Since our dear Editor-in-Chief “El Sacerdoce” J.L. Carabello couldn’t attend his home state New York Comic-Con this year (tears all around!) and our NY Nitty homeslice hostest with the mostest, Doice John, is going as a pro-fession-al, leave it up to one man. One King of all Bibles, Jimmy Cupp, to lead you to the Manhattan promised land…
Over the course of the next few days, this #NYCC newcomer will provide his take on all the panels he attended that were great, and all the panels he attended that don’t deserve the smallest piece of cake.
Keep this link bookmarked, because it’s only Day 1, and we’ve got a LOT more in store for you.
Day 3 (Saturday): Ash vs. Evil Dead
Day 2 (Friday): Dark Horse: CLASSIFIED!, VIZ Media Special Premiere, Vertical Comics
Day 1 (Thursday): BOOM! Studios Celebrates 10-Years, SyFy Presents The Expanse and Hunters, Dragon Ball Z and Beyond
DARK HORSE: CLASSIFIED! (Friday) – This was the panel of happy surprises. We went in with the promise of announcements. What nobody realized was that it was a panel of many announcements–enough to make me well up inside with joy and want to hand over my paychecks for the next year. On the panel, we had Brian Wood (Star Wars, X-Men), Matt Kindt (Unity), and new Dark Horse Editor Dave Marshall. First announcement, Aliens: Defiance from Wood and Tristan Jones. They didn’t give too much away about this, but it is a unique story of a marine who is brought to a planet to investigate deaths. Shortly after arriving, she finds its everyone’s favorite Alien. “As a fan of the original film, I’m still trying to channel that vibe where we have a ship, we have a blue collar work a day type of cast. There’s some androids there. Some aliens. She’s a marine, and kind of a walking wounded one,” is how Wood described it. So much Xenoyes!
(Cont.) Next up, further information about The Legend of Korra series coming out. Talk about freaking out just a bit in my head. I’m a huge fan of this series, and was enamored to hear about the reveal of the book’s artist, Brittney Williams. Michael Dante DiMartino will co-create the world of Korra, and showed a sketch of what’s to come. I almost cried, it’s beautiful. I will be stopping by the Dark Horse booth on Sunday for my autographed copy, thank you! “The thing that makes Brittney the right choice is that she does that magical thing where she can capture the heart and essence of these characters,” Kindt answered, when asked why Williams was chosen. Then we learned about Dept. H, which will follow a woman in an undersea lab, sent to solve a murder mystery before the entire base floods. There were hints that she may or may not make it out alive. “I had this idea to do this series where every issue is one day in the heroine’s life,” Kindt told the panel, along with that it will take place over the course of 2-weeks.
(Cont.) OK, next I got all nostalgic and almost stood up clapping. Guys and gals, we are getting Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The High School Years! That’s right. Buffy is going back to her roots in high school, telling all new stories by Faith Erin Hicks with art by Yishan Li. “She’s a perfect fit for these characters. She loves them, and can really capture their voice,” Wood agrees, as for Dark Horse’s writing choice. We also had a couple surprise guests — Dean Deblois and Richard Hamilton — come up on stage to announce the next graphic novel series, How to Train Your Dragon. Yep, so that’s happening. The story will take place between the first and second movies, and may also start exploring what happens between the 2nd and yet to be release 3rd movies. The panel finished with a video from James Cameron(!!) telling us about Avatar! Not only is he currently working on 3 sequels, but there will be graphic novels coming out in 2016 to give new stories and mythology within the world of the Na’vi. There you have it, folks: Dark Horse is going to kill it in 2016, and can take every dollar that we comic-reading nerds have.
BOOM! STUDIOS CELEBRATES 10 YEARS and PUSH COMICS FORWARD (Thursday) – So, I sort of stumbled across this panel by surprise… Then again, had I looked back at our coverage of BOOM! Studios from recent conventions, then I would have already expected this level of greatness! First off, we heard from Kyle Higgins about his upcoming release of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in 2016! Childhood is coming back. It will be different though, as Kyle says this series will “be telling a big serialized story that really gets into the stories of these people, and what it is like to be a teenager with these pretty bad ass mechas and powers.” This was the biggest announcement as far as new comics coming. Filip Sablik, the moderator/president of publishing and marketing, then moves the talk to Push Comics Forward. This is a movement to get more diversity into mainstream comics through us, the consumers– first, by talking more about it, and, second, speaking with our purchases. I’m down.
