ECCC: Dynamite is Ready to Explode

As the panel's title suggests, Dynamite Entertainment did indeed seem ready to explode at this year's Emerald City Comicon. Founder Nick Barrucci showed up with an army of creators and all appeared poised to have their presence felt. The panel room was a bit on the empty side, due to being one of the last panels of a long Saturday, but the energy was, well, explosive.

Barrucci began by introducing those assembled with him: Matt Wagner, Mark Waid, Brandon Jerwa, Robert Napton, Chris Roberson, Ron Marz, Mark Rahner, Eric Trautman, cover artist Francesco Francavilla and newly announced "Red Sonja" writer Gail Simone. And to show that she meant business, Simone even brought a sword with her. Barrucci pointed out how appropriate it was to have a red-headed female writing everyone's favorite red-headed female.

The art on the upcoming series will be done by Walter Geovani, and he has even designed a new "villainess/archnemesis" for the book. Barrucci then mentioned how he and Simone brainstormed the idea of having an all-female group of artists do the covers for the first issue. Fans can expect covers courtesy of Nicola Scott, Colleen Doran, Jenny Frisson, Stephanie Buscema and Fiona Staples. Simone said it was fun experience because when they talked to these artists, they all seemed to come out as closeted "Red Sonja" fans. (For more on "Red Sonja," check out CBR's interview with Simone).

Waid then discussed coming onto the "Green Hornet" book. He said that he's been nursing the idea for the story around 10 years. His tale will feature the 1940's Green Hornet and will follow the radio show continuity. He added that his book launches out of the Green Hornet history that has been set up by Wagner.

Marz briefly talked about several projects he is working on, including "Prophecy" for Dynamite. He quickly encouraged people to pick up his original graphic novel "Ravine" from Image, as it has been under-printed. Also, he invited people to stop by his table, which he's sitting at with the Chicago Bears' Israel Idonije. Marz is writing "The Protectors" with him, which is being published by Idonije's own Athleta Comics. The writer added that it's great to have a defensive lineman watching his table while he's at this panel.

Francavilla was introduced by Barrucci as the artist who "is in steep competition with Alex Ross for the most monthly Dynamite covers." The artist also mentioned his Dark Horse comic "Black Beetle" and said that he is going to be doing some Hawkeye work for Marvel. Barrucci then opened the panel to audience questions from the floor.

The first person to the microphone commented on the eight-issue limited series "Masks" and his love of the universe that Roberson has created.

"As a fan of those heroes since childhood, it just made sense that those guys would bump into each other," Roberson said.

Roberson said that it's been interesting to see fan reaction to the series. For example, when the Shadow beats up Kato in the story, readers really seemed to get upset even though the Shadow is clearly more powerful. Wagner said, "Well, in that group, he's like Superman."

Barrucci said how difficult "Masks" was to produce because each character is owned by a different company. It took more than two years to get the rights. He said that the Shadow was "the lynchpin" to the series, so once they got his rights, they were off.

Barrucci said that there have been talks about doing more in the "Masks" universe, and said he has also been talking to Roberson about another character they both love. They hope to get to the character in another year or so, and are excited by the prospects.

Some good news came next for fans of Matt Wagner's "Shadow: Year One" - the miniseries has been expanded from eight to 10 issues. Wagner said how much he's enjoyed working with the character and explained, "He has no trouble pulling that trigger. After so long of working on characters like Batman or ones that have codes against killing, it's kind of fun!"

After this, a fan asked Simone what they can expect from her upcoming "Red Sonja" run. As Simone's writing usually contains much humor, they wanted to know what readers should expect from the red-headed barbarian.

"You're definitely going to find humor," Simone said. "I wouldn't say Red Sonja's funny herself, but she does have a couple of tomboy twins that feel it's their duty to protect her at all times - as if she needed it."

Another audience member wanted to know if they can expect more "Project Superpowers" or "Kirby: Genesis" from Dynamite. Barrucci said that they both will be coming in the future, but provided a couple of caveats as well.

"'Kirby: Genesis' had a great story, but my excitement for it had us put out two spinoffs right away, and that hurt sales with retailers. When we bring it back, I want to bring it back as solid as possible with as many sales as possible," Barrucci said. "As for 'Superpowers,' what I'll say is this: there's two people on this panel - and I'll leave you guys guessing - that I've been talking about 'Superpowers' with for awhile, as well as other creators, and we just want to make sure we bring it back right. Because,it is a universe of characters - it's a universe we love. This is going to be our third outing with it, and if we don't get it right this time, or if we don't make it as big as possible, we can't do it anymore."

Some fun was had next as a young boy in a green costume approached the Q&A microphone. He said his father had told him that Dynamite publishes "older heroes" and asked what books he should read if he wants to learn more about those heroes.

The panelists were impressed by the boy's curiosity. Barrucci replied, "Because you've had the best and most sincere question of the panel - and because you seem to be the youngest guy here - when you stop by the Dynamite booth, tell them Nick said that - outside of 'The Boys' - I can have any book I want for free."

That seemed to please the youngster, but he was stopped by Waid before he could return to his seat. The scribe said he wanted to know more about the character the boy was dressed as. The youth explained it was a hero he had made up and was then invited to the dais to tell everyone about his hero.

Once seated between Roberson and Barrucci, the boy introduced the world to Gross Guy. "Some people think he's weird and not a hero, but he is a hero and defeats 'clean' villains." According to the youngster, he doesn't have any powers, his main villain is Soap Man,and he has a weapon that shoots banana peels.

"Already you're more creative than half the people up here!" Waid said.

After that fun bit of entertainment, the boy returned to his seat in time for a couple more questions from the crowd. A fan mentioned all the heroes that Dynamite has in their stable, but wanted to know if any new characters would be joining their roster. Barrucci said that they've signed a couple of projects, but they can't announce them just yet.

Another audience member wanted to know if they can look forward to more "Army of Darkness" comics from Dynamite. The founder replied that they have a "super-cool" announcement about "Army of Darkness" that will take place around C2E2 or the San Diego convention.

Before the panel concluded, Jerwa offered some words of praise to Barrucci and Dynamite: "I want to give you guys credit. This is not something that I think people are aware of, but I'm sure everyone on the panel would say this, Nick and Joe, our editor - they actually let us write the damn books. They get people that want to work on their books, and then let them do just that."

With an "explosion" of applause, the panel concluded. And while Gross Guy could be seen leaving the hall to slime clean evil-doers everywhere, Dynamite could happily say they picked up a new fan.

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