Welcome Back to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.

The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to panel@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and we’ll add them to the list…

It’s been while since the last panel of 2005, but in order to look forward sometimes you need to look back so for the 1st panel of this New Year I’ve asked the panellists what were their highlights of Comics 2005… and this is what we got back…

Kev F Sutherland :

Personally I produced the most comic work in one year since 1997, and it’s the most enjoyable and readable work I’ve ever done.

Second best thing was getting out of producing the Comic Festival which was such a drain on my resources that I didn’t even realise.

Most of my other work has also been really enjoyable. More Comic Art
Master-classes than ever before, lots of stand-up, the invention of the Scottish falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, and the discovery of just how profitable drawing caricatures can be (corporate, baby, that’s where it’s at).

As for reading comics, I enjoy all Mike Pearse’s strips in The Beano, and Gary Northfield’s Derek The Sheep, and am enjoying Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Superman.

Writer and artist on most genres of comic from (currently) The Bash St Kids in The Beano, thru Tarquin Hoylet He Has To Go To The Toilet in Viz, to Star Trek and Dr Strange for Marvel, plus Dr Who, Red Dwarf, Gladiators, Goosebumps and heaps more.

Frazer Irving:

For me it was the whole Seven Soldiers thing. Even tho I was involved in it, I had little knowledge of the grand picture and so when I was reading the associated stories it was all new to me. I liked the way the plots crossed over and the variety of styles in each of the books. And I was proud to be part of it 🙂

Frazer Irving: Essex boy, artist, philanderer. Did the small press for 5 years, then 2000AD for another five, moved onto the glorious silky pages of DC & Marvel recently. Not one for pigeonholing, he rejects the penciller-inker-colourist team-up and has merged 3 clones of himself into 1 so that he does all jobs. Possibly known for work on 2000AD’s Necronauts, Judge Death and The Simping Detective, Klarion the Witch-Boy, and now Iron Man for Marvel – Check it Out!.

Egg Embry Writes:

Top Shelf, Robert Venditti, and Brett Weldele’s THE SURROGATES. This took the top spot because it was the best comic of 2005 and Top Shelf’s first forray into “mainstream” (yet non-superhero) comics. The Surrogates looks at a future where 92% of the population “lives” through personalize robots (while their body’s sit at home)… but someone is “killing” the robots and looking for the computer virus that will wipe them all out! It’s a great read with incredible art! To top that, it is done by one of the best alterative/indy comic companies, Top Shelf! I enjoy this bi-monthly
five-issue series from cover to cover!

Egg Embry edits Dead Men Tell No Tales for Arcana Studio.

James E. Lyle (a.k.a. Doodle):

I know this is going to sound completely self-inflating, but my highlight for 2005 was the publication of The PLUS. It was a tiny Indy book, black and white, and very few even know about it. But the reaction to it was, for me, amazing. The fact that I did it ALL myself was more gratifying than any collaboration I have done in the past, simply because the only compromise in the story was limited to my own abilities. Also my fellow cartoonists and comic book types were very positive about the idea and I’m working on the follow up even now.

James E. Lyle is a cartoonist and illustrator, including co-creating titles Escape to the Stars, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. and DoorMan, plus work on Fright Night, Cynicalman Sells Out, and the accurately-spelt Wiindows. More recently Lyle worked on Turok, the “missing” Paul Gulacy T.h.u.n.d.e.r. Agents, and DRASTIK #1.

Tony Lee Writes:

The best comics moment in 2005? Man there were so many this year.

On a personal basis, seeing the first issues of THE GLOOM, MIDNIGHT
KISS and SHADOWMANCER were highlights. Getting a copy of the STARSHIP TROOPERS graphic novel was a blast too.

San Diego as a whole as to be one of the best comic moments I’ve had – the problem with being a Brit writer in a land of American peers is that often I never meet these people face to face – and at San Diego I finally faced people I’d spoken to online for years. I made a bunch of new friends and I don’t think I’ve had so much fun at a convention ever.

In comics, I had the worst comic moment – the death of Blue Beetle.
I’ve loved that character for years, since the eighties and it was with a tearful farewell and a glass of Jack did I bid ol’ Ted Kord goodbye.

But I still haven’t worked out the best comic moment. I think the final panel of Infinite Crisis #1 did well – I came into DC through CRISIS many years back, and it was a real fanboy rush to see the old school Superman, and gold Alex Luthor… That made me smile. Almost as much as Guy Gardner returning as Green Lantern.

