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1. SDCC ’14: Jeff Lemire talks the return of The Legion of Super-Heroes and the end of his Green Arrow run

JLU_Cv4_selfie_varBy Kyle Pinion

While Jeff Lemire has recently been making waves with the announcements of his upcoming The Black Hammer at Dark Horse and Descender at Image, his DC work continues to be amongst the premiere offerings of the publisher. I had a chance to sit down with Lemire to discuss what’s coming from him in The New 52.

Kyle: Congratulations on another well-deserved Eisner nomination for Trillium. It’s kind of funny to think about this – Trillium is sort of an opening shot in this line up of sci-fi titles that have started to release from other creators. Where do you see Trillium sitting in this “new sci-fi revolution” we’re seeing in comics?

Jeff: Yeah, well I think Saga was the first shot. It was so inspiring to see a sci-fi book do so well. I think every nerd has a sci-fi story they want to tell eventually, and this is the time. Where does Trillium sit? I don’t know – it just came out so you kind of have to look back in maybe 5 years from now to see where it stands and if people are still talking about it. I tried to experiment a lot and tried to tell an emotionally affecting story set in a big, cosmic setting. It’s hard to analyze your own work when it’s so fresh still.

Kyle: And I know you have a special attachment to the stuff you draw yourself. Do you have plans to do more of that soon?

Jeff: Yeah, I’m working on a graphic novel right now for Simon & Schuster that I’m drawing that’ll come out next fall. Then I’ll probably do another ongoing monthly thing that I’ll draw after that.

Kyle: Justice League United is one of my favorite titles coming out of DC right now. It’s very exciting and a lot of fun, the origins of that title though – it changed at one point from Justice League Canada when it was announced initially to Justice League United. Is there a background story as to why that changed?

Jeff: No, it’s pretty simple. I was really just taking over Justice League America and I wanted to move the team to Canada, which they were totally cool with, so we changed the title to Canada and then as we got closer to publication, I think they realized having Canada in the title might be a little bit too specific for international readers and American readers. So it just made sense. We want to get as many people reading the book as we can, and it didn’t affect the content of the story at all, so it was cool with me. No drama.

Kyle: The tone of Justice League United is very DC animated universe-esque. Was there an outward attempt to aim for a more fun tone?

Jeff: Yeah, very much. I feel like there are so many super hero comics that are very serious and take themselves very seriously. Green Arrow, for example, is very much that, I write some of that stuff too. But I think there needs to be more balance, and I think sometimes we forget that these are super hero comics. They should be fun, and the characters should be having fun. And I really tried to bring that back. A lot of the stuff that I read when I was younger, that I gravitated towards, had a sense of humor to it, and a sense of fun and wonder.

Kyle: It’s kind of opening up a lot of the cosmic stuff of the New 52 as well. Was that one of your long term goals with the series?

Jeff: Absolutely, yeah, that’s some of my favorite stuff in DC history is all the cosmic stuff. It was one big corner of the universe that hadn’t really been exploited too much aside from the Green Lantern titles, you know, so I felt there was a lot of potential there. I’m really getting into Raan and Thanagar and the politics there and seeing other alien races and the Legion of Super Heroes coming, which blows everything wide open.

Kyle: So what can you tell us about the Infinitus Saga?

Jeff: Ultra the Multi-alien, the child that they found in the first arc was a big part of that moving forward, and what Ultra is destined to become is something that has a huge impact in the 31st century. So we see a few Legionnaires come back to deal with Ultra, and that kind of spirals from there into a massive cosmic saga. I grew up reading Legion and the great darkness saga so this is my attempt to throw down the gauntlet and do one of those big sprawling space opera stories with like 40 super heroes running around the galaxy. It’s been a blast.

Kyle: Can we expect to see your Legion further beyond this story, possibly?

Jeff: I don’t know. I would love to. That’s definitely a property I have a lot of ideas and opinions on. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential right now. So that would be something I would definitely be interested in. Who knows?

Kyle: I hope so. Do you have a favorite Legionnaire, Jeff?

Jeff: I do. And it’s Ultraboy. Or Brainiac 5. Or Mon-El. Those 3.

Kyle: You get one choice sir!

Jeff: I always dug him (Ultra Boy) more as a kid, I love that idea that he was as powerful as Superman but he could only use one at a time, that’s so fun. It kind of limits him. Superman can be too powerful sometimes to write plausible threats for him, whereas Ultra Boy had that power but it was limited in a really fun and interesting way. He was very charismatic as well.

Kyle: The storytelling potential of that is pretty strong. I always liked the fact that his powers comes via a whale, being named Jo Nah.

Jeff: Those costumes are so cool, and for some reason his costume always got me. I just liked drawing it as a kid.

Kyle: So we can expect some good Ultra Boy scenes perhaps?

Jeff: Yeah I haven’t really had a really good one yet. I’m on the fourth script of a six issue story so I’ve got to really find a good moment. You’ve got to find one moment for everyone, because there’s so many of them. I’ll find his.

Kyle: And that’s going to run through the next, what, 5 issues of JLU?

Jeff: Yeah, it starts in the Annual. Then it goes for 5 issues after that. So 6 issues total.

Kyle: Is Mike McKone going to be penciling?

Jeff: No, Mike’s done on Justice League United. He’s moved on. Mike, he’s awesome to work with, I love him, but he always knew he was only going to do the first arc because I think he has some other projects he wanted to get done. So we’re bringing in an artist named Neil Edwards from the U.K. I think Neil worked with the same studio as Bryan Hitch, so they have a common thread in their style, and he’s great. He’s been great so far.

Kyle: Equinox is going to have her profile increase over the next few issues as well. Are you excited to have your own character that you created taking the forefront of the story?

Jeff: Very much so, there are a couple of cool things; like the Futures End issues where we jump 5 years into the future. I got to play with her and where she is 5 years from now, so she’s much more confident and much more entrenched in the larger DC universe, playing a bigger role, so that was fun. And in the Legion story, she’s someone who’s lived in a small isolated community, and all of a sudden she’s in space with 40 other alien super heroes, and her reaction to that is a lot of fun to play with, and her being an aboriginal woman and meeting Dawnstar who is an aboriginal woman from the future, and learning that she’s a huge inspiration for the next thousand years, is this really great moment that I’m really proud of.

Kyle: have you heard much from the basis of the character, Shannen Koostachin’s family?

Jeff: Yeah, it was kind of misreported. The character wasn’t really based on Shannen. Shannen – that story is very inspiring – she was a young activist who was killed, and I wouldn’t presume to try to tell her story in a super hero that without her family’s blessing or anything. The idea of creating a teenage character who was based in the same area, she is certainly one of the inspirations for her, but the character wasn’t really based on her.

Kyle: It’s good to have that clarification! So, with the little bit of time we have left I’d like to talk to you about Green Arrow. It’s a fabulous run, probably one of my favorite DC comics coming out right behind JLU, it’s coming to an end sadly. Was it always planned it would end at issue 35?

Jeff: No, I didn’t really know when it would end whe? I started it. I knew there was the big Outsiders story I wanted to tell and the Richard Dragon story, so I just kind of let it happen at its own pace. There were a couple of things that Andrea (Sorrentino) wanted to tackle project-wise and I think he was really a collaborator in every sense on this book, a real co-story teller, and I didn’t want to do the book without him. I feel like we had created something special together. I know he was anxious after 20 issues to move onto something else, move on to a new character and keep things fresh for him, so I knew that was coming. And the Futures End thing provided us with a unique opportunity to literally tell the end of Green Arrow’s story. Because he dies in Futures End, I could literally tell the story from my last issue to his death, the last 5 years of his life, and finish his story essentially. So that’s kind of a unique thing, because usually you just pass the character on so they can tell the rest of his life in one big issue.

Kyle: You are actually going to be able to hang on to Green Arrow and Animal Man and JLU, and you’ve got Frankenstein in Futures End. Isn’t it funny that you seem to have the same characters following you throughout the New 52?

Jeff: You fall in love with them, you invest in them, and you put a lot of yourself into them. You spend months and months and sometimes years writing the characters and it’s hard to let them go, you know? So whenever you can keep them and keep evolving them as characters, I always grab those opportunities.

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2. SDCC ’14: Image Comics Goes to Infinity Recap

by Zachary Clemente

Image Comics’ all-around rad panel host (among other talents) David Brothers hosted the first of many of the “I is for…” panels scheduled this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Following in line with their new branding which spins their lineup with succinct descriptive words that being with “I”. “Innovative”, “Irreverent”, “Interplanetary” have been banded about with this new means of breaking the bonds of genre definitions – but today’s panel (“Infinite” for those keeping score at home) was all about introspection.

IMG_1207A good mix of writers and illustrators joined the panel to talk their work in respect to genre definitions, their experiences at Image, the next stages of their projects, and field a good amount of questions from the audience. Since the publisher has a whole mess of creators working with them, an interesting mix is available. On the panel was Ryan Burton (Dark Engine), Nick Dragotta (East of West), Jason Latour (Southern Bastards), Richard Starkins (Elephantmen), Declan Shalvey (Injection), Tom Neely (The Humans), Stuart Moore (EGOs), and Rick Remender (Deadly Class).

The two most noticeable things about the panel was that it all of the creators on it were white and male. Considering Eric Stephenson’s points of the necessity of diversity in their creators at yesterday’s Image Expo, the panelist lineup does seem to strike an odd chord. Granted, the following Image panels scheduled throughout the rest of the week due feature non-white creators and female creators – so let’s chalk it up to scheduling.

I have to say, often panels like this can hit low points where the people participating weren’t sure where to go from the previous discussion, but give it up for Brothers – this one moved smoothly between talks; allowing all the panelists good time to talk about their own experiences and share their own stories, while the rest were able to interject casually. It felt more like watching a conversation than attending a press event, which is what I look for in a good panel.

Going up and down the table, each creator touched on the influences that shape their books and their relationships with genres such as sci-fi and western and how that informs their books. Burton commented on how he doesn’t feel that Dark Engine could be done elsewhere as he’s allowed to push the concept further – creating an intensely powerful female character in the vein of Conan or Beowulf, going as far as give her a sword made from a T-Rex’s rib.

One interesting topic broached was the age gap for most Image readers. There really isn’t much along the lines of all-ages or kid-friendly currently being published by Image – and Nick Dragotta was happy to discuss the strange interplay he has as an artist recollecting the for-kids DIY educational HowToons book and his raucous and bloody work in East of West. We also found out that East of West is set at about 60 issues, with each 15-issue installment representing approximately a year in the story’s timeline.

