Aspen Comics got their enormous group of usual suspects togetgher for a special wondercon panel Saturday afternoon. Amongst their group fo it: Mark Roslan, Peter Steigerwald, Vince Hernandez, Frank Mastromauro, J.T. Krul, Josh Reed, Hannibal Tabu, Big Dog Ink’s Tom Hutchison, and Scott Lobdell. Saturday’s gathering marked the official debut of Big Dog Ink as part of Aspen’s convention scene since the acquisition last year.
Before the panel kicked off, Lobdell crowd bombed a photo for social media. Opening with their usual “ALOHA!” The first sarcastically came from Scott on how the tradition started. Once introductions were made the group started with announcements.
Starting with Shahrazad, the first title to come over from Big Dog Ink. A few covers for the second issue were shown with Mike DeBalfo’s being the more gorgeous of the batch, which include J.Scott Campbell retailer incentive covers. Tom Hutchison gave attendees a few tidbits about the next storyline being a more future sci-fi story and a natvie american lineage tale will follow that. Before the coming into the Aspen family few had heard of books like Shahrazad, but after reading issue one it’s apparent they do deserve attention from the eyes of the comic world.
Critter is the next book to come over from BDI. ALso written by Hutchinson, the book is, “his love letter to the superhero genre. For anyone who followed the series; the reprints of the issues through Aspen will also include new eight page backup stories. Critter will be in stores this July. The Legened of OZ Wicked West is also coming. It’s a jam packed action adventure set in the Oz universe with a mix of a spagehtti western.
Lobdell moved into talking about the new Four Points series. He’s pitched this story for quite sometime but needed to find a place for it in the Aspen universe. All the covers for issue one were shown including the Wondercon variant available on the show floor. Four Points is the team story of superpowered females who control the four elements which reluctantly ban them together to stop the horsemen of the apocalypse. A few upcoming covers for issue three were shown and they’re will even be some interconnecting covers. Lobdell just help up the last page of issue one, which actually is a good cliffhanger and connection to the rest of the Aspen Universe.
Vince Hernandez talked about a new title for May geared towards younger audiences, Psycho Bonkers. It’s an all ages friendly title about a young girl named Shine trying to take on the world with a talking race car. Hernandez called it, “Saturday morning cartoon fun.” Roslan sold it as Aspen’s version of a Pixar film. Deviating from the fantasy worlds is nothing new for the publisher but this looks like it could be their boldest move yet.
Roslan dove into Fathom Blue, a brand new ongoing Fathom series. The first introduced in ten years. The group thinks of this team book set in the Fathom universe as their version of Uncanny X-Men. Every character is a Blue, whose been hiding amongst humanity and now they’re being hunted by a military general seeking to destroy them. The book starts in June, but a FCBD preview will be available.
Eternal Soulfire is another new series that will debut as part of FCBD.
One of the most succcessful books from Aspen’s 10-for-10, Jirni, is returning for a new volume. J.T. Krul will write the character he created and V. Ken Marion is officially announced on art. According to the writer, this is a new story that will explore different parts of the world in a more adventure driven fashion. Jirni’s first volume was a solid — put you in the moment– fantasy the likes of Arabian Nights. The pencils for the first issue were shown and they look very reminiscent of Michael Turner’s style. This one could be even better than the first, we won’t have to wait long to find out as it’s scheduled for later this year.
The covers for LOLA xoxo: Wasteland Madam were shown. Along with Four Points, the book will be in stores next week. Siya Oum’s work is as beautiful as her first series, but this one will be written by Vince Hernandez. Siya’s LOLA xoxo series itself will also have a second volume later on this year.
Roslan rounded out the presentation portion with Damsels in Excess wrapping up next month and Peter Stiegerwald’s The Zoohunters upcoming issues. Stiegerwald is catching up on the series and is ramping up the father/son tragedy element of the story.
With there presentation running a bit longer than expected, only a short fan Q&A was held.
Are all of Critter’s issues getting reprints?
Yes, but more so in trade form.
Update on the movies?
” Still in the works, waiting on something more concreate before we say anything,” said Roslan.
Why doesn’t the studio do longer runs on their books?
” Depends on the property… newer ones will come back for a second volume.”
Lobdell asked the fan if that was important to him. The rest of the crowd was divided between long runs and short arcs.
Reason for the nautical theme of Shahrazad?
“Awesomest thing to put a pirate on… an aircraft carrier,” answered Hutchinson.
The panel finished with another traditional “Aloha!” Those in attendance were also given gorgeous mini prints for The Four Points and a Shahrazad by J.Scott Campbell. In a con that’s been great so far with Geek fashion programing and great informative stuff from Boom! and Image, but has had little in the way of comics excitement, Aspen’s panel livened things up and getting a gift for showing up is never a bad thing.