Ten Takeaways From The Black Crown ‘Ruling Class’ Panel At Portsmouth Comic Con

by Olly MacNamee

Who’s The Boss? Not Tony Danza! All Hail, Shelly Bond!

3pm on the second day of any con seems to be the sweet spot for panels. The sun’s still out but, more importantly, people have sobered up. Well, sobered up enough, anyway. And, holding court in the Guildhall’s ornate council chambers was Shelly Bond, ruling over her acolytes, Philip Bond, Will Potter, David Barnett and Martin Simmonds.  It was a fun, irreverent panel from start to finsish with some great little giveaways for all attendees too! I made out like a bandit myself, so that was nice.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s what I took away from this lazy Sunday afternoon’s not-so-lazy panel:

  1. Philip Bond has been absolutely integral to the look and feel of the Black Crown imprint, designing the streets as well as one of the coolest looking comic book logos in comics today. ‘I wanted a logo that Andy Warhol would dig himself out of his grave to appropriate,’ remarked Shelly.
  2. Assassinistas is a good example of what Bond is trying to accomplish at Black Crown. Bringing new voices together with existing, established talent. Hence the team up of Tini Howard with Gilbert Hernandez.
  3. Another staple of this IDW imprint is to not simply produce a dark toned book, but to inject it with humour, albeit of the dark variety. Hey, the world’s grim enough already. We all need a laugh.
  4. Black Crown Quarterly is an anthology comic that is a ‘love letter to Deadline magazine, which Philip Bond worked on so many moons ago now. I’d say it works.
  5. In issue 3 (out last week) the strip ‘Ghost Walk’ is the first real guide through the streets of the Black Crown community.
  6. There was a look at new titles on the slate and previously announced. First up: House Amok by Christopher Sebela (w) and Shawn McManus (a) described as ‘a horror road trip from the West Coast to the East Coast, from the point ion view of a 10 year old.
  7. Euthanauts – a book touted as ‘Sandman meets Saga, meets Six Feet Under‘. There’s nothing I don’t like about that prospect. Designed and illustrated by Nick Robles from a script by the very busy Tini Howard, count me in when it drops this August.
  8. And, while Euthanauts and House Amok had been previously announced, I was excited by the prospect of the ‘Secret Origin of Dorothy Culpepper’ the 60’s swinger who’s seen better days, and head of the Extra-Usual Affairs in Simmonds and Barnett’s Punks Not Dead. That’s coming in issue 6, with a few additional artistic guests dragged in kicking and screaming to help out. Now that one, I can’t wait for as a fan of the series. I can see a Dorothy Culpepper series coming out of this sometime down the road. Hey, Barnett, Simmonds, are you listening?
  9. Bond also announced that her successful Kickstarter from last year, Femme Magnifique, will be re-released as a soft back by IDW, allowing more readers to get their hands on this celebration of womanhood after Hillary Clinton’s near miss in 2016. So, look out for that. I dare say we’ll be ore than happy to inform you when it is imminent.
  10. And finally, Chuck Varnish, Black Crown Quarterly’s overworked and underpaid tea monkey and letters’ page editor was revealed as none other than…. Will Potter of CUD! Who would have thunk it? Seems rock’n’roll don’t pay as good as it used to.

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