Friday, May 31, 2013


Big surprise:  the trend continues, and Avatar Press panels remain very small affairs.  There couldn’t have been more than 20 people in the room, including me.  Here’s the big disappointment:  Mike Wolfer couldn’t make it.  He was too busy working on Max Brooks’s new book, EXTINCTION PARADE.

That left us with one of Avatar’s executives, Jim Kuhoric, the creative director.  That’s right, a one-man panel.  Remember my first year, when they had Wolfer, Jacen Burrows, Brian Pulido, and William Christensen?  How awesome was that?  And now we just get Kuhoric?

Let me be clear, I liked the guy.  He was very nice.  But he tended to be a bit monotone, unless someone asked him a question which amused him.  Not a good way to get across your plans for the next year.

Regardless of his delivery, he did bring us lots and lots of news.  Oh yeah, I mentioned that Max Brooks has a new book with them, right?  EXTINCTION PARADE, which is going to be out on June 19, a day before the WORLD WAR Z movie is released.  Its Brooks’s take on zombies vs. vampires, but it’s not as cheap as it sounds.  He’s working with a lot of social commentary, according to Kuhoric, so it should be pretty interesting.  It’s based on a short story Brooks wrote, and it’s going to be 11 issues long.

Kuhoric talked about UBER from Kieron Gillen.  For those who don’t know, it’s about what would happen if Germany came up with actual supermen before the end of the war, and how that changes the outcome.  Kuhoric says that it doesn’t just automatically show Germany winning the war, but just how that CHANGES the war and the nature of reality.  Personally, I didn’t care for UBER, but we’ll see where it goes.

Speaking of Gillen, he’s also got another book coming out from Avatar called THE HEAT, but Kuhoric didn’t talk much about it.

Remember when Avatar worked with George R.R. Martin a while ago?  Well, he’s got a new book coming out from them called SKIN TRADE, based on the novella he wrote a while ago.  Many of you probably don’t remember, but it was published in NIGHT VISIONS 5, otherwise known as THE SKIN TRADE with short stories by Stephen King and Dan Simmons, as well.  It’s an amazing volume, even though I’m of the opinion that Martin’s piece is the weakest of the bunch.  Kuhoric also suggested that Martin might cover superheroes after this one.

Finally!  Two years ago, they announced a follow up to Christos Gage’s ABSOLUTION, which would be called ABSOLUTION:  RUBICON.  Well, that kind of dropped off the face of the earth.  Good news!  It’s coming soon!  And in one throwaway remark, Kuhoric mentioned something about Gage working on CROSSED, so it would seem that he’s the next writer on the BADLANDS series.

Looking for more Alan Moore news?  It looks like he’s teamed up with Jacen Burrows on another Lovecraft project, this one called PROVIDENCE.  It’s being advertised as a follow-up to NEONOMICON.

Here is a bit of unexpected news:  Boundless, the imprint Avatar publishes LADY DEATH and WAR GODDESS under, has been put on hiatus.  I suppose it’s not performing as well as they’d like, and they’re reevaluating everything.  It will return soon with new LADY DEATH and a few other titles that Kuhoric couldn’t discuss at this time.

They also announced that they would soon have issues available from Comixology, if that’s your thing.

And then there’s CROSSED, but you already know about the webisodes coming soon from Garth Ennis, and the new webcomic, not to mention the one they actually have going on right now.  Actually, this segment turned into Garth Ennis news, rather than CROSSED news.  He’ll have a new SF book coming out from them soon that is supposed to be ALIEN-ish.  There’s also a war story, which I suspect is the submarine story he mentioned at a Dynamite panel two years ago.  And there’s another book, too, something that is along the lines of Evan Dorkin’s BEASTS OF BURDEN.  I don’t know if I like the sounds of that last one, but he handled the talking rabbit in THE CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD pretty well, so . . . .

By this point, we’d reached the Q&A session, and most of the questions were about how people could submit work to Avatar.  But there were some interesting questions.  One person asked about the two incomplete Warren Ellis series.  Kuhoric jokingly said that Ellis still owes them scripts, but they would really like to continue working with him.  Someone else asked him if they ever received hate mail due to the extreme nature of their work.  They very rarely get such correspondence, and Kuhoric thinks it’s mainly because people who pick up an Avatar book know what they’re going to get.

And then there were my questions.  I asked him who he would want to work on CROSSED, if he had the choice.  He said there were a few writers and artists he couldn’t talk about at this point, but he’d really like to see what Tim Seeley would do on the book.  I also mentioned that the most extreme thing I’d ever seen outside of Avatar was Howard Chaykin’s work on his BLACK KISS titles.  Since BLACK KISS 2 came out late last year, I asked if Avatar tried to get the title.  They did.  They would love to work with Chaykin, considering how Harlan Ellison-esque he is.  The man speaks his mind without fear, which means he’d be a perfect fit for Avatar.

Then I asked if there was anything Avatar wouldn’t put in their books.  He didn’t think so.  They’d never turned down something in the past for being too extreme.  This led to a question about the CROSSED videogame I’d heard about two years ago.  Yes, they still wanted to do it, but there is nothing going on in regards to it at this time.  Kuhoric thinks videogame companies are afraid of something like this, and fair enough.  If there was an outcry over GRAND THEFT AUTO 3, CROSSED might crack the world in two.  At one point, Kuhoric glanced around the room, looking for children.  When he found none, he said, “What would the weapons be for a game like that?  Would you be able to kill people with a horse cock?”

Yes.  Once again, horse cock has been mentioned at an Avatar panel, and I couldn’t be happier.

Which reminds me, you better fucking believe that I asked about the new DICKS books.  Finally, it can be said:  DICKS 3 is happening.  A few issues are even finished, but at this time, it’s not on the schedule.

And that’s it.  So yeah, we have a lot to look forward to from Avatar Press.  If you’re not onboard with them yet, what the fuck are you doing reading this?  Get on CROSSED, CALIGULA, DICKS, FERALS, DAN THE UNHARMABLE, and everything else that they publish.  Do so immediately.  They’re doing some of the best work in the industry at this time.

P.S.  Every time I see William Christensen, I try to get an interview with him.  Sadly, he was not there this year.  Not that I expected to finally score the interview, but I would have liked to at least try.  The guy has an amazing eye for talent, and something tells me his sensibilities run in the exact same direction as mine.  I think such an interview would have been a showstopper.

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