Jason Latour, half of the Jason-based team creating Southern Bastards talked about how the book, while not from exact experiences, is ingrained with impressions of spending childhood weekends in rural North Carolina. Otherwise, he jokingly suggested that “it’s about watching dogs poop.” When pressed about his working relationship with Jason Aaron and their southern roots, Latour explained their occasional disagreements with the example of  “I’ve tried to convince him that farm animals are off-limits for sexual proclivities,” which received quite a hoot n’ holler from the audience.

Notably, many questions were directed to Remender, which isn’t too surprising considering he now has 4 titles with Image (Black ScienceThe LowDeadly Class, and the recently announced Tokyo Ghost). As he had in the back of the trade release of Deadly Class, Remender delved into his past, much unpleasant, that influenced the world and emotional core of the teenage assassins book. When queried about engaging the controversy over a certain scene involving Marvel character Sam Wilson and how fan reaction plays a part in their work, Remender was quick to explain that there wasn’t a true controversy in play and that as the outrage built, he “removed himself and spent 3 days hugging his kids, while eating toast and crying.”

As the rest of the panel attempted to field the question, Latour piped in, saying that “some of the rednecks who would have a problem with Southern Bastards can’t read.” Problem solved.

Overall, it was a well-organized panel that come from a lot more thought about their lineup of talent and book on the part of the publisher that I expect of most, though perhaps a slightly more diverse cast would have played well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Image panels, featuring different guests to discuss different topics.

 

 

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3. SDCC ’14: Female Heroes, Then & Now Panel Recap

By Matthew Jent

To mark the 25th anniversary of Heartbreakers, an action/sci-fi serial originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents, co-creator Anina Bennett brought the conversation about Female Heroes, Then & Now to SDCC.

Allison Baker & Claire Hummel share their personal heroes with a full  room.

Allison Baker & Claire Hummel share their personal heroes with a full room.

Anina was joined by her husband and Heartbreakers co-creator Paul Guinan, Geek & Sundry’s Kiala Kazebee, comics/movie/video game writer Jimmy Palmiotti, Monkeybrain Co-Publisher and IDW Director of Operations Allison Baker, and former Xbox/current HBO Production Designer Claire Hummel.

The room was packed, and it was filled with men, women, and a fair share of cosplayers. There was a twi’lek wielding a lightsaber, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, a TARDIS, and a little Batgirl — also carrying a lightsaber, which was downright adorable.

Anina, who introduced herself as “a recovering comic book editor,” led off by thanking so many people for turning out for a positive discussion about female heroes. Her first question to the panel was about their real-life female heroes, and the panel name-checked a lot of the more popular and interesting female cartoonists in the industry today — Kate Beaton, Colleen Coover, Joelle Jones, Kate Leth, Erika Moen, and others. Claire Hummel specifically pointed out Sheilah Beckett, known for her work on the Little Golden Books, and 20th century artist Mary Blair. “Everyone’s trying to be Mary Blair,” Claire said.

Allison Baker mentioned comics writer & all-star Trina Robbins, Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Guinan lauded their (respective) mothers and wives, and Kiala Kazebee said she looks up to her Geek & Sundry co-hosts Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, and Bonnie Burton.

The panel moved on to discussing some of the everyday examples of sexism and fear of feminism in the comics, film, and video game industries, including Ubisoft’s recent declaration that female avatars were too difficult to add to the upcoming Far Cry 4, and David Finch’s assertion that his upcoming run on Wonder Woman will feature a strong, but not feminist, version of the Amazon.

In a time when more and more women are creating and enjoying media in comics, film, and video games, this backward assertion comes from, in the opinion of the panel, that fact that the editors, managers, and leaders of these companies are still men. Without that diversity of thought and opinion from the top, there will continue to be shortsighted missteps like Ubisoft’s.

Anina stressed to the panel attendees: don’t be afraid to call yourself a feminist.

“It means we want equal rights,” said Kiala. “That’s all it is. It’s very simple.”

“I think real men are feminists,” Allison added, and the audience agreed.

There was a brief discussion of the new Thor, but that was deemed not as good news as it might seem, since there are still so few freelancers working on Marvel titles.

“Representation is important, but also on the creators’ side,” Claire said.

Paul asked if Thor as a woman, and Captain America as an African-American, were just gimmicks. But the panel mostly shrugged it off.

“It’s more than DC is doing,” Kiala said.

So why aren’t there more female creators on the big-name books? Jimmy Palmiotti asserted that at DC it was matter of putting the right creators on the right books, but Allison said, “It’s the sign of a rut. The editors don’t go outside of their circles when assembling their creative team. If women see more women working in that field, more women will go into that field.

When asked if leaders had a responsibility to build more diverse teams, the panel’s answer was resoundingly yes. More diverse teams would mean more diverse outlooks, which would mean better books, movies, and games.

Nearing conclusion, Anina asked if the panelists had themselves been accused of sexism or bigotry. Claire talked about creating some Indian-influenced steampunk designs in her early Tumblr days, and being called out for still relying on primarily Western concepts. She said it was because, at the time, she thought, “Steampunk is Western.” Being called out made her realized it didn’t have to be. “I can say I’m sorry, and I can move forward, and I learned how to react reasonably and take advice,” she said.

(Although apparently some doofball approached her after the panel to add a particularly doofy addendum to this commendable and enlightened anecdote. But we’re patient and enlightened feminists around here, so we won’t let that ruin a perfectly good panel.)

A few other examples were given, including a recap of the Harley Quinn/art contest/bathtub snafu from a few months back, but Anina summarized them all with, “All examples involved taking a step back and changing your attitudes and your behavior.”

With a growing number of women in the industry (and fandom), these kinds of conversations are going to happen more often, and not just within the confines of the old school “Women in Comics” panels that used to permeate conventions of this size. Women Heroes was an engaging and (overall) positive discussion about how far this industry has come — and how far it still has to go.

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4. SDCC ’14: Fairy Tale Remix Panel Recap

By Matthew Jent

The Fairy Tale Remix panel, moderated by author Shannon Hale, brought together more than half a dozen authors of young adult and fantasy fiction in front of a packed panel room. Hale a confident and fun tone, promising a fight to first blood by the panelists if things got boring. Full disclosure? I took a seat in this panel to get a good spot for a later panel in the same room that I wanted to cover for the Beat — but Fairy Tale Remix has proven to be the highlight of my SDCC 2014 experience so far. It was a symposium on fairy tales, storytelling, writing and the search for magic in real life. No first-blood-fights were required, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the room. The audience included mostly women, from kids on up, with more than a few cosplayers. Before the panel began, there were a number of kids (and their accompanying grown-ups) having their pictures taken with some folks who cosplayed the Frozen sisters Elsa & Anna and if you weren’t yet caught up on this season of Once Upon a Time, it was a bad audience to eavesdrop on.

Shannon Hale holds court.

Shannon Hale holds court.

After introducing the panel members as Marissa “The Mauler” Meyer, Katherine “No Safe” Harbour, “The Hammer of Lore” John Peck, “The Baroness Schadenfreude” Cornelia Funke, Tony “The Terror” DiTerlizzi, Ben “The Equalizer” Tripp (dressed in a Georgian England costume, complete with white wig), and Danielle “Toto’s Bane” Paige, Hale began with a quote from Albert Einstein: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be moreintelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Asking how the panelists were introduced to fairy tales, it was across the board as children.

“It was the first time I realized, everything is a metaphor,” Tripp said, “These stories are all about something else.”

Funke, after explaining that she is German and so was naturally raised with the original, brutally violent versions of the tales, said she hated them as a child. They were full of death and dismemberment, and swans who had to knit sweaters for their brothers.

Meyer added that her first fairy tale love was Disney’s film version of The Little Mermaid, and upon subsequently reading the original version by Hans Christian Andersen, in which Ariel dies at the end, she wondered, “What else is Disney not telling us?”

That discomfort and that desire to know more was a strong motivator for the writers to tell their own versions of Rapunzel, Oz, or Puss N Boots. Meyer got her start as a writer with Sailor Moon fan fiction, and writing new versions of fairy tales was a logical progression. When Hale asked the panel if it was fair to call what they were doing fan fiction, everyone agreed.

“How is rewriting fairy tales different from fan fiction?” Hale asked.

They’re basically the same thing, the panel agreed, but “You can take fairy tales in more directions than fan fiction,” said Meyer. Tired of passive princess characters, Meyer wanted to get back to the older versions of very old tales — where Little Red Riding Hood rescued herself from the Big Bad Wolf, instead of waiting for the Woodsman to appear.

Fairy tales come to represent the times and the places in which they are written. Adding something new to those tales — characters, points of view, social agendas or social awareness that did not exist when they were first told — is part of a storytelling tradition that goes back to Shakespeare, and earlier. Peck added that no story was worth retelling without adding something new.

The panel ended with a Q&A from the audience, many of whom were writers and storytellers themselves. One audience member asked where the writers found magic in the modern world to write about.

“Where do you not find it?” Funke said. “Look at the people in this room, the hundred million stories in these chairs, in these costumes. There is so much in this room I would call magic. We are just the reporters of that. We are in pretty magical times.”

A parent asked how she could encourage her daughter, who wanted to be a writer.

“Forbid it,” said Tripp, whose own son was studying medicine and science.

“Don’t give too many instructions,” Funke said. “And give her beautiful, empty notebooks.”

It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale.

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5. SDCC 14: Dark Horse’s ‘Aliens, Predator, Prometheus and Beyond’ Panel

imageBy Kyle Pinion

Dark Horse Editor in Chief Scott Allie has pulled together a wide array of young and up and coming talent for the upcoming four interlocking mini-series that revolve around the Aliens, Predator and Prometheus franchises entitled “Fire and Stone”. The majority of those creators joined him on stage for Dark Horse’s panel on the subject and included Paul Tobin (Prometheus), Chris Sebela (Aliens vs. Predator), Chris Roberson (Aliens), Joshua Williamson (Predator), Juan Ferrerya (Prometheus), and Ariel Olivetti (Aliens vs. Predator).

While the majority of the discussion held therein was for the most part news that has already been reported in the previous months leading up to the end of year release of this long-anticipated “mega-series”. There were a number of items worth noting:

- The collaborative process between the entire team has been a smooth one, despite a significant bump caused by notes given by Fox and Ridley Scott’s team regarding some of the content and the narrative direction of the series, causing much of each creative teams’ work to be scrapped. Though Tobin made note that the studio has now opened up “more of the tool-box” for their usage.

