V’s Red Pen #1: On the Horizon

 Vince here my friends! It’s my first blog post on our spiffy new blog on our website, so I’m taking this opportunity to show you what we have cooking in the Aspen kitchen! Before jumping into the new stuff on the horizon, I’ll get right into the here and now on the books that people may be wondering about, along with some schedule updates:

 Fathom: Blue Descent #’s 3 and 4 are on the way shortly. Ever so often with creative projects, there’s a risk of the unexpected happening to stall the assembly line and that’s exactly what happened for a bit on Blue Descent–no fault to the team, David Schwartz and Alex Sanchez. Rest assured however, we remedied the situation and are closing in on the final pages of art for this one, so expect those last 2 issues to be in stores shortly in the coming months…

 Speaking of unforeseen circumstances, Lady Mechanika #2 hit a similar road bump when life dealt some unexpected happenings to the creative process, but issue two is almost all wrapped up and this bi-monthy phenomenon will be out very, very soon! I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Joe’s ideas for what’s in store for Lady M, and you guys are gonna wet your little steampunk pants.

On the subject of soon, we’ll be hitting the home stretch on two series here–Mindfield and The Scourge. We’re finishing up the final issue of Mindfield and the last two issues of The Scourge now. If you guys haven’t checked out Mindfield yet, you’re really missing out on a kick ass political thriller. I always knew JT Krul had some disturbing crap going on inside his head, but he’s really let it all out on the pages on this one. There’s some sick stuff in these last 2 issues and one particular scene that will make you happy you can’t read minds. So, in effect, JT’s depraved mental dive into disturbia is your gain! The Scourge is another gem we’re home-stretching and Eric Battle’s art on this one has been nothing short of spectacular. In case you didn’t know, the same creator who brought you the TV show The Walking Dead, Gale Ann Hurd is also the creator of The Scourge. And I’d say she knows a thing or two about creature tales of awesomeness. From the editor’s standpoint, working on a book with another company can often times be an annoying venture where too many cooks are offering up too many ingredients for the finished meal. But with Valhalla, it’s been a fun ride as they’re just as invested in the project as we are, and their enthusiasm is contagious. The finished product has been a fun-filled horror tale of modern day New York infested with murderous gargoyles. I’m proud to see these two new books widening the genres of our Aspen Universe!

 As I’m sure you know, the Aspen U is held up by two major tent poles–Fathom and Soulfire, and I’m happy to report both are back and bigger than ever! Fathom has been one of those titles that has seen rough waters the past few years as we’ve adjusted to life without its creator, Mike. It hasn’t been easy. For a studio filled with strong-minded creators, perhaps Fathom has been the one title that has drawn the most passionate and heated conversations within the studio about it’s content. But one thing is certain: we love this book to death and are seeing to it that Mike’s vision for it is carried on as he would’ve wanted. The new team of Scott Lobdell, Alex Konat and Beth Sotelo are also down with this mantra, trust us. Issue zero is just about wrapped up and I can’t remember being this excited about a new Fathom issue in quite awhile. The story and the art. The color palette that Beth is delivering, it’s gonna be a volume of Fathom to remember. I can’t wait for you guys to see.

Mike’s other baby, Soulfire, is also getting the royal treatment with a brand spankin’ new artist and colorist, Jason Fabok and John Starr, to compliment JT’s magical words. These dudes make my life easy. After working with Marcus To on volume 2 and now Jason on volume 3–I’m convinced there’s something in the water up north in Canada that makes artists produce on schedule and always with amazing results. Jason turns in a batch of pages every few days and each one kicks the previous one’s ass. If you read the end of volume 2, you know Grace and the gang have fallen on hard times. Jason is capturing this dark feeling with his pencils and line work, which is funny because Jason’s a cool dude, but not all that dark.

This summer, David Wohl, Eduardo Francisco and Executive Assistant: Iris return with a bang! Well actually, quite a few bangs with “The Hit List Agenda.” This is our first pass at a crossover event type deal and I’m actually really excited for this. At first, I won’t lie, I nearly suffered a heart attack when we discussed the scope of the HLA, but now that the art is rolling in I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be worth it and more. Executive Assistants Orchid, Lotus and Violet are coming! Nearly a dozen of Aspen’s finest have joined in to deliver you the HLA and their names will be revealed in the next couple of weeks, perhaps at Wondercon? Who knows…

 There’s also a new dark fantasy book by Aspen called Charismagic brought to Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez, Josh Reed, Siya Oum and a whole lot of other talented people, and myself. I’m biased and think you should check out. It has magicians and wizards, druids and witches, and coming soon–fairies, perhaps? Check it out and see! A quick update on some dates: The reprint of issue #0 will be in stores March 30th and #1 now on April 6th. I sincerely hope you check it out as I think if you enjoy magic, fantasy and sin city, you may like this! 

 We announced a new book by Aspen’s Dir. of Design and Production–and MY roommie–Mark Roslan called Broken Pieces and it’ll debut this summer. It’s a sci-fi, action and love story all rolled into one, and I’m excited for it for sure. I’m sneakin’ you guys this teeny lil’ peek above of it without checking with Mark, but I cooked him bacon and eggs this morning so this makes us even–but your gain!…

Shrugged fans! Stay tuned to this blog and aspencomics.com as I’m sensing more hijinks from Theo, Dev and Ange coming soon. Updates on the way…

I’ve also heard some rumblings from Frank and Mark about a certain new sketchbook ‘returning’ at this summer’s cons by a certain company founder perhaps…

Peter is in his usual post on the front lines of the attack of the colors on some of Marvel and DC’s finest, but is also coloring up quite a few Aspen covers coming up as well as Lady Mechanika interiors and his own super duper project, Zooniverse, which we announced last year at SDCC. Let’s all give P a big cup of coffee to keep him going…

Josh Reed is lettering away on all of our titles, and celebrating the 2nd bday of his cute little girl….

We have some new additions to the studio now: Chaz Riggs, who has come on to help master the realm of digital inks with Mark as his Miyagi. Chaz is also helping out in production and is all all around swell guy.

 Me welcoming Chaz to the team:

 Stephanie Matson has come aboard to help in the marketing dept. and has been integrating herself into the comic book world. She has the ultimate divine pleasure of sharing an office with yours truly so I have dubbed her the honorable title of ‘day wife,’ and she has yet to make me want a divorce. In fact, Steph is a sensational addition to the Aspen team!

 And the cheerful Brooke Vallone is holding down the sales and promo/ebay dept, providing you guys with some choice prints and products like only she can. So, we’re happy to be welcoming them to the crew…and pray for their survival.

Micah Gunnell is in Brazil and has been working hard on pages for his new series, yet to be announced. Finding shipping options for his pages has been quite a challenge but it’s hard to get mad at him when he gives me his antonio banderas puss in boots look below:

A leprechaun resembling Aspen’s Chris Rupp has been spotted around downtown Chicago this past weekend…

Random Thought of the Day: With all the disasters, war, and hate happening in the world today. I think we so often find it easy to develop an existential outlook on life. A cynical nature. Negativity, etc. But, if you’ve read this far, I’d like to think or hope you’ve taken some enjoyment out of it. But if not, at the very least, I hope you’ll encourage yourself to at least try to find the positive inspiration out of life from the things you love–and fuel that inspiration it by replacing any hate with hope.

That’s all for blog post #1! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings.

-V