As for best comics? Brian Wood’s DMZ is brilliant. Buy it. Now. I’m having much Queen and Country love again. Robinson’s STARMAN has finally hit me and I’ve been buying up the trades like no tomorrow –

I’ve got it. I think this has to be one of my best ‘comics moments’ of 2005.

Queuing up at a bookstore for a Neil Gaiman signing (for a friend who Couldn’t make it) and, after he signed her book, he asked if I had anything I wanted signed. I passed him my CBLDF card (the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund helps retailers and creators, and Neil is very deeply involved in it) to not only get a surprised and appreciative look from him as he signed it, but also recognition of my name when he read it on the back.

I may work in the business, but I’m still a fanboy sometimes.

Tony Lee was born in West London, UK in 1970. Informed by a teacher that he had a comic book style of writing, (a comment meant more as an insult), Tony decided that one day he would write for comics. Check out more at http://www.tonylee.co.uk

Bart Thompson:

My personal comic book highlight of 2005 was attending the San Diego Comic Con for the first time. It was great- I finally met a lot of people I’ve worked with and known only via internet and met all new connections. It was great having a booth to promote and sell to such a wide range of new readers. Good times all around! I can’t wait to go in 2006!

Bart Thompson is the founder of Approbation Comics, creator of Vampires Unlimited, the Metamutoids, ChiSai, and Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies while the publisher of Myriad from Approbation and writer/creator of Blood, Shells, & Roses coming soon from Arcana Studios!

Donna Barr:

Highlight moment — my Black Manuscripts, the origin of all my work (all 12 embroidered full-color volumes!) were accepted for the San Diego State University Love Library Special Collection, for use by students and professors in writing theses.

Donna Barr has books and original art at www.stinz.com, webcomics at www.moderntales.com, www.girlamatic.com, and has POD at www.booksurge.com Nothing she won’t try, at least once…including writing a column for SBC at this link!

Pat Sullivan Writes:

Best comic moment for me was when i learnt that dc were at last going to do their version of marvel’s essential line.

I have loved the essential line since it started and have gleefully sat reading them remembering days long ago when each week a trip to the newsagent meant a new issue of mighty world of marvel and the many spin offs that came from it.

For a long while the essentials have been a trip down memory lane as most of what they have printed i had either read as a marvel UK reprint or had bought, read and stored as a comic fanboy.

The dc showcase volumes are the same format but so far they have been mostly material i have never seen before. So each showcase is double bubble fun. Not only are they crammed filled with fun comics they are in the main stories i have never read before.

Long may the dc showcases and marvel essentials continue to be published.

Pat Sullivan is the main man of Diamond Comics this side of the Ocean and appeared on the LIVE! Version of SBC’s The Panel at Brighton’s Comic Expo – http://www.comicexpo.biz and was one of the highlights of the panel!

Vito Delsante:

Working with Dean Haspiel again on a 6 part story for Speakeasy’s
BEOWULF(which should be out in January)

Vito Delsante’s creator owned mini-series, “The Mercury Chronicles”, with artist Mike Lilly (Vampirella: Revelations), is now in development with Speakeasy Comics and will hit stands in June of 2006. He has worked with DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and others.

Welcome Back to SBC’s The Panel… its been a long time coming, but we are back!!

In order to keep the panel going we need your questions – there is only so many times I can badger the panel on how they would improve Superman before they start revolting – so sent in YOUR questions to the email above.

My highlight, my comic highlight was All Star Superman and also publishing my own comic The Adventures of Rob & Ducky, there’s nothing better than having a reader find you in the bar later at an expo and tell you how much they laughed and loved your comic. Having graduated from University a few years back I found myself with Film Scripts that I loved but would never have time t film in the real world, so I starting working with some artists to make our comics. Portent Comics is doing quite well at the moment as a young UK based Indy – and 2005 was our first real year “out there” in the public eye. Feedback has been great and we are looking forward to 2006 with more Rob & Ducky, a Superhero comic, which has already had some attention, called Elite and also Violation.

Make sure you tune in next time for the panel and SEND IN THOSE QUESTIONS!!

The views and opinions expressed on the panel are solely those of the panellist who has written them. They do not reflect the views or opinions of silver bullet comic books or myself. Freedom of speech is great isn’t it – James

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