Peter David penning Epic Mickey digicomic, graphic novel

Comic-Con 2010: Famed comic writer and Warren Spector talk about Disney's Wii game, announce a graphic novel and a prequel digicomic series subtitled <i>Tales of Wasteland</i>.

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Who was there: The panel consisted of Deus Ex creator Warren Spector and comic writer Peter David.

What they talked about: The first half of the panel focused on Disney Interactive's upcoming Wii game, Epic Mickey. The game stars the well-known mouse, who has caused quite a bit of mischief in a world known as the wasteland.

Spector, the creative director behind the game, talked about how much of a fan he was of cartoons, which began the day he was born, when his father gave him a Pluto plush toy. He eventually wrote his master's thesis on animation.

Epic Mickey will incorporate a variety of art styles for its various realms.
Epic Mickey will incorporate a variety of art styles for its various realms.

Like Walt Disney, Spector doesn't like to throw anything away. He says that the wasteland in the game is like a product of the power of Walt's imagination, where everything that has been forgotten is stored. The world is meant to be an alternate version of Disney theme parks, or "a mash-up of everything Disney has ever created," he said.

A video during the panel highlighted the various areas that Mickey will be visiting on his adventure. Levels that stood out were the black and white Steamboat Willie levels and the colorful "Plutopia" side-scrolling area. A new area was also shown, a dark manor that housed a mad doctor who hovered in a snow globe.

Spector emphasized that his goal was to honor Disney by also including elements that no longer exist in the real world but at one point had existed in the famed animator's universe. To pay homage to Disney's innovation, Spector said that the paint thinner mechanic will allow Mickey to create and remove elements and make choices that ultimately affect the story.

The game will pay homage to Mickey Mouse's entire timeline, going all the way back to the black-and-white Steamboat Willie cartoons.
The game will pay homage to Mickey Mouse's entire timeline, going all the way back to the black-and-white Steamboat Willie cartoons.

"It's not about good and evil, but what kind of hero you are," Spector said.

David, who remained relatively quiet during the first part of the panel, had something to share in the form of a video. Disney has its own digicomic application, available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, that allows users to download and read Disney comics. The digicomic will also come to the PSP, but no date or release details were announced.

David also revealed that he would be involved in writing Disney's Epic Mickey: Tales of Wasteland, a prequel broken up into six eight-page stories designed specifically for digicomics. The events take place before the game and will provide some backstory and introduce places that aren't in the game. David also let slip that there is a potential for future games as well.

Spector (left) and David.
Spector (left) and David.

The writer is also working on a 64-page graphic novel adaption of the entire game. He said, "You'd be cheating yourself if you just got the graphic novel." Given that there are multiple endings in Epic Mickey, he explained that it would be impossible to compile all its narrative into 64 pages.

Quote: "Would Disney mind buying Marvel comics?"--Peter David, when telling the story about how he was initially approached to do the graphic novel for Disney, but at the time he was under an exclusive contract with Marvel.

The takeaway: Everything works out in the end. With Disney having bought Marvel last year, Peter David's contract no longer matters.

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