Aspen Comics, WonderCon Saturday panel, kicked off as they all do with VP Peter Steigerwald leading the audience in a raucous “Aloha”. After the introductions of Jordan Gunderson, Mark Roslan, J.T Krul, Vince Hernandez, and Frank Mastromauro; Steigerwald opened with the April fools day announcement of the studio’s closing.
Such as other publishers have done, most big announcements are being saved for that golden week before SDCC. However, Aspen does have a few notable things to talk about.
2017 will see many out of print trade collections come back to stores. Early volumes and spin-off stories from Fathom to artist Jason Fabok’s run on Soulfire are some of the titles in the TPB works.
With last year’s Revelations inner-company crossover springboarding new volumes of those flagship books, the company is now looking at what other properties will get the All-New treatment. For Mastromauro, Charismagic and Shrugged were the likely choices. Fans can expect those books to come together in some way later this year.
As Fathom comes up on her 20th anniversary, the current book written by Blake Norcott continues to do well in the market. While the book continues, editorial is working on plans to celebrate the character’s anniversary and we may know something by SDCC.
The panel discussed the upcoming Scott Lobdell book No World. It seems like a comic book version of CW’s Legends of Tomorrow. Characters who were second-tier supporters in other books will come together in a brand new horror adventure story. The book will also introduce a brand new character who happens to be transgender. All involved are taking publication to heart in making sure representation is accurate and respectful of the demographic. Other characters appearing in the book include Dellec and Iris. No World launches in the third week of April.
Mark Roslan’s cyberpunk story Bubble Gun will get a second volume this year which shifts the focus from lead character Molly to the broader team of supporting characters in the first series.
The Aspen Free Comic Book day controversy forced the publisher to take matters in their own hands by publishing a free book themselves through Diamond. Their offering would have been one of the few books of this year’s lineup not consisting of reprinted material. When ask about what happened, it boiled down to not being selected and not wanting to miss the event which is only a year older than Aspen Comics. Fans will be able to get their hands on Aspen Universe Decimation for free the first weekend of May. The debut of Decimation is Aspen’s version of Marvel’s Acts of Vengeance where villains from various books fought heroes in books they’d never previously appeared in.
Jirni Volume 3 and Lola XoXo Volume 2 will both be coming this year. Lola’s delays from creator Siya Oum were unavoidable but did note she’s well into the second issue of the new series. Jirni will be back with new characters, new worlds, and by some hints a new artist.
With the publisher’s 15th anniversary coming next year, Aspen will be kicking about the idea of bringing back a swimsuit issue for SDCC. Something they haven’t done since 2011 and being an anniversary book should bring back some very profile names to participate from their friends and massive talent pool they’ve given to comics over the years.