- This change of direction from Fox is one of the major factors that caused the eventual release delay of each series.

- Originally, Williamson was slated for an Aliens comic before the “Fire and Stone” concept came into place, and while he was sad to see the take that he and Allie had worked out not see the light of day, he believes this new effort is equally as exciting.

- Each team member stressed that the chemistry of their writers’ room approach was a big part of why this project came together as well as it did, despite significant rewrites being needed.

- Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is also writing the finale of the series in Prometheus Omega, was credited as the key driver of research regarding incorporating Prometheus into the Alien and Predator universe. According to Allie, she brought an entire pink binder full of Prometheus theories from the internet.

- Ferrerya was brought on board to the project because of his design skill, and that was an angle that the team wanted to make sure was highlighted. Roberson likened Ferrerya’s map-making abilities to being “one step away from a DnD campaign”.

- Paul Tobin was brought in for the Prometheus series because of his previous work with Ferrerya on Colder.

- Williamson discussed the eponymous Predator of his Predator series, named Ahab, who is indeed hunting for a “white whale” though the identity of said target had to remain a secret. He also was proud of the fact that Ahab already has an action figure, which could be found at the Dark Horse booth on the show floor.

- Williamson also discussed his protagonist, Galgo, who will be appearing in Prometheus first, followed by Aliens v Predator, eventually becoming the lead in Predator. The writer made sure to mention the morally grey nature of the character, and also his verbose nature.

- Sebela, regarding Aliens vs. Predator, stated that he spent his entire childhood trying to figure out a way for Xenomorphs and Predators to fight and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do the same in comics. Allie felt as though Sebela’s horror background was a particularly strong fit for the “monster-like” material in his series. Olivetti expressed excitement for the cinematic nature of the visuals he is producing, a first for him in comics.

- When asked if the stories connect, the team stressed that the books could be read independently of one another and readers could get a satisfying story that way, but they would see the larger picture form if they wanted to read the entire event.

- The chronology of “Fire and Stone” was also cleared up, as Aliens is a pseudo prequel to the other tales, and takes place between scenes of Aliens (the film), Predator takes place after the other minis and Prometheus Omega is the finale.

- In response to a question regarding previous usage of “The Space Jockey” and the mythos built around it in previous Dark Horse Aliens comics, Allie said those stories will not come into play with Fire and Stone.

- Bouncing off of that, Roberson made mention that the key directive was to “start from the films and go from there”, and the only films that team really concentrated on were: Prometheus, Alien, Aliens, and Predator. Sebela, when asked, said that the two Aliens vs. Predator films were not canon to his series.

- When the divisive nature of Prometheus amongst fandom was brought up, Paul was quick to point out that he wasn’t interested so much in leaving any elements of that film behind, so much as he wanted to highlight the parts of it that worked well, specifically the concept of scientists going on a mission and realizing that things are far bigger than they ever imagined. Ferrerya then joked that he was excited to bring back the biologist and cartographer characters that everyone “loved” from the film.

- Allie made sure to underline that theme was key driver in the storytelling of each mini-series, particularly the idea of the “stewardship of life”, which runs in the background of the Alien and Prometheus films particularly. Roberson also made mention that the parallels that run between the androids in Aliens and Prometheus was a major influence.

- And yes, there will be Black Goo! Which, according to Roberson’s read of the notes they received from Fox, is called “accelerant”. They declined to go into further detail regarding the role it will play in the stories themselves.

- Prometheus and Aliens will both be due out in September, Aliens vs Predator and Predator will see release in October. The Prometheus Omega one-shot is set to arrive in February. Each series will be a 4-issue mini respectively.

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6. SDCC 2014: Movie Poll!

And now… time for a reader poll!

Which actor would you most like to see on screen?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

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7. SDCC ’14: Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Panel Recap

by Alexander Jones

Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: AXIS panel is officially getting underway here at San Diego Comic-Con International. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso is hovering near the stage about to get ready. In the background there is a line of people getting ready for the show. Name placards for the panel are all lined up as follows; Senior Editor Nick Lowe, AXIS writer Rick Remender, and Executive Editor Mike Marts.

Senior Editor Nick Lowe is moderating the effort. Jordan D. White, the Editor of Deadpool made an appearance at the show as well. As soon as that was done the group jumped right into some of the new announcements from the show.Avengers_Rage_of_Ultron_Interior

All-New Captain America is given an official name and features the art of Stuart Immonen.

Remender stated that the new comic is going to have a completely different tone for this new series. He stated that having Steve and Sam working together is going to add some new dynamics to the title. A new Alex Ross cover for the book was also shown here at the show. Remender states that writing more lighthearted characters in the book adds a sense of fun to the storyline. Ian Rogers is also revealed as the new Nomad in the comic book series. It was also stated that Hydra is being built up again in a way that apparently we have not seen before. Marvel vaguely stated that they are doing something completely new with Marvel’s premiere terrorist organization.

Remender talks about how Immonen takes the story to a nearly perfect level. He was wondering “what drugs were being put in Stuart Immonen’s water supply,” as the panel were shocked that the artist was able to give such detailed work and deliver it to the publisher on time. Captain America #25 is also going to have a bit of Stuart Immonen artwork towards the back half of the title featuring the brand new incarnation of Hydra. Unfortunately this also means that Stuart Immonen is departing fan-favorite title All-New X-Men

The Avengers: Rage Of Ultron Original Graphic Novel was then announced. Rick Remender is once again writing the storyline along with artist Jerome Opena and Dean White. The new story is an in-continuity original graphic novel that has an April 2015 release date. Alonso stated in a joking manner that Jerome “is so much better than Stuart Immonen.” This event takes place in a post-AXIS environment, which “leads to some very exciting things that are coming down the line.  The under-appreciated hero known as Starfox is heading back to the surface in the brand new graphic novel. The Red Skull is also going to tie into the big Avengers & X-Men: AXIS storyline with the March to AXIS titles including Uncanny Avengers #24 and Captain America #24 which sees the final fate of Jet Black and observe what has been happening with the Red Skull.

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The panel then revealed Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Issue #1, whose first is entitled The Red Supremacy. The title contains artwork from Adam Kubert. The group shared that the Vision is being toyed with once again. He is said to play a part towards a major moment in the upcoming AXIS and Graphic Novel storylines. We are also shown the debut of the brand new Jim Cheung cover for Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #2 pencilled by Kubert again. The third issue was revealed as well, which is being drawn by Leinil Yu.

The focus then shifted over towards the AXIS: Carnage mini-series from Rick Spears and the AXIS: Hobgoblin mini-series by Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez. Where the group explained that there are exciting things to come from both series. AXIS: Revolutions features writing from Dennis Hopeless and Simon Spurrier with art from Ken Lashley.

There were even more small issues that were announced including Uncanny Avengers Issue #25 and Deadpool #36. Remender and artist Daniel Acuna are covering the final issue which is born out of the conflict with Scarlet Witch and the Red Skull.

Magneto #11, Loki: Agent of Asgard #7, All-New X-Factor #15 were all also announced to tie into the event.

When the floor turned over for Question and Answers from fans, a young man named Rory dressed up like Captain America asked a question about the Fantastic Four. Alonso stated that an upcoming event storyline is going to be more focused on the team. Another fan asked about certain X-Men characters joining the Avengers, and was wondering why there is less cross pollination happening with X-Men becoming Avengers

IMG_0813-1Lowe elaborated that the X-Men is categorized in that group based on their genetics. White noted the amount of cross-over and talked about books like Danger, Longshot, Mimics, and some of the other comics’ characters that have been featured on both teams. It was announced that Brevoort was really the one that had the idea of the Onslaught motif powered by Professor Charles Xavier. Remender said at first he sort of rejected the idea, but then started to re-think it towards the past few minutes, and it all came into a notebook for him.

Remender interjected that he is trying to mix both of these separate continuities to blend together shaking up the status quo for each hero. Another fan was curious about why there is a lack of X-Men material at the show, while there are many Avengers and X-Men panels that are featured here at the show. Nicke Lowed Jokingly stated to the group, “Put the hack Brian Michael Bendis on the book.” The panel explained that fans had nothing to worry about as AXIS is going to feature a heavy amount of X-Men material. On the topic of unworthy Thor, Remender stated that he had spent hours on the phone with Aaron talking about how they can tie the storyline into AXIS.

A comic book reader asked point blank whether Cyclops was going to be killed in Avengers vs. X-Men. The panelists explained that the idea might have been “floating around in the room, but never entertained for too long. “It was also announced that Jason Aaron was the one who had actually had the idea of the female Thor.

 

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8. SDCC ’14: Hall H shocker! No lines!

Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Was it just a slow day in Hall H? Or were we more right than we even knew about this being the year things didn’t get crazier? Did the new wristband system—and the ban on tents, forcing people to Rambo it—work? IS this just another world? Maybe everyone went to the PetCo Park experience?

Zillions of reports all day from Twitter about minimal lines for Hall H.

And Ballroom 20

Craziest Comic-Con EVAH this year.

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9. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Kneel before your god(zilla)


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10. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Really top-notch Bee and Puppycat cosplay by @microcake !


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11. SDCC 2014: Watchtower Thursday: Surfing the Tsunami Online

*  We’ve won!  Politicians officially open Comic-Con!

On Thursday, to mark the official opening of Comic-Con International 2014, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria harnessed their inner superheroes and flew through the air on a zip-line near the downtown Convention Center.

Gloria was the interim Mayor after the Filner scandal.  Faulconer won the special election.  Faulconer has strong ties to Comic-Con: he worked PR on the second convention center expansion before he ran for public office, and supports the expansion of the convention center.  His hobbies: yachting and biking.

* Google Glass banned from Comic-Con screenings.

 Not that surprising.

*For the wrestling fans out there… Sting appears at the WWE panel. [No, not the musician.]

Is this bigger than JR Jr. working for DC?

 * SYNERGY!

Well, yes; corporate synergy is another explanation—ESPN, like Marvel, is owned by Disney. The three spots feature former SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne introducing Marvel’s latest super team as new ESPN employees brought in to ensure the safety of the new SportsCenter set.

How soon before we see “ESPN: The Sports Comic Magazine”?  What?  Sports fans are geeks, too!  T-shirts, who-would-win fantasy leagues, arcane statistics and knowledge, objectified athletes and cheerleaders…

 * This year’s economic profile of Comic-Con.

