SDCC [Chapter II, Verse II]: Star Power delivers the needed ‘BOOM!’ to Indy Comics.

T’was the third day of Comic Con, when all through the hall.. Not a wookie was stirring, nothing above all… Nerds were snug tightly, in the BOOM! panel with care.. With hopes that Star Wars dominating Serenity, soon would be there.

SDCC [Chapter II, Verse II]: Star Power delivers the needed 'BOOM!' to Indy Comics.
Kids comics sure are gaining some steam!

Your favorite Apostle, on the continuous venture to find more things comic at Comic.. Con, stopped into the BOOM! Studios panel last week. Of course, my hour continued the trend of other media forms (see: TV & video games) taking over a room that wasn’t theirs. Just ask Moody how his “Comics Blogging” panel went one cold San Diego night. Sitting right next to me were a couple of feuding dweebs, one (or Won?) all Mauled out in black with red face paint, and the other Mal’d in a rather dapper brown coat.

Instead of feeling excited for the history of one of the top comic book studios on the planet, I was more concerned with the duality of this unexpected, intergalactic habitation. Thankfully, the quality of the panel kept this kid in control.

BOOM! Studios began as a labor of love 20-years ago by founder and creator Ross Ritchie, that continues to pour out of the whole team to this day. A common thread seen throughout this panel was that BOOM! succeeds — and continues to strive — due to the creative control handed to anyone who graces their pages. That notion is all the more impressive when you see the list of Eisner Award-winning talent that has worked with them. Stan Lee, George Perez, and (even Nick Fury Jr. himself) Samuel L. Jackson, are just a few of the peeps who’ve contributed to BOOM!.

The origins of BOOM! trace back to when Richie was residing at Malibu Comics, and left once Marvel Comics consumed the now dead home of the Shazam-capped-wannabe, Prime. Joined by a simple salesman-turned-comic-scribe from Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics, Matt Gagnon — now Editor-in-Chief at BOOM! — Richie’s goal was to have a comic company that touched on all types of comics for all types of fans…and, hell, always shipped on time.

Panel attendees probably caught the same feeling as I that the history of BOOM! Studios has yet to be written. Yes, they have succeeded within the indie comic market, especially with the recent merger of Archaia Comics – best known for Mouse Guard and the Jim Henson family of stories. But, with promising adaptations such the forthcoming Denzel Washington-meets-Marky-Mark thieves-turn-undercover actioneer 2 Guns hitting theaters this Friday (based on the Steven Grant/Mateus Santolouco graphic novel), this studio may yet be on the verge of explosion.

SDCC [Chapter II, Verse II]: Star Power delivers the needed 'BOOM!' to Indy Comics.
“Read the comic,” they told me. Sheeet.

It also didn’t hurt to have an impressive pool of panelists for San Diego who pack quite the resume.

Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer, Wolverine: Origin) recently brought his 25-years of comic experience to BOOM! with the belief to stay “true to yourself creatively.” The Eisner winner is best known for his work on the Inhumans and co-creation of Marvel Knights (with some guy you may know, Joe), arguably the breeding ground for the revitalization of Marvel Comics. Jenkins may have nailed as to why BOOM! was successful at wooing over name talent from the Big 2. “Creators work for 3.5 things: money, attention, the ability to create, and the half is…because they’re mental.”

SDCC [Chapter II, Verse II]: Star Power delivers the needed 'BOOM!' to Indy Comics.
Meanest. Fairies. Ever.

It’s a wonder why there’s such a dichotomy of “indie” comic writers who either A.) really enjoy working at Marvel and DC (Scott Snyder, Brian Bendis), or B.) feel blessed to enjoy more creative freedom when landing at either Image, Dynamite, BOOM!, etc. (Ed Brubaker, Garth Ennis). Jenkins is currently writing the gladiator arena-inspired brawler Deathmatch and his former Kickstarter-funded project, Fairy Quest, with artist Humberto Ramos.

Brian Stelfreeze recently came over from DC with his 50 cover run on Batman: Shadow of the Bat, where he received the opportunity to work with the legendary Dennis O’Neil. “A dream come true,” Stelfreeze said, until this fantasy-turned-reality was short-lived once DC’s theatrical Batman movies started picking up steam; with the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy went the amount of creative freedom allotted to those handling the comic Caped Crusader. Thankfully, Richie picked up Stelfreeze’s extreme talents, which now take precedence on Gangnon’s recently sold out vampire mafia comic, Day Men.

SDCC [Chapter II, Verse II]: Star Power delivers the needed 'BOOM!' to Indy Comics.
The Bikers are coming! The Bikers are coming!

Last, and certainly not least, was the appearance of the great George Perez, known for being the only man allowed to cram 8,000 heroes and villains on one spread. His work at DC (Wonder Woman, Teen Titans) and Marvel (Avengers, Infinity Gauntlet) is world renowned, and yet, even in those respects, Perez was still disenchanted with life in the Big 2. While extremely hard to believe, Perez even came close to hanging it up. His creativity had been drained and his thirst for the next best story had withered. This newfound creative spark with BOOM! (a lucratively exclusive deal) allows Perez to do something he has not done in nearly 12-years since Crimson Plague: work on a creator-owned title.

Unfortunately, towards the end of George Perez’s time for shine, the Comic Con Whigs stormed in, musket-in-tow, and cut the BOOM! panel by 15 minutes. Is the SDCC now funded by a covert operation run by the Nazi Mouse? Even if the flappy swastika-laiden ears of this rodent won today’s battle, BOOM! may have a good laugh in the long run. The new Sons of Anarchy comic — which will run alongside the stories of the show and introduce new characters — is set to release the day after the season 6 premiere, September 11, and will be written by Christopher Golden (Hellboy) and drawn by Damian Couceiro (Incorruptible). The company should also see a BOOM! in sales for the next Planet of the Apes comics, as well, with the Dawn of the next flippin’ ape film up on the horizon.

Lest we not forget BOOM! Managing Editor-turned-writer Bryce Carlson and artist Vanessa R. Del Ray’s LA Noirish “secret police squad” comic, Hit — which looks to be a promising 1950s Hollywood homicide.. hit, based on real events told from an actual longtime LAPD vet. And, has any other children’s medium received a bigger BOOM! more than Adventure Time?

Bang.

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