Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager

Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager

The compelling story of Star Wars in 1977 left fans wanting more. Unlike now, where we can own a copy of a much-loved film and watch any time we want, back in the late 1970s, Beta and VHS formats were still a few years from being an available commodity. There were a handful of novels that were released at the time, and Marvel was putting out a monthly comic book series, but the fans’ interest was not sated. They were clamoring for more content. Given that the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, would not be released until May 1980, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate began running a daily Star Wars comic strip on March 11, 1979. Finally, fans could get a daily installment, albeit in very small doses, for the next five years.

Joss Whedon is one of the most prolific writers today. His stories are often distinguishable by strong character development (particularly women in lead roles) and in stories focused on the disenfranchised. Whedon’s mark on popular culture is far reaching and not confined to any one specific genre. As a result, a Whedonverse has been built upon both television and film projects Whedon has worked on, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Dollhouse, Angel, Much Ado About Nothing, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and even the love/hate reception of Alien: Resurrection.  On Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, fans will have the opportunity to converge on the second annual WhedonCon being held at the Warner Center Marriott in Los Angeles, CA.

A fandom has reached the pinnacle of popular culture greatness when a day is celebrated in its honor; however, it is an unprecedented phenomenon when a franchise has two days each year to celebrate its geekiness. While some enduring franchises of multiple decades do not have any globally recognized commemorative days, Star Wars is the singular franchise that has back-to-back celebratory days: May the Fourth and Revenge of the Fifth.

While disco was hot and bell bottoms were cool, the late 1970s saw an influx of popular culture milestones on the silver screen that included the release of Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Halloween, Apocalypse Now, and Alien. Director Ridley Scott introduced a new kind of science fiction space horror in which he re-appropriated and re-imagined the slasher genre. With this film, Scott explored themes of survival, isolationism, the final girl concept, and the uncanny valley, as well as showcased the visual aesthetic created by German artist H. R. Giger. In Alien, Scott introduced audiences to LV-426, one of the three moons orbiting Calpamos, but it was in James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens that revisited LV-426, no longer devoid of human life, but inhabited with a terraforming colony called Hadley's Hope. Needless to say, there wasn’t a whole lot of hope or colonists by the time Ripley returned to the xenomorph-infested moon.

Titan Comics released the first of two issues of Dark Souls: Tales of Ember earlier this month. Based on the video game developed by FromSoftware, Inc. and produced by Bandai Namco Entertainment, this issue collects three stories bookended by an intro and outro. The anthology expands on the lore of Lordan and Dragleic under the editorial guidance of Tom Williams (Dark Souls: Legends of the Flame) and Wilfried Tshikana-Ekutshu as the series designer. Lettering for the issue is provided by Williams and Michael Walsh (Hawkeye; King Warlock and Blue Bird).

Moderator Patrick Reed (ComicsAlliance) began the WonderCon 2017 panel, “Discover the Music of Comics,” on Saturday afternoon, April 1, 2017, by explaining that music and comics go way back, back to at least the 1960s in which popular bands, such as The Beatles and The Monkees, crossed over into comic books. In the 1990s, Prince was based on a concept pitched and approved by the musician, Deadline introduced the character of Tank Girl, and Michael Allred created Red Rocket 7. More recently, music has been featured in The 5th Beatle and The Wicked & The Divine; however, it’s not all just rock ‘n’ roll: the 1986 Rappin Max Robot featured hip-hop culture, and the period comic book, Stagger Lee, had a blues focus.

Charles "Chuck" Higgins was at the wrong place at the wrong time when he bumped into an inebriated space traveler named Joppenslik "Jopp" Wenslode. Quickly captured by the Prime Partners Intergalactic Consortium, Chuck and Jopp are forced to work together, hauling cargo between space destinations. Their friendship is solidified when Haaga Viim and his crew of mercenary space pirates attack Jopp and Chuck’s cargo ship, causing them to crash on an outpost planet. The madcap adventure takes off from there, and after some plot twists and red herrings, the pair solve their crisis.

On Sunday afternoon, April 2, 2017, at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Winner Twins (Brittany and Brianna) were joined by Steven L. Sears (writer and executive producer, Xena: Warrior Princess) for the “How to Create Your Own Novel: From the First Idea to Publishing and What You Need to Sell Your Work to TV and Film” WonderCon panel.

Gray Bear Comics has just released issue two of Speak No Evil, where the story picks up with brothers Silas and Edwin in the basement of a derelict cabin in upstate New York. Unbeknownst to them, the cobwebbed box they just opened is the same one that Nicolas Tesla packed all of his equipment into after an experiment went terribly wrong. The boys inspect the various items including goggles, a plasma blaster, and a phonograph, on which they played a couple of recorded cylinders. The gang chasing the siblings show up, but so does….well, you’ll just have to read issue two to find out. Like the old-time serials that were shown in cinemas prior to the feature film, a six-page short story “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” (Chapter 2) follows up the main story and provides an interlude tale of a con artist. And, a second episode of “Speak Up, Chuck” is a flashback of Tesla building the plasma gun and the teenage Charles proving incapable of catching a goat for an experiment.

A Fanbase Press photo gallery has been created to accompany this panel coverage. Feel free to reference the photos as you are reading through this panel coverage.

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