SDCC '09: The Image Comics Show: Big Surprises

Gibson Gets Into Comics with Mayhem

Friday morning at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Image Comics hosted a panel featuring a variety of talent currently publishing projects with the company.  Editor Joe Keatinge moderated the panel featuring Frank Cho, Ben Templesmith, Robert Kirkman, Rob Liefeld, and Tyrese Gibson.  During the festivities both Todd MacFarlane and Jim Lee joined the panel to talk about projects and make jokes with their friends.

Keatinge initiated the panel by previewing several upcoming projects from Image—including a Tank Girl one-shot, two new projects related to Frank Frazetta—one of which will be written by Joe Hill (Locke & Key), Existence 3.

Ben Templesmith was introduced and he spoke about his new project Choker—with British writer Ben McCool; he joked, “Warren Ellis describes this book as ‘Fell with its face ripped off with gonorrhea’.”  Choker is a racy crime-noir series with a twist set to debut in 2010.

 Next up was Frank Cho, who spoke about his new project with Doug Murray 50-GIRLS-50 which he described as a cross-between Star Trek and a Stripper show.  Cho noted that he would be holding a “Talent Search” for an artist for the series with Murray.  Image will be posting 6 pages of the script on their website for potential artists to submit.  The winner will be decided on and announced at the Baltimore Con later this year.

Tyrese Gibson was introduced; he talked about the pleasure of learning about comics and he introduced several people involved with the production of his book, Mayhem—which is set for shelves in two weeks.  Convention goers actually have an opportunity to buy a SDCC-exclusive variant of the first issue.

Todd MacFarlane entered the panel; he and Robert Kirkman swapped quips for several moments to the delight of the audience.  MacFarlane turned the mic back over to Kirkman who began running down his projects; including a special Return of Invincible one-shot later in the year, the explosive 25th issue of Astounding Wolf-Man which brings the series to an end; and details on the next year of Walking Dead storylines—including mentions that the survivors starring in the book will be finding a zombie-free safe zone later next year.

MacFarlane began talking about Image United with Kirkman.  They discussed the challenges of coordinating such a large project with so many artists.  They also discussed their work on a new project—Haunt.

During their conversation Tyrese Gibson had Twittered Jim Lee—begging him to make a cameo at the panel.  Jim Lee jogged in from the back and spoke briefly about his involvement with Mayhem.  He’s providing cover art for issue #2 of the series.  Gibson then unveiled a new piece of wraparound artwork for a Mayhem OGN book slated for later in the year.

The panel shifted back to MacFarlane who mentioned the hallmark issue of Spawn #200—comparing his series to the likes of Cerebus because of its prolific run.  He then revealed that he would also be penciling and inking the entire issue of #200 for his fans and that he hoped to bring in the other Founding Fathers of Image for pieces of flashback material.

The audience had only moments to ask questions.  A fan asked about the potential of a new Spawn movie to which MacFarlane explained that he was interested—but the logistics of prepping his other companies for such an undertaking was his first priority.  Tyrese Gibson joked about potentially playing Spawn—something that put more than a smile on MacFarlane and the audiences’ faces.

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