Author: Chris Ullrich

WWC Interview: John Jackson Miller on ‘Star Wars’ and Webcomics

WWC Interview: John Jackson Miller on ‘Star Wars’ and Webcomics

Writer and comics authority John Jackson Miller probably has one of the most enviable jobs in comics today. Starting off in the early ’90s as editor of Comics Retailer magazine, Miller went on to edit various other publications including Scrye and the Comics Buyer’s Guide. Later, stints on Marvel’s Crimson Dynamo and Iron Man led to his working for Dark Horse comics.

Once at Dark Horse, Miller helped re-launch the company’s Star Wars comics with his work on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Recently, he also wrote the comic book adaptation of the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull film and launched his own webcomic called Sword & Sarcasm. I caught up with Miller at Wizard World Chicago to discuss Star Wars comics, webcomics and the first time he ever saw Star Wars.

COMICMIX: John, thanks for your time. Having a good show?

JOHN JACKSON MILLER: Yes, a wonderful Chicago con as always.

CMix: So, tell me about why you’re here?

JJM: Well, I’m here to sign and talk about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, our ongoing series now at issue 30 and still going strong. It’s a big year for us because we had the "Vector" crossover. We’ve also had some major events with Zayne Carrick, our figitive Jedi who’s finally getting his taste of justice with a big showdown about to come up.

Those big events will take us through issue 33 at least. It should be pretty interesting what happens.

It may not be the big showdown that people expect because we also want to make sure we keep people guessing a bit and not always do what people might be expecting. We don’t want readers to get too comfortable with what’s going on and we want to keep it interesting.

CMix: Excellent. You also involved with Wizards of the Coast on some projects as well, right?

JJM: Yes. They are coming out with a series of minatures for the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic board game. I helped design some of those characters because several of them are from the comic. I was also a co-author of the Campaign Guide for the game as well, which contains information from all the comics and the two videogames.


WWC Interview: Brian Azzarello on ‘Batman: Gotham Knight’

WWC Interview: Brian Azzarello on ‘Batman: Gotham Knight’

On his way to becoming one of the most sought-after writers in comics today, Brian Azzarello has achieved a great deal of success and notoriety with his series 100 Bullets, which garnered him multiple Eisner Awards. In addition, his work on Hellblazer, Johnny Double, Batman/Deathblow and Lex Luthor: Man of Steel continues to cement his reputation as a writer and creator of comics.

Along with Brian’s many accomplishiments in comics, he’s also one of the six writers contributing stories to the upcoming animated feature film Batman: Gotham Knight. Brian’s segment, "Working through Pain," shows us a somewhat non-violent side of the Dark Knight and showcases a story in which Bruce Wayne learns techniques from a mysterous woman that will serve him well and help him deal with the physical toll exacted upon him during his years as Batman.

I caught up with Azzarello at Wizard World Chicago to ask him a few questions about writing his segment, how he feels about Batman as a character and how he thought the film turned out.

COMIX MIX: Brian, what is it that makes Batman such an endearing character?

BRIAN AZARELLO: Well, he’s not realy endearing to me.

CMix: You don’t like him?

BA: I think he’s a tragic character. Maybe that’s why he’s more compelling than endearing. He’s all about his flaws.

CMix: But you’re a fan?

BA: Oh, yeah, but I like his villains a lot, too. Almost more than I like him. I think his villiains are all different pieces of him. That’s something that makes him really interesting.

CMix: How did you get involved in the Batman: Gotham Knight film?

BA: I was asked. They explained the film to me, how it would be structured with six stories, and asked me to come up with an idea. I chose to focus more on Bruce Wayne, and they liked my pitch. That’s pretty much it.

CMix: Is there a difference between writing something for print and for a movie?

BA: Not for me. My comic scripts are pretty sparse in terms of art direction, the blocking and such. I don’t get into a ton of detail and more leave it up to the artist in a lot of ways. So it was a pretty easy transition for me to make.

CMix: How do you think the film turned out?

