The news and announcements came fast and furious at C2E2’s first WildStorm Editorial panel, held in a small, theater-like room in Chicago’s McCormick Place Saturday. WildStorm General Manager Hank Kanalz moderated a panel heavily featuring Senior Editor Ben Abernathy and a rotating array (literally they came and went as requirements dictated) of creative talent including Tim Seeley, B Clay Moore, Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone.
The Authority was the first of the core titles discussed, all of which are still feeling the effects of the World’s End plotline. Abernathy described how the rebirth of the Carrier has split the team into those who’ve stayed on the ruined Earth and those who took the massive craft into deep space. The book will spend an arc dealing with the space faring heroes, with covers linking with WildCats featuring the work of Philip Tan, Dave Gibbons and Walter Simonson. Tim Seeley dropped hints at a George Perez double cover as well.
The WildCats, says Seeley, will fight the Red Blade, an evil version of their team from another dimension Seeley only says “Midnighter vs. Zealot.”
Abernathy reported that in Gen13 the team has split up over a philosophical difference over how to help the remaining people and how to "redeem themselves for failing the people of the Earth." The teen heroes have taken the destruction of the Earth personally, “as only teenagers would.”
Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver arrived while Abernathy touched on the return of DV8 with Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs. The “Gods and Monsters” arc will find the team transported to a primitive world where their powers lead them to be worshiped like gods. A prospect that the troubled youths of DV8 aren’t ready for.
Gail Simone announced the return of Welcome to Tranquility in July with six issues. The story will follow Thomasina’s origins and what a hero couple’s pregnancy will means for their town. Horacio Domingues will stay on for the art chores.
Abernathy then featured Sparta USA. He joked, “like Friday Night Lights, it’s a meditation on small town America with a giant red guy hacking apart football players.” Ethan Van Sciver, looking at the art of a sword bearing giant being gained up on by uniformed teammates, proclaimed to laughter, “it IS Friday Night Lights with a big red guy!”
Victorian Undead from Ian Edginton, was described as very loyal to the Doyle take on the iconic character, but with zombies. Abernathy says that is “it’s a high concept book.”
Abernathy described a new title, Garrison by Jeff Mariotte and Francisco Francavilla, as taking place in a world of complete government control comes a mass murderer who might not be as bad as the people he’s killing.
Kanalz announced that Astro City will be taking a “short” break after The Dark Age wraps up, then begins the monthly series with “No Delays.”
Peter Hogan returns to the Tom Strong franchise with Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom. Time traveling Nazis led by Albrecht Strong have remade the world in their image with Tom Strong alone to resist. Abernathy reports that five out of six issues are already done.
The end of Ex Machina is coming, and although artist Tony Harris couldn’t be there to tell us himself, Abernathy said that #50 in July is “Powerful. It will stun, surprise and sadden.”
With the end of Ex Machina, Tony Harris will be launching a new title with writer B. Clay Moore: The Further Adventures of the Whistling Skull. A pulp noir book taking place in the 1940s, the Whistling Skull is a title handed down though the ages whose holder is destined to fight a shadowy evil.
Starting in with licensed titles, Josh Ortega described how his work with both the comic and video game versions of Gears of War are blended together seamlessly, in particular how the cameo of the Jace character in Gears of War 2 game was placed months in advance of his ‘first’ appearance in the Gears of War comic. Josh then remarked about the quality of some upcoming Jim Lee interior art, and how the ongoing comic will bridge the gap leading to the release of Gears of War 3.
Abernathy remarked how the painted art of Andrea Sorrentino and script by Marv Wolfman, caused God of War #1 to sell out in five days and how the practice of fleshing out video game characters in comics is proving popular.
Another licensed title, Supernatural, is the third part in the trilogy of six issue minis telling the story of the Winchester brothers right up until the point where the TV series starts.
Abernathy announced that Fringe: Tales from the Fringe will be a six-issue mini focusing on the show’s character’s individually.
Finally, the X-Files/30 Days of Night crossover with art by Tom Mandrake was displayed. According to Abernathy, “These Franchises were meant to be together.” In it, Mulder and Scully, on pretext to get them out of the FBI’s hair for a while, are sent to Alaska to investigate a string of ‘ritual killings.’ Abernathy says, “It’s the Rated R episode of the X-Files you’ve always wanted to see.” After the audience chuckled suggestively, he clarified that he just meant the violence. No date for release was announced but there will be a Sam Keith variant cover.
The floor was then opened to questions.
-One fan asked what makes these, referring to the non-superhero titles, WildStorm books?
-Abernathy answered flatly that they are because he brought them in, "we have the opportunity, so why not?" And that WildStorm wants to do all kinds of material. Ethan Van Sciver said “We all want to work for WildStorm, how about that?” “And Vertigo is too emo,” Gail Simone joked.
-An attendee asked if the DV8 team will be back in the fold after the “Gods and Monsters” arc.
-Abernathy answered that by the time they get back, they’ll be even more aligned to the wider WildStorm universe.
-Another asked if Gen13 will stay bi-monthly?
-For the foreseeable future that will be the case.
-More Team 7?
-Abernathy said that they will return, causing Ethan Van Sciver to joke that they have books with Team 7, Team 0, DV8 and Gen13 and asked Abernathy what happened to the missing numbers.
-After a request for a light question, on fan put the panel on the spot asking how he could get his fiancée to agree to hold the reception at a building called “The Hall of Justice”
-When involuntary intoxication was disallowed, the leading idea was to offer to her to take all the wedding planning off her hands, and hope she forgives you later.
-More Resistance or Dante’s Inferno comics?
-B Clay Moore chimed in, reminding all that Dante’s Inferno is still coming out, and he’d like to see more Resistance as well.
-A con-goer asked: why not fold WildStorm into the DCU?
-Abernathy defended his universe by approving of what they’ve done with it, and that while melding universes has worked in the past, it’s also failed miserably as well. Tim Seeley added that WildStorm was ahead of the curve with titles like The Authority, and still is. And that other universes were playing catch up, calling out the Ultimate Marvel universe in particular.
-The return of Jim Lee’s Worldstorm era WildCats?
-Hank Kanalz joked that Jim has to eat sometime, but it hasn’t been forgotten. Tim Seeley said “see issue #23.”
-Finally a fan asked about the possibility of StormWatch returning.
-Abernathy informed all that StormWatch team members are now in WildCats, and Tim Seeley added that they would have their own part to play.