During a panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego Thursday, CrossGen Comics announced upcoming plans, including a new, and very auspicious, comic launch set for December, 2003. Written by DC favorite J.M. DeMatteis, and penciled by comics legend Mike Ploog, "Abadazad" promises to appeal to an all-ages audience. In the absence of the creators involved, CrossGen Marketing Directory Bill Roseman touched on the concept of the book. "This series is in the tradition of 'Wizard of Oz' and 'Narnia'." It's the brainchild of DeMatteis who wanted a comic series that he could read with his eight year-old daughter. In keeping with CrossGen tradition, "Abadazad" takes place on an Earth-like world. The main character, a young girl named Kate, goes on a journey to discover the fate of her missing brother. She travels to a land populated with creatures and characters drawn from memories of the fairy tales she heard as a young child. "'Abadazad' is a dream project that I've nurtured for years," DeMatties said in a press release, "a story that can nurture an eight year old imagination--and be accessible and entertaining to adults, as well." Expect "Abadazad" to be reminiscent of "Harry Potter" in both concept and market placement.
As indicated by current solicitations, CrossGen's creative teams are doing a fair amount of shifting around in the next few months. There seems to be a great deal of excitement about the fresh new directions that many key titles will take. One of the more high profile changes is the departure of Ron Marz as writer of "Sojourn." Mr. Marz commented on Ian Edgington's efforts, saying, "I've enjoyed the hell out of the first three plots he's turned in." "Sojourn" #25, Edgington's first issue, is retailing for only one dollar as a way of inviting new readers. #26 is slated to ship two weeks after #25.
"Route 666," CGE's horror title, is getting the fill-in artist treatment for issue #15 from none other than John McCrea ("Hitman"). McCrea, apparently a good friend of Tony Bedard's, was personally selected by Mr. Bedard to pencil this stand-alone issue.
"Solus #6" features a cross-over with one of Barbara Kesel's other books, "The First." After that, "Solus" will cross into "Brath" and into "Mystic". The story in "Solus" begins a sort of concluding arch that will reveal the truth behind the sigils in the CGU. Look for the saga to come to a head sometime next year.
Ron Marz gave audience member some details on his, and Jimmy Cheung's, finale issue of "Scion". As an homage to Hal Foster, "Solus #39" will be done in the "Prince Valiant" style (double-page strip spreads done sideways." Ron Marz: "We're definitely going out with a bang."
Brian Pullido was on hand to discuss the controversial adoption of "Lady Death" into the CrossGen line-up. He was genuinely interested in how fans perceived the book, even going so far as to poll the audience to learn who was reading the series. There were many hands raised, but when asked to volunteer to explain the premise of the series, all the hands disappeared, a situation which drew laughs from audience and panel alike.
Through the question and answer session, a few tid-bits of information were revealed. "Way of the Rat", CG's martial arts comedy, is the furthest along in feature film production. Ron Marz confirms that he will be writing something new for CrossGen, but was not at liberty to discuss the matter further. CrossGen's young adult adventure series, "Meridian," received a nod from the New York Libraries list of books for teens. This was the first year that trade paperbacks were considered for this honor, and only ten were chosen. Ms. Kesel, and CrossGen at large, is very proud of the recognition: "I'm trying to create a book with situations that are appropriate for kids, but still with the ungodly complications of the real world."