PLAN Diego: The Finale

I hope all of you enjoyed our semi-update from yesterday. As Jamie alluded to, we had an overload of content and, at 3 o’clock in the morning (which felt like 6 to us because of the time zone thing) we realized that an update wasn’t going to happen without all of us losing our minds. Me losing my mind equals A-OK. Everyone else losing their mind? Unacceptable. We need to keep the troops fresh and all that.

Just a word about last night’s updating of our time here in San Diego, everything there is true (especially the Vampirella item). I can’t stress enough, the guest of the Horton Grand, Roger, does not have wi-fi…the jerk.

Moving on… since we are folding Saturday and Sunday together you can expect these items will be covered:
Warner Bros Presents: Superman Returns
Image Comics
WildStorm: Comics Unleashed
Marvel Comics: Cup o’ Joe
Oni Comics
DC Comics: A Whole New World
Spotlight on J Michael Straczynski
Ababazad
DC All Stars with Jim Lee
Superman: A New Tomorrow

Just so you know/remember the players, I, Tim Stevens, art in green, the veritable James Hatton dost transcribe in cyan (it’s purrrrrr-ty), and the clever Jimmy Lin carves symbols onto the screen in purple.

Warner Bros Presents: Superman Returns

Bryan Singer took the stage and answered questions for a bit, but it was all prelude for one thing………………

a middle aged man dressed in a rubber Superman suit.

Ahh, I kid.

No, it was all prelude to a roughly two minute piece cut together specifically for Comic Con. It was not a trailer, according to Singer, but rather just a piece to give us Con-goers a feel for the look and the characters in the film. After seeing it twice, I am prepared to now hit the highlights for you.

-The piece utilizes Marlon Brando dialogue/voice over from the first film and bits of the original John Williams theme pop up a few times (Singer confirmed that while composer John Ottman will be writing original music for the film, he would also be utilizing that iconic piece of music)

-Everything you’d want to see in a Superman film did show up: Young Clark on the farm, angry/frustrated Lois, Lex Luthor surveying his domain, a few brief shots of flying

-The flying looks seamless and great, a good sign this early in the process

-While Spacey doesn’t speak at all in the piece, he certainly looks the part of Luthor nicely

-Routh looks so much like Reeve as Kent, it is creepy

-Everyone can shut up about the suit now, it looks great onscreen

-Kate Bosworth, despite being young in real life, nails the cadence of Lois Lane as established by Margot Kidder in the first film.

Sufficed to say, I’m excited for next year.

As a sidenote, it was in this panel that I nearly made fifty dollars, but, for the first time, my press badge proved a liability. I was approached by a young lady who asked me if I’d like to be part of an hour long focus group about superheroes at a nearby hotel. They would pay me fifty dollars for my time when all was said and done. “Sweet, cash and comics,” I thought. Then she saw my badge and said, “Oh, you’re press.” “Yes,” I stated proudly, arms akimbo. “Sorry, I can’t use any one who is press,” she replied and walked away. I think she was just as heartbroken as I was.

Image Panel

I have a confession; I was late to the Image Panel because I was busying putting on makeup. Yes, I was a pretty pretty princess while the likes of Frank Cho and Eric Larsen talked about the coolness of working for Image. The catgirl made a beautiful pinstriped kimono that goes really well with stripy tights, purple eyeshadow, and dark lipstick. I’m totally prettier than your girlfriend, and that’s why she wants to “play” with me. Deal with it.

So anyway…can you imagine a massive Image Universe crossover book? Savage Dragon meets Invicible meets Ralph and Leslie meets Spawn meets Skull and Brent Sienna…yeah, they’d just beat on each other, make dick jokes, and stare at Brandy’s boobs. I haven’t seen a panel yet where the creators all know each other well and give each other so much good-natured sh!+. Where else are you going find out that Scott Kurtz owes Frank Cho a picture of his wife’s breasts?

Nothing earth-shattering in the last hour of this panel. Larsen explained the delay issues with American Flagg (the original colorist sucked), and Jae Lee is reworking the entire run of Hellshock (surprise, surprise). Maybe there were announcements in the first 30 minutes (hey, nail polish needs time to dry), but for the most part, the panel answered questions about submitting to Image.