BA: I liked it. I thought it turned out well considering it was six different stories. I thought it held together very, very well. As a writer, I really try to trust the people I work with. I try to leave them plenty of room so they can bring their strengths to the work.

I think that happened in this film, and definitely for my segment – the animation is just amazing.

Batman: Gotham Knight is scheduled for a July 8 release on DVD.

‘Wanted’ to Hit $50 Million Opening Weekend

‘Wanted’ to Hit $50 Million Opening Weekend

According to Variety, Wanted, the feature film released Friday that is based on the Mark Millar and J.G Jones graphic novel of the same name, is going to have a pretty good opening weekend. In spite of some less-than-stellar reviews, including one from our very own Matt Raub, the film seems poised to be a hit and according to the trade, should take in just over $50 Million at the weekend box office — earning it the number two spot behind Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E.

As this is Wizard World Chicago weekend and Top Cow, the publisher of the original Wanted graphic novel, is at the show, I decided to check in on them and bring their VP of Marketing, Mel Caylo, the good news about the film’s perfomance and get his reaction.

COMIC MIX: Hey Mel, I just heard that Wanted may do over $50 million this weekend at the box office. How do you feel about that?

MEL CAYLO: Really? Where did you hear that? If its true, we’re obviously thrilled.

CMix: Variety is projecting it. Wanted will be number two behind Wall-E.

MC: Well, that’s great. And I think we’re on fewer screens, too, so that’s great.

CMix: Those are pretty good numbers. What do you think is responsible for them?

MC: Well, Universal did some really great marketing for the film so that’s a big part of it. They really pushed it hard and got the word out beyond those people that just knew the comic.

And, of course, Angelena Jolie is a big draw. Also, some of it comes from the comic as well, of course. And, the director Timur Bekmambetov did a great job.

CMix: Where you a fan of the director’s other films?

MC: Yeah, I really liked Nightwatch. I thought it was great.

CMix: So, if the film continues to do this well, should we expect a sequel?

MC: It’s too early to say, but I would think if it becomes a huge success than a sequel could happen.

CMix: Can you tell us if any of the creative team has signed up for multiple films?

MC: Not really. I did read that the writers of the film had signed up for a sequel but I can’t comment on that. Or, on who else might have signed up.

CMix: So, some people have signed up but not others?

MC: Again, I can’t really say for sure but obviously, some people wouldn’t be back because they didn’t make it through the film.

CMix: I’m just going to guess and say that probably James McAvoy would be coming back?

MC: I can’t confirm that at all but if there was a sequel, that would make sense.

CMix: Okay, Mel, I won’t put you on the spot any more. Thanks and congratulations.

WWC Interview: ‘World War Z’ Writer Max Brooks

WWC Interview: ‘World War Z’ Writer Max Brooks

To some, it may seem unusual to find Max Brooks, the author of the very popular novels The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z at a convention devoted mostly to comic books. But really, it isn’t that hard to understand. Both of Brooks’ books deal with zombies, a very popular creature among comics and pop culture fans.

Recently, Brooks’ novel World War Z was optioned by Paramount Pictures for actor Brad Pitt’s company Plan B to produce. He’s also hard at work writing the graphic novel adaptation of the historical zombie attacks featured in The Zombie Survival Guide — which is being packaged by Avatar Press.

I sat down with Brooks on Saturday to talk about zombies, his love of history, his latest project and why translating his work into a graphic novel was one of the hardest things he’s ever done.

COMICMIX: So Max, you’re a writer of two successful novels. What are you doing at a comic book convention?

MAX BROOKS: I have my first comic book, a graphic novel based on the reported attacks in the Zombie Survival Guide, that I’m doing with Avatar. That’s what I’m doing here at this convention.

CMix: How did you hook up with Avatar Press?

MB: i was stalked by William Christensen, who heads Avatar Press. He cornered me at another show and said he really wanted to work with me and i said "i would really love to work with you, too. Who are you?" But then we talked and he gave me some samples of artists and i really liked what i saw and thought we could work together.

