WonderCon: BOOM! Studios Panel

width="230" height="173" alt="" align="right" border="0">The BOOM! Crew

Rounding out the programming for Friday night at Wondercon, Ross Richie unveiled new miniseries launches, discussed the future of J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen's "Hero Squared," and fielded questions from a dedicated audience. In attendance with Richie were DeMatteis, Michael Alan Nelson ("X-Isle", "Cthulhu Tales") and newly-minted BOOM! Publishing Coordinator Cody DeMatteis.

Richie opened the panel with the cover of "2 Guns," a 5-issue miniseries written by Steven Grant. Grant is no stranger to crime comics, and "2 Guns" is a light-hearted caper book in the vein of "Ocean's 11." BOOM! is keeping the details of the plot under wraps, but Richie assured the audience that the book will be packed with twists, turns and reveals.

Shipping two weeks after "2 Guns" is Andrew Cosby's "Cover Girl." Another 5-issue miniseries, "Cover Girl" features an action movie star who witnesses a crime and is marked for death; he's paired up with a female bodyguard masquerading as his girlfriend, and they hate each other's guts. Noted comics blogger Kevin Church will be scripting an upcoming issue of the book.

Turning to the "Fall of Cthulhu" ongoing, Richie noted that the recent zero issue was a success and introduced writer Michael Alan Nelson. Nelson said that his greatest challenge writing "Fall of Cthulhu" is balancing a contemporary story that remains true to the classic Lovecraftian tone. Jean-Jacques Diazlowski is illustrating, and Andrew Ritchie ("Pieces for Mom") will be brought on to provide art for sequences in the Lovecraftian dreamspace.

Noting that "Fall of Cthulhu" isn't beholden to Lovecraftian continuity, Richie said that one of their book was to create a universe that rewarded longtime Cthulhu followers while being accessible to new readers.

"Station," a new miniseries from "Zombie Tales" writer Johanna Stokes follows a team of astronauts trying to unravel a murder mystery on an international space station.

New writer Chip Mosher makes his debut with "Left on Mission," a miniseries featuring Francisco Francavilla on art. The book is a thriller about a retired spy brought back to the espionage game to hunt a rogue agent – his ex-lover.

Next, Richie showed off the cover for "Salvador," a book developed by the Polish Brothers ("Twin Falls Idaho", "The Astronaut Farmer"), which features an angelic superhero in a futuristic world where genetic engineering is the norm. Featuring J.K. Woodward ("Fallen Angel") on covers and Steph Stamb ("Angel") on art, "Salvador" finds the Polish Brothers, along with writer Sebastian A. Jones exploring a world in need of a savior. Richie – writer/director/producers of the Astronaut Farmer – stef stamb on art – angelic superhero – polish brothers come from an indie movie background – they're not going to do your typical superhero – genetically engineered superhero – fragile bones – love story – how can you have a relationship with someone you can't touch?

BOOM! hit "Talent" will be collected this summer, kicking off a new trade paperback initiative.

Talk turned to J.M. DeMatteis, who announced that "Hero Squared" would be ending with issue nine. DeMatteis said that he and co-writer Giffen realized that the series was heading towards a specific conclusion after the destruction of New York City in issue four, and that it was the story rather than the sales numbers that prompted the end of the series. DeMatteis went on to explain that the real-world results of Captain Valor's fight would drive the story to its conclusion, although he said that he and Giffen were leaving the door open for future "Hero Squared" work.

"Stardust Kid," DeMatteis' book with "Abadazad" co-creator Mike Ploog will be finishing shortly.

DeMatteis also announced that BOOM! would be publishing collections of several of his earlier Vertigo works: "Seekers of the Unknown," "The Last One," and "Mercy" will be reprinted over the course of 2007.

Richie closed the presentation portion of the panel by announcing that BOOM! has recently entered a relationship with Perseus Books for bookstore distribution

During the question and answer portion, Richie said that he'd like to have another "Savage Brothers" miniseries to have a nice, collection, but that there wasn't room on the schedule at the moment. A third volume of "Cthulhu Tales" is in the works, along with "Warhammer 40,000" and "Blood Bowl" launches. Richie also mentioned two new series, "Northwind" and "Dominion," both coming soon.

With the expansion of BOOM! titles, the question of timeliness was addressed. Richie pointed out to the audience that BOOM! titles are often solicited on a bi-monthly basis, which often creates a perception that on-time books are running late. Richie did point out that scheduling issues have affected the company in the past, but that the BOOM! team has gotten better at soliciting books after enough progress has been made.

As the panel wrapped up, attendees had the opportunity to preview the first issue of Mosher and Francavilla's "Left On Mission."

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