Editor-in-Chief James Lucas Jones moderated the Oni Press panel on Sunday at New York comic Con and was joined by Oni creators Jen Van Meter, Ray Fawkes, Matthew Loux, Antony Johnston and Brahm Revel. The afternoon panel came at the tail end of an exhausting convention weekend and the panel was a low key affair despite some major announcements, though some animated fans in attendance very clearly had "Scott Pilgrim" on the brain.
First up was the convention debut of “Hopeless Savages Greatest Hits,” which collects all three miniseries in addition to the shorts and webcomics along with other extras. Jones also announced that the much-anticipated fourth “Hopeless Savages” book will be out next year and feature the artwork of newcomer Meredith McClaren with flashbacks by some artists familiar to Oni fans.
According to Van Meter, the book was a long time coming because of many false starts and she struggled to write the book without knowing who would be drawing it. She revealed that the book will be a road trip that features Zero and her band, the Dusted Bunnies, and that we’ll meet Zero’s rival band.
Another book featured at the show is the trade collection of Brahm Revel's “Guerillas,” originally as a miniseries by Image Comics. The first collected edition is on sale now from Oni and there are plans to release two more volumes in the future.
“A young recruit falls in with a platoon of chimpanzees who have been trained to take over for human fighting forces," said cartoonist Revel of his book. "They go AWOL and things don’t go as planned.” Revel said the second volume would see release next year and the book has a finite ending, concluding in the eventual third volume.
Next the panel touched on “Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Vol. 2,” the second deluxe hardcover collection of the ongoing title which collects issues #14-25. Writer Antony Johnston pointed out that the book collects all the comics in the order they were published including the interlude issues, in addition to Ben Templesmith’s covers and the “Walking the Dust” stories. “It’s the ultimate edition,” Johnston said.
Johnston also promised that in 2011, the series will be back on track. Remington Veteto will replace Christopher Mitten as the series’ regular artist. “Chris Mitten left some big shoes to fill,” Johnston said, “but Remy really stepped up to the plate.”
Johnston also revealed that the series is almost at its halfway point. “It always had an ending planned,” he said. “I recently sat down and planned out the next thirty issues and all the story arcs including the ending.” He also revealed that the next two stories are all set in the Wasteland with Michael and Abi before going back to the city.
Jones revealed that the next standalone issue will feature art by Brett Weldele, who Johnston worked with on Oni’s “Julius.” “It’s nice to work with someone I worked with before,” Johnston said. “Somebody I didn’t scare off.”
Ray Fawkes, who is perhaps best known for “Apocalypstix” with Cameron Stewart, then talked about “Possessions.” The first book came out earlier this year with the next planned for 2011. The book tells the story of a group of ghosts held captive in a rich old lady’s house for her amusement, and centers around Gurgazon the Unclean, a demon in the body of a five year-old girl, who tries to escape the house.
“In the second volume, you can tell that she was given cutlery, which is not a good idea,” Fawkes said, referring to a cover image being shown. The plot of the next volume revolves around a dinner party the old lady throws to show off to another collector who brings his own collection of ghosts.
Jones then announced another book by Fawkes, calling it, "one of, if not the most ambitious book we’ve ever published."
“One Soul” will tell the stories of eighteen people’s lives from birth to death throughout history. Their lives are unfolded simultaneously. Each page will be split into a nine page grid and so every two page spread of the graphic novel will feature all the characters and their position on the page will remain constant throughout the book.
“They’re very different,” Fawkes said of his myriad of characters which include a prehistoric hunter, a Greek priestess, a modern doctor and a punk dropout. “When you put them together and see what they share and what’s different, they attempt to answer that question, what is a life?”
Jones said that part of their excitement was that Fawkes is doing something that could only be done in comics. Jones announced the book will be designed by Matt Kindt and is slated for a July 2011 release
The other big announcement for the publisher was related to their “Yo Gabba Gabba” license. Oni will soon be publishing comic book board books, comics aimed at toddlers and preschoolers that will be comics, but printed on thick board book material. Those will arrive in November.
Matthew Loux described the television series as “one of the most original and bizarre children’s shows in a long time.” He described working on the book as a really fabulous experience and singled out writer J. Torres, who he’s been a big of for many years.
One fan inquired about the future of “Blue Monday” and asked if we will we ever see the conclusion of the “Thieves Like Us” miniseries. Jones explained that Chynna Clugston has gone through some major life changes in the past few years and has been very busy due to her workload as an editor at CMX and Wildstorm. While Oni has completed issues from her in the can, they’re waiting until she finishes the entire series setting a release date.
Other upcoming titles Jones touched on at the panel included "Ivy" by
Sarah Oleksyk in January, and Matthew Loux doing two more volumes of “Saltwater Taffy” that will form the series’ first two-parter in addition to his work on "Yo Gabba Gabba."
One fan asked Antony Johnston about his previously announced graphic novel, “Cold City,” that he’s doing next year with artist Sam Hart.
“‘Cold City’ is a Cold War spy thriller set in Berlin in 1989 just before the wall came down,” Johnston said. “The premise is that a defector from East Berlin gave an MI6 officer a list and the list contains the name of every spy working on every side in Berlin. Then officer is killed and the list is not on the body. MI6 don’t know who they can trust so they send an agent who’s never been to Berlin to find the list. She has [only a few] days because everyone knows the Communists are about to fall and even her own people are hostile.”
“I’m hoping it will be first of [a] series set in Berlin during the Cold War,” Johnston said. “Not necessarily with the same characters, and not necessarily at the same time.”