Basic advice: don’t ask your mom about your comic (‘cuz moms are nice); make sure your submission looks great; don’t draw your package in crayon on binder paper; and make a lot of dick jokes. Hey, it worked for Scott Kurtz (or so he claims).

WildStorm: Comics Unleashed

I don’t mean to overstate things here, but I think Jim Lee have something of a connection. Besides the whole went to school for psych thing, he buys me cookies every year at this panel. Sure, he buys them for others too, but… Oh, and this year he also brought bottles of water.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying…he and I are totally boyz now.

Besides Mr. Lee (you might remember him as Tim Stevens’s dawg Jim), the panel featured Scott Dunbier, Bob Wayne, Alex Sinclair, Tony Harris, Ben Abernathy, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Benitez, J.H. Williams, Brian K. Vaughan, and John Paul Leon. Now onto content…

-Re: Gen13 and Wildcats (or is it WildCATS), Scott Dunbier said that WildStorm will release, “more information soon, but you’ll [the fans] be happy.” For Wildcats, of course, this would mean post-Robbie Morrison’s upcoming mini.

-There are still no plans on the table to finish Battle Chasers. Dunbier calls Joey Mad (as we know him in the “industry”) about once every 6 months to ask him if he would want to do a 48 page book to close things about and Mr. Mad always say that he still has several, several more issues left to go.

-There are no plans for more Team Achilles (sorry Jesse) because “sales just don’t warrant it.”

-Absolute Promethea, if it ever comes together, will take a few years. Dunbier would like to run it horizontally (thus making it 12×16 instead of 8×12) and would most likely end up larger and a decent amount more expensive than most Absolute books (which are not cheap really as it is)

-Captain Atom will show up in the WildStorm U in a story entitled Captain Atom: Armageddon. It’s been in the works for awhile and is a second part (in spirit) of the Mr. Majestic book that saw him crossing over to the DCU last year. It sets up a “big, big event that I can’t talk about,” says Jim Lee and will be written by Will Pfeiffer and drawn by Guiseppe Camuncoli, the man often referred to as “Cammo.”

-Chuck Dixon and Doug Mahnke will be collaborating on a 6 issue miniseries called Team Zero and it will focus on the original Deathblow

-ABC: A-Z is a series of one shots that highlight the adventures of various characters from the ABC universe. The project begins with Tom Strong and Jack B. Quick stories.

-Top 10: Beyond the Precinct is the new Top 10 title that will see the return of some classic Top 10 characters and the introduction of some new ones, all of which will be drawn by Jerry Ordway.

Marvel: Cup O’ Joe

Hi there kiddies – James Hatton here, your local Marvel shill, and huge fan of coffee. So Dani and I saddled down in the room that was filled with some of the Marvel comic’s biggest names and waited for Joey Q to serve me a hot cup of java. Yes, well stupid joke aside, he didn’t, and I was pissed because I woke up early for this damn thing. We did get crazy amounts of info though.

-The last on the panel was the only thing I told you last night. Last year somebody asked Joey if he could have one guy work on one title… he apparently said Stephen King. King will supposedly be working on a Marvel project. When? Pffft, no idea. What? Let the fun fanboy speculation begin. Last night, our biggest votes were for HULK, DR. STRANGE, or POWER PACK.

-Nick Fury Howling Commandos! Not only will it be a Giffen & Francesco piece, it will include monsters from the 70s! I assume it will be released during October’s MONSTER MONTH.

-Joe Michael Stryczinsky is doing another Icon book entitled Book of Lost Souls with artist Coleen Doran. The book will have some kind of complex mix of 18th century and today. Again, October.

-The next Amazing Fantasy creation is going to be a western hero named Vegas, written by Karl Kesel

-Monster Month will include Devil Dinosaur. You have been warned.

-Reggie Hudlin (MK Spidey/Black Panther) discussed what will be going on with Black Panther during the Wild Kingdom crossover. “Storm will be nude” was the best he could give us other than that after that story we would be seeing Pather teaming up with Luke Cage and Shang Chi at some point.

