The jam packed room at New York Comic-Con this past Saturday was filled with Harry Dresden fans eagerly awaiting to hear the "Dresden Files" author Jim Butcher talk about his new original series featuring his popular character.
Butcher, along with Dabel Brothers' Business Director, Rich Young, Neil Schwartz, Marketing Manager, and Brian Smith, editor on the "Dresden Files," talked about their other projects in development, but left much of the panel open to question and answers from the Butcher fans in the room.
The "Dresden Files" is a four-issue mini-series with an original story that follows a supernatural serial killer who haunts Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo and Dresden, "must turn the tables on the killer, before he turns the tables on him," said Butcher.
Butcher said the mini-series would be called "Welcome to the Jungle," a reference stemming from the popular yellow journalist Upton Sinclair's novel "The Jungle," and his own "inner English Literature student begging to come out."
The story sprung out of the original TV pilot where Dresden's partner referenced, "that mess at the zoo," said Butcher. "I draw references for other cases he's doing on the side. He's always working on another case throughout when something comes along. So this time I drew the reference from that line [in the pilot]."
The other case Dresden is working on, Butcher said, "Is something petty, that actually ends up being more messy."
Joining Butcher on the four issue miniseries is newcomer Ardian Syaf, whom Marketing Manager Neil Schwartz met while playing "City of Heroes" online. Butcher was excited by the work he saw from Syaf and the Dabels signed him to a five year contract soon after.
Immediately following, they opened the floor up to questions.
One fan asked about the difference in writing comics compared to novels, to which Butcher answered, "A picture is worth a thousand words and there are six panels a page so I have to write a thousand words a panel. I was a newbie in a new style, they [the Dabels] informed me that you can't have the dialogue go two paragraphs in a two-by-two panel. You wouldn't see the characters. I, however, thought they should change universal physics just for me."
Butcher continued by saying, "Writing a novel is easier. I read some graphic novel scripts, to get the idea. I have to listen to other people's advice, which I'm not good at. I'll write something, the editor will change it and I'll have a tantrum."
Some of those scripts Butcher said he read were Neil Gaiman's "Marvel: 1602," recent "Amazing Spider-Man" scripts and George R.R. Martin's "Hedge Knight."
Another fan asked what comics he read as a kid to today. "From 1983 to 1986 I read every Marvel Comic out there and none of that New Universe crud. I followed Marvel right up to when McFarlane took over 'Spider-Man,' and Ihat's when I got my driver's license and decided to abandon it for financial reasons like getting a car and going on dates. So, priorities."
Butcher didn't come back to comics until 2000, "When J. Michael Straczynski came back onto 'Amazing Spider-Man,' because I'm a huge 'Babylon 5' fan.
"I've always worked around the belief that Dresden is Peter Parker with magic," Butcher continued. Citing the example that the transition to Dresden's in-battle jokes and how he learned that he must change over to captions in comic form as being another thing he had trouble tackling.
Jan Thomas, a fan of Butcher's from Baton Rouge, Louisiana asked what the future of Dresden would be in comic form. To which Butcher answered they would be adapting the "Full Moon" book into a 14 to 16 issue arc. "I think they may sucker me into doing a four-issue mini that takes place in between 'Full Moon' and the next book."
The other short story that Butcher is doing is for Subterranean Press with "Hellboy" creator Mike Mignola.
One fan asked what the chances are of a "Dresden" full-length movie. "I get the rights back four years from last Wednesday. Not that I'm counting or anything," said Butcher. "Lionsgate still has the rights wrapped up."
Another asked what his literary references were and he quoted Mark Twain. "Robert Parker is big, I want to have Lois Bujold's babies, Patrick Roth; I can't stand him because he's good. I read 'Narnia' every year. Enjoy 'Harry Potter,' not that that's not popular or anything."
He wishes that a Dresden video game would never come to be as he would never get another book written and "I have a mortgage, you know?"
He says he has approximately 20 books planned "depending on if my kid goes to grad school. Followed by a big apocalyptic trilogy that will be the end."
Dabel also discussed their current publishing deal with Del Rey Publishing, which they'll be distributing "Dresden" through as well as "Dean Koontz's Frankenstein," which will be written by Chuck Dixon ("Robin") and drawn by Brett Booth ("Anita Blake").
In "Frankenstein," the premise regards a serial killer known as Dr. Helios who takes unique internal organs in males and females to sustain life. The Doctor's creation, known as Deucalion, rises from the sewers to stop the mad doctor. The first issue comes out May 21st and will run five issues.
They are also developed a new George R.R. Martin series called "Wall of Cards: Hard Call" with writer Daniel Abraham ("Long Prince Quartet") and artist Eric Battle ("Green Lantern"). The six-issue mini-series tells the story follows a character named Croyd Crenson who is framed for murder and is sentenced to a remote part of New York City called Jokertown. Crenson spends his time in this deranged part of Manhattan with the knowledge that whoever committed the crime has framed him and is hunting him down. The first issue is in stores now and the second issue is due May 7th. A hard cover collection will be published by Tor in December 2008.
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