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…

This week’s question comes is as follows:-

“What are you most looking forward to in 2005 that is comic related?”


Kev F Sutherland:

The comic ‘product’, if you can call it that, that I’m looking forward to is Comic Expo in Bristol on May 13th – 15th.

Having been running the UK’s Comic Festival since 1999, and the
National Comics Awards for two years before that, it’s been nearly 9 years since I had a con/festival that I could go to purely as an attendee.

When I first attended cons I was a young fanboy and I’d never seen so many comics in one place in my life, and meeting the creators was a bigger deal than you could ever imagine (at my first, in 79, I met heroes Jim Steranko and Chris Claremont, got to know Dez Skinn and Steve Dillon, and my pal and I got to sit and chat with the entire 2000AD editorial team inc John Wagner, Alan Grant, Kevin O’Neill, Mick McMahon and Dave Gibbons).

By ’96, the last con where I had no organisational duties, I was drawing for Marvel and had made myself a bit of a name as an on-stage interviewer (which I never thought of as a chore). My signings were routinely the worst attended ever, I’d be on the humour comics signing or the Red Dwarf, Star Trek or Dr Who signing, and frankly those readers weren’t the sort who went to comic cons.

So this year I’m not lined up for a signing yet, but since I’m now doing Bash St Kids strips for The Beano I’d hope to attract a few kids. And I do my Comic Art Masterclass routine, which I’ll whip out at the drop of a hat.

The rest of the time I look forward to being able to get drunk with my fellow pros without someone coming up to me with a problem with the pa, or the signage, or someone whose hotel room’s not up to their standards, or someone blaming me for where their table is in the dealer hall, or me spotting someone I have to chase cos they’ve still not paid their bill, or punters asking for their money back cos some or other ‘star’ hasn’t turned up, or someone complaining about when the charity auction’s being held, or the 97 people with brilliant ideas of how the event should be run, or the thousand other thorns in the side of the beleaguered con/fest organiser.

Luxury.

See you all there

Kev F Sutherland
http://comicfestival.co.uk

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.


Richard Emms:

Here’s a simple answer!

Mr.T, The Lexian Chronicles, The Gloom, Dark Mists, Darkham Vale
Uprising and Scatterbrain
!!! Or am I being biased?

Apart from what we’re publishing I’d have to say I’m really looking forward to seeing the return of the Valiant characters. I miss Magnus and Archer and Armstrong!!! They were great books! I did read that Magnus has already made a return via Byron Preiss.

But what I’m really looking forward to most is the San Diego Comicon this year … It’s gonna be fun! We’re gonna have a blast!

Richard Emms is the publisher behind AP Comics, their editor-in-chief and writer of a number of their titles, including our favourite, Monster Club.


Frazer Irving:

This: http://dccomics.com/comics/?cm=2872
Klarion the Witch-boy, April this year, 4 parts, bimonthly. Why? Cos’ I did it. A man’s got to have pride in his work…

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 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, currently doodling Klarion the Witch-Boy for DC.


Daley Osiyemi:

In my case they would be mostly comics to films.
There are a few I am looking forward to this year, Constantine (from the Hellblazer books) the reviews I have read so far has been good & Fantastic Four; I am looking out for how they drop the SFX and I hope it has a descent story to it. This for me has been the downfall of most comic films of late.

I guess there is a fine balance from taking a comic idea to film, cos what appeals sometimes to comic fans does not necessarily translate to the wider film watching public. But films need to translate that ‘thing’ that made the comic special in the first place onto the big screen.

Daley Osiyemi creator of Brodie’s Law and co-founder of Pulp Theatre Entertainment where he works as producer and creator on various new media and comic projects. Writer and producer of online animated comic series None But Us, developed a character to help promote broadband and is currently working on a graphic novel and a film idea.


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

I think by far the comic related product I’m looking forward to most in 2005 (aside from my own work coming out, of course) has got to be the final episode of Star Wars. I’m sad that it will be the last film in the series since I first saw previews of “Episode 4” way back in 9th Grade. I can still recall the scene: it was after gym class and we were waiting in the locker room for our coach to come in and dismiss us for the day. My best friend, Jeff, had the new copy of Starlog magazine in his bookbag and pulled it out to show me these shots from this new Sci-fi movie that was coming out in a couple of months. I was blown away! I still get excited seeing scenes from the original Star Wars even now, 28 years later. So that’s my take on it.

What? Not Comics related enough for you? Remember that George Lucas admits that Star Wars is a homage to comics. Considering the way that the film renewed public interest in all things Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Comics we should really consider giving Lucas a special Harvey, Eisner, or Eagle Award. We should also keep in mind the number of comics artists that Star Wars has kept in work over the past 28 years.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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.