I ended up going with this one artist because i liked his work the most and i thought it looked the most realistic, which was important for me.


Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery – More Costumes

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery – More Costumes

Previously on ComicMix, we featured galleries of photos from Wizard World showcasing the general "flavor" of the show and some cool costumes. And now, because even more fanboys and fangirls made their presence known on Saturday, we’ve got another gallery of costume photos for you.

From Frylock to Blade to C-3PO, these costumes prove that no matter what your favorite character is, if you’re determined to make a costume and show up at a convention as that character, you can. As always, be sure to check back for more photos and other coverage of the event.

And if you’ve missed our previous coverage of the event, here’s a list of our reports thus far:

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Mondo Marvel Panel Report

ComicMix Radio: Direct From Chicago – Marvel Exclusives and Sneak Peeks

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Marvel Ultimates Panel

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery – Part 1

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Day One Report

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery Pt. 2 – Costumes

ComicMix Radio: Wizard World Chicago Day Two – Sadness and Confusion

WWC Interview: Josh Blaylock on ‘Vampire Hunter D’

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Day Two Report



Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery Pt. 2 – Costumes

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery Pt. 2 – Costumes

Previously on ComicMix, we brought you a photo gallery showcasing some of the "flavor" of the Wizard World Chicago show.

This time around, the gallery features some of the great costumes worn by fanboys and fangirls as well as some of the more "exotic" staff at the various booths. Heck, there’s even one or two celebrities in there just to spice things up a bit more.

As always, be sure to check back right here at ComicMix all weekend for new galleries from the show. 


Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery – Part 1

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery – Part 1

As ComicMix online managing editor Rick Marshall pointed out earlier today, the team is currently in Chicago at Wizard World, neck deep in panels, festivities and events.

So far, the show has been chock-full of photo opportunities. From comic book artists and writers to the Joker, harem girls, Imperial Stormtroopers and professional wrestlers, the show has got a little something for everyone — as long as you happen to be a fan of the Joker, harem girls, Imperial Stormtroopers and professional wrestlers.

Be sure to check back throughout the weekend for more galleries featuring costumes, celebrities and creators.





Wizard World Chicago 2008: Marvel Ultimates Panel

Wizard World Chicago 2008: Marvel Ultimates Panel

Friday, Day One at Wizard World Chicago and it’s the Marvel Ultimates Panel featuring Brian Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, editor Bill Rosemann and moderator Jim McCann. As Rick Marshall previously reported about the "Mondo Marvel" panel, this particular panel was also relatively light on earth-shattering announcements. It also had some technical problems at the beginning which prevented the slideshow from working. So, to start the panel off, Jim McCann dove right into it with a couple of announcements and then some Q&A while they waited for the slides.

First up, Rosemann announced, "No, we do not know when Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk will come out." Bendis also announced that Ultimate Spider-Man is "not cancelled," that "everything is connected" and that there will be an Ultimate Spider-Man Annual which will focus on Peter and MJ’s "physical relationship."

According to Bendis, "It was the hardest sell I ever had. I just thought that remembering my glory years of 15 and 16 that it’s an important issue. Not having dealt with it felt false to me. It’s gonna be drawn by David La Fuente."  The book is double-sized and will be out in October.

At that point, the kinks were finally worked out and the slides started. Fans of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe were then treated to several slides featuring, among other things, upcoming covers for issues of Ultimate Origins featuring Captain America, Magneto and Hulk as well as a few pages of the actual Cap origins issue itself. There was also an alternative Origins cover featuring "Cap’s butt" as drawn by Gabriel del Otto.

Also, slides from Ultimatum showing the Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, Namor, and the Ultimates 3 cast of the Ultimates featuring Black Panther and Captain America next to each other on the slide. This slide highlights, according to Bendis, an "organic but massive disaster" which happens to the Ultimate Universe. The disaster will be seen in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Then, once the slides were done (which took about five minutes) it was back to the Q&A which, as you may expect, pretty much became the Brian Bendis show as the vast majority of the questions were directed to him. Some of the highlights of the Q&A follow but it started off with Bendis’s explanation of his thought process when the Ultimates universe was being created.


