Ron MarzIt was a sunny 70 degrees as Orlando welcomed back the Southeast’s premier comic convention today – MegaCon. And despite the tight budgets and economic concerns, there was still a line for tickets around the bend and out the door. Comic, anime, and sci-fi fans from all over weren’t about to let this show pass them by. Back in its old venue in the original Orange County Convention Center building, Mega Con 2009 boasted more space and a better layout than last year.
On hand were a number of celebrities who were flocked by fans, including a group of Battlestar Galactica stars, both old and new – Dirk Benedict, Melody Anderson, Herbert Jefferson, Anne Lockhart, Tricia Helfer, Luciana Carro, and James Callis. Phillip Morris of Smallville fame and Margot Kidder from the Superman films were also present, along with horror stars Darcy Demoss and Ami Dolenz, Star Wars actors Peter Mayhew and Richard LeParmentier, and a number of voice actors.
Creators galore filled the floor, and fans lined up early to await their arrival. Witchblade author Ron Marz was signing autographs and talked briefly about Dragon Prince, which just finished up. He indicated there will be a trade coming out, hopefully in a smaller size along the same lines as the Bone trade paperbacks, since the comic is more all-ages. He indicated there should be a new short story by Jeff Johnson in it. He’s still working on Witchblade monthly, and later this year, he’ll be bringing back the Magdalena, but would not specify whether it would be an ongoing or simply a mini-series. He did, however, state that they are wanting to do the same sort of thing they did with Witchblade – not start everything over, but give readers a ground floor where they can jump on to the character. He’s also still working on Samurai for Dark Horse, but admitted it is coming along a little bit slower than he would like right now.
MegaCon regular Andy Smith was busy with sketches, but took time to give a brief update on his work. He is currently working on Nevermore, which is a project created specifically for comics by Dean R. Koontz. The title will be published by the Dabel Brothers, and the first issue should come out in March. It is a six-issue mini-series, and Andy was very excited about the book, since it is not an adaptation of one of Koontz’ novels, but rather an original idea. Currently, Andy just started the second issue, partly due to Koontz’ busy schedule. Keith Champagne is adapting it from Koontz’ 12-page outline, and each issue must be approved by Koontz before it goes to print. When asked about the timeliness, he indicated that they expect to hold to the solicited monthly schedule, but worse case scenario, all six issues will be out within eight months. Ultimately, they hope to see it as a hardcover for the bookstores, since that is where Koontz’ works are sold. This is Andy’s only comic project at the moment, as he is a busy man – he teaches two days a week at UNC, Charlotte, and he also has a radio show (fans in Charlotte can find it at 107.9 – The Link on Sunday afternoons from 4 to 7). He finished by saying how much he loves MegaCon and loves Beth Widera, who he sentimentally referred to as “a mother to me.”
Another MegaCon regular, Brian Pullido, was present and accounted for, promoting not only his Lady Death work, but also his new movie, The Graves. He reminded fans that 2009 marks Lady Death’s 15th anniversary, which first appeared in 1994. To celebrate, he had three Lady Death exclusives – Lady Death #1 Blood Edition, limited to 200 copies; Lady Death Moments #1 – MegaCon Edition, limited to 169 copies; and Lady Death Visions #1 with a George Perez cover signed by Perez. He did have seven new Lady Death stories through Avatar Comics, but he was unsure as to when those books would hit the shelves. He quickly moved on to his most exciting news, the movie he wrote and directed – The Graves, starring Bill Moseley, Tony Todd, Amanda Wyss, and D. Randall Blythe. He had a preview airing all day at his booth, and announced he should have it ready to go on the film festival circuit soon. Fans curious about this new horror flick can find more info at www.thegravesmovie.com.