Bart Thompson:

Well I am looking forward to seeing the reactions to the first issue of Lethal Instinct when it hits shelves in April, and three times as excited to see the results of Myriad #1 (of 6) in May. I can’t wait to see what people think of the actual story behind Chaos Campus this summer as the feedback from the initial artwork has been so positive. I can’t wait to give the Vampires Unlimited fans their fix with the collected edition of Shades of Things to come by the year’s end.

I’m a big movie fan, so I’m looking forward to a lot of comic turned movie type films. I’m a fan of Christian Bale’s acting and I think Batman Begins will be one of the better comic book movies ever (I hope they don’t let me down on this). I don’t expect much of Constantine or Aeon Flux, but like Catwoman I’ll probably end up watching them anyway. Fantastic Four… I’m really curious to how sexy little Jessica Alba pulls off being Sue Storm. Speaking of Alba, SIN CITY!!!!!!!! When is Spidey 3 and X-Men 3 supposed to hit? They probably aren’t 2005 are they? Ooops.

Back to comics themselves, 2005 seems to be the year of the small press publishers. Many have popped up and they look very promising- Alias and Speakeasy are the first two to come to mind, not to mention the great guys at Arcana, APC, and Devil’s Due. Image lost some steam a while there, but they seem to have used that time wisely to regroup and rebuild.

All in all 2005 looks like it’ll be a great time to be a comics creator, publisher, or fan. I hope things continue moving forward and beyond!

Bart Thompson is the founder of Approbation Comics and creator of Vampires Unlimited, ChiSai, and Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies. Lethal Instinct from Alias Enterprises Myriad from Approbation will be on shelves soon!


Alan Grant:

Along with Jamie Grant, I’m co-owner of Northern Lightz, the irregular alternative adult humour comic. We’re now putting together N. Lightz Issue *11, which will be the last one.

We aim to replace it in the summer with a new bi-monthly publication–sorry I can’t give you more details right now, but watch this space.

Alan Grant, writer of Dredd, Batman, and the slightly mad Doomlord, can be seen currently with Arthur Ranson on Judge Anderson in the Judge Dredd Megazine, and the superb Com.X trade collection of The Last American.


Fiona Avery:

I’m launching my own company called Lucky Bamboo Productions at San Diego Comic-Con this year and I’m looking forward to that immensely. I like to think of Lucky Bamboo Comics like a private label winery where my creator-owned titles are cultivated in small batches. I have three major titles coming out in 2006 and we are showcasing them in a full-color preview issue at the con called Lucky Bamboo Presents: Hellfire, The Way of the Sword and Sam Falcon. Romano Molenaar, Billy Tan, Marco Galli, Peter Steigerwald, Beth Sotelo, a new artist Len DiSalvo plus Dreamer Design are all working on the preview book. I just asked Amanda Conner if she’d like to tackle the cover art and we’re working on that now. What an honor to work with so many exceptional talents on my first creator-owned titles. I’m so excited about this — it’s been a big dream of mine that’s finally about to come true. Please come and check us out at Lucky Bamboo’s booth at San Diego. We should be distributing our regular titles in 2006 through Diamond but we’ll be premiering at the convention first.

Fiona Avery created No Honor at Top Cow, and currently writes Amazing Fantasy for Marvel.


Stephen Holland:

Lord, where do you want me to begin?

First off, the Eddie Campbell book we were promised last year: apparently another slice of autobiography which Eddie swore was called The Disappearance of Eddie Campbell, but it occurs to me now that he might have been pulling my leg. I’m so gullible.

John Porcellino’s Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man tpb will be a godsend since his bestseller Perfect Example has been (criminally) out of print for the best part of a year. Thank god we’ve the Jeffrey Brown books to pick up the slack. Oh, and when I say “bestseller”, nothing that Marvel or DC have ever produced can touch its sales – not even League Of Extraordinary Gentelemen, which brings us beautifully to League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume three, plus Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbi’s Lost Girls (finally – over ten years in the making! – I get to find out what happens after the second issue).

If Simone Lia doesn’t produce a Fluffy #3 very, very soon, I will burst. The new Andi Watson series Little Star just started this week – more straight fiction from British straight fiction’s first-equal finest. Is there someone new from Nabiel Kanan this year?

What else? The Eisner/Miller book (see, I can do “comics-related” too).

And yes, yes, yes, I cannot wait for each and every issue of Ultimates, Supreme Power and New Avengers. In fact, if Bendis writes it, I’ll be reading it. But then the same goes for Donna Barr. Look, I managed to put Donna Barr in the same paragraph as superheroes – I’m in for such a kicking tomorrow. And if Bryan Talbot doesn’t get something new and creator-owned out this year I will personally kick him.

