A devoted crowd appeared for the BOOM! Studios Spotlight panel at Long Beach Comic Con on Sunday. On hand were Matt Gagnon, Managing Editor; Chip Mosher, Marketing Director; and Ross Richie, Publisher. After they officially began the panel, the crowd cheered.
"I think a couple of people booed," said Richie.
"Well, when Mark's not here..." said Mosher, referring to BOOM! Editor-In-Chief Mark Waid. In the LBCC program, Waid was listed as a speaker at the panel, but could not attend due to commitments at the West Hollywood Book Fair.
"How many people read 'Irredeemable?'" asked Mosher. Hands across the audience shot up in the air. The panel was very proud of the fact that the first trade paperback of "Irredeemable," written by Waid with art by Peter Krause, was recently one of Diamond Comics Distributor's top selling graphic novels.
"We also did a comic book with Mark Waid called 'The Unknown'," said Mosher, "and we followed it up with a second series called 'The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh.'"
The book follows Catherine Allingham, the world's greatest detective, as she tries to solve the greatest mystery the world has ever known: what happens after you die.
"What we learn in the first issue is that she only has six months to live," said Gagnon. "Mark's a great superhero writer, but he's an even better mystery writer. So, clearly, he has to die because he's too talented."
The first issue of "The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh" is available now, along with the first two issues of Boom's "28 Days Later" comic, which is based on the popular zombie movie series directed by "Slumdog Millionaire's" Danny Boyle.
"It's about Selina, one of the survivors in the first movie, and her return to London," said Gagnon. "Fan response has been overwhelming."
"Later" is written by Michael Alan Nelson ("Cthulu Tales") and drawn by Declan Shalvey. Tim Bradstreet ("Hellblazer") and Sean Phillips ("Incognito," "Criminal") will provide covers.
The next slide shown was of Boom's new "Die Hard" comic book series, written by Howard Chaykin ("American Flagg").
"The story we went with is 'Die Hard: Year One,'" said Gagnon. "John McClane's first year on the force." Set against the backdrop of the American Bicentennial Celebration, the story will draw on Chaykin's own memories of the era. Issue #1 is available now.
The discussion turned to new series coming down the pipeline, the first being "The Anchor." Written by Phil Hester ("Firebreather") with art by Brian Churilla ("We Kill Monsters"), the promotional poster describes the book's protagonist as a "Freak of Nature! Hulking Outcast!"
"The story is basically about God's own enforcer," said Gagnon. "The Anchor is a warrior monk who stands at the gates of hell... He's God's own leg-breaker."
"Kill Audio," written by indie band Coheed & Cambria's Claudio Sanchez ("The Amory Wars"), will be in stores this Wednesday. "The basic premise? You have this little troll of a man named Kill Audio," said Gagnon, "and he's immortal, and he's venturing through this world of sight and sound to find his purpose." Kill Audio is also hunted by manifestations of the genres of music.
Next up was "NOLA," written by Chris Gorak. Gorak recently directed a critically acclaimed indie film called "Right At Your Door," and BOOM! was very glad to work with him on his love letter to his hometown.
"'NOLA' is shorthand for New Orleans, Louisiana," said Gagnon. "Our lead character is beaten and left for dead after a Katrina-like event, so she puts on her butt-kicking boots and starts getting revenge on those that wronged her. She's almost the spirit of the city."
Pierluigi Cothran of the "Heroes" graphic novel will handle the scripting chores on the title based on Gorak's story.
"Dingo" follows its eponymous character as he tries to track down his missing brother in a world of urban fantasy and noir intrigue. "This is [Nelson's] next, I would say, career hallmark," said Gagnon.
The next slide rang in the BOOM! Kids comic line, and the crowd cheered.
"Kids comics? Those'll never sell!" joked Gagnon.
After recounting popular properties like "The Incredibles," "Monsters, Inc." and "Cars," Gagnon talked about how excited everyone at BOOM! is about last week's announcement of a "Wall-E" ongoing series. J. Torres ("Batman: The Brave and the Bold") will handle the writing, while art by will be provided by Morgan Luthi (Zuda Comics' "Octane Jungle").
"We're very excited and have high expectations for it, because everyone does," said Gagnon.
The Disney extravaganza didn't stop there. BOOM! plans on unleashing two hardcover volumes reprinting Don Rosa's "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck." And while initially the panel had planned to tease a surprise involving "Scrooge," audience members managed to force it out of them.
"There will be an exclusive 'Uncle Scrooge' cover available at Baltimore Comic-Con," said Gagnon. Previously, the cover has only been sold in France, so it will be new to American eyes.
Finally, the floor was opened up for questions. Someone asked if the purchase of Marvel Comics by Disney was going to change Boom's publication of Pixar properties and/or their Disney character comic line.
"Everything needs to be vetted by Disney before it goes out or is said," said Richie. "In all seriousness, I believe our press release announcing that we're publishing Pixar is still pending approval."
With that, Mosher closed out the panel to applause from the crowd. "Big, bold, BOOM!, baby! We're done!"