TRON, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Muppets and Epic Mickey were the topics of discussion today during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel at the 5th annual New York Comic-Con which kicked off today in New York City.
Briefly touching upon TRON, preview pages of the prequel graphic novel TRON: Betrayal and The Art of TRON: Legacy were shared. Since the titles themselves as well as many of the other TRON: Legacy titles (mostly geared towards tweens) were made available to browse through at the Disney Publishing Worldwide booth, there wasn’t much more needing to be mentioned on the topic.
More juicy news could be found in the discussion regarding Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Chanties. With a cover by Eric Powell of The Goon and the writing talents including those such as Bryan Q. Miller and Rob Kidd (author of the Young Jack Sparrow series), the described graphic novel anthology will consist of one main story and six short stories. Currently slated to be released on April 19, 2011, the graphic novel will serve as a prequel to not only Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but will include stories going back as far as pre-dating the first film. Although it’s still early in development, stories are said to include dueling Jacks (Sparrow and the monkey that is), Barbossa and the skeleton curse. In preparation for the movie, Blackbeard and other yet-known characters will also be included in the stories.
Next on the docket was the multi-platform integration of books and the digital world. Going forward, it’s reasonable to expect that at least all of Disney’s original graphic novel properties will include some digital aspect. The first one talked about, whose introduction arrived in the way of a sample video, was the Muppets motion comic, debuting this fall. Based on Roger Langridge’s Meet the Muppets for BOOM! Studios, the Muppets motion comic will be made available on the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Microsoft Xbox Live, Amazon Video Store, Sony PSN and DVD. The sample video included a Muppet News Flash with the Newsman, a commentary by Statler and Waldorf and a brief appearance by Kermit the Frog.
Epic Mickey was the property on which most time was spent and it was here that it was first announced that there would be an Epic Mickey app for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, which is expected to be released next week. Although it was previously announced that Peter David would be creating a 64 page graphic novel prequel for Epic Mickey as well as a digicomics version, the panel spent a great deal of time explaining the details in how the comics will be deployed. The app will be free and will contain some basic content such as the game’s trailer, character bios and the first of the six stories in the Tales from the Wasteland, presumably ‘Clocktower Cleaners.’ The remaining five stories can be purchased in-app as a bundle for $2.99. On November 30, with the game launch, the app will be updated to make way for additional items such as the graphic novel itself (in-app purchase for $3.99), motion comics (first free, remaining five for $1.99 each or bundled for $8.99).
Also mentioned and re-confirmed (as Amazon.com had once listed it) is that there will be an Epic Mickey: It’s Your Call book which is Disney’s answer to the Choose Your Own Adventure type books of yore. Don’t expect to see it anytime soon though, I was told it won’t be released until summer 2011. Also coming in summer, although I don’t believe it was mentioned at the panel, but was told to me later, is The Art of Epic Mickey which will be done in the same vein as the existing ‘Art of’ titles.
Lastly, but by no means least, was the re-announcement that Disney Publishing has teamed up with Fantagraphics to produce a series of the ‘definitive’ collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley is the first title which is set to be released on May 18, 2011. In an effort to maintain the integrity of the original comics, the teams have gone to the Walt Disney Studio Archives and are ‘restoring’ the artwork to ensure that the integrity of the original colors and vision of the comics is maintained.
At the Disney Interactive Booth on the New York Comic-Con floor, both TRON: Evolution and Epic Mickey were offered as playable demos. I had the opportunity to play some of the Gremlin Village Ticket Booth level of Epic Mickey, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Disneyland model’s Fantasyland. Not too much to report on that, other than it is pretty fun and forgiving to play and I learned that in the full game, there’s a full ride inside ‘it’s a small world’ available. Unfortunately in the demo mode, playing inside the attraction just ended the demo, so I’ll have to wait until November 30 for that one. I also received confirmation from a developer of the game that something mentioned during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel was true. According to them, the endgame cinematic is very emotional and — if I heard things correctly — it’s even said to make Warren Spector shed a tear.
Make sure to read our coverage of the NYCC Epic Mickey panel here.