And now over to my business partner, Mark, who knows far better than I what makes for a quality comic:

April
April kicks off with the third volume in The Complete Peanuts series, covering 1955-1956, with an introduction by Matt Groening. Over 200,000 copies have already been sold of the first two volumes in the series.

Seeing Things is a 104-page hardcover collection of charcoal drawings by Jim Woodring (The Frank Book, Trosper), many of which were produced for a stage collaboration between Woodring and jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. $22.95

The Magic Bottle is the first graphic novel by painter Camille Rose Garcia, presented in a faux-children’s book format (32 pages, 10″x10″ hardcover). This is the first Blab! Storybook, a series of graphic novels showcasing artists from Monte Beauchamp’s Blab! anthology. $14.95.

Why Do They Kill Me is a collection of political cartoons by Tim Kreider, including the Girls of Hamas calendar, John Ashcroft imagining eating Donald Rumsfeld as their bunker crumbles around them, and much more. Ted Rall calls his work “among the most viscerally anti-Bush work around.” A 136-page, b/w, 9″ x 7-1/2″ trade paperback at $14.95.

May
Blecky Yuckerella, by Johnny Ryan, is a collection of four-panel gag strips from the Portland Mercury, Vice magazine, and elsewhere. A 104-page, b/w, 6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ trade paperback at $11.95.

Cinema Panopticum, by Thomas Ott, contains five new graphic horror novelettes in an 80-page, b/w, 6-1/4″ x 10″ hardcover at $13.95.

Scream Queen, by Ho Che Anderson, is a 56-page horror graphic novel in a b/w, 10″ x 10″ trade paperback at $12.95.

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 17 is the final volume in the series, with a new cover and intro by Crumb. 120 pages, including 16 in color, 8-1/2′ x 11″ trade paperback at $18.95.

June
Sex, Rock ‘n’ Roll & Optical Illusions is a career retrospective of Victor Moscoso, including his early San Francisco rock and roll posters, his underground comics work, and his solo comix work, in a 144-page, full-color, 9″ x 12″ shrinkwrapped hardcover at $29.95.

Der Struwwelmaakies, by Tony Millionaire, is a collection of weekly comic strips from over a dozel weekly newspapers. Designed by Chip Kidd. 96-page, b/w, 12″ x 5″ hardcover at $19.95.

The Three Paradoxes, by Paul Horschemeier, is a new graphic novel following up Mother, Come Home. $11.95 80-page full color 6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ trade paperback with jacket.

Why Are You Doing This, by Jason, is a 48-page, full color 7″ x 10″ graphic novel at $12.95.

Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires, by Richard Sala, is an original graphic novel spun from the pages of his Evil Eye comic series. 80-page, b/w, 6″ x 8″ trade paperback at $9.95.

The Great Comics Illustrators: The Comics Journal Library Vol. 5. Edited by Tom Spurgeon, this volume covers Frank Frazetta, Burne Hograth, Mark Schultz, and Dave Stevens. 176-page with full color section, 12″ x 12″ trade paperback at $22.95.

July
Mome is a new quarterly anthology collecting stories with a regular roster of artists, including Andrice Arp, Gabrielle Bell, Marc Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Jeffrey Brown, Sophie Crumb, Sammy Harkham, David Heatley, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen, John Pahm, and Kurt Wolfgang. 136-page 7″ x 9″ color and b/w trade paperback at $14.95.

Life’s a Bitch collects the best of Naughty Bits, by Roberta Gregory, in a 240-page b/w 6″ x 9″ trade paperback at $16.95.

The Pin-Up Art of Bill Wenzel is the fourth collection of his work, collecting his non-Playboy work. 220-pages, with color section, 5-3/4″ x 7-3/4″ trade paperback at $18.95.

August
We All Die Alone, by Mark Newgarden, is a career retrospective of this co-creator of the Garbage Pail Kids whose work also appeared in the first Raw Magazine. Includes both his comics a full picture of the artist. 192-page, color and b/w, 7-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ hardcover at $24.95.

Daydreams & Nightmares collects some of the rarest work by Winsor McCay in a 176-page, b/w, 12″ x 9″ trade paperback at $19.95.

The Freebooters collects work by Barry Windsor-Smith from his BWS: Storyteller series as well as previously unpublished material in a 160+-page, full-color 9″ x 12″ hardcover at $29.95.

Sheep of Fools, by Sue Coe and Judith Brody, is the second Blab! Storybook. 32-page 10″ x 10″ color hardcover at $14.95.

