WonderCon 2011: Oni Press Preview

Last weekend’s Oni Press panel at WonderCon briefly became the Tyler Crook Appreciation Panel as new work was shown off by the soon-to-be prolific artist of Petrograd and Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D.

But let’s rewind a bit: attending the panel were Crook, along with writer/artist Brian Hurtt (The Sixth Gun), and nerdcore rapper Eugene Ahn (aka Adam Warrock), with Oni Sales and Marketing Director Cory Casoni moderating.

The panel kicked off with Casoni and Ahn talking about the latter’s recently released free to download “Oni Press Mixtape.” Ahn credits the origins of the mixtape with the constant, joking harassment by Oni editor Charlie Chu for the rapper to do something with the publisher involving his music. Ahn has been familiar with the Oni family of creators for a while, with many of them participating in Ahn and blogger/humorist Chris Sims’ podcast “War Rocket Ajax.”

Ahn’s participation in the podcast has come to an end in recent months with his recent tour in support of his still-fledgling music career. In fact, until last year, Ahn was a lawyer practicing out of New York before he decided to pursue his music full time after the release of his first full-length album, The War for Infinity. Both Infinity and the Oni Press Mixtape meld Ahn’s passion for both sample-heavy hip hop and comics. Specifically, with Oni, the rapper has tailored each track to a specific title from the publisher’s catalog.

The talk of the panel then shifted to the May 25th release of The Tooth, a 200-page hardcover collection of stories about a giant, impacted molar that jumps out of a man’s head and begins fighting monsters—think the giant monster comics from Marvel in the 70’s that spawned weird creatures like Man-Thing. The book is written by Cullen Bunn and Shawn Lee with art by Matt Kindt, presented in a format reminiscent of a bundle of found comics, complete with fake ads breaking up the story.

Following that, Casoni presented some images from Ray Fawkes’ One Soul, which you can find out more about in our recent feature. The layout of the book is double-pages split into 18 panels, each panel dedicated to one character, each panel advancing the life of that character in the chronology of the plot. Fawkes occasionally creates visual overlap between the panels—sometimes using a lighting element or motif to create links across the many centuries in which the story takes place.

In addition to One Soul, Fawkes also has another volume of his all-ages ghost comedy Possessions coming this summer.

From there, the panel moved on to Hurtt’s The Sixth Gun which has some truly spectacular images from last year’s issue #6. Hurtt’s work is truly meticulous in its level of detail, and it’s certainly a part of the continued success of this book which has been a source of sales and critical notice. The second TPB volume, collecting issues 7-12, will be released in June.

Which brings us to the Tyler Crook connection: the artist will be providing fill-in art for issue #14 of The Sixth Gun in August—a month which is shaping up to be a big one for the artist. That same month will see his first issue of B.P.R.D. hit stands over at Dark Horse as well as the long-in-creation Petrograd which was written by Phillip Gellatt. That historical fiction recreates the 1916 assassination of Rasputin and represents Crook’s first published work after two years of illustrating and coloring the OGN. At a whopping 274 pages, the book was something of a labor of love for the artist, who at one point spent 3 weeks drawing the final assassination sequence—from which panels were shown at the con. Crook’s rust-palette watercolors provide a lived-in look for the story set as the Russian nation was embroiled in the first World War.

Keep an eye on MTV Geek for more news from Oni Press.

Related Posts:
Ray Fawkes, 18 People, and ’One Soul’
ECCC 2011: The Oni Press Panel

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