff.

Another fan asked if it was still the plan to turn "Rest" into a movie or TV show. "That's the new way of movie development nowadays, 'Let's make a comic and turn it into a movie,'" Ventimiglia said. "That's always a possibility but we are never going to limit ourselves to movies or TV or digital short. I say we just make a series of commercials," he joked, "I am very proud of my very early commercial work and I want to put this on my reel." In the end though, Ventimiglia said that all he was interested in was making a great book.

An audience member who asked the length of the series was told that it would be five issues and then eventually collected into a trade paperback. The next question was what he would do if he didn't have to sleep, to which Ventimiglia joked, "I think I am there right now." On a more serious note, Ventimiglia had lots of things he would do with the extra time, including spending time with his family and loved ones.

When asked what Ventimiglia found to be the greatest challenge crossing over to the comic book world from televisionl he admitted it was just being accepted. "The show that I work on, 'Heroes,' we pretty much got our successes here at Comic-Con," Ventimiglia said before turning to his father and asking him about the comic shop he used to go to back when he was ten. "For me, it's about being accepted into the community and understanding that this isn't vanity, this isn't more anything than just wanting to make a great comic and contribute to the world that actually did give me a great deal of enjoyment growing up."

Another fan questioned if the interaction between the John Baret and his family and friends would be shown over the course of the "Rest" miniseries. "It's definitely a big part of the evolution that John goes through," Powers said.

The next question asked was how the lack of sleep would affect the characters' dream process in "Rest." "If you can't sleep you can't dream, if you can't dream what are you living your life for?" Ventimiglia responded. Powers elaborated further that in the book you would see the characters go through what only could be described as waking nightmares and dreams.

"As the series goes on, we are kind of blurring the line between what is real and what isn't. What's in the real world and what's in the dream."

The final question for the panel was asked to Ventimiglia, as the fan was curious what his favorite part of working on the comic book was. "Honest to god, the people I get to work with" Ventimiglia said. "Russ and I are very fortunate to be in the company of everyone who works over at Devil's Due." Ventimiglia did add that being able to hold something in his hand that they had all made together was very cool.

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