WWC: Dynamite Panel

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Dynamite Entertainment’s Nick Barrucci led a panel consisting of Jeff Katz, Jim Krueger, James Kuhoric, Tony Avina, Jai Nitz, Doug Klauba, Phil Hester, and Matt Wagner as the assembled discussed upcoming projects.

The team was most excited about Dynamite’s recent acquisition of the publishing rights to the Phantom. Stories of this classic character will not appear for a number of months however, as they are waiting for Moonstone Books to finish their version of the Ghost Who Walks.

Another promising license for Dynamite is the Green Hornet. More information about their plans will be revealed in October. Although the publisher already has the rights to the Hornet’s great-uncle, the Lone Ranger, Barrucci stated that the properties are owned by different licensors and Dynamite is limited in how much crossover there can be between them. The Ranger’s nephew, Dan Reid, has already shown a certain affinity for hornets in a recent issue however.

Other classic heroes of comics’ Golden Age will of course be appearing in Project Superpowers Vol. 2, a book that is rapidly becoming the centerpiece of Dynamite’s publications. Writer Jim Krueger promised that readers’ questions would be answered in this volume and the full secrets of Pandora’s Urn, where the heroes were trapped, will be revealed.

Krueger also took a moment to hype his other upcoming projects, including his first book of short stories and Poison Cookies focusing on a child trying to kill Santa Claus. The protagonist has determined that St. Nick is only in it for the money, as the wealthy kids clearly get the better presents.

As the Superpowers line continues to expand, Phil Hester has been tapped to write The Ghost, a spin-off miniseries featuring a World War II aviator who was also trapped within Pandora’s Urn. Upon his escape, he finds himself changed and granted strange abilities, thrusting him into the battle of the Superpowers.

Also part of the line will be more two-page origin tales for the Superpowers heroes, written by Doug Klauba. Klauba will soon be taking over the Black Terror ongoing series. The Terror was cited as a popular character, as he is a "one-man World’s Finest," combing elements of Superman and Batman.

Matt Wagner took some time to speak about upcoming stories in his Zorro series. Artist Franchesco Francavilla will be returning to the book for a story called "Fox Tales." As California’s governor begins to hear rumors of the masked avenger causing trouble for his men, he gathers as much information as he can about the mysterious Zorro, leading to conflicting eye witness accounts. Wagner was also said to be involved in another project for Dynamite, though one too secret to discuss at this time.

Our 44th president’s unexpected comic book stardom continues in the upcoming Ash Saves Obama, a miniseries that teams Barack Obama with Ash Williams of Dynamite’s Army of Darkness series. While visiting Detroit to help save the auto industry, Obama will come under attack by hordes of Deadites. Ash Saves Obama #1 will be released August 15.


Tony Avina, a relatively recent addition to the Dynamite team, spoke about his role as colorist for The Boys, Herogasm, and Sherlock Holmes. His work on The Boys and its spin-off has led to a number of uncomfortable discussions about bodily fluids. Avina insists that a transcript of his conversations with writer Garth Ennis would be enough to entertain fans on its own.

With the focus on licensed properties at the panel, the fan Q&A soon turned to questions of behind-the-scenes legal and rights issues for classic heroes. While characters from the cast of Project Superpowers have appeared at other publishers in the past (and at times, concurrently with Dynamite’s version), Barrucci stressed that all were public domain and that by renaming or reinventing the heroes, Dynamite has made a specific iteration of them their own.

Other possible licenses were brought up, such as Mad Max. Barrucci said that Dynamite would be interested in the character but the rights owners were not entirely clear. He also made a note to himself when Jai Nitz expressed strong interest in working on Mad Max if it became available.

More Sherlock Holmes is planned after the initial miniseries, though Dynamite is taking it slow and waiting for the right stories to come along.

Things are also progressing slowly with the much-rumored Red Sonja movie, though the film is still said to be in the works. The panel felt confident that it would happen, as films based on existing properties with a built-in fanbase are desired in the current Hollywood atmosphere.

Indeed, this is a formula that Dynamite has used to good effect as they continue to produce some of the best licensed comics in the industry.

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  • Tonya Crawford

    Tonya Crawford Aug 13, 2009 at 6:04pm

    You know, I'm not sure what kind of game Dynamite is playing when it comes to "The Phantom" because Moonstone AND writer Mike Bullock have stated that they have "The Ghost Who Walks" storylines going forward for more than the next year! King Features (which owns "The Phantom" among other heroes) simply sold BOTH companies licenses -- not something unheard of in the past although most modern comic book companies hate to do it these days because they don't like the competition.

    As far as I know, though, Moonstone's license isn't due to run out anytime "in the next few months" and, as I said before, Mike Bullock has stated that he has plans going forward into the next year.

    Not to mention the fact that Dynamite has stated their intention to have Alex Ross "redesign" the Phantom costume AND the talk of moving the character into "The urban jungle" (which, you know, has worked so bloody well when it's been tried in the past). You might as well try to take all the noir out of The Shadow and turn him into a 'hip, 21st century superhero who uses nanite technology to become invisible. (insert eye roll here).

    As for "The Lone Ranger"... as much as it is and was a beautiful comic and as much as I like the character, the story arcs just take too bloody long to tell and then, when you get done, you realize that not much has even happened!!!

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Aug 14, 2009 at 1:36am

    The "months" comment was mine. I had thought Moonstone's license was due to expire soon. Apologies for the confusion. Dynamite said they were waiting for Moonstone to finish their version so this may be a plan for further down the road. That said, I am slightly curious about some of Dynamite's policies. Mine was the question about legal issues, as I noticed some of the Project Superpowers characters are also in use at AC Comics and Image. Granted, those are all (presumably) public domain but it did raise an eyebrow for me.

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Aug 14, 2009 at 1:43am

    Just to be clear, I am not trying to make accusations here. I'm sure what these companies are doing is perfectly legal from a copyright standpoint. The ethics of it makes me wonder a bit but I suppose it's no different from the many versions of Oz and Wonderland we've been seeing from different comics companies these days.

  • Tonya Crawford

    Tonya Crawford Aug 14, 2009 at 8:08am

    No worries Eric. Moonstone didn't have a panel at CCC so it's not like they could clarify things. It sounds like Dynamite is going to wait until Moonstone's license expires... Of course, that presumes that Moonstone WON'T be able to simply renew it when it does. Like I said, from what I've heard BOTH companies have the license and Dynamite COULD do a version if they wanted to. In other matters....Yeah, a lot of the old, Golden Age heroes are in public domain. As I understand it, the trick is that ANY comic book company can use these heroes and create versions of them but no comic book writer can do EXACTLY the same story with them as another. Alan Moore used a number of these old, Golden Age heroes in a "Tom Strong" story arc years back. In that the Green Lama was a ghost, Dynamite's version of the Green Lama controls nature, then there is an indie comic with a version that is more traditionally superhero-y. As long as the idie guy doesn't, all of a sudden, turn his version into a ghost or something then they're not infringing on copyright. Also, as long as each of the different authors is telling a different story it's okay.

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Aug 14, 2009 at 2:30pm

    Yes, when I asked Dynamite about copyrights and public domain, they had much the same answer. They equated it to the way many different movies, t.v. shows, and comics use Dracula but none of them can use the Bela Lugosi/Universal Studios version of him. By reinventing these public domain heroes, Dynamite and AC and whoever else are almost creating new properties with them. They are able to be used as long as one version doesn't infringe on the other. Having worked with AC, I had heard their take on the matter and had wanted Dynamite's perspective. Like I said, to me, at times it feels a little shaky ethically to use a character another company is already publishing but legally, there's no issue.

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