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In a short but entertaining presentation, DC's VP of Sales Bob Wayne again took the podium of the Alex Toth Room to show off upcoming wares for an imprint of the company. Wayne was joined by artist Wes Craig, neophyte editor Scott Peterson and seasoned veterans Chuck Dixon and Brian Azzarello.
The slide show started, focusing on the new take on the Wildstorm Universe, called "Worldstorm." Peterson said, "The way Jim Lee described it was 'it's not a complete reboot, it's like a soft reset, when your cell phone messes up,but you wanna keep your address book.' Grant Morrison is one of the architects of this, and he takes what was implicit and makes it explicit."
Showing off Morrison's new universe twisting ideas, the Worldstorm is led off by new titles for The Authority and Wildcats, both written by the UK fan favorite, with Gene Ha handling art for the former and Jim Lee doing interiors on the latter. Wildcats will be a bi-monthly title starting in September, with a variant cover by, as Wayne said, "this newcomer named Todd McFarlane, we hope his career will really take off."
A "Worldstorm" special will be published, written by Christos Gage and Doug Mahnke, which will serve as a primer for everything that's going on. Gail Simone's "Tranquility" will take place in a superhero retirement community that becomes stricken by a mysterious crime. Art is by Neil Googe.
Azzarello will be joined by Carlos Tan on "Deathblow." "It's pretty much doing a story about a man who kills for a living learning how to live with killing," the scribe said. "It's the original Deathblow, not any of the other Deathblows," and that the character's background would be from the International Operations (IO) intelligence organization.
Azzarello said he'll be staying with the title "as long as it takes." He answered fan concerns about who would be involved in the new story. "Ivana [Baiul] is not the head of IO. The universe is different from what it was. It's like that 'Spock with a beard' universe.
The long-awaited, anticipated Whilce Portacio is back with Mike Carey writing "Wetworks." Bob Wayne said, "There are more completed issues of 'Wetworks' than any other thing you've seen today. We've got a lot of issues in the can." Gail Simone is joined by Talent Caldwell on "Gen 13," with a variant cover by J. Scott Campbell. Garth Ennis and Chris Sprouse headline a solo title for "The Midnighter," and television writer Christos Gage ("Numb3rs") and Doug Manhke are doing "Stormwatch PHD" (Post Human DIvision") which focuses on ordinary law enforcement learning how to apprehend metahuman suspects, led by Jackson King. FInally, Garth Ennis' "The Boys" focuses on a secretly funded team working for the US government, collecting information on superhumans to use against them if they go rogue. According to Wayne, "Ennis promises this book will out-'Preacher' 'Preacher.'"
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Stepping out of the Wildstorm internal continuity, "The OC" actor Adam Brody joins Danny Milson and TV producer Paul DeMeo in writing "The Red Menace," a series set in the 1950s featuring a patriotically-themed hero blacklisted by McCarthy. J. Torres and Michael Chang bring "Ninja Scroll" in August, featuring everything fans have come to expect from the popular property.
A new original graphic novel was announced named "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier," which will include such interesting goodies as a 3-D section complete with glasses and a Tijuana bible.
Other ongoing projects got some spotlight, including "Battler Britton," the ambitious new "Manifest Eternity" and "Astro City: The Dark Age."
In the realm of corporate synergy, four comics based on New Line Cinemas properties were announced. "The idea to do it started on the wildstorm side," Wayne said. "The grab-you-by-the neck storytelling style is kind of a wildstorm thing more than a Vertigo thing. I think we were looking at a big chart of all the companies that are part of Time Warner, and we were like 'New Line is a part of Time Warner. Maybe we should be doing these comic books.' Or vice versa."
Chuck Dixon is writing two of the project, the first of which is "Nightmare on Elm Street." "There's not much to spoil," Dixon said of the series. "Teenagers threatened in Springwood by a guy who threatens them in their dreams. Freddy dies, but then he comes back. I'm working with Kevin West on a three issue arc, and another artist named Sylvester -- not Silvestri -- on another three issue arc. I was given my choice of the properties, and I chose Freddy because it's an interesting juxtaposition, it's a little more cerebral."
"Do the other guys know you got first pick?" Wayne asked.
"They will now," Dixon replied. Dixon said that the stories are three part story arcs. "Everything nowadays if formatted for collections. New Line prefers three issue arcs, it's not up to me. I'm gonna make sure some continuity carries over, because it all takes place on a street. Everybody can't die."
As for why these stories are so compelling, Dixon theorized, "They're morality terms, which is why they're still popular in the midwest, where there's still some morality."
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning will write "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" with artist Wes Craig. "I was reading the script on the airplane over to Chicago," Craig said. "It's kind of festering in my head. I'm gonna try to make it the scariest comic I can."
In early 2007, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti will have "Friday the 13th," on tap, and finally Chuck Dixon and Gordon Purcell will present the four words everybody loves to say: "Snakes on a Plane."
"What's it about?" Wayne asked of Dixon.
"It's about a man who kills and has to come to grips with killing," Dixon deadpanned. "No, it is what it is. We had to do the comic in a really big hurry. I liked it because the whole thing is a parody of Hollywood and the way things are presented. It has snakes, and a plane, it has cats and dogs and gunfire."
"I don't think you can ask more from your comics reading experience," Wayne conceded. "We went from Grant Morrison and Jim Lee on 'Wildcats' to 'Snakes On A Plane.' There's nowhere to go from there on slides, so if you have any questions, or if you'd like us to leave so you can hang out in the room before the Marvel trivia contest ..."
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Numerous questions were asked about hardcovers, including an "Absolute Planetary," and Wayne said, "As the sales guy, I can guarantee that if you buy all the other versions, you come back and ask to buy it again, we'll be back here with a slide." He did say that "Captain Atom: Armageddon" was likely -- "You can feel comfortable setting aside a few dollars for that purchase" -- but that "There are no plans to collect 'Sleeper' in hardcover."
The panel only went half of its allotted time as questions dwindled and pretty much everybody was worn out from a brutal convention season drawing close to a respite.