-Spiderman: The Other begins in October. Just to condense a liiiiittle bit here, I also went to the Spiderman OTHER panel and it is something that is going to span the 3 Spiderman titles (Amazing, MK, Friendly Neighborhood). It will reach full completion in one month (9 issues in one month.. ouch) the first week shall be written by Peter David (who will be the continuing writer on Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman), the second week will be written by Reggie Hudlin (which will be his last Spiderman story), and the final week will be JMS’. Interesting. It is also a note that during the storyline, Spiderman will be losing an organ. No, we have no idea what that means.

-Jenkins and Romita, Jr. give you Sentry #1 in September

-Fantastic Four: The End will be an Alan Davis story, not a Stan Lee story as previously reported. I swear Joey Q said Stan… no idea why the snafu was made.

-Daughters of the Dragon, a book featuring two Marvel heroine bounty hunters (including the return of Misty Knight) will be written by Jimmy Palmiotti.

-Neil Gaiman is in fact going to be doing another Marvel project in 06. I’m speculating here, but I remember Gaiman saying he always wanted to do a Thor story. Thor is rumored to be returning in 06. I let the reader draw their own conclusion.

-Someone asked how long Joss and Cassaday will work on Astonishing? Til at LEAST issue #25.

-FF: First Family will be a Joe Casey book (coming in January) which will feature the ‘firsts of the Fantastic Four’ similar to Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

-After the Bendis run ends, Frank Cho will be doing a 2 issue story in New Avengers and then is slated for a bigger project.

-A question from the hot and sexy Danielle prompted the knowledge that Sean McKeever’s Mary Jane will be back in December or November.

-Ed Brubaker will be doing a miniseries entitled Books of Doom which will explore the origin of Dr. Doom.

-Marvel Team-Up will be turning itself into a neat little book as with issue #14 there will be a crossover with someone you would never expect – Invincible! Written by Robert Kirkman, he knows a thing or two about these characters and Joey Q said that if it’s popular, such little surprises might happen again. As a note, the entire art team of this book have all worked on Invincible at one time or another.

-We saw a cover to a future Punisher issue.. as always, pretty hot. Expect issues #25 – #30 to be Frank Castle vs. The Police. Sting better run… HA!

-Young Avengers #7 will have ‘identities revealed’. I assume that it means that some big pieces of the puzzle will finally be laid to rest.

All of that was revealed AND the Stephen King bit. Now I will admit that if you pay attention, this information is so minor it’s almost a little insulting. Why is it minor? Because ALL of this stuff will be available in Previews for next month. Ah well, we did get LOTS of neat stuff in there too, so I can’t be such a spoil sport. Expect Marvel to release all of it’s BEST information over at Wizard World Chicago.

Oni Press

The Oni Press panel was just a bunch of announcements. I’m not a huge fan of announcement-heavy events – just do a f***ing press release and let the audience interact with the artists already – so here are the highlights:

-new book in the style of Demo by Brian Wood and R. Kelly called Local;

-new book by Nick Shaughnessy and Chynna Clugston called Strangetown, which will be Chynna’s new “regular” project (along with Blue Monday)

Courtney Crumrin creator Ted Naifeh will have a new book entitled Polly and the Pirates, all about an adorable socialite who inherits a band o’ buccaneers, matey!

-Master Greg Rucka will complete the current Queen and Country arc this year, with apologies to all for being a late bastard.

SPOTLIGHT: J. M. Stryczinsky

I love JMS. I’ve never seen him speak though. The man makes me think, and the fact is he can write like an SOB. I can argue the semantics of this with you people at your leisure in the forum boards. Ask Ratcat. We love this discussion.

Anyway, the man can also tell a great story, as he did up on stage during his Spotlight. He let people ask questions and told quite a few anecdotes about Babylon 5, his work on Twilight Zone, and Spiderman.

The only bit of information I can give you that came OUT of this panel is that he is working on a book called ‘Bullettime’. Not given a set date when it’s coming out, but it is exactly the kind of project that makes me a fan of the man’s work. Here is the concept for you:

There was a man that delivered the Super Secret Soldier Serum to Captain America. He was assassinated. Now take that one gunshot, and bring it 24 hours back. One day earlier. The bullet instead hits a Private Ben Parker. From there the book is a logical breakdown of what would have happened in the Marvel Universe because of that. How does one bullet affect the ripple of time. …TOLDJA IT WAS NEAT!

