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ECCC: BOOM! Studios / BOOM! Kids Panel

by  in Comic News Comment
ECCC: BOOM! Studios / BOOM! Kids Panel

If one thing was clear from walking the convention floors of the Emerald City ComiCon, it’s that every publisher tries to target their product towards a specific niche. There’s the superhero set, the sci-fi fans and the pirate-lovers (just to name a few). Upon walking into the panel for BOOM! Studios on Saturday, the company’s message became evident very quickly – this publisher has a book for everyone.

To help walk fans through their catalog and share some exciting news about upcoming books, BOOM! brought along several members of their team, including Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid, Managing Editor Matt Gagnon, BOOM! Kids Editor Aaron Sparrow, and co-founder Ross Richie, who moderated the panel for attendees.

To begin, Richie thanked fans, retailers and Diamond for helping BOOM! win Best Publisher of 2009. “It’s been four years since we started – this summer will be five – and I didn’t think it would be possible to win such an award by this time.” However, it was clear to all that Richie was pleased to be wrong in this instance.

They soon moved to a prepared slideshow. First up was “The Anchor,” by Phil Hester with art by Brian Churilla. Richie described the main character of the book as “God’s own leg-breaker.” He added that the story is two-fisted pulp action with a supernatural spin like “The Goon” or “Ghost Rider.”

The co-founder then moved on to talk about a new book coming out of their BOOM! Town imprint. “BOOM! Town is our literary comics imprint,” Richie explained, then paused. Veering off track, he said, “I think it was a terrible idea to call it a lit-comics imprint because everybody asks me what that means…but what it means is that these [comics] are sort of more artistic books. How would you describe it, Mark?”

“They’re for the older audience – the mature readers. They’re at the opposite end of the spectrum from the BOOM! Kids stuff,” Waid offered.

Richie appeared okay with that definition and started discussing a new book from the publisher that includes a bright, shining star – “Samuel L. Jackson is doing a comic for us. It’s a sci-fi western. The story tracks Sam’s character as he goes to a little planetoid and ends up finding himself between two battling war criminal factions and tries to play them against each other for money.”

The book is an outer-space adventure titled “Cold Space” which Jackson is working on with his “Afro Samurai” co-conspirator Eric Calderon and will be illustrated by Jeremy Rock. At this point, Mark Waid enthusiastically played some Samuel Jackson quotes from the iSamJackson app on his iPhone (to the audience’s amusement).

Next up for discussion was the “Irredeemable Special” which should ship between issues #12 & 13 of the ongoing series. For fans who were concerned, Waid moved quickly to assure them, “This is not a fill-in, per se. It is setting some necessary stuff up for year two. Basically, we sat down and figured out who the three biggest characters in year two were going to be in terms of the ones who were going to have the most to say about how this universe shapes up.

“Portage – the guy who died issue #1 – is one, but there’s more to his story. Kaiden is another. And then, what I think is sort of the crown jewel of the special, a short Max Damage and Jailbait story is included from Howard Chaykin, who enjoyed drawing Jailbait very much.”

The announcement that followed talk of the “Irredeemable Special” was something that Richie appeared pleased to reveal. “We’re going to be doing a new ongoing series in the Farscape universe starring its greatest super-villain, which is Scorpius. If you’re a ‘Farscape’ fan, you know what that means: we just put Dr. Doom in charge. We are not putting the brakes on.

“It is great fun to work with [‘Farscape’ creator] Rockne S. O’Bannon on this. Rockne is having a terrific time. He is really enjoying being able to cut loose and not having to worry about TV budgets and write whatever he wants with his favorite bad guy.”

The panel could agree that it sounds like a dream…for the bad guys.

The book that was discussed next in the slideshow was “7 Psychopaths,” written by Fabien Vehlmann with art by Sean Phillips. Gagnon described it as “an Inglorious Bastards-style book – it’s seven psychopaths with one job: kill Hitler. What’s not to love?” No one offered any argument. The first issue will see stores in May.

Also coming during that spring month, Richie was pleased to announce that the third volume of “Amory Wars” would see print from BOOM! Studios. Not only that, but series writer Claudio Sanchez will now be joined by a second writer comic fans may be familiar with – Peter David. The audience indicated their pleasure at this point with loud applause.

After this bit of news, it was time to go down the rabbit’s hole and have some BOOM! Kids fun. In case you didn’t pick up the sly reference, BOOM! will be doing an “Alice in Wonderland” graphic novel, which will be an adaptation of the story used for the Tim Burton movie. The book will be coming out in June.

The crowd was then assured that lots more fun would be heading their way in the form of Muppets and mallards. To begin with, both Waid and Richie sang the praises of writer/artist Roger Langridge, who works on BOOM’s new ongoing “Muppet Show” comic. Waid admitted to being a huge fan of the creator and said his storytelling instincts are “spot-on. It’s just like having an episode of the ‘Muppet Show!'” the E-i-C proclaimed. He did caution people that Langridge will be taking an issue off from art, to give himself a little breather. However, he’ll still be writing the story, so not to worry.

The other big announcement that BOOM! had for kids was that terror is coming…more specifically, “the terror that flaps in the night.” That’s correct – Darkwing Duck is going to be available through BOOM! Kids courtesy of writer Ian Brill. This isn’t the same Darkwing most folks remember though. It was explained that the character has gone through some changes.

“Darkwing Duck has not been seen in St. Canard in more than a year. Much of the town has forgotten him. He and his closest pal Launchpad have had a falling out, and the only thing Darkwing is busy protecting is the cubicle he’s stuck working in.”

You heard right – cubicle.

Darkwing will soon find a reason to don his mask and cape and come out of retirement. Will it be too late? Probably not, but the fun should come in finding out the answer…a prospect that gained an enthusiastic response from the crowd.

And on that happy note, the fans present gave a final applause to BOOM’s panelists and waddled out of the room looking as happy as a duck on a rainy day in the Emerald City.

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