WONDERCON 2011: IMAGE COMICS Show: Casey, McCool, More


Newsarama Note: The Invincible teaser was not discussed at the panel, but Image released it this weekend along with their WonderCon announcements, so we're showing it off to you now!

The Image Comics Show at WonderCon 2011 in San Francisco, CA began with an introduction of all the panelists, and the projects they are currently involved in. Present were Tomm Coker, Viktor Kalvachev, Joe Casey, Deborah Vankin, Nate Simpson, Brandon Seifert, Lukas Ketner, Daniel Corey, and Ben McCool.

Introductions went down the line, starting with Tomm Coker introducing his new project, Undying Love, a vampire story which he promises will feature "no glimmering, or abs." In Undying Love, a man falls in love with a chinese woman who turns out to be a vampire, and discovers that, to save her, he must kill the man who made her a vampire. The book features a mix of eastern and western vampire folklore, and is drawn by Daniel Freedman.

Next, Viktor Kalvachev discussed his project Blue Estate, an LA noir crime comic that features a rotating cast of artists, with shifts in story, timeframe, and character being signified with a change in art style, sometimes resulting in different artists working on the same page. Kalvachev describes the term Blue Estate as representing "a home, a race horse, and a state of mind," and says the book will feature a dense, character based mystery about the wife of a movie producer with ties to the mob.


Joe Casey spoke next, discussing a number of projects, including Marijuana Man, a philosophical superhero comic drawn by Jim Mahfood, and created by the legendary Ziggy Marley. Marijuana Man will be released, appropriately enough, on 4/20, and Casey says it is some of Mahfood's best work to date. Casey also discussed the end of his project Godland, which will wrap up later this year with a double-sized cosmic finale. Casey also promised that the delays were entirely his fault, and that artist Tom Scioli has completed all the scripts that he's gotten. Finally, Casey discussed his ongoing project Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker, a story about a retired patriotic hero who is called back into action. He asked if anyone had "seen it, read it, or rubbed it on their naked bodies?" He said that the book is not for kids, and that the second issue will be out in two weeks.

Moving on, Deborah Vankin, a night life writer for the LA Times, introduced her project Poseurs, a book about a young girl who becomes a professional party guest, and soon finds herself in the seedy underbelly of LA's club scene. The book was originally created for DC's "Minx" line, but was left unreleased when the line folded. Poseurs was drawn by Rick Mays, and features numerous LA locations, such as Silver Lake, Echo Park, and the LA River.

Nate Simpson, writer and artist of the upcoming project Nonplayer [Newsarama Note: look for an interview and preview pages here tomorrow!], introduced himself, saying "Hi, I'm Nate, and I'm an alcoholic!" After the laughter subsided, Simpson explained how he made the jump from working on video games to comics after seeing Hayao Miyazaki's "Nausicaa" storyboards. Nonplayer takes place in the near future, and revolves around a form of AI that exists in a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, which begins affecting the real world after a player kills a prominent AI Nonplayer character in the game.

Next up were Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, the writer and artist of Image's upcoming mini-series Witchdoctor, which will be published under Robert Kirkman's Skybound imprint. Seifert describes the book as "Dr. House meets Dr. Strange." It revolves around a surly doctor who treats supernatural ailments such as vampirism, and demonic possession, and seeks a "vaccine for the apocalypse." The art show depicted a scene in which a demon is being removed from the body is possess through a process that Ketner calls "diablosuction."

After that, Daniel Corey spoke about the upcoming ongoing series he's writing, Moriarty: the Dark Chamber, which follows the adventures of Dr. Moriarty in a world where he won the final showdown with Sherlock Holmes. In Moriarty, the titular professor finds himself in a downward spiral in the onset of WWI, when he is called into duty by MI5 to locate a missing Mycroft Holmes. Corey describes the book as "Sherlock Holmes meets James Bond."

PIGS #1 Cover by JOCK

Finally, Ben McCool took the mic, first thanking fans for their support of his current title Memoir, which started in January, and tells the tale of a small midwestern town that suffers collective memory loss. He then invited a surprise guest onstage- former Marvel editor Nate Cosby, with whom, McCool announced, he is launching a new ongoing series entitled Pigs, which follows a long-inactive Cuban sleeper cell from the Cold War, who are spontaneously called into duty in the present day, and are tasked with overthrowing the US Government. The book will feature a number of big name cover artists, such as Jock, Francesco Francavilla, Amanda Conner, Humberto Ramos, and Becky Cloonan. The first issue will be released at New York Comic Con, with a special variant cover for the convention.

With all of the announcements made, the floor was opened to guest questions. Questions ranged from asking Joe Casey "How do you write a Marijuana Man comic," to which he replied, "How the F*** do you think?" to questions about Image's views on digital comics. Ben McCool summed up the group's feelings on digital comics, pointing out Image's relationship with Comixology, and stating that "as long as fans are reading comics somehow, that's what's really important." The final questions asked the group how they felt about launching unknown comics in the current market, which Deborah Vankin, in response, described as "exciting and chaotic, with lots of possibilities thanks to the internet," and posed the question to Nate Simpson whether he saw parallels between comics and video games in their struggle for legitimacy. The entire group chimed in, coming to the consensus that, due to the nature of the market, there are a glut of games that make no attempt at being art, but the difficulty of getting a comic produced leads to a high general quality of comics on the market.

And with that, the Image Comics Show came to a close.

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