NYCC: Radical Publishing

Radical Publishing held a large panel Saturday at the New York Comic Con. In attendance were publisher Barry Levine, Jim Steranko, CEO Jesse Berger, Arthur Suydam, Steve Niles, Steve Pugh, David Hine, Rick Remender, and Sam Sarkar. The panel was moderated by Rich Marshall from MTV's comic-based Splash Page blog. Radical had an extensive slideshow showcasing their current offerings, and along the way explained their company philosophy to the attendees.

Berger started off by touting their New Publisher of the Year award, which is part of Diamond Distributors Gem Awards program. He noted that this award was especially meaningful since it is voted on by retailers. He expressed his thanks to the retailers, and credited the writers and artists in attendance for making it possible.

The first project showcased was Radical's popular Hercules comics. A second miniseries featuring Hercules in ancient Egypt was announced, entitled "Hercules: Knives of Kush." As with the previous series, the legendary Jim Steranko will be providing covers and character designs. He expressed how much he enjoys working with Radical, noting the amount of effort they put into their production values. "They really care," he said.

Next up was a revival of Arthur Suydam's property "Cholly and Flytrap." Suydam had a sculpture of his characters on the podium in front of him throughout the panel, though final cover art was not ready in time for the convention. The next announcement was that Steve Niles has developed a new series called "City of Dust" for Radical. Levine told the audience that his relationship with Niles goes back years, when Niles was still shopping around his creator-owned series "30 Days of Night." Levine missed out on publishing that, but Niles made an impression on him and continued to pitch him things over the years.

"Hotwire" is a series Steve Pugh originally conceived of with Warren Ellis, but Pugh will be flying solo as the series gets its start at Radical. Not only is he writing, but he will be drawing and lettering the book himself, so the people at Radical do not get to see issues until they are complete. Issue #1 just hit the shelves, and there will be another 6 issue story arc to follow the current one.

The series "Shrapnel," which debuted in January, was originally brought to Radical by video game developer Zombie Studios. Zombie became interested in Radical because of their impressive production values, but Radical turned them down, as their company policy is not to do licensed books. Zombie was determined to have their book at Radical however, so they forged a 50/50 partnership which will include 50% of the video game revenue as well.

The next book showcased was "Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost" which features a new spin on the classic Arabian Nights tale. The series will be written by Ian Edginton with art by Patrick Reilly. "It's not Disney," said Berger. "We've gone back to the roots of the original story." Clayton Crain will be doing covers. "FVZA" ("Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency") is another property brought to Radical from the larger entertainment world. Radical then brought David Hine on to write, as well as his collaborator from Marvel's "Son of M," Roy Martinez. "This is like nothing you've ever seen from him before," said Hine.

Rick Remender has a new series titled "The Last Days of American Crime," which features a totalitarian government that has developed a broadcast to wipe out unlawful behavior. They will start broadcasting in two weeks, leaving the nation's populace two weeks to carry out every illicit fantasy they've ever had. "It was definitely inspired by the Bush administration," Remender said. Alex Maleev will provide covers, and Greg Tocchini is on interiors. It was also announced that Sam Sarkar's "Caliber," which along with Hercules was one of Radical's debut books, will continue. Sarkar described the series as "King Arthur as a Western." There is also a movie in the works, with Johnny Depp's company producing and John Woo slated to direct.

Barry Levine wound the panel down with a few announcements about developments on the company's publishing and film fronts. Levine mentioned that the company now has a discretionary fund which they can use to develop film projects on their own without having to go around trying to raise money from studios. The second major development is that the company will begin to approach the writers of their comics about doing adaptations of their own work into other media. Levine specifically mentioned Remender and Hine as writers they have discussed this with. "It doesn't matter to me if they haven't written a screenplay before. We know if they have the right skills." Lastly, Levine announced that the company will no longer publish standard-sized single issues; Radical's comics will now generally be 48 pages each, at a price of $4.99 each, with stories coming in 3-part arcs.

Levine closed by saying that people often ask him what separates Radical from other publishers, and he says it can be summed up in one word; "Taste." Levine thanked the audience for coming, and the panel ended with a raffle of signed and framed artwork from several Radical creators.

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