(Cont.) Amongst all the fantastic panelists James Tynion IV, Shannon Waters, Higgins, and Si Spurrier, it was Brooke Allen (Lumberjanes) saying, “I would love to see sort of a tearing down of barriers or labels. [i.e.] These are girl comics. These are comics for everyone whose not white. I love that the target is taken away–gender sections. I wanna see that in comics. And then of course, seeing comics as a media. I think that would be a huge step,” was by far the quote of the night. This was a very moving panel, with so many interesting points, it is impossible to fit them all in here. I was so glad to stumble into this panel and hear exactly what I’ve been thinking for over a decade now!
Excuse me while I “fangirl” all over your screen for a minute. I need to start with the fact that this panel was hosted by the one and only Comic Book Man, Kevin Smith! Turns out, that Evil Dead 2 was his inspiration for making movies in the first place, so he couldn’t possibly miss out on the World Premiere of Ash vs Evil Dead. Of course! He graciously introduced none other than Bruce Campbell, who came out in the pimpiest of purple pimp suit jackets. And when Bruce brings out Sam Raimi, the crowds explodes. They tell a couple jokes and then… BAM… World Premiere of Ash Vs. Evil Dead starts rolling. Yes folks, my eyes were amongst the few to be the first to ever watch this show. I’m going to give you a brief rundown and try to make this spoiler free, but secretly want to tell you everything because I need someone to talk about it with…
(Cont.) Ash is old(er) now. It’s been 30-years since the events of Evil Dead 2, and he’s kind of a mega loser. He’s still working in a department store, and lives in a run down trailer. Soon he remembers that in an intoxicated stage, while trying to impress a woman, Bruce has read the summoning spell from the Necronomican once more. Then, we are introduced to the rest of the cast in various ways. We have Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), the police officer who has seen some bad stuff and wants to know what the Hell is happening; Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo), the beautiful, badass, new girl at Ash’s job who finds a reason to fight; Pablo Bolivar (Ray Santiago), Ash’s goofy, wise cracking side kick; and finally Ruby (Lucy Lawless), a woman out for vengence. After the introductions and character building, all Hell breaks loose–literally. Now Ash has to find the motivation to fight the Deadites again and save the world. The cast is incredible! They own their parts whole heartedly and play off of Campbell’s humor like they’ve been part of the saga all along. The feel of the first episode was very much like watching a remastered Evil Dead 2. It had the perfect balance of humor and horror, and they never skimped out on the blood. Most of the effects were very practical and old school, with the exception of one scene with a doll, but the CGI wasn’t distracting at all. This could quickly become my new favorite series on television.
(Cont.) When it was over, we had the panel with Smith interviewing the cast in its entirety: Lawless, Campbell, Raimi, DeLorenzo, Jones, Santiago, and showrunner Craig DiGregorio. I died! When asked why they went with Starz, Campbell responds with, “This would not have worked anywhere else other than Starz, and I’m not saying that officially as the company manager, although I am. It’s a subscription. You pay for it. You’d pay for it in the movie theater anyway, and if you got it for free with cable, with your basic cable package, it would suck.” Lawless tells us, “I was about to sign onto another gig, and the chance to play Ruby Noble in AvED (Ash vs. Evil Dead) came along and I was like ‘see ya later guys.’ It was such a no brainer to work with Sam and Bob and my darling Bruce.” Similar reactions came from the entire cast. This was followed up by some audience Q&A where Campbell proceeded to help a kid find a date. It was a fun and funny panel to watch with lots of promise of good things to come for the series. I really cannot wait until Halloween when AvED premieres to the whole world.
VIZ MEDIA SPECIAL PREMIERE SCREENING (Friday) – Hello anime fans! (All four of you; I keed, I keed! I love anime.) Coming soon, Viz Media will be releasing One-Punch Man. This was just a screening with no panel, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this show. It’s the story of a man who lives in a world where monsters keep appearing and destroying the city, or just hurting people. He comes across a Lobsterman, who is threatening to kill a boy and decides to try to help. He tells the Lobsterman that he always dreamt of being a superhero who could kill monsters with one punch. Then, he defeats the monster. We flash forward a few years to find the man now being a superhero, but struggling with finding the joy in anything anymore. This was an hilarious anime with some great action. It’s weird. It’s fun. It’s everything you want in an anime–unless you want sexy. There is no sexy. It was all subbed, so we didn’t get any English voices, but that wasn’t distracting at all because of the way the story flowed. I’m looking forward to this anime and will be finding ways to make it part of my regular rotation.
