This weekend marks a period of coolness for Central Florida – and no, we’re not talking about the weather – we’re talking about the 20th anniversary of the FX Show. And FX isn’t the only one to celebrate their anniversary this weekend, as Billy Tucci celebrates the 15th anniversary of Shi, Dan Brereton celebrates the 15th anniversary of Nocturnals, and Joseph Michael Linsner celebrates the 20th anniversary of Dawn. It’s going to be a weekend of celebrating at FX!
This year, the convention is so big that it had to take up not just one, but two complete halls in the spacious Orange County Convention Center south of downtown Orlando. The show was filled to capacity with comics, toys, and some major stars. With big names like Leonard Nimoy, James Marsters, Lindsay Wagner, Jonathan Frakes, Ray Park, Julie Benz, and numerous other stars, one can well imagine that the lines were long to obtain autographs from their favorite film and television actors. But these personalities weren’t the only stars with fans lined up to meet them. This year, FX expanded its comic guest line-up, and Newsarama was on hand to talk to some of the artists and creators in attendance.
The ImmonensStuart and Kathryn Immonen, comics’ premier husband and wife team, shared with Newsarama some bits of news about their current projects. Stuart is just coming off his run on Ultimate Spiderman (“Two years to the day!” he said), and following the events of Ultimatum, the series will be restarted back with issue one. In the meantime, both he and writer Brian Bendis will be working on New Avengers. Stuart also has an upcoming fill-in issue of Fantastic Four. Kathryn, on the other hand, is set to take over the writing chores on Runaways, a gig about which she is very excited. In addition to all of this, they continue to work on their Moving Pictures project, on online comic that the Immonens have been working on for some time, and which is set to be released in trade by Top Shelf in October 2009. For fans of Stuart’s art, Kathryn said they will be pleasantly surprised to see that his work on Moving Pictures is like nothing they’ve ever seen before. More about Moving Pictures can be found online at www.immonen.ca.
Ben TemplesmithBen Templesmith, whose work includes Fell and Wormwood, made one of his rare appearances on the east coast at FX, and fans were certainly thrilled to see him. He took a moment to mention that, in order to quell the thousands of questions he gets about the series and when will a new issue be coming out, Fell is not dead by any means, but simply frozen (“like John Wayne,” he said with a smirk). Basically, when Warren wants to write more, Ben said he will draw more – he’ll fit it into his schedule no matter what. Ben pointed out (in a tactful manner, of course) that he’s not the one who is holding the book up (“I love you, Warren!” Ben added with a smile). He followed up by saying that with Warren’s busy schedule, he has not had the time to devote to writing the kind of stories that Fell deserves and is not going to put out less than quality stories just for the sake of getting an issue out. He hopes within the next year or two, fans will see some more Fell. Currently, Ben is working on Groom Lake, and has more Wormwood in the works.
Across the aisle from Ben, Tiny Titans’ creators, Art Baltazar and Franco, were having a great time cutting up with their fans. Aside from their work on Tiny Titans (which, they were happy to share, will some fun issues coming up, including an all-Robin/Batgirl issue, as well as a “love” issue – and if they can work it out, an all-“color” issue, with the color-named characters such as Blue Beetle, Red Robin, Green Lantern etc. seeing the spotlight), Art and Franco are also assisting with the Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam series. They are not taking over the series; rather, they are only assisting Mike Kunkel so that DC can put the book back on a monthly schedule. Simply put, Art and Franco will do some stories in-between arcs done by Kunkel. They also hinted that they will have a story in DC’s Halloween special this year, but since the details have not been worked out, they couldn’t say what characters they would be working with for that story.
Jim CheungAnother artist whose hands were staying busy was Jimmy Cheung, who made his first appearance at FX this weekend. Jimmy said that he is currently working on the first issue of a new Avengers (and that is an “Avengers” project that is new, not a “New Avengers” project) mini-series with Alan Heinberg, which will be eight-issue coming up soon. He couldn’t discuss anything about it, other than to say that it is taking up all his time right now, so he doesn’t have any other projects going at the moment. Once the mini-series is complete, however, who knows where he’ll pop up next!
Florida resident Tony Bedard was promoting his new book, R.E.B.E.L.S. He said he’s enjoying the title, and he had preview art for issue seven, which looked absolutely beautiful.
Rounding out today’s floor report, Newsarama had a chance to talk briefly with award-winning illustrator Billy Tucci. Issue five of his miniseries, Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion, is done and was set to premiere at FX, but DC has delayed it until Billy has issue six completed. He also revealed that DC has scheduled him for an issue of Jonah Hex, which for Billy, will be fun and exciting, as it is something he has been wanting to do. In addition to this work for DC, he is currently working on the next Shi mini-series, titled “The Ring of Fire.” He also hinted that he would love to do a comic similar to DC’s upcoming Wednesday Comics. He said his idea would be a comic that he described as similar to the old serials, with each story ending a cliffhanger to be resolved in the next issue. Perhaps if there is enough fan interest for such a comic… - DC? Marvel? Image? Dark Horse? IDW? Any takers?
Unfortunately, Matt Fraction had to cancel due to illness, so the Marvel: X-Men panel that was scheduled for Friday was cancelled. But as the saying goes, there’s always tomorrow - with the Marvel: Dark Reign panel and the G.I. Joe panel, as well as Mark Texeira, Arthur Suydam, Chuck Dixon, Robert Atkins, Greg Horn, Casey Jones, Freddie Williams, II, and many others.