NYCC: Aspen Comics Panel

Frank Mastromauro and the rest of the Aspen group greeted an intimate gathering of fans to Aspen's first ever NYCC panel with a warm "Aloha."

Attending were Aspen's Peter Steigerwald, Vince Hernandez, Ale Garza, JT Krul, Joe Benitez, David Wohl, Beth Sotelo, Micah Gunnell, and Mark Roslan.

The news started with updates on "Soulfire," which returns in March and wraps in May. Issue number eight includes the final series pages completed by Michael Turner, with the concluding two issues illustrated by Benitez. Mastromauro told the audience that the final issue of "Soulfire: Shadow Magic" in April will lead into"Soulfire: New World Order," debuting that same month.

The panel also announced two brand new books for '09, "Executive Assistant: Iris," and "Delec."

"Executive Assistant: Iris," will tell the story of a Chinese orphan trained to work in a culture where businessmen hire attractive, young female bodyguards under the guise of personal assistants. Iris' tale will expose a greater world of executive assistant characters that creators David Wohl and artist Eduardo Fransico intend to explore as part of a continued franchise.

Next up came the announcement of "Delec," co-written by Mastromauro and Hernandez, with art by Micha Gunnel. The story explores themes of destiny and choice in a world shaped by a creator who selects humans to commit evil to reinforce the need for good. Chosen as an agent of change, the titular character will face the consequences of defying his mission. "It's going to push the envelope of what we do at Aspen," said Mastromauro. The book launches with a $1.99 issue no. 0, and continues with a special $2.50 cover price, which will continue for the rest of the series.

The panel continued with updates on Aspen's other properties. "Shrugged," is still on Aspen's agenda and is, "probably the next project we'll push to outside media," said Mastromauro.

Geoff Johns' "Ekos," is, "still definitely on the way," according to Mastromauro, who said he'd been staying in touch with the writer and waiting for the right time to move forward.

Also announced is that the Aspen Showcase line will be continuing with "Aspen Showcase Kiani," featuring the writing talents of Mark Andreyko. "Fathom" Volume 3 will be wrapping up this summer, and fans can expect collected editions of "Shrugged," "Kiani," and "Fathom Volume 1 Definitive."

Though the panel acknowledged it shared in the challenges currently facing the rest of the publishing world, Mastromauro expressed his confidence in the company's future and his excitement for things to come and told fans to expect some major announcements in the coming weeks for Aspen projects in other media, including motion comics.

"Executive Assistant: Iris" debuts in March with issue #0 - David Wohl, Michael Turner, Eduardo Francisco, John Starr star as the creative team.

"Dellec" debuts in May with issue #0 - created and written by Frank Mastromauro and Vince Hernandez with art by Micah Gunnell, Rob Stull, Matt Hollingsworth.

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