ECCC 2011: The BOOM! Studios Panel

Whew, we’re finally in the home stretch here, people, with our coverage of ECCC. This time, we’re looking at the BOOM! Studios panel, which was moderated by Marketing Director Chip Mosher, who was joined by company founder Ross Richie and Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon.

There weren’t a whole lot of new announcements—some projects, like Roger Langridge’s Snarked and the upcoming Peanuts OGN had been talked up a couple of weeks back. Really, the major announcement was that the BOOM! Kids line was being rebranded as Kaboom! given market research showing that young readers tended to reject properties with the “kids” label. Peanuts would be the first entry in the line, and getting an extra dose of significance for being the first time Schultz’s work has been displayed in the OGN format.

The Muppet Show writer Roger Langridge was no longer on that title –and seriously, folks, this is kind of a bummer—but he would be creating a new series called Snarked! which Mosher and the rest of the panel was unwilling to discuss in any detail. No description, no page count, no dates, nada.

There was also the reminder that game development pioneer Warren Spector would begin his run on Disney Adventures Duck Tales in May with artist Miquel Pujol. I’m still wondering how the whole Disney/BOOM!/Marvel axis works at this point. I’ve been impressed with what BOOM! has done with the Disney properties, but I have to imagine that there’s an executive figuring out how to narrow profit/loss by dragging the Disney-owned characters back into the fold.

Speaking of big properties—well, ones I’ve never heard of that are apparently huge with kids—BOOM! has also acquired the rights to WordGirl, the PBS series which won a Daytime Emmy for Best Writing back in 2008. Mosher noted that while the name might not mean much to the rest of us in the audience, to those with young kids WordGirl was, in fact, a pretty big deal.

From the delightfully goofy Wikipedia description of the series:

The series stars WordGirl, an alien with superpowers whose (inexplicably) secret identity is Becky Botsford, a 10½ year old fifth grade student. WordGirl was born on the fictional planet Lexicon (also a term referring to the vocabulary of a language or to a dictionary) but was sent away after sneaking onto a spaceship and sleeping there. Captain Huggy Face, a monkey who was a pilot in the Lexicon Air Force, piloted the ship, but lost control when WordGirl awoke, and crash-landed on Earth (more specifically in Fair City), a planet that affords WordGirl her superpowers, including flight and super strength. WordGirl utilizes these powers to save her adoptive home, using her downed spacecraft as a secret base of operations. WordGirl and Captain Huggy Face fight crime together.

From superpowered grade schoolers, the panel made an abrupt 180 into the depths of hell—Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is coming out this month, and Mosher also announced that BOOM! had acquired the rights to republish the old Marvel/Epic Hellraiser content which would be published under the title, Hellraiser: Masterpieces.

April will see the release of the first issue of the new Planet of the Apes series, written by Dracula: The Company of Monsters scribe Daryl Gregory. If you’ll recall, I thought his work on the latter series was pretty great. While the arc wouldn’t tie into the upcoming reboot/relaunch of the film franchise, it was a direct continuation of the events from the first film from the 60’s. Mosher did leave it open that future arcs might contain elements from the new films, though.

Next up, the panel moved to the company’s Free Comic Book Day offerings, starting with a 10-page Elric story by Chris Roberson (who I feel like I’ve talked about a lot during this con). Roberson—a friend of dark fantasy creator Michael Moorcock, was handpicked by the writer to helm the upcoming series. The panelists went to pains to reiterate that this FCBD story wasn’t an excerpt, but a 10-page story.

For younger readers, the FCBD entry will be a Darkwing Duck/Rescue Rangers flipbook, which is pretty alright by me. Again, I really dig all of the Disney content, I’m sure in part because I was a kid when many of these shows were on TV—so, you know, nostalgia wins again.

Finally, in two more interesting announcements: Abnett and Lanning had taken over Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero with the recent issue #5 and the Mark Waid/Peter Krause Irredeemable would be getting a Definitive Hardcover later this year (from the looks of the Amazon page for the book, sometime in September).

[Update: this article was edited on 3/9 to correct the spelling of Ross Richie's name, as well as removing the assertion that Fraggle Rock was a Disney property--it's in, fact a Henson property. Finally, Abnett and Lanning are already writing for Stan Lee's Soldier Zero.]


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