Editors and creators from “Dynamite Entertainment” met this morning at Wizard World Philly for a panel discussing new projects and answering audience questions. The panel featured Project: Superpowers writer Jim Krueger, Red Sonja scribe Brian Reed, publisher Nick Barrucci, Joe Rybrandt the Director of Marketing and the creators of The Blair Witch Project. Among the projects covered by the panelists: new merchandise for The Boys, a new title by the writers of Blair Witch called “Blackbeard” and Brian Reed’s new two year opus upcoming on “Red Sonja”.
The presentation kicked off with a slideshow of existing and upcoming projects. Publisher Nick Barucci shed some light on Dynamite’s best-selling title: “The Boys” by Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson. According to Barucci, it wasn’t easy to lure two such high profile creators. “I called up Garth. I said – ‘I can’t negotiate with Image or Top Cow or anyone else. I’ll make you one promise: I’ll give you the same deal you have with DC right now plus the promise of total artistic freedom.”
Barucci was adamant that it was Dynamite’s passion for the title that sold the creators on Dynamite. The only change Garth Ennis asked for in his contract was “final say” on movie and TV rights regarding the property.
“The pitch I made was: in my opinion, you have the Sopranos,” Barucci said of his conversation with Garth Ennis. “And not to be arrogant, but we’re HBO. If you come to us, you are the Sopranos on HBO on Sunday nights. If you go anywhere else, you’ll get lost in the shuffle.” Barucci is such a fan of the property, he doesn’t even read the scripts when they come in. “I have to wait for the book itself,” he said.
The next major project discussed was “Project: Superpowers” by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, with art by Doug Klauba and Stephen Sadowski. “We worked on it for about three years before we got it where we wanted it,” Barucci said. “I wrote this whole diatribe, and we were like – ‘this is good stuff’ but we needed a hook. Then Alex Ross was like ‘I could work on that’.”
“Well, that’s a hook,” Rybrandt interjected, drawing laughs from the audience. “You’re not going to believe this but our short list of writers for who could make this book work was literally like: Geoff Johns, Kurt Busiek, Jim Krueger and Alan Moore,” Barucci said. “So, Alex Ross worked with Jim Krueger all the time and he said ‘so let’s just call him’ which was perfect.”
“It really wasn’t like launching a new team-book. It was like creating a new universe,” Krueger said. “How do you create a team of all these lost heroes and really pay attention to all the lost heroes?” Barucci was also quick to point out that though he was involved in the project since its’ inception, he had no problem stepping back. “This is their project,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re going to treat this like Garth Ennis’ ‘The Boys.’ They hand it to us and we’re like – thank you. They know what they’re doing.”
Another project discussed was “Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero,” written by Brandon Jerwa and drawn by Jackson Herbert. The new series occurs two years before the events in the SciFi TV mini-series.
The topic then shifted to the new title “Blackbeard,” by three creators from Haxen Films as well as Robert Napton. “Blackbeard” was originally developed as a movie and brought to “Dynamite” after years of difficulty getting the story produced. “With Lone Ranger and Zorro, those are definitive takes on the character and that’s what we’re going to do with Blackbeard as well,” Barrucci said. “Hopefully the comic will help them get the kind of movie made they want to make. We’re giving them total artistic freedom at Dynamite.”
The panel also discussed Brian Reed’s upcoming run on “Red Sonja.” Brian confirmed that he would be writing the title for the next two years and that there would be a rather shocking start to his saga. “When I handed them the pitch, I thought they would hate ninety percent of it because it started by killing Red Sonja and then we go from there,” Reed said. “It was a shock for me,” Barrucci said. “Someone came into my office and said ‘by the way Nick, we’re killing Red Sonja.'”
Reed pointed out that while he’s not a lifelong fan of the character, he did see her potential. “When Mike called me and asked me to work with him, I said ‘I gotta be honest, I haven’t thought about Red Sonja since Bridget Nielson,'” Reed said. “But then he sent me the books and it just clicked.”
Reed also comment on the potential of his two-year run. “The great thing about killing Red Sonja is that it really makes things a blank slate. For people like me, who didn’t know what was going on, you can really get a sense of things fresh, whereas people who have been reading all of Oeming’s run or even since the seventies will see how it all fits together.”
“I believe in the biz we call that a great jumping on point,” Rybrandt joked.
“We have an embarrassment of riches,” Barucci pointed out. “When Brian came to us with ideas for Red Sonja, he had notes for thirty pages of issues. We hit the jackpot. We got lucky.”
Barucci revealed that there is merchandise coming for “The Boys”. “We spoke with B. Clay Moore about sculpting “The Boys” statues.” He also spoke on the status of “The Highlander” property. “We’re doing a Highlander special with Brandon Jerwa,” he said. “We do have a vision for Highlander and we’re going to be re-launching him soon.”
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