C2E2 2013: BOOM! Studios 'Doing it Right'

Regular Show #1
Credit: kaBOOM!

Representatives from the up-and-coming comic book publisher BOOM! Studios made an atypical presentation to those gathered to hear it at C2E2 2013. In a panel moderated by BOOM! Studios' Vice President of Publishing and Marketing Filip Sablik, who was joined by Editor in Chief Matt Gagnon and KaBOOM imprint editor Shannon Watters, the audience was treated to not just the typical comic book convention rundown of release dates/creative talent for upcoming titles but instead a slideshow guided look into the BOOM! Studios' philosophy of publishing comics.

Filip Sablik started out with the studio's history, how on again off again publisher Ross Richie was strongly nudged by veteran comic creator Keith Giffen to found his own imprint. That story of one friend in the industry nudging another to join them at what would be called BOOM! continued as Matt Gagnon told of how he went from being a buyer at a local comics shop in California to being encouraged by Richie to join BOOM! To produce “good comics that ship on time," while Shannon Watters talked about learning the editing trade by working with Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and how she was given freedom to wrangle indie writers and artists to help created the Adventure Time comic.

After showing a video of various BOOM! Studios staff members proclaiming their loyalty to the company, Sablik told his story of Ross Richie convincing him to jump from his job at Top Cow to BOOM! Studios thanks in part to the kind of community that the studio had as shown in the video. Sablik was pleased to work at a place that allowed creative freedom and/or launched so many independent careers, including Paul Jenkins (who is shown in a short video teasing a new upcoming project with BOOM!) Mike Carey (who is launching a new title, Suicide Risk, about a world where super powered people are emerging but all going bad and one cop who decides to fight back) and Brian Stelfreeze (who said that he misses the ‘wow’ of reading comics and hopes his new title, Day Men, brings that back for readers)

This mini-spate of teasing continued with the announcement that Mike Kunkel has created new Herobear and the Kid for BOOM! And finally Max Bemis shared a little about his personal struggle with bi-polar disorder and how it and his music inspired his new comic Polarity.

Sablik again thanked the fans for coming out and reading BOOM! Studio’s books, emphasizing how much that means to the people of the studio. To wit, after Watters brought up their work with Jim Davis (Garfield) Sablik tells a cute story about an eight-year-old girl at a convention carefully picking out a copy of Garfield #3 from a pile of issues of the comic and completely disregarding the idea that she “should” start with issue one.

The next theme of the presentation was how BOOM! Studios “believed in classic voices,” and a prime example was veteran comics talent Steven Grant (Punisher: Circle of Blood) whose comic 2 Guns was set to become a major motion picture releasing this summer starting Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

Under the theme of “doing it right” Editor in Chief Matt Gagnon emphasized that BOOM! Studios takes making comics for the properties whose licenses they have acquired is all about “making the great comics that haven’t been made yet” and that means getting the right talent to create them. Adding to that Watters says the same philosophy applies to the all ages KaBOOM line, as she says her goal is to make sure there is a next generation of comic fans to keep the entire industry viable.

Sablik then teased a new more new projects: including a comic from horror master Clive Barker (Hellraiser) called Next Testament and the long sought after return of Six Gun Gorilla before opening the floor to questions.

-More of Michael Moorcock’s Elric?

Matt Gagnon was categorically positive; plans are in the work for more Elric.

-Will there be a re-release of 2 Guns?

Gagnon again: Yes, there will be a new collected edition with new content from the production of the original and from the movie.

-Is the Herobear and the Kid a reprint of existing material?

To the questioners pleasure, Sablik announced that is an all new story, plus a bonus 6 page effort for Free Comic Book Day followed by a reprint of the original Herobear and the Kid in August.

-A new fan asked for a rundown of BOOM! Studio’s licenses.

Sablik ran off: Peanuts and Garfield (both of which are 100% new material, not reprints of newspaper strips), as well as Adventure Time, Regular Show (coming soon), Hellraiser, Planet of the Apes, and Steed and Ms. Peel (aka The Avengers of classic British television).

-A cultural anthropologist asked, why “BOOM! Studios”?

Watters gave a two part answer, first it’s is a ‘studio,’ a place for collaborative effort and secondly told the audience what founder Ross Richie always says: “It’s not called ‘Whimper Studios!’”

-Finally an Adventure Time fan asked if they are allowed to create original characters.

Watters was happy to say yes, and that she was at least partially responsible for bringing the Desert, Water, Skateboard and Lamprey Princesses into the Land of Ooo

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