See what you did there? You got Mark started. Never get Mark started. Did anyone read all of that, or did you get bored when you realised Mark wasn’t going to get excited over a twentieth X-Men title?

Stephen Holland and Mark Simpson run Page 45, a comic shop in Nottingham, UK, with Tom Rosin. Stephen also appears monthly in Comics International. Mark’s beard appears almost weekly at Rock City. Tom appears whenever and wherever we tell him to. Bless ‘im.


Donna Barr:

PERMANENT PARTY — which is prose novel, almost-a-memoir of my time in the army. If I can finally get over whatever misery my stupid body is throwing at me lately (boy, do I sympathize with the Bronte kids) and get it proofed, laid out and submitted to . No, actually, full-color DESERT PEACH #31 + prose novel, (“Pithed” and “Bread an Swans”) which will also be out from Booksurge. If, if, IF I’m not sick on my face in the toilet most of the time, or leaking big grotty blood clots from some stupid badly-timed infection.

Anybody wanna swap bodies? This one is going cheap. Fucking lemon.

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!


Kwanza Osajyefo:

SHARKNIFE IS THE ILLEST!

For real, I found Rey’s Web site many, many moons ago while I was still at Marvel and was trying to pitch this story to an editor. I had to have Rey be the illustrator, but he passed. DAMN YOU LEWIS! I was trying to put you on! Anyhow, his book SHARKNIFE from Oni Press is going to be hot like asphalt in the summer!

I’m a longtime fan of Corey and he is gonna be bigger than Joe Madureria… and probably more consistent (Cannonbusters, non-withstanding). Seriously, dood has sick quill-skills and you can all bet he’ll be getting that Marvel or DC money after he really blows up.

I’m also looking forward to Black Panther and Power Pack. The former because BP is just a cool mutha- hush yo’ mouth, and I have always had a soft spot for Power Pack. Plus I am glad that Marvel is finally doing it in an animated style (not that I haven’t been pitching them a manga-like approach on it since 1997. I TOLD YOU JOE!)

BUY/ORDER SHARKNIFE!
Price: $ 9.95 US,$ 12.95 CAN
Diamond Order Code: JAN05 2893
Release date: 3/30/2005

Kwanza Osajyefo is the founder of Funky Comics, home to Jim’s Ninja and a number of other forthcoming comic book properties.


Roberta Gregory:

I have SO many projects that I am behind on! Realistically,
Fantagraphics is publishing a very nice collection of my Bitchy stories, Life’s a Bitch, in July. And I really want to get an on-line auto bio strip, hopefully with Modern Tales or a similar website. And get my new website more functional and interactive. Something like that is so much more accessible than comic books, though that is not to say I do not have dreams of many more book projects. I don’t really want to talk about them much, since as I get older, it always seems to take me twice as long to get a certain number of pages done as it did much earlier in my career, and I do have to factor that in.

Roberta Gregory is the creator of “Bitchy Bitch”, who not only stars in Roberta’s Naughty Bits comic book (ex from Fantagraphics), but also appears on television worldwide in animated adventures, the latest being the “Life’s a Bitch” series on the Oxygen Network.


Lee ?Budgie” Barnett:

Being completely self-serving, the thing to do with comics I’m most looking forward to in 2005 is May’s Comics Expo in Bristol, and doing another Hypotheticals panel with Dave Gibbons.

Lee ‘Budgie’ Barnett is a writer of comedy and comics, firstly Imperium’s TRAILER PARK OF TERROR, then X-MEN UNLIMITED #4 (Aug 04). Online, he has GOING CHEEP at Pulse, and his novel YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE A MAN CAN FLY here. Famed in UK Comics for Hypotheticals (devised with and presented by Dave Gibbons, and inspiration for the Panel), he’s been described as being to accountancy what Indiana Jones is to archaeology.


What am I looking forward to this year…in comics?

I would have to say I am most excited about All Stars’ Superman, Grant Morrison writing Superman. And writing Superman how he wants to without any of the baggage of previous incarnations.

I can’t wait for Batman Begins, the trailer and all the stills from the film look great. Not so keen on the Fantastic Four movie, but it will surprise me. Hopefully this year as well we might be a sneaky look at Brandon Routh as Superman!

Finally I am looking forward to launching Portent Comics at this UK Comic Expo (http://www.comicexpo.net). We have such a great team of creators working on various projects that include The Dead Woods, Cowboy Jack & Violation that deserve to be noticed. You can check us at http://www.portentcomics.com we are small press at the moment, but have high hopes for the future.

What are YOU looking forward to in 2005 in the comic world? Let us on our message board!


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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