Saturday at SDCC, Aspen Comics held their annual panel with a few more faces in the crowd than recent years and some new ones on stage. The company talked about their current slate of books and two exciting things readers will soon read; musician/YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling and the company’s 2018 anniversary.
In traditional Aspen custom, Peter Steigerwald opened the morning with an “Aloha” and Frank Mastromauro had tons of slides to show the packed room. On the panel were E-I-C Vince Hernandez, Jordan Gunderson, JT Krul, Siya Oum, Scott Lobdell, and Blake Norcott. Joining the group for the first time were Ron Marz, Darick Robertson, and making her own fashionably late entrance Lindsay Stirling.
The Aspen veterans brought everyone up to speed on current books such as Soulfire, Norcott’s surprise hit Fathom, Oum’s returning Lola XoXo, and Lobdell’s team book featuring a transgender character No World.
One of the other upcoming projects from the publisher is their follow up event to Revelations, a heavier villain driven special called Decimation written by Hernandez. They’re pitching the series as the company’s version of introspective evil like Marvel’s Acts of Vengeance.
Popularity of the company’s joint variant ventures continues to grow and those who collect them were not only able to score six special books at Comic-Con featuring Turner created art of Spider-Man and Supergirl, but more were announced at the panel. In August, a special DC Comics Dark Nights Metal variant cover will be published with Batman art originally sketched by Turner but colored by Steigerwald in the style of Rebirth DC. The cover will be part of a triplicate image that connects to Superman and Wonder Woman images also done by Turner.
In 2018, the company will celebrate 15 years while at the same time its flagship character created by the late Michael Turner, Fathom, will be celebrating 20 years. It’ll be a special time for one of the publishers which grew alongside the San Diego Comic Con itself. As part of its plans, seasoned comics writer Ron Marz will pen 2018’s Fathom title as part of the anniversary. Marz talked about the idea coming while both creators were in Cuba for either a spy mission or a cultural comic exchange. Though the group can’t divulge story details yet, Marz mentioned this was a book he’d always wanted to do. Not to be outdone, the publisher’s other big character, Soulfire, will be turning 15 years old and writer JT Krul will be doing a new story for it.
Aspen in San Diego hasn’t seen that packed a room since the days when Turner himself would meet fans at the convention. 2017’s crowd was due in part to the recent announcement of a new comic book series inspired by the generation’s most famous violinist, Lindsey Stirling. Sparrow, co-written and drawn by Darick Robertson, tells the fantasy story of a young girl in a dying world without hope. While the book isn’t completely autobiographical, each issue will be named and inspired by one of Stirling’s songs. Robertson and Stirling talked about an instant creator connection with one another. Lindsay, though not a comic book fan by birth found herself drawn into the imagination of the medium. Sparrow will also feature covers drawn by arguably the Picasso of comic book covers, David Mack.
Film directors and celebrities aren’t anything new to comics, but Stirling represents a potential new well comics may seek more of in the future depending on how the book does. With the world moving more towards digital entertainment it’s not out of the possibility to see other online personalities enlisted to keep the comic book industry modern. Sparrow certainly has the right pedigree for sucess, it’ll be interesting to see what the final product is.