Abadazad Lives On!

As anyone who listened to me babble on last year, you might remember how much I praised Abadazad. This book was not only kid friendly, but it was a fantastic Baum inspired journey into another world. It was a book that I was looking forward to giving to my kids. Yes, the guy who makes more Daddy Issue jokes than two other writers here considered how perfect this book would be for his nigh conceived children.

JM DeMatteis and Dizney Rep Brenda Bowen sat and discussed the future of the book. Sadly Mike Ploog was unable to get to the convention.

At this moment as you might have already known, Dizney owns all properties of CrossGen (By the way… their booth sucked this year). The properties have been thrown to the corners of the DizBiz with some being considered for movie (specifically Way Of The Rat and Ruse), some being considered for video game, (none mentioned specifically), and others are waiting on the coattails of Abadazad to see if they have any future at all.

Abadazad will in fact be being restarted in the Spring of 2006. It will not be a standard comic any longer, but a small hardcover novel that is a mix of comic and literature. It is already expected to get huge distribution (more through Borders and Barnes/Nobles, even though Diamond wasn’t discounted).

Each book is expected to be around 160 pages, and the art is of course going to remain all Mike Ploog’s.

When all was said and done, I walked away feeling quite ok that the property is being given new life. It is probably the most deserving of all of the Crossgen titles to get a huge push to the mainstream because of it’s access to all ages. I can’t say that I agree with the Dizney Rep’s views on the book (She seems very geared towards ignoring it’s comic roots), but the fact that I will get to read the continuing exploits of the book makes me happier than can be imagined.

DC: A Whole New World

Must resist the temptation to spout off Aladdin lyrics…must resist…

Whew, the moment has passed.

Anyway, this panel was huge so, deep breath and go. Sitting in on this one were: Bob Wayne, Dan Didio, Judd Winick, Geoff Johns, Jeph Loeb, Bill Willingham, Marc Andreyko, Ian Churchill, Darwyn Cooke, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Steve Wacker (my new pick for best man ever), Mark Waid, Jimmy Palmiotti, Phil Jimenez, Matt Wagner, Dave Gibbons, Andersen Gabrych, and Amanda Connor.

And now it’s time for the break down

-We’ll start with the biggest thing and let you know that Waid is exclusive to DC now and The Brave and the Bold will be his newest title.

-New darling Waid (see above) promised that Legion issues #10-12 would see the big intergalactic conflict that was promised way back in #2 come to fruition.

-The Fearsome Five will be returning to the Outsiders soon. And they’ll be six of them, including Sabbac.

-Hawkman #47 ties into Rann/Thanagar War and answers a lot of questions about the “discrepancies” between those two titles

-Firestorm has a big role coming up in Villains United and that includes a tie-in with Villains United #4 in Firestorm #18.

-Manhunter (YAY!) #’s 13 and 14 end the “Manhunted” arc. Issue 13 also deals with the history of all the Manhunters in the DCU and how that is connected with the OMAC Project

-October will see the release of two more of the Seven Soldiers books, Frankenstein and the Bulleteer

-“Yes” Didio assured when asked if there would be more done with the Seven Soldiers after the minis wrap

-For those of you waiting on pins and needles, you may relax once more: Elfquest is returning in comic form

-Superman/Captain Marvel is a 4 issue 30 page Prestige Format miniseries that was actually the first project Judd Winick ever pitched to DC about six or seven years ago.

-Upcoming in Supergirl: Issue 1 lays out the differences between she and Power Girl, issue 2 addresses her relationship with Superboy and guest stars the Teen Titans, and issue 3 has The Outsiders.

-In addition, Jeph Loeb promised that the end of issue #3 would, “mend the internet.”

-Superman/Batman will feature an upcoming cover depicting Batwoman, Superwoman, and Superlad. Apparently all will be revealed about what’s up with that

-The end of this arc answers, “every question you’ve had since issue #1”

-S/B #26 is a project that Loeb is “most proud of” and was written by his son Sam Loeb.

