Free State Comicon Report – Part Two

Kevin Nowlan
Kevin Nowlan was a featured guest at the 2011 Free State Comicon. (Click to enlarge.)

The 2011 Free State Comicon was held on Saturday, September 10th. This is our second recap and report on the show.

One of the highlights for the other comics creators at the show was the appearance of long-time comics artist Kevin Nowlan. Nowlan, who lives in south central Kansas, has been a fan favorite since his work on Marvel’s Moon Knight in the early 80’s, and his fan base includes many of the artists and writers in the area. Over the years, Nowlan has drawn dozens of comics stories and illustrated hundreds of covers. His most recent sequential work was in the one-shot Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish.

The Kansas City comics scene includes several creators whose work stretches beyond word balloons. Chris Grine is an artist for Hallmark Cards and Alex Grecian is a novelist.

Chris Grine and Alex Grecian
Chris Grine and Alex Grecian catch up on events. (Click to enlarge.)

Grine’s graphic novel series Chickenhare (published by Dark Horse Comics) has recently been optioned by Sony to adapt into an animated feature film. “Sony Pictures Animation is always looking for original characters, and Chickenhare is a true original,” said Sony spokesperson Michelle Raimo-Kouyate. “This story has everything we want in an animated film — broad comedy, heartfelt emotion, universal themes and a one-of-a-kind hero that audiences will love.”

Meanwhile, Grecian has a major book deal on his third novel, The Yard. While he’s known in comics circles as the writer of the Image Comics’ Sasquatch-starring Proof,  his novels are crime fiction. The Yard is set in Victorian England, following the events at Scotland Yard during the early days of forensic detective work. It is scheduled for release in June 2012 from Penguin/Putnam, and the publisher is planning to make a big splash with nationwide promotion of the book as a potential bestseller.

Steven Sanders and Kyle Stahm
Steven Sanders and Kyle Strahm. (Click to enlarge.)

Steven Sanders and Kyle Strahm not only have two of the better beards in the Kansas City comics scene, they’re also hot commodities as emerging comics artists. Sanders has recently worked for Marvel Comics (S.W.O.R.D., X-Men: To Serve and Protect), but his biggest splash to date is Our Love is Real, a series he’s producing with writer Sam Humphries. The first issue had a first printing of just 300 copies and now fetches as much as $90 as a collectible. After the big initial success, Sanders and Humphries have teamed up with Image Comics to publish future issues.

Strahm’s work can now be seen in Image Comics’ Hack/Slash. Strahm made a big impact in 2010 with the limited series and graphic novel We Will Bury You, which he created with writer/actress Brea Grant (Heroes).

Kevin Mellon
Kevin Mellon's upcoming comic book is set in the world of mixed martial arts.

Kevin Mellon said that he’s pleased to be working with Blair Butler on his upcoming comic book Heart, coming this fall from Image Comics. Butler is well known as a reviewer on G4’s Attack of the Show, and Mellon says that she’s written a compelling story set in the world of mixed martial arts. “It’s a bunch of dudes beating each other up, shrouding this deep and touching story about the journey people take in finding themselves,” Mellon said.

Mellon also has a brand new graphic novel just released by Image Comics. Lovestruck, written by local writer Dennis Hopeless, is the story of a band of young adults who find themselves in the employ of a modern day version of the Roman god Cupid.

Meanwhile, Dennis Hopeless has had a couple of new projects announced by Marvel Comics. He will be writing the graphic novel X-Men: Season One and a limited series featuring The Legion of Monsters.

More to come in the third installment.

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