“Does anybody have a laptop?” That’s the way Thomas Jane started off his RAW Studios panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. It seems there was some sort of technical difficulty with their initial set-up.
And as he’s known to do, Jane just rolled with it.
After securing a computer from one of the attendees, and getting all that set up, the panel was getting off to a late start. As people were still trickling in, Jane seemed to decide, “To hell with it; let’s just do this.” And the panel started. There was none of the usual formality associated with a Comic-Con panel on display here. There was no barrier between the panelists and the audience. Instead of sitting up on a stage talking into microphones, as is the Comic-Con standard, these panelists stood on the floor talking with their fans. It was an incredibly refreshing thing to see. It felt much less like celebrities talking at a crowd and more like a group of like-minded people talking about the stuff they love.
On hand were the man himself, Tom Jane; legendary comic artist Tim Bradstreet; longtime 2000 A.D., Judge Dredd and Bad Planet Issues 7-8 artist Greg Staples; artist on Bad Planet Issues 1-6 and lead concept artist at High Noon Studios Jim Daily; writer of the upcoming A Magnificent Death from a Shattered Hand Jose Prendes; production designer on Return of the Living Dead and artist on many films including Conan the Barbarian, First Blood, and Pan’s Labyrinth William Stout; and as a surprise for the end of the panel, Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman.
We’ll have video of the panel soon, but for now here are some of the more juicy details!
Jane: “Bruce Jones is a big influence on RAW Studios and what we do, the creator of Alien Worlds and Twisted Tales. That’s the stuff I used to read, not to date myself, when I was 14, 15 years old hitting the comic shops in Bethesda, Maryland, the ones that really turned me on were Twisted Tales and Alien Worlds. As RAW Studios, Bruce came on board to write the second part of Bad Planet. And, cooler than that, we’re re-launching Alien Worlds as a graphic novel, with brand new stories and brand new art.”
Jane:“This is a RAW Studios panel, and we’ve got a couple of really neat things to show you, the first of which is going to be kind of the fruition of Bad Planet, and where Bad Planet is headed for 2013 and the rest of the year. A company called Red Fly Studios came to us and said, “We want to turn Bad Planet into a third-person shooter video game. And we want to crowd fund it through Kickstarter.” So, this is the official launch of the Bad Planet video game, Kickstarter, Red Fly Studios experience.”
A Magnificent Death from a Shattered Hand
Jane:“About 3 years ago, a guy came up to my booth (at Comic-Con) named Jose Prendes. He said, “I’ve got a script I want you to read.” I get a lot of scripts. I try to look at them, but most of them end up in the circular file. But Jose’s script was great; it gripped me right away. They say, “If you don’t have them by page one, you’re not going to have them.” Jose told this fantastic, compelling, original story, but well within the genre of the great, classic westerns that we all know and love. That’s why I have Jose Prendes here. We worked on this script for, I don’t know, about a year? One thing I never got to ask you is, “Where did this script come from? What was the inspiration?”
Prendes: “Spaghetti westerns, really. I wasn’t a huge western fan, but then I started watching Leone’s stuff, Martino and Castellari and all those movies. They just blew my mind. I wanted to make something gritty, where nobody’s clean cut. Nobody owns a fucking farm. Everybody’s a bad guy, everybody’s dirty, and everybody’s shooting each other. That’s the kind of western I wanted to make, and so did Tom.”
Surprise short film
Jane: “We’re about to roll something that’s from a group of fans to another group of fans, something that I have a love affair with. There are very few people that you meet in your life that you feel an instant connection with, Ron Perlman is one of those guys for me. Earlier in the year, I had this little thing that we were going to put together, and the first guy I called was Ron. I said, “Ron, let me tell you about it.” He said, “No, man; I’m in.” I don’t have to say anything else, that’s the kind of guy Ron is. And I love the guy. Ronny hasn’t seen it yet so we thought we’d show it to Ron and invite a bunch of fans that might enjoy it, too.”
And with that the crowd exploded. It was one of those unique Comic-Com moments that you can’t really experience anywhere else.
After the panel was over, I caught up with Tim Bradstreet and asked if the film would be released anywhere or if this was a one-time deal. He said that they were hoping to get it out online but weren’t able to say for sure. The main reason why they wanted to do the film in the first place, he explained, was in the hopes of getting Marvel interested in putting Frank Castle back on the big screen with Jane as the lead.
RAW Studios seem to have a knack for bucking trends, and this was certainly no exception. Comic-Con could use more of this kind of thing. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year.
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