WonderCon: The Sergio & Mark Show

Friday afternoon at WonderCon saw the creators of "Groo the Wanderer" Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier hosting their annual "Sergio & Mark Show" at the Moscone South Center in downtown San Francisco. The panel began with Evanier showing off his Groo computer wallpaper as people filed in. As people waited for Aragonés, Evanier walked the audience through the icons on his desktop and threatened to start a game of computer Solitaire.

After waiting a few minutes, Evanier called Sergio: "Hi, Sergio, it's Mark. The panel is much more entertaining without you." The friendly banter would continue all throughout the panel, and Aragonés walked into the room just as Evanier was trying to determine how far away his co-host was.

As Aragonés settled into his seat, Evanier noted that he was worried that Aragonés might've missed their annual panel; Evanier himself was absent from last year's "Sergio & Mark Show" as he was hospitalized at the time. Aragonés jokingly sighed and said, "That was so nice…"

As the panel began in earnest, the topic switched to the status of Groo projects:

  • Evanier has completed a script for the "Groo the Wanderer" movie and Aragonés has completed artwork for the movie, but further progress is currently tied up in negotiations.
  • A Groo/Conan crossover has been in the works and all involved have been supportive and enthusiastic. Editor Bill Stout was hospitalized for a while (he's fine now), and a new editor has come onboard, bringing the project back to square one.
  • Dark Horse wanted to reprint "Groo the Wanderer" collections in a digest-sized format, but Aragonés and Evanier objected, as they felt the art wouldn't work as well in a smaller format. They announced that Dark Horse will continue to publish the collections in the trade paperback format, with the next volume being named "The Groo Parade."

  • Dark Horse will also collect "The Mighty Magnor," a superhero book the two did for Malibu in the early '90s. According to Aragonés, Malibu originally approached the duo with a proposal to create a superhero that could translate into a video game property – not exactly the duo's normal approach. The two put together a fun book that wasn't quite what Malibu had in mind, but the company put together a marketing push, even flying Aragonés to Philadelphia to sell signed copies of "The Mighty Magnor" #1 on QVC! Long out of print, this new collection was prompted after Dark Horse Editor Diana Schutz read a Spanish collection of these issues. Evanier joked that he hopes that this collection will help reduce the number of questions he gets about his Magnor vanity plates.

With the updates out of the way, Evanier launched into a slideshow showcasing old strips, Aragonés' penchant for paella, Groo's censored rear-end, and celebrations at both the Comic Art Professionals Society and the National Cartoonists Society showcasing Aragonés' career.

Asked, "How do you work together," the two laughed and recalled a story where they were eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant and got the same fortune out of each of their fortune cookies – it was at that point that they decided they'd been working together too long! Evanier explained that everything the two create is designed to amuse each other first and foremost, and that it's great other people find it entertaining.

Discussing the "Groo the Wanderer" movie, the two explained that they held out on deals until they could have creative control over the movie; the two are really happy about the story they have, but there is no definite timeline regarding when the film will be made. Director Rob Minkoff ("Stuart Little," "The Haunted Mansion") is currently working on another feature which will be completed before any work on "Groo the Wanderer" can begin.

Talk briefly turned to Evanier's Jack Kirby biography, which he split into two projects. The first of the two books is scheduled for an October 2007 release, with a longer-form project to emerge in the next few years.

Aragonés discussed his art appearing in the Weekly World News tabloid. The focus of the tabloid has shifted from weird news to humor, and the editors approached Aragonés at New York Comic-Con last year. Aragonés contributes one drawing on a weekly basis, and and these drawings will most likely be collected at some point in the future.

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