SDCC 2011: The Legendary Comics Panel Recap

An enormously packed ballroom was filled pretty much to capacity to welcome Legendary Comics to San Diego Comic-Con 2011, and specifically Bob Schreck (Editor) and the appropriately legendary writer/artist Frank Miller. Moderated by The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, the panel got off to a big start by talking about Miller’s upcoming, controversial “Holy Terror.”

Originally called “Holy Terror, Batman!” the book found the caped crusader battling Al Qaida and killing Osama bin Laden. With that, you know, out of the way, Miller divorced the book both from its DC Comics roots, and also from reality. Asked whether the book would be controversial, Miller said, “I’m prepared for controversy… I didn’t set out to do any religion tract. I hope people get pissed off.”

Next up, Schreck welcomed out newcomer to the label, Paul Pope. The fan favorite indie creator is releasing Pulphope, a collection of his work, through the publisher. The book focusing on his varied and brilliant art, with some great pieces shown off.

…And then the next guest was welcomed out, Schreck’s brother-in-law, Matt Wagner. Wagner will be writing what he calls the “signature Legendary series,” called The Tower Chronicles, with artist Simon Bisley. Schreck confirmed that Bisley will be on the book for the long term.

Talking about what goes into making a Legendary comic, Schreck said, “It’s not in the think of it, it’s in the feel of it.” Elaborating more, he said that it’s always about the characters, rather than just space battles and superheroes; unless you can have something people can care about, it doesn’t matter how cool it is.

Wagner added to that, saying that Legendary Comics allows complete artistic freedom, and he’s extremely happy about that.

Moving to audience questions (which MacDonald also took over Twitter), here’s some highlights:

- Miller on writing, said that you have to start it, continue it, and then, “You have to end the damn thing.”

- The characters in Holy Terror are Ashley Stack, a small-time robber, who teams up with The Fixer, the Batman character in the book. From the description, Ashley sounds like the Catwoman stand-in.

- Asked about who the panelists look up to: Wagner said Hugo Pratt, and Lone Wolf and Cub; Pope said Moebius and Richard Corben; Miller said Frank Robbins, but added that, “the most earth shattering guy to come down the pike in years was Bill Watterson.”

- Miller said he’s using a superhero for Holy Terror because, “That’s my most colorful vehicle.”

- Asked whether he felt Batman is someone to be looked up to, Miller said, “People who dress up like monsters, and people who throw people through windows are not meant to be role models. I prefer a much more visceral approach to these characters… I want Dirty Harry to be in an alley with me, but I don’t want to have dinner with him.”

- No digital releases for Legendary Comics yet, but they’re working on it.

- Miller tries to avoid controversy on his movies, and concentrate on the material. “If there’s a chance of being upset at something, somebody will find it… My stories are true to themselves, and I prefer to keep them that way.”

Wrapping up, Schreck teased that “Holy Terror” would be out in September, “Pulphope” would be out in Winter, and “The Tower Chronicles” will come out next year. And that’s it! We’ll see you at the next panel.

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