CCI: Wildstorm Brewing

It was a late panel for a Saturday, scheduled to start at 6:30, but many great names were on hand -- Mickey Nielsen from Bilzzard Entertainment, Senior editor Ben Abernathy, Joshua Ortega, Wes Craig, Fiona Staples, Jason Craig, Christos Gage, Neil Googe, Jeremy Haun Joel Gomez, Jon Buran, Brian Denham, Scott Peterson, Mike Costa, Mike Huddleston, Shannon Denton and Wes Craig -- to discuss what in the worldstorm is going on with Wildstorm. Moderated by general manager Hank Kanalz, Jim Lee was stuck in traffic at the panel's inception but they forged ahead.

Slides were shown with new projects, starting with WIldcats. "The world's come to an end," Gage said. "We're going to see a team of Wildcats starting with most of the classic characters. The exciting thing about this is we're going to see something I've never seen in a comics universe before. An event happened which was going to end the world, and the heroes failed to stop it."

"It's been great fun to work on something where the entire planet's been stamped on," Googe said. "It's good to get back to working on some of the original cast. There's fans of the series and people want to see their characters represented well. I just hope everybody else enjoys it as much as we do it."

"I never realized you are Grifter," Gage said. "But does Grifter sing a mean Tom Jones on karaoke? I think not."

"The Authority is back," Abernathy said. "They're really stripped these characters down from their godlike status and make 'em deal with what it is to be a hero. There's going to be changes in the cast, stick with it and it'll answer all questions."

Huddleston said of "Gen 13" that it's a road trip across a post-apocalyptic world. "I was really free to take a completely different direction with it," he said.

"Scott and Mike are putting their stamp on this book, mixing the fun of 'Gen 13' with the horrors of this new world," Abernathy said.

He continued on "Stormwatch PHD," saying "Jackson King is back, he's put together a new Stormwatch whose job is to save as many lives as possible. They reside on Skywatch 3, and have the ability to teleport down and kick butt. The approach with Wildcats and the post apocalyptic direction all comes from the outline Grant Morrison had, and will make sense when it comes to the completion of Jim and Grant's 'WIldcats.'"

"I just got a text from Jim Lee," Kanalz said. "He is trying to make it here."

Abernathy was supposed to shave his head if any bi-weekly titles were late, and seeing as he had not only a full head of hair but a long beard, it seems things went well. "It was quite a trip," he said.

"We had a long very detailed discussion with Grant Morrison," Peterson said. "and plotted out fairly tightly where the remains of his 'Authority' run will go when it ends up. It's all going to be completely cohesive. The part where Batman got decapitated, people figured it evened the odds."

Creator driven books came up next with "Ex Machina." Abernathy talked briefly about the title going into its last year, which was planned to hit #50 or so. "It's an election year, so vote with your dollars," Kanalz said.

Gene Ha and Zander Cannon are on the new season of "Top 10," with the second issue now in production. Cannon is in Artist's Alley with lettered layouts.

Next up was Storming Paradise, an "alternate earth where world war two is going on, forces the US' hand in an invasion of mainland Japan. By the end of issue six, we will know if a million people die," said Abernathy. Chuck Dixon and Butch Guice are on this title, and both are said to be superlatively well researched.

"Casey Blue" from B. Clay Moore was next. Abernathy explained the storyline and its twists and turns. "It's the introduction of Clay Moore to the Wildstorm family, and in the next year we'll announce what's next from him."

"It's a little early to talk about it now," Kanalz said of these new creator-owned properties.

Star-in-making Joel Gomez spoke about "Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs." "I really liked working with Hans, the writer, who worked on the screenplay for the second movie," Gomez said. "It was a lot of fun, the opportunity to work on a property that was a big influence on my younger days, especially the soundtrack."