 *  We discover Stan Lee’s one weakness…  Get well soon, Stan!   

*  OH NOES!  Girls are ruining Peanuts too!

“With their youthful, ingenious, and fashion-savvy sensibility, Snoopy and Belle are a perfect fit with the We Heart It community, and we’re looking forward to a terrifically successful partnership,” said Dave Williams, President of We Heart It. “Peanuts has always offered a fresh and original world view, which is exactly what We Heart It fans crave. This will provide an outstanding opportunity for our fans to find inspiration and engagement with this legendary brand.”

It’s like an electronic greeting card.  You can like and share pictures online.

* A Comic-Con Virgin, from Japan:

* The Boston Herald profiles how Wired used their “Wired Café” to best effect.

* Reed Elsevier, owner of NYCC, announces earnings.

 * Some Star Wars VII tidbits.

Movie Wars

DC wins on a quiet day (so far, as of 7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT), getting great publicity for their “All Hat, No Battle” Batsuit reveal. 

* MTV plots how DC can beat Marvel in Hall H.

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12. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat


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13. SDCC ’14: Fashion Shows on Trend

imageThis year there are several high-profile fashion-related events and product launches at Comic-Con, which at the very least reflects how much the comics industry’s awareness of fashion has grown since the days when Batgirl was baffled by hemlines.

As some of you may know, part of my work as an attorney involves assisting fashion businesses, from emerging designers to multinational companies, and I also work with the pioneering Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School. Cosplay and such branded merch as t-shirts have long been part of the Comic-Con scene, but in recent years we’ve seen intriguing growth in geek-and-nerd couture. With that, of course, comes a host of legal concerns, including copyright, trademark and depending on the garment or beauty product, even design and utility patents.

Tonight I’m looking forward to attending the first Her Universe Geek Couture Fashion Show, which starts at 6pm at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. The show, which is co-sponsored by Hot Topic and Nerdist Industries, will feature the work of 36 designers, two of whom will be selected to design a special Her Universe fashion collection. The founder of Her Universe, Ashley Eckstein, has brought on board an impressive array of licensed properties for her line, including Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead.

Tomorrow night brings another much anticipated show: the launch of the co-branded collection by GeekNation and COZDAY Clothing. COZDAY, by Leetal Platt Designs, features work inspired by pop culture, and GeekNation is the burgeoning media empire founded by actress Clare Kramer and producer Brian Keathley.

The Saturday-night Masquerade has been an established part of SDCC for years, and I’ll be covering that in more detail in a future post — for now, I’ll just note that one of the things that I’ve found particularly interesting about cosplay culture in San Diego is that for a number of cosplayers it as been a springboard for their careers, including movie makeup, film prosthetics and costume design.

The above list is hardly exhaustive. The Marge Simpsons MAC cosmetic line, the DC Comics x Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Fall 2014 line, roughly a bazillion TARDIS products: Comic Con is looking to be a productive platform for the fashion community — and, of course, its lawyers.

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14. Comixology Goes DRM-Free On Selected Publishers

comics_by_comixology_logo_black_textIf you look at the history of digital music, the combination of a standardized format, moderate pricing (compared to CDs) and DRM-free files were what sparked sales.  Comics still doesn’t have a standardized format or a lower pricing tier for new issues, but DRM-free just turned up.  Comixology has announced they’re going to be having DRM-free “back-up” copies available for select publishers.

This new feature allows you to download and store local copies of books in PDF and CBZ format.

For our launch, participating publishers include Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions. In addition, our Submit creators and small publishers are now able to choose to make their books available DRM-free.

Traditionally, Hollywood-based licenses have had DRM baked into the licensing agreements for comics.  It’s no surprise that DC (Warner), Marvel (Disney) and IDW (a lot of licensed books from places like Hasbro) aren’t on that list.  I’m also curious if Dynamite’s entire line is there or just part of the line, since they do a lot of licensed books.

SLG and Image started the DRM-free comics movement.  Comixology just picked up the ball in a big way.  Don’t be too surprised if ePub 3 gets added to the format list in the near future, too.

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15. SDCC ’14: Comixology announces DRM-free backups for Image, Top Shelf, Dynamite, Monkeybran, Thrillbent

With a line up of publishers yet unknown, Comixology has announced that from now on publishers will be able to choose a DRM-free option for their comics downloads. It’s both an acknowledgement of the reality of technology and a pretty forward facing move for a company that faces some skepticism since being acquired by Amazon. From now on when you download it, you own it. Simple as can be,

Not as simple. Whose on board? The original announcement included no names of publishers. Image, already DRM free would seem to be a natural, and perhaps other creator owned titles? Developing throughout the hour.

And the publishers have been announced:

“We’re excited to make this DRM-free backup option available to our customers and publishers today,” said comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger. “Our customers can keep a copy locally and continue to do their reading on comiXology in our industry-changing Guided View.”

“For those out there who have not joined the comic reading community because of DRM – you have no excuse now,” said co-founder and Director of ComiXology Submit John D. Roberts. “We’re excited about the launch of DRM-free backups today and look forward to announcing more innovative features as we move ahead with our mission of making everyone on the face of the planet a comic book fan!”

To obtain the DRM-free backups of their books, customers can go to the “My Books” section of comixology.com on their desktop computers and click the button that appears next to their books. Books and series from participating publishers will be available for backup starting today. Backups are available in high definition PDF and CBZ.

Customers will continue to enjoy all of their purchases – whether available as a DRM-free backup or not – on the comiXology platform in comiXology’s exclusive cinematic Guided View reading experience, anytime and anywhere.

With over 50,000 comics and graphic novels from more than 75 publishers, comiXology offers the widest selection of digital comics in the world. ComiXology’s immense catalog and cinematic Guided View reading experience makes it the best digital platform for comic and graphic novel fans worldwide.

Find your favorite comics and graphic novels at comixology.com and try the comiXology app available on all major mobile platforms.

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16. Transformers are going to get “Angry”

I'm pretty sure these Transformers would like some noms too.

I’m pretty sure these Transformers would like some noms too.

“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”

“Well honey, we have pancakes, bacon, potatoes, Decepiticons…”

If you were a kid from the 80’s, 90’s, or still a kid at heart, then you’re most likely familiar with Transformers. You know, “Transformers: More than meets the eye.” In honor of the franchise’s 30th anniversary, Hasbro Toys treated some eager reporters and fans to a breakfast this morning at Southpaw in San Diego’s Downtown Gaslamp area. I’ve heard of character breakfasts, but never one that dealt with robots.

All throughout the bar/restaurant, we were treated to Transformer toy splendor. Arranged along the bar area was private transformers collection that included some originals from the 80’s, Beastwars, and even some rocker themed ones I’ve never seen before (all posed on a 1984 “Planet Cybertron” poster). On the outside dining tables was a selection of the larger ones that transformer as you spin their parts. And there was even a buffet style “Mashem’s” table. Transformers Mashem’s are figures that allow the appendages to be swapped with other robots, allowing for some pretty creative robot making.

What I was most excited about were the videogames that Hasbro has in store for the Transformers brand. A few things are in the works, one of which is an online MMO called Transformers Universe. The computer based game features opened world areas that you can explore either as Autobots or Decepticons that are unique to the game. You can go hunting for Energon, fight wild Terracons, or even participate in 4 versus 4 pvp in either a death match mode, or a modified capture the flag. But instead of capturing flags, you try to steal the opposite team’s Energon.

To add another layer to the game, players can use Energon to craft items, or collect items by defeating enemies. The items can do various things, like boost stats for a continuous duration of time. The game is free to play, but if you are feeling a little impatient and don’t want to wait out the time it takes for your items to be made, you can purchase relics. Relics are in game currencies that are available as pickup items, so you can go throughout the duration of it without having to spend a dime. But like I said, if you’ve got better things to wait on, then they are purchasable with real world money. Currently Transformers Universe is in open beta. There is no set date yet for the actual release. Visit www.transformersuniverse.com to check it out for yourself.

Even bigger for the video gaming market is the crossover in the works. Transformers will be pairing up with the widely popular, widely recognized Angry Birds franchise. Unlike other Angry Birds games, this won’t be the typical drag and launch game featuring different themes. Angry Birds: Transformers will be a side scrolling shooter where the transforming birds and pigs have to fight enemies along the way. Another interesting addition is the cars that will be available for purchase. These transforming vehicles can be photographed, and then downloaded for use in the video game. The toys themselves will also have physical tracks available for them, so there will be more for them than just as downloads for the game. No release date is yet set for Angry Birds: Transformers.

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17. Comic Con: Beyond the Panels

By Hannah Lodge

For some, the real glamour of San Diego Comic Con lies beyond the confines of the convention center. For four days, the Gaslamp quarter is transformed into an outdoor festival, with parties, guest appearances, live music, free food, and entertainment happening in parallel of the announcements and panels held behind closed doors. Here’s our line-up of unofficial events happening outside of the convention center halls.

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Thursday and/or ongoing

Gotham Zip lining: From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday until Sunday, fans will have the opportunity to channel their inner batman and zip line (130 feet long, 30 feet high) through Gotham-esque landscape. Souvenir photos will also be available, and the event will take place between the convention center and the Hilton Bayfront. If the experience leaves you too exhausted to walk home, Uber will also be featuring Gotham-themed cars to pick passengers up for free rides. To hitch a ride, select the Gotham PD under the Uber slider in the app or follow uber_sd on twitter.

Nintendo Gaming Lounge: From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, the Marriott Marquis and Marina Ballroom will feature the Nintendo Gaming Lounge. Featured games include 3DS features like Super Smash Bros, Sonic Book and Siesta Fiesta and Wii U titles like Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad, Sonic Book and Skylanders Trap Team. Admission is free and no badge is required.

BioWare Development Team & Dragon Age Inquisition: From 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Thursday, Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry Lounge at 379 4th Ave (Jolt N’ Joes) will host coffee & donuts with the BioWare Development team and will demo the newest installment in the Dragon Age Series, Inquisition, which releases this fall. Demos will continue throughout the weekend. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Borderlands Laser Tag: From 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nerdist and 2K Games team up to bring Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel laser tag to Petco Park. The event will also feature an oxygen bar and live events. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Adult Swim Fun House & Dome Experience: Starting 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Adult Swim will feature interactive experiences at Petco Park parking lot. The Fun House is a giant castle that will force guests to crawl, side, and sing their way through. The Meatwad Dome Experience features a two-story, 40-foot Meatwad planetarium with animated content that requires a “this event has loud music, flashing lights, and  images that could trigger seizures” caution on the label. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Jay & Silent Bob Podcast: At 5 p.m. Thursday, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes will perform a live podcast to celebrate the release of their new book. The event takes place at the American Comedy Co. at 818 B 6th Ave. Tickets are $35 and include a signed copy of the book.

