CCI: Oni Press Panelmonium

Last Saturday's Oni Press panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego announced many new projects, the return of several fan-favorite books and the title for "Scott Pilgrim" volume five.

Technical difficulties delayed the panel about 25 minutes, but the room was still at near capacity with a highly attentive audience. Editor-in-chief James Lucas Jones kicked things off by announcing a new graphic novel, "Billy Smoke" is written by B. Clay Moore ("The Leading Man") with art by Erik Kim ("Love as a Foreign Language").

"This is a complete departure for Kim," said Jones, "about an assassin on the road to redemption by hunting down the other assassins he used to associate with." It's scheduled for release in the first quarter of next year.

The next new project discussed was "The Return of King Doug," about a man who returns to his fantasy world 30 years after he abandoned it in its hour of need. Not much more could be said about the work as the film rights had already been sold to Dreamworks, but art will be handled by Hunter Clark. Look for "King Doug" in the second quarter of 2009.

"Bad Medicine" is a horror medical procedural from the husband and wife writing team of Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. In it, Dr. Randal Horne leads a team from the CDC that investigates the things that cannot be explained by medicine. It will be one of Oni's first ongoing monthly comics in full color.

Joe Harris ("Darkness Falls") and Steve Rolston ("Queen & Country") will bring out "Ghost Projekt." Set in the former Soviet Union, the story follows a weapons inspector who finds some of the Soviets' research on supernatural weapons of mass destruction from the cold war. He partners up with a Russian investigator looking into the deaths of people involved with the project. "Projekt" is a five-issue mini-series due out in 2009 or 2010.

Harris is also writing "The Hashishian." When two Brooklyn stoners find a stash of magical marijuana and smoke it, they're transported back in time to one of the first assassins' guilds. When they return, they discover a member of that dangerous guild is hunting them.

Another new project, "The Hollows," will feature stark, black and white art from Jeremy Haun. The book "combines Lovecraftian horror and rednecks," said Haun. A man returns to his hometown in the Ozarks to discover things have changed for the worst. "They say it's impossible to write a comic that is truly scary, but we've tried really hard to do that," said Haun.

A new ongoing series, "The Odd Shnoz and the Odd Squad," will be released periodically in trade paperback format. The book is about a punk band based in suburban Texas. Their lead singer has a psychic nose that leads them to discover a supernatural R&D facility that they're all connected to.

Jones also teased an image for "Time Share," about a group of time travelers' misadventures together from the dawn of time to the end of the world. Patrick Keller writes "Time Share" with art from Comic Book Idol participant Dan McDaid.

Jones then moved on to fan favorite series making their return. Chynna Clugston's "Blue Monday" returns with a five-issue miniseries coming out in the fall. Ted Naifeh's "Courtney Crumrin" has a 48-page one-shot slated for December. Webcomic "North World" will see a second volume released in February.

In November, Anthony Jonnston's "Wasteland" will be collected in its third paperback edition. Also, recent Eisner Award winner Chuck BB ("Black Metal") will draw an issue of "Wasteland" in September. More of BB's "Black Metal" is also on the way.

"Resurrection" #6 is at the printers, concluding the first story arc if Marc Guggenheim's series. Shortly thereafter will come "Resurrection Annual" with a new artist.

Without much pomp, Bryan Lee O'Malley stood up to unveil the cover for volume five of his "Scott Pilgrim" series, officially titled "Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe." The cover features an angry looking Ramona Flowers. The release is set for February 4, 2009. O'Malley said he is currently in the drawing phase. "I'm really pleased with how it's coming out," said O'Malley. "I have nothing to tell you about the movie," he added, dryly.

The attendee Q&A revealed more news on other titles.

"Last Call" volume two is being rescheduled for another time due to unavoidable circumstances in the life of author Vasilis Lolos.

As reported earlier this week on CBR, Greg Rucka and Matt Sourthworth's "Stumptown" will launch in the spring as part of Oni's new "color floppy comic initiative." "This is some of the best stuff [Greg Rucka] has written in a long time," said Jones. Rucka is also in talks for a final "Whiteout" story.

The second volume of Corey Lewis's "Sharknife" will likely get a mid September release. "We're just trying to get these last 15 pages out of him," said Jones.

There are talks for more "Hopeless Savages," but Jen Van Meter is working on another new graphic novel first.

"Everest" is off the publishing schedule for the near future.

"The Big Book of Barry Ween" paperback collecting all 12 "Barry Ween" issues should be in stores in about 3 or 4 weeks. Jones said he was in talks with writer/artist Judd Winick to create a new "Ween" book, which they hope to announce before next year's CCI.

"Polly and the Pirates" by Ted Naifeh will get a sequel in a year or two.

On their way out fans swarmed the creators, who had been scattered around the crowd. Attendees also received free copies of Oni's "Damned" and "Polly and the Pirates."

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