-Winick told the crowd, “Bottom line, I’m telling you nothing,” in reference to what is happening in the future of his run on Batman

-Batman Year 100, announced at the Bat panel a few days back, will be a prestige format series and arrives in stores sometime in 2006.

-Batman and the Monster Men and Batman: The Mad Monk are two six issue companion minis that writer/artist Matt Wagner describes as being Batman Year 1.5 and focus on Batman’s first encounters with supervillains who do not fear the suit in the same way the common thug or mobster has come to.

-Big news for Mathan and I (and hopefully others): Tom Fontana (OZ, HOMICIDE!!!!) is doing his work in comics on a OGN called Batman: Hopelessness and Faith. The OGN is set to be drawn by none other that Cliff Chiang of the awesome Human Target.

-The Spirit monthly announced earlier in the week will run 12 issues a year, 10 of which will be done by Darwyn Cooke and the other two will be done by various different creators.

-It will occur in modern times

-Because of the scheduling of it, Cooke will no longer be able to do the fill-in issues of Flash he was scheduled for. Jimmy Cavalieri will fill that role. No art team changes were mentioned

-Breach will tie heavily into Infinite Crisis. Bob Wayne recommending that we “wait and see what’s happening,” because it would prove very important.

-Didio explained that “there is a plan for a [JLA] book, but I don’t know if there is a plan for a team.” It was unclear if he met a creative team or a team within the book, but seemed to be indicating both.

-All Star Superman will ship in November (see the All Star Panel further down to see if everyone is on the same page on that).

DC All Stars With Jim Lee

The panel named was not entirely accurate as Jim Lee was not alone, buut rather with Bob Schreck. That’s all right, since Jim and I are total buddies (see above), I’ll let that slide.

-The book is on a six week schedule and that is mostly owed to Jim. He can do a four week book, but it requires him to draw constantly and makes him a bit difficult to be around.

-As alluded to in an earlier panel, Frank Miller and Lee’s work on All Star Batman and Robin (no, I won’t use the full title EVER) will be running more than six issues. Currently, it looks like it will come in at about nine.

-Lee himself models for all his panels, including those Vicki Vale shots at the start of issue #1. Now try looking at that scene the same way.

-Besides All Star, Lee is doing an isse of Batman: Europa, a four issue book written by Azzarello and depicted entirely in watercolor by overseas artists (and Lee). Lee has first issue which features a Joker appearance.

-Looking at his schedule, he has at least 3 years of monthly work coming up.

-Next up, he “will definitely be doing something in the WildStorm universe.” What and when was not specified.

Superman: A New Tomorrow

Panelling for the Man of Steel were outgoing Group Editor Eddie Berganza, his young son Matt, Jeph Loeb, Ian Churchill, Greg Rucka, and Mark Verheiden. They brought us a few tidbits and they were:

-The next issue of Superman involves he and Superboy having a heart to heart about recent events in Teen Titans. Steel and Eradicator will also be putting in appearances. Finally, it will explain why Superman chose the Amazon for his new base of operations.

-Following that, in the next issue is a Bizarro story Verheiden did in cooperation with his son (I sense a theme here) which promises to be “a lot of fun.”

-Krypto will show up soon in Superman

-In three or four issues, we’ll get a chance to see what Lois does when she finds herself in a dangerous situation with no Superman around to rescue her.

-Mxy will show up in Adventures of Superman on or around issue #646 to bring that particularl plotline to a close.

All the rest of the news was well covered in other panels.

Oh, and for those of you who were wondering about Greg Rucka and I in lieu of my faux pas at the panel on Friday, all is well. As expected, he was just giving me a hard time and took no offense to me not noticing it. We also had a nice chat about Wonder Woman. As I said before, a very cool guy. Who could snap me in half like that.

And that, folks is that. There’ll be a tiny piece tomorrow of mostly self indulgent crap (and that long promised story about David Wong) and a few interviews that come out over the next few days/weeks, but basically, this is all she wrote on PLAN Diego. Perhaps we’ll see you all next year.