MTV Fan Fest & Fandom Awards: At 5 p.m. Thursday, Linkin Park will perform at Petco Park for MTV’s Fandom Awards. Entrance is free but requires a Comic Con badge.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Welcome Party: From 8 -11 p.m. Thursday, the CBLDF party will feature exclusive comics and a chance to mingle with creators like Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham, Nick Dragotta, Nick Pitarra. The party will also feature original artwork and an alchemy/fragrance lab from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Suggested donations of $10-$20 at the door.

NerdHQ Fan Party: Starting at 9 p.m., the annual Nerd HQ will kick off with a fan party at Petco Park. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Friday

Cape/Cowl/Create: From 12 -7 p.m. Friday, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment will celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary with an art exhibit at the Hard Rock Hotel. The exhibit will include the unveiling of life-size recreations of The Dark Knight’s cowl headpiece and cape from the upcoming video game as well as talent appearances, including Zack Snyder, Will Arnett, Mister Cartoon, and Buff Monster.  Some of the art pieces will be auctioned for charity. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Boxtrolls Food Truck: Though the truck will be available throughout the Con, at 1 p.m. the truck will be at the Petco Park Interactive Zone to feature Bug Chef David George Gordon, who will demonstrate his edible insect creations. Event is free and no badge is required.

Appleseed Alpha Screening: At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sony will screen the animated movie Appleseed Alpha, from the author Masamune Shirow (creator of Ghost in the Shell). The event is free but first-come-first-serve (RSVP on EventBrite recommended) and will take place at Reading Cinemas.

Danny Elfman Concert: At 8 p.m. Friday, composer Danny Elfman will perform in a concert featuring the scores from Tim Burton movies. Highlights include Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Big Fish, and The Corpse Bride. Tickets are between $28 – $90 and the event takes place at the Embarcadero Marina, directly behind the convention center.

Adam Savage Incognito: At 9 p.m. Friday, Tested.com is throwing a celebration for cosplayers, featuring Mythbusters star Adam Savage. Savage will demonstrate some of his most memorable cosplay and will reveal a meticulous replica of one of his favorite movie props of all time.  The event is 21+ and will be held at Side Bar, 536 Market St.

Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Jammy Party: Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric will feature a first look at their new series, Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, from 11 pm – midnight on Friday. The screening will take place at Petco Park’s parking lot (at the bottom of the pedestrian bridge) and requires pajamas and a free RSVP (RSVP on Adult Swim’s Comic Con page).

 

Saturday

Enhance Cosplay with Greg Nicotero: From 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Walking Dead special FX designer Greg Nicotero will demonstrate custom make-up designs for fans at the Super Hero HQ cosplay lab, located at the Courtyard by Marriott (100 Park Blvd). Free make-up touch-ups will also be available through the convention at the lab.  The event is free and open to the public.

George R.R. Martin Q&A: From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, George R.R. Martin will conduct a public Q&A at the Super Hero HQ at the Courtyard by Marriott. The event is free and open to the public.

Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival: From 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, beer aficionados will gather at the Embarcadero Marina Park North to sample from more than 40 breweries. The event will also feature food trucks, a costume contest and live music. Tickets are $45 ($20 for designated drivers).

ZombieWalk: Returning for its 8th year at Comic Con, the Zombiewalk will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and starts at Children’s Park (corner of Island & 1st Ave). The event is free and open to the public.

Norma Reedus Q&A: From 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Norma Reedus (a.k.a. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead) will do a live Q&A at Super Hero HQ in the Courtyard by Marriott. Reedus will also judge cosplay costumes and select and crown the King and Queen of Cosplay.  The event is free and open to the public.

The Walking Dead Escape: From 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Walking Dead fans can purchase tickets for the survival-driven event, which forces Survivors and Walkers to climb, crawl, slide and hide through brutal scenarios, to either live or become infected.  Tickets are $95 or walkers and $50 for survivors and the event takes place at Petco Park.

Doctor Who Comic Creators Signing: From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, writer Nick Abadzis, artist Elena Casagrande, cover artist Alice X Zhang and editor Andrew James will be on-hand at the Comickaze store, 5517 AB Clairemont Mesa Blvd. In addition to signings, the event will feature quizzes and a Doctor Who costume contest.

Thrilling Adventure Hour & Welcome to Night Vale Cross-Over Show: TAH & Welcome to Night Vale will be teaming up at 8 p.m. Saturday at Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway. The event will feature Marc Evan Jackson, Craig Cackowski, Hal Lublin, Mark Gagliardi, and show creators Ben Blacker & Ben Acker. Tickets range from $24 – $122.

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18. SDCC ’14: ‘All-New Captain America: Fear Him’ Digital Comic

The first Marvel announcement from SDCC came today at their ‘House of Ideas’ panel, as the creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Szymon Kudranski will put together a six-issue digital series featuring Sam Wilson, the new Captain America.

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These six issues will all be released at the same time, telling the first adventure of the character as he moves out of the red feathers and puts on the red white and blue suit. This’ll be set during between, to be exact, Captain America #25 and All-New Captain America #1.

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Marvel have also announced, possibly before in fact, that Marvel Unlimited will now also feature the Infinite Comics that the publisher have put out over the last few years. SDCC!

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19. SDCC 2014: Day -1 — a peak at the floor and The Year of Guardians

I kind of had an inkling that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the big thing at Comic-Con 2014, and after looking on the floor for a few minutes…I was right. If it isn’t the Lego Rocket and Groot, it’s dioramas or the spaceship (Owl ship?) in the Marvel booth. The Marvel booth is very “under construction” but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see more Guardians imagery. I’ll be peeking back in a bit to see what else I can find but here’s a quick look!

 

Some of these are blurry spy pics because workers don’t like it when you stand there and take a lot of clear, well framed photos.

 

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All my life I have dreamed of seeing Sean Bean on an airport luggage conveyor belt. Best promo of the show so far, but I just landed.

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Nice Guardians of the Galaxy display at Hasbro.

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This is a video of JJ Abrams telling you how awesome Star Wars VII is going to be.

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Hot Wheels, I think I love you.

 

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Star Wars Rebels

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The stars of the show so far.

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Seriously the only danger is that Rocket and Groot may be approaching Poochie territory with the exposure they’re getting.

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Doings at the Marvel Booth. Is that Kree, Skrull or just part of an air duct?

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The Alex Ross booth is always a treat although it’s relatively unchanged in recent years.

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More Marvel swagga.

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Batman is the big theme of the DC booth! I tried to get a better shot of the Batman costume displays—which will be very impressive—but too many nosy parkers.

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Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton is thankful his palette of books just arrived. And MArch 2 coming in January.

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Yes SLG and publisher Dan Vado are here. Despite Vado’s recent money troubles, he made it to the show with a lot of merch to sell…

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…including this cool shirt. Many more like it. Check out the SLG booth across from the DC booth!

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And my favorite booth! The land that time forgot, New England Comics. But I got word of a new Tick…sign coming. Maybe.

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Brutal working conditions thus far.

 

 

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20. SDCC 2014: The Beat Picks Showbiz Panels You Can Go To Without Ruining Comic-Con

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Not everything showbiz related at Comic-Con is innately douchey. There are even some panels that sound downright FASCINATING. Like these. But get there early. Also check out my PW story on the top COMICS panels of the show.

THURSDAY
10:30am –  11:30am
Legends of TV Land Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Get up close and personal with icons of television! Superstar Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Plus, get a special sneak peek at the animated episode of TV Land’s original sitcom Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.


Betty WHite. The last living Golden Girl. I’d go.

1:30pm –  3:00pm
Comedy Central: Key & Peele and Introducing Moonbeam City! Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Key & Peele stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who are best known for their impressive ability for improv, celebrity impressions, and conjuring up original characters including “Obama and Luther,” “The Valet Guys,” “Mr. Garvey, the Substitute Teacher” and the players from the annual “East/West College Bowl.” Whether it’s satirizing the President, spoofing musical acts, or taking on religion, Key & Peele showcases their chemistry, camaraderie and unique point of view, born from their shared background and experiences growing up biracial in a not quite post-racial world. Join the stars of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele as they go behind the scenes, reveal details on their upcoming new season, and more! Panel to be moderated by actor and comedian, Tom Lennon. – The party continues with a FIRST EVER look at Comedy Central’s newest animated series Moonbeam City. Moonbeam City is an absurdist take on the gritty, sex-drenched crime dramas from the 1980s. The series follows undercover detective Dazzle Novak (voiced by Rob Lowe), a handsome idiot who commits more crimes than most criminals. His tyrannical chief, Pizzaz Miller (Elizabeth Banks), won’t get off his back, and hotshot rookie Rad Cunningham (Will Forte) is dying to see him fail. With the world against him, Dazzle is thrust into a living nightmare: having to do actual police work. Join series creator and executive producer, Scott Gairdner and the voice of Dazzle, Rob Lowe, as they reveal details for the first time on Comedy Central’s next big animated series! Panel to be moderated by Moonbeam City head-writer, Tommy Blacha.


Somewhere back in the Aughts there was a very brief period when the BBC showed up at Comic-COn and brought their old TV shows with them. This led to big SDCC welcomes for The Mighty Boosh and Look Around You. It was so awesome and I couldn’t wait for them to get to Garth Marenghi, Black Books, Nathan Barley, Peepshow and so on…but…they didn’t. However, Key and Peele are just as funny as the great Brits, although with a uniquely American spin, because we’re uniquely f-ed up about race. PLus, Fargo.

FRIRDAY

2:00pm –  3:00pm
1984′s Greatest Geek Movies: Big Brother Wasn’t The Only One Watching While Doves Cried Room 5AB
While Eurasia was still at war with Eastasia and Big Brother was watching you, some amazing movies slipped into cinemas and our panel of experts are going to wax on, wax off about the great geek year of 1984 as they look back at such films as The Terminator, Gremlins, Repo Man, Ghostbusters, Dune, Splash, This is Spinal Tap, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Star Trek III, Buckaroo Banzai, Body Double, The Karate Kid, Red Dawn, Night of the Comet, Once Upon a Time in America, This is Spinal Tap, and, of course, the incomparable Purple Rain. Celebrating the fact that they still love the ’80s will be Ashley E. Miller (Thor, new Terminator TV series), David E. Williams (editor, GEEK magazine), Robert Meyer Burnett (Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays), Marc Berandin (The Hollywood Reporter), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Transformers Prime), Joe Kraemer (Jack Reacher), and moderator Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise, DOA: Dead or Alive). This panel is sure to get turned up to 11.


