Harry Knowles of perennial movie gossip site Ain't It Cool News hosted Radical Publishing's discussion panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and introduced a star-studded dais including Jimmy Palmiotti, Steve Pugh, David Hine, Jim Steranko, Nick Simmons, Steve Niles, Rick Remember, Sam Sarkar, M. Zachary Sherman, Mark Long and Nick Sagan. CBR News was on the scene to bring you all the details.
The first book the panelists spotlighted was "Hercules: The Thracian Wars." Written by Steve Moore, the world of Radical's Hercules was designed by Jim Steranko. The artist admitted he's had a history of drawing fictional icons, and said he jumped at the chance to put his stamp on Hercules. Steranko told the crowd he grew up in a rough neighborhood, and for his version of Hercules, he conjured up the image of a thug he knew as a kid, the kind of guy you "cannot look in the eye for more than three or four seconds because they're so menacing."
Radical's Hercules saga continues later this year with "Hercules: The Knives of Kush," by Steve Moore and Chris Bolsen.
Next up was Arthur Suydam's "When Giants Walk the Earth," which poses the question, "If giants once walked among us, where did they all go?"
Writer David Hine said a few words about "FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency." Illustrated by Roy Allan Martinez, "FVZA" chronicles the resurgence of a long-disbanded government agency when vampirism and zombieism starts running rampant in the United States. The series was inspired by an actual website, www.fvza.org, where Dr. Hugo Pecos laid out a new science for zombies and vampires. A 14-page ashcan of the first issue was available at the Radical booth, and the book will be published in an oversized format, 64 pages for $4.99. "Twenty-two pages is never enough for me when I'm writing, and I'm sure it's not enough for you when you're reading," Hine said.
Hine is also writing "Ryder on the Storm," for which Jim Steranko also designed the world. The book is a Lovecraftian noir in which daemons walk the Earth. Hine described the world as "science fiction retro," with echoes of "Dark City" and "Blade Runner."
Next up was Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini's "The Last Days of American Crime," a "gritty crime noir" science fiction tale in which the government is preparing to send out a broadcast which will inhibit the human mind from doing anything that has been deemed harmful. Career criminal Graham Brick is trying to complete the "heist of his life" before he is no longer able to commit crimes. And Brick isn't the only one: Remender said the book feels like a zombie movie because there is chaos in the streets as the population of America tries to get all of their vices out of their system forever.
Nick Simmons created, wrote and illustrated "Incarnate." Once a vampire tale, Simmons believes the vampire genre has been "bloated" by films like "Twilight," so he created his own vampire-like race called Revenants. "They feed on human flesh and blood and live forever, with a few key differences," Simmons said. For one, each Revenant is plagued by a no-eyed doppelganger that only they can see. Revenants can only be killed at the hands of another, more powerful Revenant (their blood and bones are toxic to each other), and "Incarnate" follows a group of humans who have finally found a way to eliminate the monsters. Simmons said for "Incarnate," he's trying to bring "philosophical merit and blood-slinging action."
Next up was Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's "Time Bomb," a book the creators had on the shelf for years, just waiting for the right publisher to come along. In "Time Bomb," a chemical weapon called an omega bomb, hidden in a secret city under Berlin built by Hitler himself, is accidentally set off and ravages Europe. Our heroes travel back in time to the final days of "World War II" to try and stop the threat before it starts.
In the science-fiction noir future of Steve Niles' "City of Dust," censorship reigns and the police force is entirely reliant on technology. When a case comes along that technology can't crack, our hero, Philip Khrome, is forced to become a real detective. The first arc of "City of Dust" is complete, and Niles is working on the next.
"Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead," written, painted and lettered by Steve Pugh, is set in a near-future world where ghosts walk the cities and are considered to be a "low level problem for law enforcement." Our hero is Alice, a "rude and obnoxious" exorcist who consults for the police force. Issue #4 hits stands this summer, and a trade collection will be available in November, with a number of special features including an early "Hotwire" story written by Warren Ellis.
Sam Sarkar and Tony Dezuniga's "Caliber" is a new take on the Arthurian legend, set in the Old West. Arthur and his deputies are Civil War vets who are now tasked with pacifying Indian uprisings. Lance, based on Lancelot, "starts seeing ghosts of those that he's killed." He's the "ultimate reluctant hero," Sarkar said, because every time he kills someone, their ghost will pester him for the rest of his life. Book 2, "Caliber: Book of the Dead," is coming soon. Sarkar works at Johnny Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil, and the company has optioned the film rights for "Caliber."
M. Zachary Sherman is writing Matt Cirulnick's "Earp: Saints for Sinners," retelling the story of Wyatt Earp, set in a dystopian future where the current economic downturn plays out to the nth degree.
Finally, Sherman, Long and Sagan discussed "Shrapnel," which Sagan referred to as "Joan of Arc in space." The collected edition of the first series, "Shrapnel: Artesia Rising," is available now, and volume two, "Shrapnel: Hubris," is coming soon. Len Wiseman is set to adapt and direct "Shrapnel" for the big screen.