Legendary Comics has been making some big waves in the comic book industry since it started up this operation. Riding high from the release of its first graphic novel, The Tower Chronicles, some of the creators took the stage at New York Comic Con to discuss what's in store over the next year. Chris Hardwick from Nerdist Industries was on hand to moderate the panel. Bob Shreck, the editor-in-chief of Legendary Comics was the next to arrive. He reminded the audience of some of their upcoming titles such as The Majestic Files and Shadow Walk.
Matt Wagner, writer of The Tower Chronicles, was welcomed to the stage. His book is a little different than your basic graphic novel in that it's being released in the almost defunct prestige format. There are three books, with four volumes per book, so all in all there will be twelve separate graphic novels totaling over 800 pages of story. Shreck emphasized the fact that they're working far in advance in an effort to get the comics out on time. Wagner is already into the next book and artist Simon Bisley is finishing up the first one. Wagner also said that they're going to get into what happened to the main character, John Tower, to make him hunt supernatural creatures. Unveiled for the first time at the panel was the cover for book three, illustrated by Tim Bradstreet.
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Next up was legendary comic writer Grant Morrison. He's writing a book called Annihilator. Morrison described it as a black hole in the center of the galaxy called "The Great Annihilator." A Hollywood screenwriter has been asked to write a blockbuster movie about a fictional pulp character from 1910. He can't meet his deadlines so he "…does what we'd all do in this situation and makes a deal with the devil." The comic expands deadlines to a cosmic scope. If the screenwriter doesn't finish on time, the universe could end. No artist has been announced yet as they're still negotiating the details, however the artist in question is the one that Morrison wanted for this project.
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Then came the big news and my favorite part of the panel: Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham. Legendary Comics will be publishing a prequel to their upcoming film Pacific Rim. What followed were many reasons as to why del Toro became one of my favorite directors ever. He explained that he had good news and bad news. They showed footage of the film at San Diego in July and said that they would go silent until the trailer debuts in December. They were coming to New York and why would they show footage there when they said they wouldn't do that? That was the bad news. The good news was that del Toro "doesn't give a fuck." Then he showed a trailer for Pacific Rim.
Here's the thing: Hardwick pointed out repeatedly that there are ninjas in the area that would kill you if you tried to record anything shown at the panel. They take anti-piracy very seriously as they want to keep a tight lid on this footage until they're ready to show everyone. I love writing for HorrorTalk, but I am not willing to risk my life to show you guys a clip of an upcoming movie. I will however describe to you the awesomeness that is Pacific Rim, due out in the summer of 2013. The clip was maybe two to three minutes long and started with a giant robot falling on a frozen tundra. From there it just got bigger. Picture monsters like Godzilla or that thing in Cloverfield duking it out with huge robots manned by human pilots. At one point Idris Elba was on screen rallying some troops by saying that they're "canceling the apocalypse." I'm paraphrasing the tag line but I believe it said "To fight monsters, we must create monsters." In that brief time, Pacific Rim became my most anticipated film of next year. I say the following as a diehard comic book fan, but Fuck Iron Man 3. Pacific Rim is going to be the nerd movie of the year.
Eventually the applause died down. Some people gave a standing ovation to the footage and for good reason. Once the crowd settled, del Toro got to discussing the film. He explained that he wanted to create an original adventure movie. He felt that the movies today were all about getting famous. "It doesn't matter if you're Boo Boo Whatever the Fuck or if you invented a cologne", the goal was to get famous. He wanted to get back to a time where "…there was a spirit of romance." Pacific Rim is an adventure film with humility. They're not all super tough guys that are going to run out and defeat the monster.
The comic is based on the thousand page bible that del Toro created for the film. The movie itself is the end of the story, but the comic will fill in the backstory a bit. It's broken up into three separate stories, drawn by three different artists. The goal is to have the comic out a month before the film hits theaters. Beacham is writing the comic, but del Toro has final approval of everything, just as he has for the adaptation of The Strain from Dark Horse Comics.
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It was clear throughout the panel that del Toro is a huge fan of the genre and is generally excited for this film's release. He said that he would watch Kaiju films as a kid and think "Please, please, please destroy that building."
Each of the robots in Pacific Rim stands at 25 stories tall. This was the height that was decided upon after several tests. The head alone is four stories tall and was the biggest set piece that was built. They found the biggest sound stage in North America and that was only big enough to make a foot of one robot. Regarding budget, del Toro said "As my pants size shows, when I'm given freedom, I eat all the donuts." He also called Pacific Rim the "best filmmaking experience I've ever had."
Fans started asking del Toro all kinds of questions. I actually felt bad for the other people on the panel as no one asked them anything. They were all blown out of the water by del Toro, which is unfortunate, especially when you have big names like Wagner and Morrison up there.
When asked about his love of video games, del Toro pointed out that an AI in the film is played by Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS from the Portal games.
A fan referenced the death of the elemental in Hellboy II and asked how del Toro creates monsters with a sense of emotion. He explained that he loves monsters, but you need to feel sorry for them. "Oh, he ate an entire orphanage. Yeah, but he was hungry!"
Someone asked about the decision to convert Pacific Rim into 3D in post-production. Del Toro went into great detail on this process. He was originally against it entirely because of the way many of the scenes were shot with a wide angle lens. A group of people approached him and asked if they could do a test. They were provided with the most difficult scenes to convert into 3D and they had to agree to all of del Toro's conditions before anything was done. In the end, del Toro "pulled a Romney" and changed his mind as the footage looked fantastic.
In the end, del Toro explained that Pacific Rim is a film done by fans, but not a fan movie. After seeing that footage, I don't care what it is. I just want to see the movie so I can lift my jaw up off the ground. Look for Pacific Rim in theaters next summer. The next year will be pretty exciting for Legendary Comics.
You can read further details on Annihilator and Pacific Rim here.
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