Always making his presence known at MegaCon was Jimmy Palmiotti, who was very excited about the upcoming Power Girl series. He revealed that Amanda Conner is rolling along well, and they handed in the third issue this week. The first story arc is three issues long, which story makes the book very approachable to new readers. Everyone will get to know who Power Girl is, and her alter ego, Karen Starr, is set up in a new business in New York City, and then chaos happens. It’s a lot of fun, Palmiotti said, and while he wouldn’t reveal too much for fear of giving it all way, he did reveal that it will come as no surprise that Terra will be a guest star in the book. When asked if the Justice Society Infinity (from the recent Justice Society Annual) would appear, the answer was affirmative – at some point down the line. He did confirm, however, that her title is set on the current Earth, and not on the JSI Earth-2. With regards to Jonah Hex, he was excited about an upcoming issue with Paul Gulacy, following which he revealed is a 6-part story in issues #44 through #49, focusing on Turnbull, who is Hex’s nemesis in the upcoming film (which starts shooting in April in New Orleans and is projected to hit theaters in August 2010). Palmiotti added that all the characters introduced in the title up until now will make appearances in this 6-issue arc. He was asked if the title is selling well, and he replied that the trades sell well, but they could always use new readers, so any comic fans who have been wondering whether they should try it – “GO OUT AND BUY IT ALREADY!” Have and Justin Gray have planned out up through issue #55 at this point, so they are planned more than a year ahead at this point. Another project Palmiotti is working on is for IDW called The Last Resort, which is a five-issue mini-series with art by Giancarlo Caracuzzo. He described the series as a biological mess on a tropical resort island in the vein of the Irwin Allen-type story, where thirty or so characters are basically put through hell. More news about this project will be forthcoming.
At the Hero Initiative booth this year was Dan Jurgens, who is currently hard at work writing and drawing the Booster Gold series for DC. Right now, he is in the middle of a storyline called “Reality One.” That will be followed by a story by Keith Giffen dealing with Booster Gold and the Cold War. Jurgens will be drawing that story. After that, he will be launching a new storyline coming from the Omens & Origins backup that stars Batman and the Teen Titans that deals with the early days of the Teen Titans and stems from the development that happens between Booster and Batman in the Joker story that was done not too long ago. With regards to the Tangent characters, Jurgens stated that there are currently no definite plans. He indicated that DC has thrown around several ideas to bring them back again – do they want to have them cross over with the regular DC Universe or tell the story of what happened in their own universe? They are still kicking around ideas on that one. The only other thing he is working on right now is Brave and the Bold #23, which is the Booster Gold / Magog crossover. This story deals with how two time travelers who are from different, parallel futures deal with knowing what the future holds and what happens to those two characters when they team up. Jurgens said this was a fun little story of what is Booster’s responsibility when he starts to know the future of some of the heroes around him. Since he is currently exclusive to DC, he has no projects outside of DC that he is working on; however, he does have some things in the works that are planned for 2010, but he smiled and said they were too early to talk about right now.
Hitting the artist alley at MegaCon, one comic that immediately stood out was Haunted, by writer and artist Joshua Smeaton. An all-ages comic, Haunted about a group of kids who get trapped in a haunted house after sneaking into a high school party at a haunted mansion. When the cops shut the party down, these kids sneak into the basement to hide and get trapped in the house, which turns out to be filled with ghosts and real trouble. Smeaton has been working on the book for a little more than a year and a half and has self-published three issues do date. The idea for the story initially came to Smeaton as a screenplay a number of years ago, but he kept it burning in the back of his mind that one day he wanted to see it in comic form. The story as a whole, Smeaton anticipates weighing in at approximately 350 pages, and it is a finite series with a story that has a beginning, middle, and end that he hopes to collect when it’s all said and done. He’s currently working on the fourth issue. Comic fans interested in this unique title can find info at http://www.joshuasmeaton.com/Haunted...%20Archive.htm.
The first day came to a close quicker than expected, but with all day Saturday and Sunday, we’ll have tons more news from creators on the floor like Tony Bedard, Paul Pelletier, Amanda Conner, Steve McNiven, Chuck Dixon, and many more!