The Dark Horse Builds Characters panel at New York Comic Con 2014 was so large that Dark Horse Publicist and panel moderator Aub Driver was rotating creators on and off the stage as there just wasn't enough room for everyone to sit down talking about their many new projects.
Driver started by turning to artist Jim Calafiore to talk about the graphic novel "Leaving Megalopolis," written by Gail Simone and originally published through Kickstarter. The OGN now has a new hardcover edition courtesy of Dark Horse. "Gail and I had been on 'Secret Six' at DC and that had been cancelled in favor of the New 52," Calafiore said. He proposed the idea of a Kickstarter and Simone suggested a few ideas. "I really liked the idea of Megalopolis," Calafiore said. "We put it together and it did well. Kickstarter's a fun place."
Showing off the opening pages, Calafiore talked about his excitement of having pages without dialogue to open the book. "Each panel tells a different story and so we didn't have to do exposition to set everything up," he explained.
Launching in November is "The Resurrectionists," a brand new ongoing series from writer Fred Van Lente, artists Maurizio Rosenzweig and Moreno Dinisio with covers by Juan Doe. Van Lente described the book as, "What if Philip K. Dick wrote crime fiction?" The story jumps around in time covering thousands of years, centering around tomb robbers who keep trying to pull off a heist and get reincarnated. "These people are trying to steal their souls back and it's taking them three thousands years to do it," Van Lente said.
The inspiration for "The Resurrectionists" came from research he did for an issue of "Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four" and how tomb robbers in ancient Egypt were trying to destroy people in the afterlife. The series plays with ideas of reincarnation, immortality, and "people trying to steal their futures back."
Transitioning to "Ei8ht," Rafael Albuquerque said that his new creator-owned project focuses on the concept of time travel.
"This is a story about a time traveler who lives in the near future," Albuquerque said. "To save his wife he's offered an almost suicidal mission to travel in time to the meld, where everything that ever walked or will walk coexists. You find dinosaurs living with humans and everything you ever imagined." He was hesitant to say much more about the series, but spoke with excitement about the book's colors. "It's very simple but we're using yellow or green or blue as a storytelling form to guide the reader through the times we're showing."
One of the major new series launches for Dark Horse next year is Brian Wood's "Rebels" with art by Andrea Mutti. Wood described it as a big historical book akin to his Viking book "Northlanders," but about the American Revolution. "It's not just about the history we learned in school," Wood said explaining that it's about the colonial period that prefaced the war and the period immediately afterwards and is intended to be wide-ranging.
The first story arc is about The Green Mountain Boys, which Wood described as America's first militia, which looks very different then than it does now -- or maybe it doesn't. It will follow a young man and his wife and explore the demands on him as a combatant and her on the home front.
Wood also mentioned that Mutti is a great revolutionary war buff and when Wood initially asked if he was interested, Mutti sent a photo of himself in full costume complete with guns.
Next year may see the launch of a new series, but in December, "The Massive" concludes with issue #30. Wood didn't want to say anything about the conclusion, but cited the cover of the final issue as his favorite piece of art from the series.
"Concrete Park" is currently on its second series and co-writer and artist Tony Puryear and co-writer Erika Alexander discussed what's in store for the book's second major arc. "Earth's poor youth underclass has been sent to another planet, like an Australia in space. The question is will they reproduce the same tribalism of planet Earth or make something different," Puryear said, adding that the planet has native inhabitants, which adds another wrinkle that they're exploring.
"This panel is about building characters, and comics have always been about crafting worlds," Alexander said. "They're all outsiders, they're all exiles -- and they can never go back."
Matt Kindt, who has been successful with his current Dark Horse ongoing "MIND MGMT," not only has new creator owned series "PastAways" with Scott Kolins coming up next year, but also has new collections of two of his early projects in the pipeline: "Pistolship," which Kindt drew will collect the many series into one volume with new colors; and a new edition of "2 Sisters," which Kindt wrote and drew.
Donny Cates joined the panel to discuss his new ongoing series "The Ghost Fleet" beginning in November. Cates described the book as "a bunch of big trucks doing cool guy action stuff." He explained that the Ghost Fleet is a real conceptwhere trucks will haul secret or dangerous items for the government. Cates cited the warehouse at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and said, "The Ghost Fleet brought all that stuff there."
Daniel Warren Johnson is drawing the book and Cates praised his work as fun, and explaining that the book starts in 1812, goes into the future, features crazy assassins, and big trucks.
Cates' miniseries "Buzzkill" will get a sequel next summer with the ongoing series "The Paybacks" co-written by Eliot Rahal. Rahal described the setup: what if a mysterious benefactor gave you the money to buy every gadget and vehicle that you needed to become a superhero -- but you couldn't pay off the debt? In the "Buzzkill" follow-up, the C- and D-list superheroes that are indebted have to work off their loans by going after other superheroes.
Driver reminded the audience before the panel closed of Dark Horse's ten issue "Fight Club 2" series written by Chuck Palahniuk with art by Cameron Stewart and covers by David Mack, which begins in May.