Interview: Neil Kleid on ‘Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons’

Interview: Neil Kleid on ‘Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons’

Writer and Xeric Grant winner Neil Kleid has come a long way since he wrote his award-winning improvised comic Ninety Candles. Since that time, he’s managed to have a diverse and interesting writing career tackling various comic book titles such as G.I. Joe and X-Men Unlimited.

Recently, he’s signed on to help bring Devil’s Due Publishing’s upcoming series The Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons to eager comics fans. ComicMix caught up with the busy author to get the latest info on Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, his other upcoming projects and his love of axes.

COMICMIX: How much did you know about Dungeons & Dragons before you started writing the comic book? Did you ever play the game growing up?

NEIL KLEID: Once or twice, as a kid. I was mostly into the Bard’s Tale videogame and the early Dragonlance books. When I did play, I was always a dwarf. I liked the axes.

I’d stopped reading the DL books years ago, but my pal Andrew Dabb’s been adapting them for Devil’s Due for a while now and so, to check out his work, I’d flip through them at the store and I kind of got hooked again. I’m mostly into the books that focus on the characters from the War of the Lance.

CMix: What attracts you to a project like Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons in the first place?

NK: Intriguing characters, creepy monsters, short, condensed stories. Also, free rein and choice. Good editors. Stories I liked when I was younger that strike a chord inside.

How did this project first come about and how did you get involved?

NK: I’d been talking to the folks at Devil’s Due for a while now, trying to set something up with them – specifically with the G.I. Joe license. I had a meeting with former editor Mark Powers a few years
back and then traded several emails with current editor Mike O’ Sullivan. We always talked about the possibility of doing something together.

Then, Dabb mentioned they were looking for new D&D writers just as Mike emailed asking if it was something I’d be interested in. He hooked me up with editor James Lowder and we ran through the types of stories I wanted to do, narrowing it down to "The Legacy." It’s been a lot of fun so far.

CMix: This is your first time doing something in the sword-and-sorcery genre, right? This comic seems like new territory for you based on your previous work.


Battlestar Galactica Interview: Mark Verheiden on Cylon Amnesty and Finding Earth

Battlestar Galactica Interview: Mark Verheiden on Cylon Amnesty and Finding Earth

Welcome to the latest installment of Battlestar Galactica Weekly, our recurring Q&A with Mark Verheiden, co-executive producer of the hit Sci-Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica. Each week, we’ll interview Verheiden about the events of the week’s episode, what those events might mean for both the season and the series, and hopefully unearth some clues about what to expect as the final season of Battlestar Galactica nears its conclusion.

Along with posing our own questions to Verheiden, we’re also taking questions from fans — so be sure to send your questions to me, your official BSG Weekly interviewer, after each episode airs at chris [at] comicmix [dot] com. New episodes of Battlestar Galactica can be seen every Friday at 10 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel. You can read previous interviews via our BSG Weekly Archive or the links at the end of this article.

This week, Mark is answering questions about Episode #10 of Season Four, "Revelations," which aired June 13, 2008 and is BSG’s mid-season finale. Note: These answers may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.

COMICMIX (from reader Erica): Is it true that the online streamed version of the episode is longer than the one that aired on Sci-Fi?

As usual, I have to plead ignorance, I simply don’t know, and guess whose TiVo went to the wrong channel when the episode actually aired Friday night?  I’m sure the eagle-eyes in the audience will let us know soon enough!

CMix (from reader Erica): Are we to assume that, in the show’s final shot on Earth, that is Caprica Six who walks up to Tigh and reaches for him?  Was she freed from the brig as part of the amnesty policy Lee announced?

MV: That is Caprica Six and yes, Lee’s amnesty encompassed her as well.