Freddie Williams IISunday at FX Show’s 20th anniversary in Orlando found the convention winding down. As a number of collectors hurried to snag the best bargains before the end of the day, and autograph hounds lined up to get photos of their favorite media stars, comic fans flocked to the creators in artist alley, and Newsarama was there to catch some floor buzz.
Freddie Williams II, fresh off his run on Robin, was enjoying the show. He’s currently working on Final Crisis Aftermath: Run written by Matt Sturges and featuring the Human Flame, who was responsible for Martian Manhunter’s death in Final Crisis. Williams said he is about halfway through the third issue right now, and after that, he’ll be working on an on-going series with Sturges doing the writing. That series has not yet been announced, so he couldn’t say anything more about that project. One thing he did say that he would love to do is work on a Superman book. A huge Superman fan, Williams said that he has some story ideas for Superman, and would love to co-write and draw a story or two. Williams also has a “How to…” book on digitally illustrating comics that will be coming from DC/Watson-Guptill on September 1st as part of the “DC Comics Guide” series. Williams said that he’s been working on the book for a little over two years, and it’s finally done - he just signed off on final edits this past Friday. The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics is available on Amazon.com now for pre-order.
Image writer, Seth M. Peck, was also enjoying his first FX Show and was more than happy to talk about his work. His four-issue mini-series, Sorrow (co-written with Rick Remender and drawn by Francesco Francavilla) was just collected in a trade paperback. Currently, he is in the midst of ’76 with Image, which is an eight-issue mini-series. Having reached the half-way point, the series is a Grindhouse double-feature type of comic, with two stories in each book, and the stories continue from one issue to the next. When the eight-issues are complete, fans will basically have two separate trade paperbacks, with each containing a different story. Over the summer, Peck worked on the Comic Book Tattoo, the Tori Amos anthology, also put out by Image. Peck said that he really enjoyed working on that book, and he said it was great getting feedback from Tori on it. In addition to ’76, Peck is also working on a four-issue mini-series with B. Clay Moore and Tigh Walker (who is the artist on Peck’s half of the ’76 book). The working title right now is “Bomb Head,” and Peck described it as “sort-of an espionage/action thriller about a former military operative who is forced to do some black-ops under penalty of death.” The book is in its initial stages right now, so he couldn’t say a lot more about it. He did, however, talk about the online comic (that will later be collected into a trade paperback) that he is working on with the new artist of DC’s The Mighty, Chris Samnee (who previously worked on DC’s Checkmate), which is called “Blue Jacket.” The story was actually launched in Pulp Tales through Boom! Studios, and he is looking to continue the story as an ongoing series of collected trade paperbacks, kind of the same way Hellboy is done (4 or 5 issues at a time), perhaps once or twice a year.
Dan PanosianDan Panosian, who has been drawing comics for more than twenty years, was having a great time meeting fans and hanging out with fellow creators. Coming up next for Dan is the Planet Skaar Prologue, written by Greg Pak. After that, he will be the regular artist on Skaar, although he wasn’t sure of the exact issue for which he will begin. At FX, he had a sketch book for fans, titled “Urban Barbarian,” after his website and blog of the same name (www.urbanbarbarian.com). He also was showing the first Drink and Draw book put together by Dan and the co-creators (Dave Johnson and Jeff Johnson) of the now famous (or is that “infamous”?) Drink and Draw phenomena. Dan said that for those wondering, yes, they are going to collect their continued work for a second book, with no plans at the present to reprint the first book.
If you’re not sure what Drink and Draw is all about, Panosian explained that it came out of the fact that he, Dave, and Jeff, who were friends and enjoyed hanging out, wanted an excuse to be able to hang out more. Since they sometimes found themselves sketching while they were hanging out and having a few drinks, the idea of a Drink and Draw “social club” formed. It started off with simply a MySpace page, and it just kept growing and growing, and now there are chapters all over the world. All of the drawings in the book were done at various Drink and Draw functions. FX fans were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience one of these functions on Friday night, where they joined Dan and his cohorts for a few drinks and a lot of drawing. The first book was put out by Image and can still be ordered through Amazon.com.
