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NYCC 2014: DYNAMITE 10TH ANNIVERSARY PANEL RECAP
Dynamite Entertainment held my first panel at this year's New York Comic Con, celebrating the publisher's 10th anniversary. On hand were writers Gail Simone, Tim Seeley, Greg Pak, Frank J. Barbiere, and David F. Walker. Associate Editor Molly Mahan moderated the panel, kicking things off asking the group if they ever felt intimidated by fan pressure working on these characters that have been around for decades.
Greg Pak jumped in with a joking "No!" This then evolved into a discussion of background research into some of the titles. Pak writes Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, which is about a Native American fighting dinosaurs. He went back to read some of the original Gold Key books from the 1950s and found the characters were obsessed with killing and eating things in a hidden valley. That was all they did. He updated the origin story to have the dinosaurs come from European Crusaders in 1210.
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Tim Seeley, who wrote the Chaos mini-series and is now co-writing Evil Ernie with his brother Steve, said that he was probably the only one that read the old Chaos comics, while current writers grew up reading Vertigo books. He didn't spend a lot of time re-reading the old titles before jumping into the new one, as he was already pretty familiar with them. Some things had to be updated, such as Evil Ernie. He's still pure id, doing whatever he wants, but he can't have an overall goal of destroying the world because if he ever succeeds, everything is over.
David F. Walker, writer of the upcoming Shaft comic, has always been a big fan of the original novels by Ernest Tidyman. He actually befriended Tidyman's widow before working on the comic to make sure that he got the voice close to what the author was doing. Walker described Shaft as a "Black Punisher" killing bad guys in New York City. The new comic will explore some other elements of the character, such as his PTSD from Vietnam.
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Frank J. Barbiere has been writing the relaunch of Solar: Man of the Atom. An interesting part of the comic is mathematical equations that appear on the page when the character bends science to her will. When first scripting the book, he had listed "equation", figuring he'd fill it in later with something. His twin brother asked about it and pointed out that "Alan Moore would fill in the real equation." Barbiere works with a physics consultant to get them right in the comic...not that they'll actually create a forcefield or shoot energy beams.
The writers of the Gold Key books all live in New York, so they meet regularly to go over the shared universe. There is no editorial mandate with these characters, so they can do just about whatever they want. They just have to keep things straight. For example, Doctor Spektor, written by Mark Waid, is coming to an end, but the character will appear in a recurring role in Solar. Pak said that co-writing is like improve, where you'll throw out an idea and then the next person makes it better.
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