Light on news but heavy on humor, Friday afternoon's Aspen Comics panel featured a slide-show presentation and a pre-announcement that Michael Turner will be illustrating six issues of a Marvel series, the details of which will emerge at one of Marvel's panels Saturday.
The session began before any of the panelists arrived, as a series of energetic fans in the front row climbed on stage to take pictures, and deposited Sweet Tarts candy across the presenters' table. When Peter Steigerwald took the stage to MC, the Sweet Tarts became trivia prizes as he stalled for time waiting for his colleagues. Editor Vince Hernandez and Marketing/Promotion Director Jessica Blackwell arrived with Steigerwald, and quickly became the victims of hug-auctions and dance challenges. Steigerwald caught the room's attention when he asked, "What series for Marvel is Michael drawing six issues for?" After several guesses, he added: "Considering it hasn't been announced yet, this could go on all day."
When JT Krul, Koi Turnbull, Michael Turner and Frank Mastromauro arrived, Steigerwald led the audience in a chant of "Aloha" to express welcome and love, and also to drown out the DC Comics panel taking place in the next room. "Aloha" was followed by "Dan DiDio" before Mastromauro took over for the slideshow presentation.
Addressing the status of "Soulfire," Turner said that issues 8, 9, and 10 will be resolicited, and that he hopes to have 8 in stores in November. Following on this, Mastromauro presented several slides of "Soulfire: Chaos Reigns," which Turner described as "a primal version of the character, when magic was still going on," or "King Kong vs. Soulfire." The next slide was the cover of an unnamed Soulfire project, written by JT Krul with art by Francisco Harrera.
A "Shrugged" image met with some applause, especially when it was revealed that an incentive version of issue 2 will be made available Saturday at Aspen's booth. The regular version of this issue has not yet been released. Mastromauro also said that issue 4 will feature four interlocking covers.
Regarding "Ekos," Turner said it is "still coming."
At this point, Turner confirmed that he is illustrating a book for Marvel, and that the announcement will come tomorrow. Asked later which panel (Cup o' Joe or Ultimates) would feature the reveal, Turner declined to answer because it would narrow the possibilities. Look for an interview with Turner tomorrow here on CBR.
Turner's cover to "Black Panther" #18 appeared next, and Turner remarked that he gave Steigerwald, his colorist, "a girl and a blank sheet and he comes back with this." Steigerwald replied that Turner "could just give him a girl and a sheet," which got a solid laugh from the audience.
Mastromauro moved on to Turner's "JLA" images, and confirmed that Turner will provide covers for writer Brad Meltzer's entire 12-issue run. The cover to issue two still had many team members obscured, and Turner said an image of Red Tornado was the cover of issue three, if one were to "add about a hundred thousand other things to it."
Several slides of a Kiani statue appeared, and there will be an exclusive variant with the water recast as lava, and the character holding a different sword. Editor Vince Hernandez will also be penning a Kiani miniseries. A fan requested more specifics in the question-and-answer session, but Hernandez indicated that he did not yet know what form the story would take, other than it would flesh out her backstory. Steigerwald remarked that it had better be good or "Frank and I will take great pleasure in making Vincent the Editor fire Vincent the Writer."
As the panel opened, so it concluded, as a woman in the front row (one of the company of Sweet Tarts hecklers) identified herself as Claudia, complimented Turner and his girlfriend for being "hot." She followed this up by asking if they "would be interested in a menage-a-trois." Everyone on the panel broke down in laughter, and Turner replied that there is "no safe answer to that question."