Some people say the comic book convention season begins with WonderCon. Thanks to the Emerald City ComiCon, though, those people may need to reconsider that notion. With a guest list that includes names like Bendis, Brubaker, Busiek, Kirkman, Kubert, and Finch (just to name a few), this Seattle convention is quickly becoming an event creators are marking on their calendars.
Now in its third year, the con has grown to such an extent that it's moved to a larger venue, expanded to two days, and has even been advertised locally on Cartoon Network and Comedy Central. Organizer Jim Demonakos is obviously pleased by the way things are going. The 6,000 attendees may pale in comparison to the 87,000 of Comic-Con International in San Diego, but he prefers it that way to a certain degree. A complaint heard of the larger conventions is that they're slowly being overrun by movie studios trying to shill product. For Jim, the creators, and the fans attending the ECCC, this convention is all about the comics.
There were several panels this weekend, including two sponsored by DC and Marvel. Between these sessions and my discussions with various writers and artists, here's the news:
- Brian Michael Bendis News:
- "New Avengers'" second arc will be a Sentry story that runs in issues #7-9 and will be drawn by Steve McNiven. This arc will also feature alternate "Startling Stories" covers (the "fake" comic book the Sentry starred in) done by various Silver Age artists, including Dave Cockrum! There are flashbacks in these issues as well that are drawn by Sal Buscema. Bendis said that the "Mystery Avenger" will appear in the arc that follows, and he insists that he hasn't seen a correct guess as to the person's identity yet. He also said to keep an eye out for fun Jarvis subplots.
- The 5th Anniversary of "Ultimate Spider-Man" is coming this October and to celebrate he plans on introducing the first "legitimately costumed villain" in the USM universe (not Geldolf, although he promises that character is coming back too, much to Quesada's chagrin).
- Bendis apologized for the lateness of "Secret War," but said Dell'Otto's art is worth the wait.
- Michael Lark will be doing art on "The Pulse" for the foreseeable future.
- The 1st issue of "House of M" will arrive on June 7th. It will be biweekly and will last a total of 8 issues. Bendis said he doesn't think he'll "ever write anything bigger than this."
- While he is sad to be leaving "Daredevil," Bendis said a great ending is coming and he's excited because the new team are "great guys" and "friends" of his.
- Bendis is also sorry about the delay in "Wha…huh?" He said it got flagged by legal because it's "kind of a naughty book." However, it's at the printers and it should be out soon. (On a side note, if it's half as funny as the writers were at the Marvel panel, we're in for a treat!)
- "Powers" #12 will be the 50th issue published of the series. To celebrate, Bendis and Oeming will be switching roles for part of the issue. For a sequence in the middle of the book that deals with Deena's first case, Oeming will write and Bendis will be supplying his own photo-realistic art. There will be two covers for the issue as well -- one from Oeming and the other by Bendis.
- The deal for the "Jinx" movie officially closed three weeks ago and Bendis is working on the script for Universal.
- Ed Brubaker News:
- "Sleeper" ends with the end of Season 2. He said it ends in a "definitive" way that should be very satisfying for those who read it.
- "Gotham Central" just got a new ongoing artist (although he couldn't say who).
- According to Brubaker, the first arc of "The Authority" is just setting the stage for what's to come. After issue #5, "it's a completely different book in a lot of ways." He said you could look at its subtext as a satire on mainstream comics.
- "Captain America" #6 is the wildest thing Brubaker has ever written, and he's expecting that he'll have to stay away from the message boards after it comes out. At the Marvel panel, Bendis joked that the issue would make us all forget about Hawkeye's death. There is a Captain America "House of M" tie-in coming up too.
- Brubaker is also writing a screenplay for David Goyer based on his own comic "The Fall."
- John Layman said Rogue will appear in "Gambit" #10, although Rogue fans may be "pissed off" at the writer afterwards.
- Tom Peyer will be writing a three-issue "House of M" tie-in with Mark Waid.
- Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski said Paul Smith will be doing a new series for Marvel soon.
Michael Lark & Greg Rucka
- Greg Rucka News:
- His twelve-issue "Everest" maxi series for Oni (with art by Scott Morse) should be out this summer.
- Two other "Queen and Country Declassified's" have been planned.
- The follow-up novel to "A Gentleman's Game" will be coming out this fall.
- And for those fans of Sasha Bordeaux from his Batman run, she will be returning in the first issue of "The OMAC Project." Plus, she will be appearing somewhere in the DC Universe before then.
- Gail Simone said the next "Birds of Prey" arc will take place in Singapore and we will learn more about Oracle's Brainiac "connection." She is also excited about her upcoming six-issue mini "Villains United." Dale Eaglesham is doing the art, and J.J. Jones is handling the covers. She said the series will include a new "cool and sexy" Catman, a new Ragdoll, and some other new characters she's created. In addition, Simone is looking forward to her run on "Action Comics" with John Byrne, where part of the series will be dealing with Lois and Lana "issues."
- A Batman and Clayface story that was drawn by Michael Mignola sixteen years ago was recently found. It will be appearing in an upcoming "Batman: Secret Files" issue.
- Tony Harris said he plans on doing the art for "Ex-Machina" until the series ends. The book is supposed to last four years (the length of the mayor's term in office). Personally, I wonder what happens if he gets reelected?
- Kurt Busiek News:
- "Conan's" current arc ends at #14, and #15 will be another "Born in the Battlefield" issue. Issue #16 is a new arc, which will lead up to an adaptation of Robert E. Howard's "Tower of the Elephant." Another Conan fill-in issue is being prepared containing two stories - one by John Severin and the other by Bruce Timm.
- Busiek is currently finishing the script to "Astro City: Dark Age" #4 and Brent Anderson is working on the art to issue #1. In this miniseries, we find out what happened to the Silver Ager.
- A new creative team will be moving on to "JLA" after his Crime Syndicate arc is done.
- The six-issue "Marvels: Eye of the Camera" (the follow-up to "Marvels") has been scripted and Jay Anacleto is working on the art. Busiek said the pages he's seen are beautiful!
- Scott Kurtz has Robert Kirkman's Invincible character appearing in an upcoming issue of "PvP" (although it's not quite in the way you'd expect). He has also begun art for "The Golden Agers," which is a three-issue mini about heroes in a retirement home written by Robert Kirkman.
- Robert Kirkman News:
- "Invincible" #0, a 50 cent special, takes place between issues 22-23. It's a retelling of Invincible's origin from Mark's perspective.
- An "Invincible" hardcover will be out in June, collecting issues #1-13 of the series with all the extras found in the TPB.
- Also in June, "Battle Pope" will be coming out monthly and in color. It begins with a reprinting of the original series (in color for the first time.).
- Interestingly enough, the longest line of the convention was for Jhonen Vasquez (creator of "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" and "Invader Zim"). He also wins the prize for the most rabid fans. I even heard one of the bigger publishers say, "Damn. We've really got to get some of that Goth money."
And to wrap things up, Marvel said they would have an announcement regarding Ed Brubaker this Monday (February 7th). The rumor mill has him signing an exclusive with Marvel - which he joked about at the DC panel.
All in all, the Emerald City ComiCon appeared to be a terrific success for all those involved. Personally, I'd highly recommend this con for fans and creators who love the comics medium and aren't afraid of a little rain. In closing, I thought I'd share a quote from the Marvel Q&A panel:
Audience Member (to Ed Brubaker): How did you get "Captain America?"
Brubaker: Well, Jack Kirby died…