I’m old. And so are you.

7:00pm – 8:00pm 1
Neil Gaiman Documentary Room 4
Neil Gaiman is one of our most beloved modern storytellers, crafting amazing fantasy worlds across comics, novels, films, and music. But what is his story? This new documentary takes you along for the ride on Neil’s record-setting 2013 signing tour, and explores a life as fantastical as one of his stories. Filmmakers Patrick Meaney (Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods) and Jordan Rennert (Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts), Neil’s “Pepper Potts” Cat Mihos, and a special guest present an exclusive first look at the film.


Support my peeps Patrick and Jordan! Don’t leave them eating scraps!

SATURDAY

11:00am – 12:00pm     
Temple of Art Room 25ABC
Temple of Art is an ongoing 2-year art and photography project, a unique conversation among over 50 artists that includes original work incorporating multiple modalities and disciplines. The show currently has a book published by Baby Tattoo, bicoastal gallery openings, and a feature-length documentary. Creator Allan Amato (commercial photographer, Justified, Wilfred, Necessary Roughness ) will be curating, discussing art as a battleground between ego, alchemy, and discipline. The panel features such greats from both the comics industry and the fine art world as Dave Mckean (Mirror Mask, Sandman), Barron Storey (Sandman:Endless Nights, Marat-Sade Journals), Kent Williams (Kent Williams: Opthalm, The Fountain), Jason Shawn Alexander (Abe Sapien, Batman: End Game), David Mack (Kabuki, Daredevil), Bill Sienkiewicz (Electra Assassin, The New Mutants),Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum, The Filth, Happy), Jim Mahfood (Clerks, Tank Girl), Stephanie Inagaki (fine artist, Miyu Decay), and Ryan Graff (designer, publisher). Moderated by Jon Schnepp. A video presentation of original works from the show and preview of the documentary will be played as well. Giveaway T-shirts, postcards, and posters.


Uh…GREATEST PANEL EVER! Jesus this should be on every list!

12:00pm – 1:00pm     
Spotlight on Bryan Lee O’Malley Room 28DE
Comic-Con special guest Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of the bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, discusses his newest project, Seconds, with Laura Hudson (Wired).

12:00pm – 1:00pm     
Spotlight on Drew Friedman Room 23ABC
Comic-Con special guest Drew Friedman (author/artist of Heroes of the Comics) and Gary Groth (publisher of Fantagraphics Books) discuss Friedman’s new book Heroes of the Comics, debuting at Comic-Con. Friedman and Groth will discuss many of the comics legends portrayed in the book, including some they have known personally, among them Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, and Harvey Kurtzman.


Choose your poison.

3:00pm – 4:00pm     
ComiXology Submit: The Future of Self-Publishing Room 23ABC
Think you have what it takes to be comics’ next indie-creator superstar? Then this panel is for you! Since its launch at SXSW in 2013, comiXology Submit has released over 1400 independent comic book series. ComiXology’s marketing & PR maven Chip Mosher and comiXology co-founder and Director of comiXology Submit John D. Roberts are joined by such breakout Submit superstars as the sensational writer and co-creator of The Bunker Joshua Fialkov, Eisner Award-winning cartoonist behind The Mire Becky Cloonan, and the artist/writer team of the Eisner Award-nominated series Watson & Holmes, Brandon M. Easton and N. Steven Harris, for a discussion on how you too can join the ranks of comiXology Submit stardom!


This isn’e showbiz but it is interesting. As Tood Allen pointed out, the DIY aspects of Comixology are one of the most attractive elements to Amazon as maker culture goes universal.

3:30pm – 4:30pm     
Inside the Making of Twin Peaks-The Entire Mystery Blu-ray Room 5AB
Go behind the scenes of the unprecedented collection of the groundbreaking cult phenomenon from David Lynch and Mark Frost, Twin Peaks-The Entire Mystery. Join actress Kimmy Robertson (“Lucy Moran”), Blu-ray producer Charles de Lauzirika, Blu-ray co-producer Brian Kursar, and restoration and remastering executive project managers David Grant and Ryan Adams. Get an advance look at not only the staggering results of the high-definition upgrade of both the series and feature film, but also an exclusive sneak peek at the Blu-ray’s massive array of bonus features, including the “holy grail” of Twin Peaks fandom, The Missing Pieces, the long-awaited deleted and extended scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, directed and edited by David Lynch himself! Moderated by Robert Meyer Burnett.


I have to admit, I thought the Twin Peaks dads would be a big deals SDCC. I haven’t seen the show floor yet, but this panel seems to be it. But it is enough. Counting the minutes until I see the restored Fire Walk With Me.

2:00pm – 3:00pm     
DC Comics: New Places for Familiar Faces Room 6DE
DC Comics is proud to have Greg Capullo, David Finch, and John Romita Jr. working on the three greatest heroes of our generation: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. For the first time ever, these three all-star creators sit down and discuss what it is like to work on the Trinity and what is in store for everyone’s favorite characters.


Not showbiz but you can bet this will be the most quoted comics panel of the weekend.

5:00pm – 6:00pm     
Disney’s Gargoyles 20-Year Anniversary Room 25ABC
“Twenty years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age…of Gargoyles!” Help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Disney Animation television series Gargoyles with members of the cast and crew, featuring series creator Greg Weisman, supervising producer Frank Paur, and others.


I’m old and so are you, but I’mglad people still like Gargoyles, because that was a great show.

7:00pm – 8:00pm     American Horror Story: Coven Room 6DE
Who’s the baddest witch in town? For the first time ever, the critically acclaimed miniseries visits Comic-Con with an exclusive look back at AHS: Coven followed by an all-star panel featuring AHS cast members Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Michael Chiklis, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Emma Roberts, and executive producer Tim Minear. The panel will also treat fans to some exclusive secrets from the set of the next franchise instalment, AHS: Freak Show.


I’m surprised the very popular AHS didn’t get a Ballroom 20 slot! I predict this will be a line waiting disaster and next time they will. Also Angela Bassett! Kathy Bates! Sarah Paulson! Emma Roberts!

7:00pm – 8:00pm     
Comics & Pop Music! Room 28DE
Comic books and pop music are uniquely American artforms, with many common inspirations and a large shared audience. Patrick A. Reed (Depth of Field magazine) brings together a group of artists, writers, publishers, and musicians to talk about the long, strange history of music-based comics and how these two media continue to inform and impact each other.


No deets on this, but Patrick’s panels are always star studded and insightful affairs.

SUNDAY

11:00am – 12:00pm     
Spotlight on Chuck Dixon Room 28DE
Comic-Con special guest Chuck Dixon (Batman, Punisher, Winterworld, Bad Times) will conduct his own informal Q&A about comic book writing, the creation of Bane, how to live in Florida but write about life in a world of constant winter, and what it’s like to be a lightning rod of controversy in a world of make-believe.


This should be interesting.

1:00pm – 2:00pm     
Spotlight on Michelle Nolan Room 4
Author/journalist and Comic-Con special guest Michelle Nolan (Love on the Racks) will join moderator Maggie Thompson (former editor of Comics Buyer’s Guide) and Bud Plant (45 years of Bud Plant Comic Art) for a discussion and Q&A about Michelle’s more than 50 years as a comics historian/entrepreneur.


Deep magic from before the dawn of time.

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21. SDCC 2014: The Beat picks the most offbeat panels at Comic-Con

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We know Comic-Con is a crowded, tumultuous place, with a noise level akin to being sucked through a jet engine and a similar toll on the body. But perhaps there are a few peaceful eddies and tranquil pools where you may find a moment to relax…and learn something. We’re not saying the following panels are bad—in fact among them are the best—but for various reasons they may be less frantic or stress inducing. BUT see the end of the list for the surprise twist that will bring a tear to your eye!

THURSDAY 

1:00pm –  2:00pm
A Mercs Life For Me: What It Takes to Be a Mandalorian Room 29A
James Sebree (San Diego chapter leader), Sal Attinello (Manda’galaar), Todd Mullin (Haran’galaar Clan), and Quinn Pendleton (member approval rep.) discuss the ins and outs of the Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club. Topics include introduction to costume construction, overview of member requirements, and getting your costume approved. Also, Loren Toy (Manda’galaar) on 3D printing for costuming, and Kristina Schlosser (Haran’galaar clan) and Erica Heinrich (Manda’galaar) on building a custom female Mandalorian.


What is a Mandaloran you could be asking yourself? And are they taking our jobs? Confession: I had to Google this. And I was right! See end of the column to see if you were too! One of many panels that still appeals to a limited specialist audience.

1:45pm –  3:15pm
Comic-Con How-To: Gray Scale Copic Markers Room 2
Adam Hughes will use the warm and cool gray Copic markers to render the tones on a drawing. Fellow artist Allison Sohn will narrate the process while Adam draws. Hughes has been working in comics for over 25 years. Some of his work from the past year includes a story in Batman Black and White as well as the covers to the Vertigo series Fairest and the Dark Horse series Rebel Heist.


Coptic markers you say? ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz…oh wait it’s Adam Hughes? Never mind.

3:00pm –  4:00pm
ComicBase User Group Meeting Room 29A
Attention all comic collectors! ComicBase, the world’s premiere software program for managing comic collections, will be holding their annual user group meeting with creator Pete Bickford. This once-a-year presentation will discuss the latest features and news about ComicBase and Atomic Avenue.


I’m temped to go to this just to find out what people who use advanced software to manage their vast comics collections talk about when they talk about advanced software to manage their vast comics collections.

4:30pm –  5:30pm
Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries Hall H
A discussion between a couple of blockbuster directors on the art of filmmaking and a wide-ranging discussion about the future of film.


Can never live up to the hype.

4:30pm –  5:30pm
Thunderbirds at 50 Room 8
As Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s iconic Thunderbirds series turns 50 next year, Jamie Anderson (Anderson Entertainment) executive producers of the new Thunderbirds Are Go series Richard Taylor (Jane and the Dragon, The Wot Wots, LOTR), and Giles Ridge (Harry Potter: Behind the Magic, The Illustrated Mum) talk about heritage programs, and the importance of remaining true to the ethos that made the show so successful first time around. Join the Thunderbirds team for this Q&A, moderated by head writer of the new series Rob Hoegee (Slugterra, Generator Rex, Teen Titans).


