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SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 2009

CHICAGO COMIC-CON: ASPEN COMICS PANEL

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- While much of its editorial presentation at Chicago Comic-Con was repeated from that of Comic-Con International in San Diego, Aspen Comics unveiled a few new images and the most recent details of its movie projects at its panel on Friday.

President Frank Mastromauro continues to spearhead Aspen's attempt at bringing its flagship character, Fathom, to the screen, with Megan Fox attached to star for Fox.

Mastromauro noted that Jordan Mechner, writer of the Fathom movie, attended Aspen's panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego and remains enthusiastic about the project.

"He turned in the script about a month and a half ago," Mastromauro said. "It turned out great, we gave him some notes, he rewrote it and it turned out even better."

The script has been turned into the studio and Mastroumauro expects to hear from them by the end of next week.

"Then it moves forward to directors," he said.

Mastromauro noted that Megan Fox has been mentioning the film lately, including during as appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.

At San Diego, Aspen announced a deal with Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Pictures that included a Soulfire live-action movie. Mastromauro said the property is out to writers.

"They really want to get this out there and get it on the big screen," he said.

When asked about who he had in mind to play Grace, Mastromauro said he had several actresses in mind and that his top choice would be Charlize Theron.

Theron has worked with Hurd before on Aeon Flux.

Mastromauro said that Aspen's Executive Assistant: Iris is also getting movie feelers. "We've had a lot of meetings in past couple of weeks," he said. "And we had some people at Comic-Con who really liked it."

Mastromauro was joined on the panel by Peter Steigerwald, Vince Hernandez, J.T. Krul, Alex Konat and Micah Gunnell.

Highlights included:

* Mastromauro said that Fathom #10 concludes the story Michael Turner had envisioned for the character. Volume 4 will launch next year and Mastromauro said Aspen has ideas for Vol. 5.

"Aspen will be around for a good long time," he said.

* Aspen unveiled the just-completed cover to Executive Assistant: Iris #5 and the four interlocking covers to Dellec #4.

* Mastromauro said the idea for the Dellec Thundersticks Aspen has been giving away at conventions came one day when he was hitting Steigerwald with a poster tube.

Mastromauro described Dellec as "really a big depature, much darker" for Aspen. He said that an upcoming story in which Dellec goes to prison was inspired by a television program that featured a prison in Alaska sitting between a glacier and the ocean.

* Krul again gave the conceptual pitch for his new series, Mindfield. For The Continuum's interview with Krul, CLICK HERE.

* The second volume of Soulfire will be released in trade paperback early next year, following a hardover release in October.

* The Soulfire and Fathom universes will remain separate, as Turner always intended.

* Mastromauro said that he's taking a meeting next week concerning animation.

* Asked about action figures, Mastromauro said they are very expensive to do properly, and it's more likely Aspen would do them in conjunction with a movie.

* Steigerwald thanked the attendees for their support, noting the many fans who still went to Aspen's booth at Chicago last year when the Aspen crew had to return because of Turner's death. Mastromauro noted there was a definite period of adjustment, but he feels Aspen is now moving forward and honoring Turner's legacy.

Asked about any new Turner artwork, Mastromauro and Steigerwald said there are a few unpublished pieces remaining and they will be rolled out at significant and appropriate times.

* Hernandez said Aspen is exploring digital archive products for its publications. "We want to make sure we get set up with the right company," he said.

* David Schwartz is writing a Fathom project for next year, Ekos (with Geoff Johns writing) remains in Aspen's future and Mastromauro noted two new properites for 2010.

* Mastromauro said a project he is eyeing is a coffee table book highlighting all of Turner's art. "I want to rock it out as much we possibly can with everything that Mike has ever drawn," he said.



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