Wildstorm: Ground Zero @ WW Philly

It was the last panel of the con. Maybe that was the reason. Or maybe he'd heard how nice a guy Jim Lee is and wanted to test it.

Or possibly, drugs were involved, a favorite theory of the rest of the crowd.

Regardless there was one fan at the Wildstorm Ground Zero panel Sunday afternoon at Wizard World Philly that was very interesting. For full effect, imagine someone interrupting each of the following paragraphs, adding commentary to every statement, and trying to ask a question every time there's a pause.

Then imagine the person being loud and largely incoherent.

It was that kind of panel. Nevertheless, Wildstorm Editorial Director Jim Lee and DC Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne trucked on, unveiling the plans and dates of the upcoming relaunch of the core Wildstorm titles in an event that will be titled Worldstorm.

Bob got there early, fielding a couple of early questions ranging from who won the previous night's basketball game to Alan Moore to the future plans of the Green Lantern. Very few of which, you may note, had anything to do with Wildstorm.

But once Lee showed up, it was on to the trusty slide show for a look into the future of Wildstorm.

Lee himself will be working on the premier title of the relaunch, "Wildcats," with fan favorite writer Grant Morrison. Lee will be working on both "Wildcats" and "All Star Batman and Robin" at the same time, with both titles coming out on a theoretically bimonthly schedule.

Lee is excited to be working with Grant Morrison, who he's never worked with before.

"Grant is probably the most creative guy out there right now." said Lee.

Lee also revealed, after some bartering with Wayne and the DC publicity department, that the first issue of "Wildcats" would also have a variant cover by friend and fellow image founder Todd McFarlane.

Coming this October, the popular anime "Ninja Scroll" makes its way to comics with a twelve issue maxi-series written by J. Torres and artist Michael Chang. The debut issue will feature a variant cover by Jim Lee.

"Wetworks" will be making it's long, long awaited return with art by creator Whilce Portacio and words by "Lucifer" and "Ultimate Fantastic Four" writer Mike Carey.

"The Authority" will return in October with a new direction, teaming up Grant Morrison with "Top Ten" artist Gene Ha for bimonthly tales of the brutal superteam.

Gail Simone and Talent Caldwell will bring backs the merry teens of "Gen13" in October. Stormwatch will return in "Stormwatch: Post Human Defense Force" under the watch of "Manhunter" writer Christos Gage and "Batman" artist Doug Mahnke, featuring the return of Jackson King, this time training human police forces to deal with the threat of superhumans in the Wildstorm Universe.

"The Midnighter" gets his own series courtesy Garth Ennis with art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. What will be about? Let's ask Bob Wayne.

"He finds hotspots, goes there and beats the crap out of the bad guys," said Wayne, which sounds about right for the series.

Carlos D'Anda and Brian Azzarello will bring Michael Cray to his own monthly series in December, chronicling the adventures of a supersoldier that may be too dangerous to control.

Where do old superheroes go to die? In the Wildstorm Universe, they go to "Tranquility." The Gail Simone penned series will center around a murder mystery in a community of retired heroes.

"The Boys" is the new offering by Garth Ennis and Derrick Robertson and is, according to Ennis, going to "out Preacher Preacher." The book will center around five secret superpowered agents who are dispatched to take care of problems with supervillians using power and bad attitude.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will return with "LOEG: Black Dossier" by creators Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neal. The hardcover graphic novel will follow a rejuvenated Alan Quartermain and the ageless Mina Harker as they try to recover the secret dossier on the activities of the league.

The book is more than two hundred pages and is chock full of extras, like a Tijuana Bible style insert and a 3-D section with will include the requisite glass. All that for a possibly reasonable price that Wayne couldn't remember at the time.

After that, it was time for some questions and answers. Remember. For maximum accuracy, continually interrupt yourself while trying to read.

Lee revealed that there are no plans to collect the remaining untraded issues of "Wildcats 3.0," but there's a possibility that earlier "Cats" will be made available.

"We're rescanning the original art," said Lee, but was mum on what they might be planning. He also clarified that he would consider the new series to be a soft reboot; it will touch on things from the various incarnations, but the characters will be more or less as they were in the original series.

Asked if he uses references, Lee said that he mostly doesn't, but every now and again he might need some, which he'll shoot himself.

"Sometimes I get my friends, a camera, and have a little fun," Lee said, grinning. He also made the stunning revelation that the name Wildstorm came by combining the names of the original two series; "WildCats" and "Stormwatch." As with all great decisions, a Denny's restaurant was involved.

"I came up with it at a Denny's at three in the morning. I'm kidding. It was Chili's," said Lee.

Lee has been kicking around starting a blog featuring him drawing sketches, but it's only in the idea stage right. In addition to being good for aspiring artists, Lee says that it will also help him, since he goes into a sort of fugue state and is, for the most part, unaware of how he does it. So seeing himself on tape is a good way to see what bad habits he's developed. He won't fix them, of course, but at least he'll see them.

Wildstorm versus DC is unlikely to happen any time soon, what with Captain Atom's time in the universe just wrapping up.

"Superman's Pal Deathblow is not on the schedule," said Wayne.

Asked about his phobias about drawing, whether there were things he was afraid to draw, Lee had to dig back to childhood.

"As a kid, I felt uncomfortable drawing women. It was weird. Today I don't like to draw animals," said Lee. "Hopefully not for the same reasons."

And then it was done, Lee and Wayne trying to dodge the Fan That Wouldn't Quit as they rode off into the sunset, or at least the DC booth.

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