SDCC 2019: Boom Studios’ Discover Yours Panel

by Noah Sharma

Filip Sablik promised a different panel experience than what the audience was used to. He recounted the origin of the company and stressed how boldness was the key ideal of the company. The story of Boom!, according to Sablik, is one of finding new genres and new readers and helping to make every person a comic reader. He then turned to introduce Lev Grossman (Writer of The Magicians), Lilah Sturges (Writer of Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass and The Magicians: Alice’s Story), Sina Grace (Writer of Go, Go, Power Rangers and Ghosted in LA), Carly Usdin (writer of Heavy Vinyl and The Avant-Guards), Kieron Gillen (writer of Die, The Wicked and the Divine, and Once and Future), and a second moderator (!?): Boom! EiC Matt Gagnon.

The panel started out strong with giveaways and questions for the audience, which tagged in and out with questions from Gagnon throughout.
Gagnon attributed the existance of The Magicians at Boom! to the passion that Grossman had for seeing it as a graphic novel. That’s largely because The Magicians owes a lot to comic books, specifically Dr. Strange and the work of Alan Moore. Grossman praised how Moore ‘interrogated the genre’, ‘sitting it down and asking it the questions you weren’t supposed to ask it’.
A fan asked if the themes of depression in The Magicians was something that Grossman came to first hand. Grossman said that he had been denying that he had depression for over twenty years when he started writing The Magicians and that that was the year that he started to get help and that it was intrinsic to the story.
Sturges was asked about bouncing between Lumberjanes and The Magicians, saying that it was easy to switch from one to the other, despite the immense difference in tone, thanks to how much she enjoys writing both. Alice was such a natural character for Sturges that it was easy to get into her voice, while Lumberjanes had so much joy and optimism that it was easy to get swept up.

Grace was asked about co-writing Go, Go, Power Rangers. He cited a tweet of his to explain his relationship with co-writer Ryan Parrott:

Grace said that he’s very grateful to Parrott and his editors for giving him such a clear map for the series, which allowed him to focus on the characters and the writing. Despite this, he still feels a great ability to contribute to the series, another thing he praises Parrott for. His favorite example was a monster concept that he was allowed to throw into the book: “What if her name is Lady Grumptruck and she’s a big monster who has a dumptruck back and is, like, ren faire themed?”
The entire cast of The Avant-Guards is based on Usdin’s friends and herself, but they have many other inspirations as well. The archetypes were based on The Seven Samurai, and each one was also designed around a match of a WNBA player and an actor.
Gillen called Once and Future an adventure book, a horror book, and fun, which he can’t necessarily say about all of his creator-owned work. This made it perfect for Dan Mora and Gillen designed the book with Mora in mind, based on an idea he’d been toying with for years.

Sturges’ biggest problem in writing Aliice’s Story was how truly unpleasant she made Quentin. It kept having to be toned down and Sturges admitted that it was somewhat personal as she used to think of herself as a cis straight white man and was absolutely done with that perspective. Despite this, Grossman and Sturges agreed that the core of Alice’s character is her desire for Quentin and you need to feel and understand that love and adoration for the book to work, even if you don’t agree.
With a great deal of mystery and tension, the panel revealed that The Magicians: Alice’s Story creative team will reteam for single issue The Magicians comics, though no images or details about formats could be given. Sturges urged Gagnon to show the cover unsuccessfully, argueing that it is very pretty. Something to look forward to…
Grace said that Ghosted in L.A. came out of his desire to do another project with Shannon Watters and they came up with “Melrose Place…but with ghosts!” After coming up with that idea, Grace literally stopped at a coffee shop five blocks from the office and wrote out the entire ptich. Siobhan Keenan was his “number number number number one choice” for the series
Daphne moves to LA for a guy, who immediately dumps her, and she ends up finding an apartment complex full of ghosts. He promises mystery, friendship, and “ghost-romance”. Grace is excited to dig into the series’ mysteries, “Steven Universe-ing” the series by plantting seeds early on and watching them bloom. Grace lives in L.A., and Ghosted in L.A. is a love letter to the city that will try to present a true vision of the city as he knows it.

A fan who majored in British history asked about Gillen’s research process after reading Once and Future. “My plan for this was not to research so much”, said Gillen, but it did not turn out that way. Gillen felt that the most important element for him to understand was how the myths have changed over time. The audience’s research into the book would prove much easier, as the panel quickly decided to give away a free advance copy of Once and Future to everyone in attendance.
A fan asked if future installments of Heavy Vinyl will look deeper into the characters in the shop. Usdin said that the second volume will not really get into backstory, but, after that, she will make sure to dive deep for him.
A woman in the audience asked why no one was talking about WWE comics, only to be answered by Kofi Kingston busting into the room, holding his championship belt and demanding an answer, specifically why no one is talking about the New Day and why no one is doing a New Day graphic novel. The answer? Because Boom! is.

The next fan question was if we could talk about Becky Lynch’s comic. We couldn’t, but it was noted.

You can find Boom! Studios at SDCC booth 2229.

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