Like all panels at WizardWorld Chicago on Saturday, the Dynamite Entertainment panel started off on a somber note.
"In a world of heroes and villains, Mike (Turner) was a hero," Nick Barrucci, president and publisher of DE, said. "We all found out in the bar together last night. It was better to find out that way - together - rather than the way we found out about 'Ringo, at work and in front of our computers."
"We were always fortunate to have (Michael) find time to work for us, on projects like 'Project Superpowers,' 'Red Sonja,'" Joe Rybandt, director of marketing and associate editor of DE said. "Our thoughts go out to the guys at Aspen."
From there, the guys did their best to switch gears back to the matter at hand. Phil Hester, who was present on the panel for the first 30 minutes, was introduced as the new writer of "Masquerade." According to Barrucci, Hester agreed to be the writer of "Masquerade" as of this last Wednesday.Â We needed someone who was versatile (for "Masquerade")," Barrucci said."
Hester talked about how he fell in love with these golden age characters years ago through Jim Steranko's two-volume "History of Comics" books.
"It was amazing to read this hidden history," Hester said. "It was easy to think about what I'd do with those characters, but then I shut it off because those characters were gone. It's almost a miracle to work on (these characters). It's a great chance to re-introduce those characters like Steranko did."
Dynamite Entertainment will begin offering merchandise for their Golden Age series with a T-shirt, coming out in August. From there, there will be at least one statue out this year, and action figures for Christmas of 2009.
Barrucci related the story of how Dynamite Entertainment, and all these Golden Age characters from the public domain, got their start.
"Me and Joe had been chatting, I went home and in about five-and-a-half hours I wrote an outline of what I'd do with these characters. I sent it to everyone, they said, 'What's the hook?' I said 'It's cool!' They again said, 'What's the hook?'" Barrucci said. "So I'm talking to Alex (Ross) about it, he says he wants to get involved. I said, 'I just wanted your feedback.' He said, 'OK, you got my feedback, I want to be involved.' I went back to the office and I said, 'OK, I got the hook.'"
A fan asked about sidekicks, and the group talked about the Black Terror soon attacking the White House. "(Black Terror) is on a mad quest to find (his sidekick) Tim, and he thinks the president might have him," Rybandt said. The cover, featuring the Black Terror riding a bomb towards the White House, is a tribute to an old Superman cover.
The group announced that Robert Rodriguez will be the executive producer of the Red Sonja movie, featuring Rose McGowan as the titular character. "Hopefully the movie will kick ass," Barrucci said. "With Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan, I'm sure it will kick ass."
The panel then talked about now having the rights for Judge Dredd. Barrucci said that that happened largely thanks to Garth Ennis. Along with bringing new Dredd material to comic fans, DE also plans to reprint every issue of "2000 AD" in trade paperback form.
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