C2E2 2011: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT Panel

Talking The Boys With Darick Robertson

On Saturday afternoon, Dynamite Entertainment hosted their C2E2 panel, featuring Nick Barrucci, Joe Rybrandt, John McCrea (The Boys,) Elliot Serrano (Army of Darkness,) Garth Ennis (The Boys and Jennifer’s Blood,) Jai Nitz (Green Hornet prequel and sequel books) and Jessie Blaze Snider (only identified at first as working on a top secret project for the company). Phil Hester also joined the dais a few minutes in.

Barrucci opened up the panel by asking the crowd what their favorite Dynamite book was The Boys was the loud winner of that informal poll followed by votes for Project: Superpowers, Vampirella and Warlord of Mars.

The first question from the audience was for Garth Ennis, asking about the future of his series Dicks done at Avatar. Ennis said he would like to do revisit the book with John McCrea. He said a third series would eventually be done. This question led Barrucci to ask how many people in the audience wanted to see a Boys/Dicks crossover, setting the mood and tone for most of the rest of the panel.

The next question turned towards Kevin Smith (who wasn’t in attendance at C2E2) and asked if he would be doing any more books for Dynamite. Barrucci took the opportunity to not answer the question and not commenting on the Smith’s tweets saying he was working on a book with a publisher he had worked with in the past. And Barrucci also declined to say that the project wasn’t The Six Million Dollar Man. Elliot Serrano joined in to say that he would not confirm or deny that he was also working on the project. So, what can we take from this? Look for a Kevin Smith plotted, Elliot Serrano scripted Six Million Dollar Man comic coming from Dynamite Entertainment sometime soon. I guess you didn’t hear that here.

Keeping the topic on licensed properties, Barrucci said that a new Flash Gordon series would launch around August or September. And, in the mode of not confirming or denying anything, Barrucci wouldn’t say whether Eric Trautmann, currently working on Dynamite’s Vampirella and Red Sonja series, was writing the new Flash Gordon book.

With Vampirella being brought up, Dynamite said that they’re mandate for the book was to take the best of the original, those Archie Goodwin stories and even some of Mark Millar’s work, and go from there. They wanted to take the best elements over the entire history of the character and condense it down for today’s market. Then the questions turned to Vampirella’s classic costume and when we’d see more of it. Other than on the 8 billion covers (maybe some exaggeration here,) we’ll see more of her iconic costume by Vampirella #6.

Over the past few years, Dynamite has done a number of projects with Marvel: Avengers/Invaders, Human Torch and Invaders. Dynamite brought those story ideas to Marvel and both companies worked together on these. It was a nice relationship but right now, there are no current plans for any more of them. The first 3 projects were good for both companies with Avengers/Invaders #1 as the #4 title the month it launched, "but in today's market, they are currently not cost effective," said Barrucci. He called them “passion projects” and would be happy to do them again.

Going back to Vampirella, an audience member asked if Vampi, a futuristic version of the character, would be back? “Give it a few years,” Barrucci said. He talked about how for the longest time Vampirella had been a T’n’A character and how they were trying to build a new foundation for her now. He acknowledged that they flooded the market with Green Hornet books but for now they were happy keeping Vampirella in one book and maybe an occasional miniseries.

Remember that “top secret” project they announced Jessie Blaze Snider was working on at the start of the panel? Turns out that Snider will be writing the first book to relaunch from the Chaos line, Evil Ernie. Snider said that the “Chaos” black t-shirt he was wearing was a vintage t-shirt from his days rocking out at CBGB and not because of his new gig writing Chaos books. Snider said his book would be about a war between Heaven and Hell and would be the foundation for the new Chaos line. The books at first won’t be connected but they’ll be weaving a tapestry and, when they’re comfortable, will move forward with a crossover. Snider talked about how good people seem to die young. In his story, it’s because Heaven needs them in the war against Hell. Evil Ernie is Hell’s answer to that.

Dynamite acquired most of the Chaos books two years ago (all but Lady Death) and have been searching for the right stories to tell with these books. Snider’s will be the first but they’re looking to have a new book out every four to six months.

They also mentioned the Voltron book recently announced but said that they wanted to keep the focus on the books that are closest to coming out. While they have a lot of stuff planned, not all the creators are lined up so they want to take their time announcing new titles.

Elliot Serrano will return to Army of Darkness after the upcoming Army of Darkness/Danger Girl crossover. Ash will be going through some changes as Serrano brings him back down to basics and explore what it’s like to be the chosen one against all forms of evil. He’ll be pulling in elements from other media as well, such as the Army of Darkness video game.

Project Superpowers will also returned after they’ve had some time to re-work it. Dynamite is looking to re-introduce the line late this year with Nitz, Snider, Hester and JT Krul lined up as writers.

Someone asked if Dynamite has internships? Before being referred to Dynamite’s website, he was told he needs to know how to wash cars and was asked if he had two working kidneys. Tough requirements just for an internship, I think.

One fan was looking for a Conan/Red Sonja crossover. Barrucci said that Dark Horse wasn’t interested in that right now but he encouraged fans to write letters to Dark Horse letting them know that this would be their “JLA/Avengers.”

A fan asked if Ennis would ever tell a submarine story in Battlefields. Ennis said that it was hard to come up with any submarine story that wouldn’t immediately invoke the classic film Das Boot. He said that he thinks about doing a submarine story and that his great grandfather was killed by a submarine. Most of the time, all he wants to do is have the good guys sink the submarines. Ennis has two more Battlefields stories to tell and has a couple of World War II stories at Avatar. Right now, Ennis is interested in 1945 when the Russians started to break into Germany and the pent-up frustration that the Russians felt and took out on the German civilian population.

The Boys’ spin off Butcher will begin in July with Darick Robertson drawing it. Ennis is happy and proud of the story he has come up with. Adam McKay, the director of Anchor Man, Talladega Nights and The Other Guys has the film rights to The Boys. Of all of the Ennis books that are in developments as movies, Ennis said that this was the closest right now to actually getting produced.

Since the panel was mostly writers, the talk turned to artists. McCrea and Ennis have been friends for a long time so their partnership is more natural. Hester talked briefly about trying to find artists who are right for the project. Barrucci, from a more business-like angle, discussed finding artists who fit your budget and can produce work on a regular schedule. On a project like the upcoming Kirby Genesis, Rybrandt, Barrucci, Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek all had four different artists in mind. They went with Jack Herbert because they could see the energy and feel of his artwork matching up with the story.

Sometimes artists just ask to be involved. Brian Denham will be doing the Evil Ernie covers because he asked to do them.

Dynamite stated that they will only be using Jack Kirby created characters in Kirby Genesis. This isn’t Jack and Joe Simon’s Genesis.

The last question asked how will a movie adaptation of The Boys get through the rating system. Ennis has seen a Boys script that was PG-13 but that McCay is going for an R Rating. Ennis talked about how in movie adaptations, you have to ask what are the important moments and choose two or three of those. He also said that you need to see what you can get away with and won’t know that that is until you try.

Two last announcements were made at the end of the panel. Jennifer’s Blood will be returning after the current story is over, plotted by Ennis and Al Ewing and scripted by Ewing. Ennis also announced that his return to Marvel will be working on the Max version of Nick Fury, with Goran Parlov on the artwork.

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