Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

Assassin's Creed is a licensed property that gained in popularity back in 2007 with the release of the video game by the same name and available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The novelizations, written by Oliver Bowden, followed in 2009; the eighth book in the series was released last November. And, later this year, fans will be treated to an action/adventure film which will expand the existing universe. Templars is the second ongoing comic book series offered by Titan Comics. Written by Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies, Iron Man), the first story arc is set in 1927 and features a mysterious Templar going by the name Black Cross. Rounding out the creative team of the first five issues are artist Dennis Calero (Cowboys & Aliens, X-Men Noir) who illustrates and colors the interiors as well as creates two alternate covers and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt and Richard Starkings on lettering.

Published by Level 21 Boss Publishing, The Pilfered is a digital comic book series three years in the making. The four-issue mini series is only available as an app on iOS devices and features “motion FX, cinematic music, dynamic transitions” according to the comic website. The comic was created by Alan I. Djivré and developed by Philippe Blais. Djivré, posting under the moniker “MonkeyTalks” on a DAZ forum, explained his process, “I used the DAZ renders with a toon shader and then imported it to [P]hotoshop and worked on it a lot until I got the style I was looking for.” The resulting product presents an engaging, unique reading experience.

In the Glendale Civic Auditorium, the smell of old books waifed in the air, mingling with the myriad of ongoing conversations, the shuffling of plastic, and flipping of book pages as attendees to the 37th Annual Los Angles Vintage Paperback Show got underway last Sunday morning, April 3. With over sixty book sellers in attendance, the room was packed with stacked books on and under tables throughout the auditorium. Approximately 55 guests were set up at vendor tables or taking turn in the signing area in front of the stage, making themselves available to sign books and chat with fans. Some of the guest highlights included Lisa Morton, Cody Goodfellow, Joe R. Lansdale, William F. Nolan, and Wendy & Richard Pini (ElfQuest) – many who had long lines of people waiting to have one book or bags full of books to be signed.

James Ganiere (Chief Editor, Fallen Angel Press; CEO-Rio Vista Universal) moderated the Saturday afternoon WonderCon panel, “Romance in Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” which assembled actress Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Star Trek Continues), writer Rebekah R. Ganiere (Fairelle series, President of Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal RWA chapter), writer Mark O'Bannon (The Dream Crystal, Star Raiders), and actor James Kyson (Heroes, Nobility). Unfortunately, actress Mira Furlan was unable to attend due to being on a shoot. Why a romance panel? Romance sells well; at least 50% of the books sold are romance, and romance is a critical component of any story told.

H.P. Lovecraft's stories continue to influence contemporary tales. For instance, the 1926 short story, “Pickman's Model,” published in the October 1927 issue of Weird Tales, is one such tale that recently inspired Casefile: Arkham. This new graphic novel is written by Josh Finney, illustrated by artist Patrick McEvoy, edited by Kat Rocha, and published by 01Publishing. The black-and-white edition is an enthralling visual experience that incorporates several elements of the Lovecraft story and evolves into its own fascinating tale of noir macabre.

Ernie EJ Altbacker has worked on several television shows that include Static Shock, Ben 10, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Spider-Man, among others, and he has written six Shark Wars novels targeting middle schoolers. He has now written a teen/young adult book titled Handy Andy Saves the World. Evoking the innocence and charm of the 1950s sci-fi B-movie, Altbacker's story of a down-on-his-luck handyman who unwittingly helps fix an alien spaceship is an enchanting tale.

He had hoped that his collaborator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, would have been able to join him, but, instead, Francesco Francavilla sat at the long table on his own, bringing new meaning to the “Spotlight on Francesco Francavilla” WonderCon panel. With a distinctive pulpy art style that punctuates the horror and noir stories he has worked on, it seems a strange marriage that his career would lead him to the All-American, boy-next-door comic, Afterlife with Archie, published by Archie Comics. Just looking at his covers evokes some of the early Abbott and Costello Meets [insert monster name] films or just about any of the 1940s-1950s horror B-movies that would eventually be featured on a Joe Bob Briggs or an Elvira show decades later. For 50 minutes, Francavilla entertained questions from the audience.

The WonderCon panel titled “Building Worlds with Words” gathered several writers to provide insight into their own methods for creating worlds. As the moderator, Cecil Castellucci (Moving Targets: Princess Leia) started off the introductions. Joining her were Aditi Khorana (Mirror in the Sky), Margaret Stohl (Black Widow: Forever Red), Victoria Schwab (A Gathering of Shadows), Lisa Lee (DC Superheroes Girls Series), Gretchen McNeil (Possess, Ten), and Caragh M. O'Brien (Vault of Dreamers).

Image Comics' Branding Manager David Brothers introduced Brian Haberlin (Faster Than Light), Jimmie Robinson (Power Lines), Brian Schirmer (Black Jack Ketchum), Keenan Marshall Keller (The Humans), and Joe Harris (Snowfall) to a roomful of WonderCon attendees Friday afternoon for the panel titled “Image Comics: Where Creators Own the New Creativity.”

Comic book writer Mark Evanier commenced the hour of “Cover Story” by relating that in the industry's early days, 95% of a comic book's selling potential was reliant on the cover art. Part of the reason for this was because comics used to be sold on newsstands. He related that, at that time, the stories were written based on the cover; however, after comics moved off the newsstands and into the local comic book shop, and a non-return policy was put into place, the emphasis on cover art changed. Now, the story influences the cover; however, the cover is drawn and completed months before the interiors are realized.

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