Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guardian Project Panel at NYCC

@Wilderowens here with more NYCC info.  While at NYCC, the whole team was able to attend the Guardian Project Panel starring Stan Lee! (Unfortunately, we were not allowed cameras or recording devices, so I will do my best to explain what we saw through words and mime.)  To be honest, we had no idea what this panel was about, just that there was a Stan Lee signing attached. That sold us. We were near the front of the line and waited for about two hours, just chatting with Deadpool and working on our schedules. 

As part of this panel, we got limited edition numbered posters designed by Neal Adams, which is neat. So going in, we rush to get as close as we can to Stan..I mean, the stage.  Still no clue what's going on.  Then it starts....

I have to take a minute to talk about introductions. At these events, the moderator introduces each panelist with some small details.  However, big names don't get introductions because everyone knows them.  Stan Lee, well he hates being introduced as "the Man that needs no introduction", so he was kindly introduced as "The Man Who Loves People" Stan Lee! 

The Guardian Project is a joint venture with the National Hockey League, but is not going to be a hockey story.  The main protagonist will be a human boy who has the ability to summon a number of heroes with a wide range of unique powers.  The heroes will be original creations from Stan Lee, each based on an NHL team.  There weren't any clarifications made about the actual plot, but based on what we saw it seemed kind of like a Ben 10-esque action show targeting a younger audience.

Stan Lee talked about how he played street hockey as a kid and how excited he was to work on this. He was originally going to do this with another unnamed league but they dropped out at the last minute.  He loves hockey so to do this with the NHL seems like his dream come true.  Stan Lee was the one who brought Neal Adams in to create the art, which is spectacular.

We also heard from some staffers on the project and learned some fun facts.  This project took eight years to figure out how to work a story around the teams.  The NHL saw this as a great way to connect with their younger fan base.  They truly wanted to be partners in this project.  We got to see an exclusive trailer with the characters.  (And this is where the mime begins.) We saw all 30 characters but they ran by very, very quickly for the most part.   The one that really stuck with me was the San Jose Sharks hero, who was a regular guy with a shark head.  He looked really cool.  They also showcased the NY Rangers hero (way to play to the crowd) and he was an actually ranger!  The one that they featured the most was the LA Kings, who appears to be the centerpiece of the NHL Guardians.  In the video, they also talked about motion capturing actors to simulate the heroes, which leads me to believe that this might also be a TV series but nothing was clarified.

Here is a shadowed trailer from the Guardian Project website:

The initial reaction from comic book fans that I spoke with about this was a not-so-optimistic reaction.  I have to admit, my first thought was similar, but after they kept talking about it, I began to change my mind.

1- They are creating brand new characters, not reusing the mascots.
2- The stories are told in the hockey world, but not about hockey.
3- These comics are not for you and me, they are being written for a youth crowd. That makes a lot more sense.

Their big reveal is on January 30, 2011 in Raleigh, NC.  Stay tuned here for more updates.