WWC: Aspen Comics Panel

The Aspen Comics panel at Wizard World Chicago on Saturday was short and sweet and included a slideshow of eye candy from their current titles on shelves and for issues yet-to-come. The panel consisted of most of the core team: penciller Michael Turner, penciller Francis Manupol, writer Vince Hernandez, colorist Peter Peter Steigerwaldm, publisher Frank Mastromauro, penciller Micah Gunnell, colorist, Beth Sotelo, and writer J. T. Krul,

The presentation began with "Iron and the Maiden." With the first issue already out for two weeks, they've generated some positive reaction from a title with characters designed by Joe Madureira ("Battle Chasers," "X-Men") and Jeff Matsuda ("The Batman" animated series). The title is attracting involvement from many of the industry's top talents. Variant covers to come will be drawn by the likes of designers Joe Maduereira and Jeff Matsuda, as well as Michael Turner, series artist Francis Manupol, Chris Bachalo, Joel Gomez, and even Jim Lee will pitch in.

Next up was "Aspen Showcase," with titles expected for early 2008 and focussing on creators outside Aspen's core group, but within the Aspen circle of friends. Ale Garza and Billy Tan involved, and there was also mention of a bet between Turner and writer Paul Jenkins, by which the winner would enjoy a collaboration within their respective titles. The actual details of the bet were never discussed.

It was announced that "Fathom" vol. 3 will begin early-to-middle of next year with Ale Garza now drawing, after he completes his run on DC Comics' "Teen Titans." The "Fathom" slideshow included "Fathom: Kiani" covers by Ande Parks.

Next up was a slideshow of the "Aspen Splash Swimsuit Spectacular," featuring characters from the Aspen Comics Universe. Along with the previously released San Diego Comic-Con-exclusive cover was the Wizard World Chicago exclusive, which is actually the second half of the SDCC cover, forming a full poster which itself will be released at a later date. After those images came the special UK-exclusive cover, which will be available at a UK opening later this year and will be in very limited supply in North America.

With Michael Turner's health improving greatly (he was still using crutches during the convention) and his covers load for Marvel and DC lighting up, it was announced that the final issues of "Soulfire" are guaranteed to ship in the beginning of the new year. Also, Marcus To will begin vol. 2 as the series' regular artist.

"Soulfire: New World Order" has been postponed due to the slow process of creating the series. The remaining material will be released once it is completely finished so as to not cause further delays.

"Shrugged" was next in the slideshow, with covers including one created specifically for WWC, an Alphonse Mucha-inspired piece by Micah Gunnell with colors by Beth Sotelo. They also mentioned the issue #8 finale will be oversized.

As for "Ekos," it's been put on hold for 2009, along with a top secret project with Marvel that would probably be announced later during the day today, which brought out a little excitement from Turner while he talked about it.

It was said that the cover contract with DC Comics is almost at an end, which will open up the company's schedule for further Aspen Comics focus.

Due to problems with production, the "Kiani" statue has been taken off of Diamond's order listing until November. All orders that have been made must be re-ordered.

The slideshow finished with several new covers from the studio, mostly from Turner including "Fantastic Four," "Thor," "Daredevil, "and "Spider-Man & Red Sonja." There was also a teaser image for a cover of "Mercenaries," based on the upcoming video game, as well as a "Heroes" logo and the announcement that Aspen will continue making webisodes for NBC.

After a brief Q&A session, it was mentioned that there would be two new series introduced in 2008. One would be a creator-owned title from Micah Gunnell and a title from writer "Witchblade" co-creator David Wohl, who was sitting amongst the crowd, with art by Michael Turner.

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