An Andreyko/Wayshak colaboration called "Ferryman" was shown with a blood soaked video preview. "Producer Joel Silver came up with it, and he got with Marc Andreyko, and it posted out as a five issue mini-series. Chris Sprouse was the dream artist, but then we found Jonathan Wayshak, who is nothing like Chris. They were like 'oh my god, we have to get this guy.' He is phenomenal. The series is about a ferryman who's a bounty hunter for people who've sold their soul to the devil and are thinking about reneging on the deal. It's really gorgeous work."

"Supernatural: Rising Son" picks up five years after the end of "Origins," and the boys have a larger role in the series. "It's Dean Winchester's coming of age," Abernathy said. The fifth issue will be on stands in August, and it's "spot on continuity with the show."

Denton talked about "Chuck," saying, "It's the $300 million movie on paper that they couldn't do."

Spotznitz and Denham are bringing back "The X-Files." "It's a little hard to get into our stories because they're mysteries," Denton said. "We got to work with Spotznitz, who's an executive producer on the show."

Denham said "I usually draw a lot of intense action, but I knew a lot of people who picked this up would never have bought a comic book, so I kept art in this three tier grid. Likenesses are extremely hard to do. Shannon was like 'you're late!' and I was like 'I can't get David Duchovny's nose right!'"

The artists talked about "World of Warcraft" being similar thematically to the game. "There's a humongous twist at the end, and it leads into the game," Buran said. "The artistic process is pretty fun. Walt Simonson is absolutely great to work with, I learned a lot from him." They also have "World of Warcraft: Ashbringer," written by Nielsen, discussing a human paladin's soul trapped in a blade, struggled over by an evil son and a good son. It's intended to work well for people who have never played the game as well as players.

Abernathy couldn't say much about the "Fringe" adaptation, written by "Whedon, Cho, Johnson, Dispatro, Katsnelson, Pitts, Mandrake and Coleby." "Simon Coleby is so far ahead on 'Authority' he has time to contribute 11 pages a month. There'll be a lot of crazy creepy stuff, the stuff you won't see in 'The X-Files."

Joshua Ortega stepped up to discuss "Gears of War," with art from Liam Sharp and Badeaux. Ortega is also writing the sequel to the game. "It has the first new gear introduced outside the game, spanning the six months between 'Gears 1' and 'Gears 2.' We're really excited about it, it's very intertwined." Abernathy said Liam Sharp looks like the character Marcus Phoenix at 6'5" and built like a tank.

A preview of "Mirror's Edge" was shown, an interaction with EA Games, a futuristic story of a betrayed information courier in the future.

Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman are doing a six-issue mini-series based on the film "Push," serving as a prequel for the Chris Evans/Dakota Fanning movie. Art is by Bruno Redondo and covers by Jock. The first two issues are out in November, with six issues in four months.

"Heroes" volume two will be released from Wildstorm, and then the floor was opened up for questions, starting with the "Hawksmoor" mini series. Apparently, it takes place largely in 1994, long before he was even a member in Stormwatch," the writer said.

Gage said that each of the core issues of the Wildstorm books are self-contained enough for fans to just pick up one, or get 'em all and see the four-page backups tie into one sixteen page story every month, which utilize characters that are not normally seen and are often asked for on message boards. The eighth of nine reveals what Tao has been doing in a story called "The Tao of Tao."

Kanalz promised this crossover would hold things for a while. "We didn't call this 'World Crisis,'" he said, comforting a fan who liked to keep his titles separate.

Abnett and Lanning have an exception in their Marvel contract to do fifteen issues of "The Authority."

Fan Chris Striker from their message boards asked if we will see the Paladins from "Number of the Beast" again, and Abernathy said, "yes, in various circumstances." He reiterated again and again that the events that happened were planned and that things will make sense as they continue.

John Cassaday is working on "Planetary" #27, "and it should be done in five years," Abernathy said. "He's not taking any other work until it's done. You're gonna love it."

Each person who asked a question got a free signed "WIldstorm: Armageddon" TPB, and the panel ended to let fans out into the balmy San Diego night.

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