Many years ago I wondered if Thunderbirds fandom was doomed to die out, as there was no new product and the materials seemed to be caught in a quaint but downward nostalgic spiral. Well, this is where the lone survivors will gather to discuss continuing on in a hostile environment.

6:00pm –  7:00pm
Batman ’66 Hall H
Holy Bat Panels! Get all the details on the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment reunites pop icons Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar on the Hall H stage for a Bat-tastic look at Batman: The Complete TV Series. The actors behind Batman, Robin. and Catwoman, along with moderator Ralph Garman, will give you an inside sneak peek at all the exclusive content within this blockbuster home entertainment release, as well as exhibiting dazzling HD remastered footage from the landmark series. Batman: The Complete TV Series will be released in November 2014.


AGAIN? Seriously haven’t there been about 12 zillion panels with the Batman cast at every rickety dinky con since time began? Old.

FRIDAY

11:00am –  12:00pm
The Official Aspen Comics 2014 Panel Room 9
Frank Mastromauro (co-owner), Peter Steigerwald (co-owner), Vince Hernandez (VP, editor-in-chief), Mark Roslan (VP, director of design and production), David Wohl (Executive Assistant: Iris), J. T. Krul (Jirni), Siya Oum (Lola XOXO), Scott Lobdell (Superman), Paolo Pantalena (Jirni),Giuseppe Cafaro (Fathom: Kiani),Jordan Gunderson (EA: Assassins), Lori Hanson (EA Assassins), and Beth Sotelo (Fathom) will reveal upcoming Aspen titles as well as projects on the horizon. They will also hold a Q&A session with fans. All fans in attendance will receive a gift courtesy of the publisher.


See Thunderbirds. Gotta give ‘em credit for sticking around in a hostile environment though. I don’t remember the last time I heard someone say they read an Aspen comic.

1:30pm –  2:30pm
Game Your Brain to Superhero Status Room 24ABC
National Geographic Channel’s Eric LeClerc (illusionist, Brain Games), David Rees (Going Deep with David Rees), Tony Gonzalez (The NFL Today analyst, You Can’t Lick Your Elbow), and Dr. Armand Dorian (ER physician, You Can’t Lick Your Elbow) join together for a series of interactive experiments that will mess with your mind and show you that what may seem superhuman is actually within your reach.


What does this even mean?

3:30pm –  4:30pm
Women Below the Line Room 26AB
Sheyne Fleischer (assistant editor, The Bachelor, Hells Kitchen), Tess Folwer (writer/illustrator Game of Thrones Exclusive Animation, Rat Queens), Alicia Minette (prop fabrication: Sushi Girl, Man at Arms), and Aubriana Zurilgen (creature creation: Steve Wang’s Creature Workshop, MasterFX), will explore the nontraditional roles of women in the comic and entertainment industries. Female editors, illustrators, prop fabricators, and creature creators will relate their success stories and how to follow your dreams in the industry, while exploring gender roles in the creative professions. Moderated by Glenn Freund (League of S.T.E.A.M.).


Great going, ladies! Now someone get you off this marginalizing panel and on the stage with the big boys. A woman on every panel, not one panel for every woman.

5:00pm –  6:00pm
Hermes Press: A Celebration of The Phantom, the First Masked Hero Room 9
Be the first to see the premiere, concept, and design of Peter David and Sal Velluto’s New Phantom comic book series together with a multimedia presentation about the history of the The Ghost Who Walks. Sal Velluto (The Phantom, Flash, Justice League Task Force, Black Panther), the artist for the new series, will discuss the direction and philosophy of the book and show off artwork from issue #1. Daniel Herman (publisher, Hermes Press), Graham Nolan (Batman, The Phantom, Rex Morgan, M.D.), and Thomas Andrae ( Batman and Me, Creators of the Superheroes, Walt Kelly: the Life and Art of the Creator of the Art of Pogo) will discuss the history of the character, the classic strip and comic books, and the all-new version (which brings back the classic Phantom) of this iconic character.


See Thunderbirds.

5:15pm –  6:15pm
Celebration of 24-Hour Comic Day Room 18
This year marks the 10th anniversary of 24-Hour Comic Day. Come by and help celebrate! Participants will reminisce about past years while also discussing how to make October 4, 2014 the best 24-Hour Comic Day ever. (This panel is open to all Comic-Con attendees.)


How can you cram this into one hour?

6:35pm – 8:05pm     
The Musk of Tusk: An Evening with Kevin Smith Hall H
After all the interesting and exciting movie panels are over, Hall H belongs to a middle-aged man who once worked with BatFleck! Ask ComiKev questions and get ready to say #WalrusYes as Kev premieres the trailer to his first film in three years: the twisted, transformative tale of Tusk! Wrap up a busy Friday with the Clown Prince of Comic-Con!


It’s nice to see that Kevin Smith has embraced his place as the It the Living Colossus of 90s nostalgia.

7:00pm – 8:00pm     
Simpsons Collectors Group Room 29A
Simpsons collectors of the world, unite! Take a break from the busy Comic-Con floor and get a chance to meet some of your fellow collectors of Simpsons merchandise from all over the country. Meet the other Simpsons collectors you see on the message board and put faces to names. This gathering, hosted by the staff of the SimpsonsCollectors.com website, is a great chance to network with other collectors and share your experiences in the hobby with others.


Isn’t this what a convention used to be about? Just people with odd hobbies finding kindred souls?

8:30pm – 9:30pm     
Klingon Lifestyles Room 6A
Klingons, weapons and ohhhh, yes there will be live action bat’leth sword battles. Come join the fun and mayhem for the 21st annual Klingon stage play. Watch the Stranglehold Klingons travel to distant worlds to bring glory back to the empire! Enter the Trek costume contest-prizes awarded for best dressed, largest red shirt group, and more. All alien races welcomed. If you love stage plays and love SWAG even more, come and support the only live-action Star Trek fan-based play to boldly go where no play has gone before!


Talking about the 90s…this event is in its 21st year, and is one of two or three “throwback” panels from when Under the Sails was new! Visit it to marvel at the sight of this living dinosaur!

SATURDAY/

1:00pm – 2:00pm     
Little Lulu and John Stanley Fan Group Room 29A
One of the most memorable kids’ comics ever created (yet with remarkable “all-ages” appeal), Little Lulu has generated a worldwide fan following. Learn more about this classic comics character and the renewed interest in the other delightful works of the great John Stanley, and join in for a scripted reading of a Golden Age Little Lulu story. All are welcome!


Another throwback, this one possibly going back to the 80s! Do you realize what is must feel like for a group that has been meeting at the con for over 20 years? In the meantime, God bless Mike Richardson for publishing that completely Little Lulu line a few years back, and Tom Devlin at D&Q for Stanley and Thirteen and the other great Stanley/Tripp books.

8:00pm – 9:00pm     
Science in the Stories of H. P. Lovecraft Room 4
Iconic weird tale author H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), in his introduction to the story The Call of Cthulhu wrote: “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we s Hall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” Was he right? A panel of scientists and Lovecraft experts will discuss the science behind Lovecraft’s stories and what modern research has revealed about humanity’s place in the cosmos. With Cody Goodfellow (Deepest, Darkest Eden: New Tales Of Hyperborea), Shane Haggard (Chemistry instructor, San Diego City College), Leslie S. Klinger (The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft), Andrew Leman (The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society), and Lisa Will, Ph.D. (astronomy and physics professor, San Diego City College). Moderated by Aaron Vanek (The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon-Los Angeles).


Although this sounds niche-y, when I looks at the RSVP list online it had more people than most comics panels.

SUNDAY

12:00pm – 1:00pm     
Dr. Zhivago’s Innovation in Education: Basic Cartoon and Animation Using Vector Graphic Tools for Kids Room 30CDE
Dr. Marie Zhivago (professional cartoonist and published children’s book author) and Dr. Eric Banatao (principal of Eastlake Elementary School, Chula Vista, CA) discuss how students learn basic cartoon and animation using an industry standard vector-based app and software on iPads and computers. Kids learn early how to use current technological tools to help stimulate and develop young artist’s creative imagination. Join Dr. Zhivago and Dr. Banatao for this Q&A session.


UNless you like….quantum graphics. I think you would need to be a child to have the comprehension for this panel on a Sunday morning at con.

12:00pm – 2:00pm     
Ball-Jointed Dolls Collectors Group Room 29A
Doll owners and enthusiasts discuss the world of ball-jointed resin dolls from companies such as Elfdoll, Volks, Fairyland, Iplehouse, and many others. This year artist Bo Bergemann of Bergmann Dolls will talk about sculpting and manufacturing BJDs. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn the basics about BJDs and pick up tips on customizing, maintaining, and photographing these beautiful dolls. Share the beauty of your own unique doll, or just see the many dolls on display. From tiny to towering, it’s a great opportunity to experience the different types of dolls in the world of BJDs. Make new friends, both real and resin!


Just tell people you are going to Comic-Con to learn about the world of BJDs. They didn’t know it was that kind of place. This panel has also been going on for more than a decade. Someone needs to make a documentary just about this, the John Stanley group and the Klingon lifestyles, for a look at the original gangsters of fandom.

12:30pm – 1:30pm     
Comic-Con How-To: Building Your Fandom Armada Room 2
Let’s discuss relationships and fandom. Bring your OTPs, gather your Armada, and cross over into an expert presentation by two DeviantArt masters, with Kay Purcell (damphyr) and Aun-Juli Riddle (aunjuli), as they help you navigate more ships than have ever crossed the worlds of fandom.


What in the heck is this? No one expects the Spanish Armada. Buehler? Anyone?

4:00pm – 5:00pm     
Disney Pin Trading: Past, Present, and Future Room 29A
Back for a second year at Comic-Con is Pin Pics, an exclusive insight into the world of Disney Pin Trading. Lead panelist Barry Koper (Disneyana expert) will take you back to the beginning of the Disney pin-trading hobby.Anthony and Samantha Medina (Pin Pics presidents) will take you through modern trends in trading and discuss the future direction of Disney pins as collectibles. Jennifer Colyn (Pin Pics event director) moderates, followed by Q&A. All pin traders, Disney enthusiasts, and collectors welcome.


Despite being in the VERY LAST slot for programming at the con, this panel still had several hundred RSVPs.

