As was the sad tradition this Saturday at WizardWorld Chicago, the Top Cow panel started off with a tribute to Michael Turner who passed away early that morning.
Marc Silvestri, wearing dark sunglasses, had a lot to say about his friend Turner.
"This was a unique individual, and personally, the strongest man I've ever met in my life. And that is not even an exaggeration. Michael has been sick for a long time. He's been sick for years. But he never showed it," Silvestri said. "Hardly anyone knew he was really as ill as he was. The industry will miss him dearly."
A moment of silence was observed. Afterwards, Silvestri said, "Mike, you're never going away, brother."
The panel then got underway. On the panel were:
Phil Hester, writer, "The Darkness"
Kenneth Rocafort, artist, "Madame Mirage"
Silvestri, Top Cow founder
Rob Levin, vice president of editorial
Connie Wong, Vidiator
Filip Sablik, publisher
Sablik moderated the panel and started off by talking about "Broken Trinity," an event that stars Witchblade, Darkness and the Aneglus. The three-issue series, with three spin-off issues, kicks off next month. Sablik said that someone wasn't going to make it through the event alive.
An image was shown to the audience, featuring pencil work by Dale Keown on what seemed to be a gatefold cover for "Broken Trinity." There was some confusion if that image was supposed to be shared in Chicago or not, but one thing was for sure - the image was not being provided to Web sites and was only viewable in person, Sablik said.
All six issues of "Broken Trinity" can be purchased for only $18, Sablik said. "That's the price of two tickets to see "Wanted,"" Silvestri said. Silvestri said he'd seen "Wanted" three times already. He then told the audience they'd like the movie if they enjoyed "movies that are good."
Hester talked about an issue of "The Darkness" that Michael Avon Oeming will be drawing, due out some time in 2009. The issue features Vikings, but not a historical depiction. "We wanted it to be the type of Viking you paint on your van," Hester said.
The ball was then passed to Wong from Vidiator, who was there to introduce the new Top Cow mobile greetings for cellular phones. The service is available on AT&T now, and will be available on Sprint and AllTell next year. AT&T subscribers can access the Top Cow characters - including The Darkness, Witchblade, The Magdalene and Cyblade - by texting "hero" to 1-2-3.
A demo was played for the crowd. It featured Witchblade saying, "Need a hand? Because you've got an ally in the fight against evil."
Personalized messages could be made, but Hester warned that you "can't make them swear."
"That's a different number," Silvestri said.
"Yeah, and you have to pay more," Wong laughed.
Sablik showed slides from "Impaler," a series that was originally with Image Comics. There will be a trade, featuring the three published issues and three unpublished issues. "This takes what you know about Dracula and sets it on its head," he said.
Slides from "Dragon Prince" were shown. This will be an all-ages Ron Marz book with Lee Moder art, due out in September, about a young boy of mixed heritage who doesn't fit in at school. It turns out that the boy's father is a dragon.
"The Art of Marc Silvestri," a career-spanning book, will hopefully be available as soon as ComiCon in San Diego. "As soon as I'm done drawing it," Silvestri laughed.
Silvestri talked a little more about how excited he is about the "Wanted" movie, saying that the box office numbers are on track to be one of the highest grossing openings for an R-rated movie ever. "Let's support superhero movies that aren't running around with their underwear on the outside," Silvestri said.
Silvestri then said there are plans for a "Witchblade" movie, and that a "real" director has signed on for the movie.
"You're gonna geek-out (when you find out who it is)," Silvestri said. "He's got 'cred.' It's a possible '09 release, but probably 2010. Thanks to "Iron Man," now everyone wants a franchise to star in... Now it's a good career move."
A fan asked if there would be a "Wanted" sequel. Silvestri said all they were waiting on was to see the numbers, and based on estimates, they would "breeze" by the numbers necessary to justify a sequel.
"Based on estimates, this will be Angelina Jolie's biggest opening. This is her Id on screen. This is what she was hinting at in "Tomb Raider." The whole movie is balls-out."
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