Up and coming publisher Boom! Studios held their first ever panel discussion Friday afternoon at WonderCon in San Francisco. Recently named “Best New Publisher” by Wizard Magazine, Boom!’s only been in business for a little over six months and is already turning heads by publishing comics from a variety of big name creators and a host of up and coming stars. The panel was attended by Publisher Ross Richie, writers Johanna Stokes (“Zombie Tales”) and Michael Alan Nelson (“War of the Worlds: Second Wave”) and was moderated by Joshua Hale Fialkov.
The big news from the panel had to be the announcement that J.M. DeMatteis & Mike Ploog’s “The Stardust Kid” would be moving from Desperado/Image Comics to Boom! Studios beginning with issue #4. The first three issues have already been published and Boom! will publish the final two issues. “DeMatteis and I have worked previously together on ‘Hero Squared’ and we have a great time working together, he’s just a pure delight,” said Richie. “He’s one of the reasons why I have a comic book company today, because he and Keith [Giffen] decided to do ‘Hero Squared’ with me. I love the man to pieces. I’m really excited to have a second series from DeMatteis.”
The other bit of news came when a slide for “X-Isle” appeared on the screen. Coming from the minds of Andrew Cosby & Michael Alan Nelson with art by Greg Scott (“Sword of Dracula,” “Sam & Twicth.”), the series is about an island that’s over run by crazy creatures, ala “Jurassic Park,” except in this case the creatures that inhabit the island have been designed by H.R. Geiger, the designer of “Alien.” “This island has been cut off from the rest of the world and has evolved along a different Darwinian path,” said Richie. “Everything on this island is extremely dangerous.” Expect loads of wild creatures and adventure to be seen in this five-issue series.
Richie also ran down the company’s plans, both current and upcoming. First up was “Planetary Brigade,” the first issue of which is in stores now. Richie pointed out that while the first issue’s cover parody may be obvious to most readers (a take off of the now legendary Kevin Maguire cover from the first Giffen/DeMatteis “Justice League” series), issue #2 also riffs another “Justice League” cover, this time being issue #28 of the Giffen/DeMatteis series.
Next up Richie spoke about “Zombie Tales: The Dead,” the latest edition in Boom!’s “Zombie Tales” anthology series. “100 Bullets” cover artist Dave Johnson provides the cover. “[Dave’s] taken pity on my poor, little, tiny company and has graced us with his presence,” Richie joked. The book features stories from Giffen, John Rogers, Stokes and Nelson. The book ships in March.
A second volume of “What Were They Thinking” will be released from Boom! later this year. The series remixes old comics that are now in the public domain. In the case of the first volume, Giffen and Mike Lieb took an old World War II comic and rewrote the word balloons to make it a comedy. This second volume features an eight-page story with art by Basil Wolverton that Giffen remixes. Writers Andy Cosby and John Rogers are also on board for the sequel.
Richie noted that “Jeremiah Harm” #1, which shipped just this last week, had the largest print run of any Boom! publication to date. The book has sold out at the publisher.
|“War of the Worlds: Second Wave” #3 & #4|
“War of the Worlds: Second Wave” got some attention next. (For more on the series, don’t miss our interview with Nelson from December.) Nelson said the idea for the story came when he and Richie were talking about the ending of the original H.G. Wells story and the question came up, why wouldn’t the aliens come back a second time once they discovered how to survive in our environment? “When you invade someone, you don’t send your entire population,” said Nelson. “If you really want something bad enough, you will do whatever you can to get it. The idea was that once they reached this obstacle and it killed off their invading force, eventually they’ll sit back and say, ‘You know, there’s got to be a way around this.’ So the question became what happens when they figure that out.”
“Talent” comes from Boom! in April by Christopher Golden & Tom Snigowski with art by Paul Azaceta (“Grounded”). “‘Talent’ is about a plane that goes down and everyone dies except for one man,” explained Richie. “When the diving crew finds him, he’s been underwater for six hours and isn’t dead and they don’t know why. What he discovers is he can channel the talents of the other passengers who died on the plane.”.
April also sees the release of “Cthulu Tales,” the latest horror anthology from Boom! Studios. “Expect some tales of horrible darkness and inappropriate humor, because that’s what we do,” said Richie. The series features the entire “Zombie Tales” crew, minus Mark Waid who’s now an exclusive writer with DC Comics. Richie noted that a previously announced Waid penned series will still be published by Boom! later this year, with a title to be announced in the future. It will be the only place outside of DC that will see work published by Waid.
Next up is a three-issue horror series from Giffen and artist Kody Chamberlin called “Tag.” “The premise Keith pitched me was you’re walking down the street and a homeless guy staggers forward to you and he looks like death warmed over. Maybe he actually is! He grabs you by the lapels, exhales and says ‘Tag your it,’ and that’s when you die. So, the protagonist is dead at that point and still walking around.” Our “hero” the clues together that in order to say alive, he must find a new person to “tag” before his body completely decomposes.
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