SYFY PRESENTS: THE EXPANSE / HUNTERS (Thursday) – The SyFy Channel offered up one hell of a panel block on NYCC 2015’s opening day. As a treat for the audience, we viewed the entire pilot episode of The Expanse a whopping 2-months before its release. Although pilots can be tricky, this one did a stellar job of setting up the characters, atmosphere, and storyline. Now if you don’t know what the story is from the book series, Expanse is about humans having colonized the solar system 200-years from now, with Earth and Mars in sort of a “cold war” until something sets things into motion and all Hell breaks loose. As for the talent, we have Thomas Jane (Punisher) and Steven Strait (The Covenant), who I just adore…yes I said adore…
(Cont.) And ladies — and some gents — there’s a lot of shirtless Strait and a little booty, but I digress. Its dark. It’s gritty. It’s got mystery. I think this will be a show to watch come December. Jane was asked if it was difficult to play a character that goes from being a sleezy jerk to a hero, and he had the best response with, “No because he is never a hero. He’s an asshole to the end.” The panel was mostly just talk about how the actors got into character or enjoyed the antigravity filming. You know, the senseless things that your typical fan will ask. The show was great and the panel did a great job of breaking down their characters for us, but with the above quote, Jane kind of stole the show.
Next, we got to be the first people to see the Hunters preview. This show looks crazy. Based on novels by Whitley Strieber and produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead), the story is about intergalactic/outerspace terrorists attacking us–who have been living among us for years. There is, of course, a secret government program head up by Reagan, played by Britne Oldford, who are commissioned to hunt the Hunters. When asked why they all decided to work on the show it was Showrunner Natalie Chaidez who summed it up by saying, “When Gale Anne Hurd asks you to do a show about aliens, you say ‘Hell, yeah!’”
(Cont.) We also got a nice treat by having Effects Designer Justin Dix explain how they are bringing back practical effects for this show and steering away from CGI. Thank you, Justin! We need this back in TV. They also announced that immediately after the panel, SyFy was putting the file to 3D print your very own Hunter skull on their website for a free download. These things look really cool, and I wish I had a 3D printer, so I could have one for myself. The show looks fun and edgy, the panel was fun and didn’t have to reveal any big secrets to keep the hype up. Between The Expanse and Hunters — and some of their other more recent success (Helix, Haven, 12 Monkeys) — it looks like the former Sci-Fi Channel is returning to the same quality we all knew way back when.
DRAGON BALL Z (AND BEYOND) (Thursday) – I have loved Dragon Ball Z for about 12-years now, ever since my best friend introduced me to it. Obviously this meant I could not miss a chance to see a panel with the voices of Goku and Vegeta! We were in for a treat in the beginning when our panel leader, Justin Rojas from FUNimation, announced that we would get an exclusive look at the “Frieza Retrospect,” which will “never be seen again” because it was only supposed to be played during the theatrical release of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. I was very happy about this little treat because I wasn’t able to see the movie in theaters…
(Cont.) Unless you’re like me and a huge fan, who just wanted to hear stories of how much Sean Schemmel (Goku), Christopher Sabat (Vegeta), and Justin Cook (Krillin) enjoyed working on this series for the past 15-years, you got nothing new from this panel. The guys had a great sense of humor that kept the panel moving, but it ended with a huge let down. The only noteworthy quote from the entire panel was when Rojas announced, “FUNimation does not have the rights to Dragon Ball Super.” What?! The program said this panel was supposed to cover news on Dragon Ball Super. Your news is that there is no news?! I wanted to get up and smack him! Overall, though, this was a fun start to the day. This was my first panel ever, and despite the bad news of no news, it got me pumped up for the rest of the day.
VERTICAL COMICS (Friday) – I know we have some manga readers out there, so this one is for you. Vertical had a lot of announcements at this panel, run by Ed Chavez. Now to be honest, I enjoy manga once in awhile; but I only came to this panel because it was before the Viz Media reveal of a new show. Some of the standouts were Tales of Immortals, which is a tale of Immortals living among us and the government using them for their abilities. According to Ed it will be, “very dark, with high intense action.” Ninja Slayer is another interesting title. It was written by an American and then adapted to Japanese, and it is now being adapted back into English. It’s about a world where “ninja’s rule all. They are the highest power, and one man is determined to kill them all” with “crazy action comedy.” They will also be bringing Nichijou, which is “possibly one of the most surreal things to come out of Japan and still be popular.” These were probably the most crowd pleasing announcements, but there were many others including light novels in the world of Attack on Titan. The biggest announcement that Chavez was able to tell us was Vertical’s soon-to-be-released audio mangas. They will be recording many light novels and manga with known names and releasing them as digital files for purchase in hopefully every format. But I’m going to be honest again, I almost fell asleep during this panel. Great information given, but with one person standing behind a panel with a monotone, droning voice… Zzz…