WonderCon 2018: Boom! Studios Announces Beneath The Dark Crystal, Bone Parish, Ruinworld And More

by Gary Catig

Boom! Studios held a panel Friday afternoon at WonderCon in Anaheim to discuss some of their current titles and announce a few books they have planned in the future. The panel was moderated by Filip Sablik (President of Publishing and Marketing, Boom! Studios) with Matt Gagnon (Editor-in Chief, Boom! Studios), David F. Walker (writer, Planet of the Apes: Ursus), Sarah Kuhn (writer, Clueless), Carly Usdin (writer, Heavy Vinyl), Josh Trujillo (writer, Dodge City), and Ben Blacker and Ben Acker (Thrilling Adventure Hour).
Boom! has, among its current and past projects, comics based off of licensed material. They saw the power of these titles to bring in new readers. When Gagnon was working at a shop, he was surprised by the amount of people who got into comics for the first time when Buffy, the Vampire Slayer came out. They make an effort from a creative standpoint to make something meaningful and authentic to the specific fandom and not go for a cash grab.
Once such licensed franchise they have is Planet of the Apes. Walker thought writing these stories was a dream come true. He’s been playing with the idea of creating storylines since the first grade. When he was young, he saw Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and described the experience as transformative. He totally bought into the mania including the movies, cartoons, toys, and comics. In fact, it was through these comics that he first learned to make them. While working, he’s had to walk a fine line of appeasing diehards, but also make it attractive to people new to the world. To help, he asks input from several colleagues that are unfamiliar with the franchise and sees if they can follow along.
Another of their series based off a movie is Clueless. In order to make it more relevant, Kuhn tapped into what made it so appealing in the first place. The movie was a timeless coming of age story that touched upon what it was like to be a young woman. The comic takes place during the characters’ senior year, which is a crossroads for them into adulthood. The creators did not want to reset the franchise. They wanted to create a story that has universal appeal, but still contained elements to maintain the 90’s nostalgia.
For the other titles, Trujillo described Dodge City as a little bit Degrassi and a little Dragon Ball Z.  It is a high-octane sports comedy about the thrilling, competitive sport of dodgeball.  Usdin’s Heavy Vinyl is a combination of Empire Records, Sailor Moon, and Baby Sitter’s Club about a bunch of teenage girls who work at a record store and fight crime.

The first major announcement dealt with The Thrilling Adventure Hour. The writing team will be releasing new comic material starting with fan favorite, Beyond Belief. It is about a pair of married mediums who just want to be left alone with each other and their drinks but keep on being interrupted by all the supernatural activity around them.

Another new title is Beneath the Dark Crystal. It will be a sequel to the film The Dark Crystal and will be a collaboration with Jim Henson Company. It is a new year long series that will coincide with a Netflix show. The writer will be Adam Smith with art by Alexandria Huntington.

In addition, Cullen Bunn will have a new horror series entitled Bone Parish. It takes place in New Orleans where a family sells a new drug that is made from the ashes of the dead. When people use the drug, they begin to have visions from the people the remains are from.

The last comics announcement was for the all ages Ruinworld, which is written and illustrated by Derek Laufman. Two adventurers are on a quest for fame and fortune after they discover a map. Unfortunately, soon after they start their voyage, they lose their map.

Finally, like Lumberjanes and The Backstagers, Giant Days will be receiving a young adult prose novel. It will be published from Abrams Books and will be written by Non Pratt.

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