SDCC 2014: Skybound Panel

Maya Zach ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Though Skybound didn’t have any new ongoing series to announce at their panel at San Diego Comic Con, the panelists had plenty to say about their current and upcoming series, as well as (re-)reveal a new graphic novel. Sean Mackiewicz, the editorial director moderated the panel that consisted of: Robert Kirkman, Skybound partner and author of The Walking Dead and Invincible; Josh Williamson, writer of Ghosted and the upcoming Birthright; Khary Randolph, artist of Tech Jacket; Chris Dingess, writer of Manifest Destiny; Matt Roberts, artist of Manifest Destiny; and David Schulner, writer of Clone.
Kirkman and Mackiewicz were proud to announce that Outcast sold out the first two printings and is moving onto the third printing of the first issue. The first issue focused very specifically on the exorcism, while the following few issues are going to show a deeper look into the darkness that surrounds Kyle’s life. In television news, Cinemax has green-lit a pilot of Outcast! There should be announcements on casting and the directorial and production team shortly.
Josh Williamson’s new series, Birthright, was announced several weeks ago. The story surrounds a young boy who was kidnapped and brought to a fantasy land, where it is his destiny to be a hero and save the land. This isn’t the same English fantasy world that many fantasy fans are used to, instead, Williamson tried to incorporate other culture’s and what their fantasy lands could look like. Not only did Williamson want to be more inclusive, but he is also emphasizing the consequences of being trapped in this alternate world; the boy can’t just return to life as normal on Earth after facing dragons. Birthright will hit the shelves in October.
Though Dingess and Roberts did not have anything to announce about their Lewis and Clark fantasy series Manifest Destiny, they offered some insight into how they create the stories. Dingess thinks back to what he was terrified of as a kid and tries to put his nightmares into the story. Roberts takes off running with these ideas and illustrates Dingess’s ideas with grace.
Tech Jacket Digital is a three issue mini-series that could only be purchased online. The series was announced at Image Expo in January and the response was phenomenal. This isn’t incredibly surprising, though, as Tech Jacket has always been a fan favorite. Because of the positive response, they issued a new series written by Joe Keatinge. The artist, Randolph loves working on the series because he considers it to be “Saturday morning cartoons meets anime meets stupidity.”
Kirkman announced that “There’s some strangeness coming” with The Walking Dead, which is no surprise after the time jump in the recent issues. There will be some changes in the mythology that the book that will throw a wrench in the story. And in other news, all 12 issues of All Out War will be released in one collection with all of Charlie Adlard’s raw sketches.
Schulner believes that the first 15 issues of Clone were about Luke discovering the government conspiracy and understanding what the clones are and how they came to be. Starting in issue 16, Luke “gets his hands dirty.” He gets put to the test and has to decide whether the clones’ lives are more important than his and his family’s. He has to figure out whether he and the clones are really being led into safety or if it is all a trap.
When the topic of Invincible was brought up, Kirkman joked that “there is nothing exciting going on in Invincible right now,” but quickly proves that this isn’t the case. He promises that he will continue to keep his readers on his toes. There will be some major changes to the status quo starting in issue 117—something that Invincible tends to do often. But before that, issue 115 will be a stand-alone story that will bring back Battle Beast (a fan favorite).
Finally, Kirkman re-announced The Passenger, a graphic novel that he and Charlie Adlard have been working on for years. It took so long due to the many commitments that they each have, but now they are finally finishing up the novel, which will be available in early 2015. The Passenger revolves around a group of spaceship workers in the future who are transporting fossil fuels back to Earth, but must face space pirates and robots who want to claim the rich bounty for themselves.
Though Skybound is known for The Walking Dead and Invincible, the imprint is definitely proving that they are much more than just two series.

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