CCI: The Avatar Press Panel

Director of Sales and Marketing Keith Davidsen began the Avatar Press panel, absent any flashy images or video, although full of excitement. Joining Davidsen on the panel was Editor-in-Chief William Christiansen and Bleeding Cool founder Rich Johnston, who jokingly quipped he showed up solely for the use of the electrical outlet on the panel to charge his computer.

Davidsen revealed that the next ongoing series from Avatar Press is "Night of the Living Dead," saying the title "is set firmly in the George Romero universe." The new series, written by David Lapham, takes place in the 1970s, but with a revised sense of history as the zombie outbreak has now become an every day part of life in society. The main character is a young, punk rock girl living in Los Angeles, who eventually escapes her city for Las Vegas as the zombie problem reaches California. It's Lapham showing how society, and specifically the punk rock scene, would have evolved in a world full of zombies.

Debuting the first issue of the new series for Halloween, Avatar plans to celebrate the release and help comic stores with promotions similar to those it has run for their popular series Also released that day will be a new trade collection of the previous "Night of the Living Dead" one-shots, a total of 64 pages for $2.99.

The next big topic of discussion was Alan Moore's "Fashion Beast," originally written by the legendary creator as a movie script in 1985. Christiansen made sure to emphasize that the story was written during the height of Moore's creativity as he was writing both "Watchmen" and "Swamp Thing" at the same time. Having no background in film writing, the 200-page script by Moore was more akin to a prose novel than an film script. Described as "Beauty and the Beast" in a dystopian future, when fashion and music will be the only pop culture escape available, the eight issue series "is in the can" and will be released in the Fall.

"Caligula: Heart of Rome," written by David Lapham will be out in December and will feature the same painted-style of art as the previous "Caligula" project.

Christiansen was noticeably excited about Avatar's current superhero project, "Hero Worship" by Zak Penn and Scott Murphy, leading him to describe his company as one that "[does] superhero stuff differently. We come at it from a different angle." The new series is about Zenith, the world's only superhero who is also the world's biggest celebrity, and how his troubled life is made worse when his biggest fan gains actual superpowers in trying to emulate the hero. While Penn is a well-known writer of comic book film adaptations, this will be the writer's first comic book series.

"We're the house that 'Crossed' built," Christiansen joked as he moved onto Avatar's popular horror series created by writer Garth Ennis. "We're super far ahead, I know what happens in [issue] 50." The next trade of the series, "Crossed: Volume 4 - Badlands," will be out in the Fall.

"Stitched," by Ennis and artist Mike Wolfer, began life as a short film last year written and directed by Ennis and will continue on after the first seven issues based on the film. In issue 8, Wolfer takes over both art and writing duties.

Johnston's "Bleeding Cool Magazine #1" will be out in October, totaling out at 104 pages for $3.99. "We're trying to do....when Wizard wasn't shit!" Christiansen declared. The magazine will feature price guides and news articles, including an interview with Alan Moore and a history of comics retrospective.

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