And now a serious note: although I started this column as a bit of a laugh (and to spotlight the many archaeological layers of the Con) the RSVP system on the website allows you to see how many people intend to attend each session. And even things like Disney pin collecting got more than many many deserving comics panels. I won’t go into details or hold anyone up to embarrassment. I was disheartened to discover this, although not that surprised. But even though comics are once again the low man on the totem pole of the party they started, I do think the above list gives a little idea of the variety of fantoms that Comic-Con embraces. It’s a big tent, yes, and right now some people are sleeping in that tent waiting for a panel in Hall H.

What about it? Do you go to comic-con for the ball jointed doll panel or John Stanley? We’d love to hear from you.

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22. Army of Darkness Anniversary Special/Creator Reunion Due in November

InteriorArtDDynamite is celebrating it’s 10th anniverasy with a special issue of Army of Darkness, Army of Darkness #1992.1 (after the year the film was released).  This is appropriate, given that the Army of Darkness license was what started Dynamite down the path of becoming a publisher.

Solicited for November, this is a bit of a “let’s get the band back together” double-sized event.  Past creators returning to the franchise include  Steve Niles, Elliott Serrano, Cullen Bunn, James Kuhoric, and Mike Raicht.

“It’s great to be able to spend some time with Ash again after seeing him running around with Steve Niles for the past year. I missed the big dope,” says Elliott Serrano. “And by big dope I mean Ash.”

Official PR:

DYNAMITE HAILS TO THE KING WITH ARMY OF DARKNESS #1992.1,
THE DOUBLE-SIZED CELEBRATION OF THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE IN MEDIEVAL TERROR

July 21, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ:  Dynamite Entertainment is inviting fans everywhere to join the celebration with a very special Army of Darkness tale, dedicated by its issue number to honor the year of the original cult film’s release. Army of Darkness #1992.1 will be a commemorative square-bound edition, featuring short stories of demon-hunting hero Ash Williams written by the series’ greatest terror talents of issues past, including Steve Niles, Elliott Serrano, Cullen Bunn, James Kuhoric, and Mike Raicht.

Army of Darkness #1992.1 celebrates the history of Dynamite’s publishing by inviting many of its most notable writers to contribute short vignettes.  Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) is the most recent contributor to the saga, with tales of medieval terror in Ash and the Army of Darkness and Army of Darkness: Ash Gets Hitched.  Elliott Seranno contributed such story arcs as “Hail to the Queen, Baby” and “The King is Dead.”  James Kuhoric (Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6) wrote some of the earliest Dynamite adventures, including “Shop ‘Til You Drop Dead” and “Army of Darkness Vs. Reanimator.” Mike Raicht (Dark Shadows) contributed the storylines “Hellbillies and Deadnecks” and “Home Sweet Hell.”

Meanwhile, Cullen Bunn is a celebrated comic book author (DeadpoolMagnetoSixth Gun) tackling Army of Darkness for the first time, and setting up its hero for the next adventure.  As Senior Editor Joseph Rybandt says, “Army of Darkness will always have a special place in our collective hearts, as ten years ago, it was our very first title.  We’ve thrown everything at Ash in the interim, but we’re throwing him into space next. And it all starts here.”

“I’m proud to be a part of this incredible celebration, but truth be told, they couldn’t have done it without me.” States Asley J. Williams, star of the movie and comics.  “When they suggested the #1992.1, I said, that sounds great!  I told them that this was the highest numbered comic of all time.  They stated that another company had done a #1 Million, and shotgun in hand I explained to them how that was a stunt and this is the real deal, so all I can say is, buy it, you’ll love it.”

“What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Dynamite than with an incredible over-sized Army of Darkness story,” said Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “This special is in time for our 10th anniversary and serves as a holiday present to our fans!  Comics and movie fans alike will not want to miss this issue.”

Army of Darkness is a 1992 fantasy/comedy film with strong horror elements starring Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice) and Embeth Davidtz, the third installment in a trilogy featuring reluctant hero Ash Williams.  Directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), the film saw its tough-as-nails, wise-cracking protagonist transported from the modern era to the Dark Ages in his continuing war against demonic evil.  Army of Darkness generated a dedicated fan following for its premise and lead actor.

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23. Cullen Bunn on Masks II

Masks Image #6Cullen Bunn is really spreading himself around these days.  The Sixth Gun at Oni.  Magneto and Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe at Marvel.  Sinestro at DC.  You can add Masks II at Dynamite.

Masks, which came out in 2012, was essentially a team-up mini-series for Dynamite’s pulp heroes line.  The Shadow, The Spider, Green Hornet,  Green Lama, Black Bat, Black Terror, Miss Fury and Zorro (after a fashion) up against an fascist takeover of New York, based loosely on the old “Empire State” trilogy from the original Spider pulps.  Masks sold well (the first issue had interior art from Alex Ross – something we don’t seem much of these days).  Seeing as how Dynamite has since acquired the rights to Doc Savage and The Spirit, it would not surprise me at all if those characters appeared in the sequel.

 

Official PR:

 

ACCLAIMED WRITER CULLEN BUNN WRITES MASKS II
AN EPIC COMIC BOOK EVENT UNITING ICONIC PULP HEROES

July 21, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ:  Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that comic book writer Cullen Bunn (DeadpoolMagneto) will tackle their wide cast of company-owned and licensed pulp heroes in Masks II.  Following upon the success of the bestselling 2012 Masks miniseries, Masks II will unite iconic crime-fighters of singular purpose (if not diverse ideologies and techniques) in an epic miniseries event designed to appeal to both longtime fans and fresh newcomers. Dynamite plans to launch Masks II in late 2014.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be working on Masks II,” says Bunn.  “I’ve always loved these great classic characters that I will have the privilege of working with, and I’m striving to keep the tone of the pulps that have always been a big inspiration for me. I’ll admit, this project is a little intimidating, because I’ve put together a very ambitious team-up story that readers will have to see to believe!”

The original Masks series launched in 2012 with industry fanfare, with its #1 issue ranking among the bestselling independent comic books of the year and selling over 70,000 copies.  Drawn to the premise by the work of superstar painter Alex Ross, writer Chris Roberson, and artist Dennis Calero, readers thrilled to an adventure that united classic characters like The ShadowThe SpiderThe Green Hornet, and Kato against a cadre of corrupt politicians and their fascist police state.  Masks II promises to follow the themes established within that first series, but in a way that’s perfect for new readers.

Bunn recently released his debut work with Dynamite Entertainment, a standalone tale presented in The Shadow #0 that teamed the supernatural vigilante with legendary escape artist Harry Houdini.  Masks II marks his first foray into the long-form comic story for Dynamite.

Cullen Bunn is a freelance writer perhaps best known for Marvel Comics’ popular Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe and Magneto series, as well as the Oni Press series The Damned and The Sixth Gun. He is also a short story writer and novelist; his major publications outside of the comic book sphere include Crooked Hills and Creeping Stones & Other Stories. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award (2012), the Eisner Award (2012), and the Ghastly Awards (2011), and is the winner of Broken Frontier’s “Best Writer Independent” Award (2011).

“Since Day One we’ve strived to deliver high-octane action on Masks,” said Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The fresh style that Cullen brings to comics is exactly what makes him the perfect choice to fit the bill.  He’s our absolute top choice for a project of this caliber!”

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24. SDCC: Boom! Hints new Grant Morrison Book

by Zachary Clemente

With SDCC being only a day away – Boom! Studios teased us with their 15th convention announcement on twitter:

 

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We have no inkling what the project will be as of yet, but undoubtedly we’ll hear more about it during the con. Stay tuned!

 

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25. New Lone Ranger Series by Gray/Villegas in November

Dynamite will be starting a new Lone Ranger series in November.  Justin Gray will be writing it, which is interesting for a couple reasons.  First off, it’s unusual to see Gray’s name without his usual co-writer/co-conspirator, Jimmy Palmiotti.  Secondly, Gray (along with Palmiotti) is the longest tenured writer of the western genre in recent memory.  His association with Jonah Hex goes back to 2006, so that’s 8 years.  Although if you wanted to make the argument that All-Star Western wasn’t a western, so much as a comic with a western lead, I probably wouldn’t quibble.  Either way, Jonah Hex and All-Star Western were two of DCs most consistently well-reviewed series of the last decade.

Joining Gray on art will be Rey Villegas, who’s been doing Lady Zorro for Dynamite.LRvol3-01-Cassaday

 

JUSTIN GRAY, WRITER OF JONAH HEX,
RIDES INTO DYNAMITE WITH THRILLING NEW CHAPTER
IN THE LONE RANGER‘S HISTORY

July 22, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ:  Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the signing of Justin Gray, who will be continuing Dynamite’s long standing success with America’s quintessential Western hero, as he takes the reins on a brand new series of The Lone Ranger.  Launching with a new #1 in November 2014, The Lone Ranger will feature the exciting interior artwork of Rey Villegas (Lady Zorro), as well as covers by John Cassaday (Uncanny AvengersAstonishing X-Men) and Marc Laming (All-New InvadersKings Watch).

“I’m proud to be working with one of the longest standing and best known Western characters in all of literature, because to me The Lone Rangerrepresents a moral code, unquestionable justice and a sense of adventure that embodies the classic American western,” says Justin Gray.

No stranger to Western thrills, Justin Gray is a frequent contributor to Jonah Hex and All-Star Western, tales of an Old West gunslinger set within the larger DC Comics continuity. Gray has contributed to dozens of name-recognizable titles from Marvel Comics and DC Comics, including BatwingAme-Comi GirlsPunisherPower GirlCountdown, and many more.

Since his radio debut in 1933, the masked Lone Ranger has endured as an icon of American culture. Dynamite first launched The Lone Ranger as a comic series in 2006, written by Brett Matthews and illustrated by Sergio Cariello.  Its #0 prelude issue was a part of that year’s nationwide Free Comic Book Day celebration, and the series would go on to score an Eisner Nomination for best new series in 2007. A second volume of The Lone Rangerfollowed, as did such miniseries called The Lone Ranger and Tonto and The Lone Ranger: Snake of Iron.

“We are incredibly excited to have Justin on board for this title,” said Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “We’ve had a great run with The Lone Ranger as one of our most consistent critically acclaimed comics, and needed someone who we could trust to fill these ‘big boots,’ continuing one of the best Western heroes ever.  With a track record like his, we’re in for a Western comic that we won’t soon forget!”

The Lone Ranger #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ September Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in November.  Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of The Lone Ranger #1with their local comic book retailers.  The Lone Ranger will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

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