Laura MartinOne of the several female creators at FX over the weekend was Laura Martin. Fans already know she is working on the current Thor series for Marvel (“Thor is one of my favorite books ever!” she said), but Laura is also working on the last issue of Planetary, which, no doubt, fans are very excited about. Laura confirmed that the last issue does, indeed, exist. She is also working on The Question at DC, which is a back-up series that will run in Detective Comics. On top of that, she is working on the recolor The Rocketeer series, which, for her, is an extreme honor to have the opportunity to color Dave Stevens’ work. The Rocketeer will be coming out through IDW, and there will be two versions – a standard, collected edition and an absolute edition. Another comic that she is still going to be working on is All Star Wonder Woman by Adam Hughes, which is still a go. Laura confirmed that she has seen actual pages from the comic. Plus, she continues to work on Stephen King’s The Stand with Mike Perkins. Working on this book was another great honor for Laura, since she is a big fan of Stephen King and The Stand was her favorite of all his books. Laura is loving the show, and it has given her an opportunity to hang out with Olivier (Copiel, of Thor), since, even though they met for the first time at the New York Con, she was sick and didn’t have the chance to really hang out with him there.
Chuck Dixon, Robert Atkins, and Christos Gage, who all share in the work on IDW’s G.I. Joe family of titles, had a few extra comments to add following their panel on Saturday. They said that fan reaction has been really great, mostly due to IDW’s great design in producing various titles to reach out to varying types of fans. Robert said that he checks his messageboards regularly and tries to make himself very available to the readership, so they can ask questions, and that has been some great interaction. Gage said he has to give kudos to Mike Costa, who is the one with all the knowledge, since he was 12 years old when the cartoon was on and he felt he was “too old” to watch cartoons back then. Christos said Mike has really run with the title and has been turning out some really great stuff. Robert told Gage that what has worked for him is the fact that he has been able to bring a fresh look to the book by viewing the characters and properties with “new eyes.”
When asked about whether the new characters created in the series were created solely to have characters that were “killable,” Chuck replied that he couldn’t kill off any of the established characters, since so many fans are attached to the characters, whether because it was the first G.I. Joe figure they ever bought, or the one they played with the most. Fans have so much invested in the characters, Dixon didn’t want to have a cameo by a Joe, that was perhaps someone’s favorite, only to have him or her get killed in the next issue. That is not to say that all the newly created characters will be killed. But he die make up some “red shirt” characters that could be used as fodder when needed. He then clarified that it doesn’t mean an established character might not be killed somewhere down the road, but he certainly wasn’t going to start the series by having any of the established Joes die. For now, it will be the newly-created characters that face death. Of course, Chuck added, each new character throws Hasbro for a loop, since they never heard of the character before, and he has to remind them that no one has heard of the character before since it didn’t exist. There were some hurdles to jump through in creating the supporting cast as well, since Hasbro wanted to know who everyone was, including the guy behind the counter in the commissary dishing out chili. It certainly would make no sense to have Roadblock back there, or the navy seal guy. So Dixon established a support staff for the Joes, which is something they’ve never had before. All three creators have had a blast working on the series, and they hope the fans will be pleased with what will be coming out.
Andy KuhnAndy Kuhn, the artist on Image’s Firebreather, rounded out Sunday’s floor coverage with a few words about his upcoming projects. He is still cranking out Firebreather, although their schedule has slowed down. He is currently finishing issue five, and the trade for issues one through four just came out. Andy added that he and writer Phil Hester have a long-term plan for the series, and that, in his eyes, Phil is one of the best undiscovered talents in comics. Everyone knows Phil is a talented artist, but what most people don’t realize is just what a great writer he is. And for fans who missed out on the original Firebreather mini-series, which has been out of print for more than a year, Kuhn said that there will be a collected edition coming out in either May or June that will include the mini-series plus the one-shot, “Iron Saint.” He also told Newsarama that Firebreather is being made into a movie-of-the-week for Cartoon Network, which was announced for next year. They are getting ready to start production on the movie, so Andy and writer Phil Hester are very excited about that. Peter Chung, the man behind Aeon Flux, is going to be the director of the movie, so Andy is sure the movie will be “real cool.” Andy is also doing a little western story for an Image anthology titled Outlaw Territory.