Donny Cates made sure his NYCC spotlight panel with Ryan Stegman was a fun one. They were joined by special guest Frank Tieri and “the lackeys,” who served as pseudo moderators for the free-wheeling panel. It started off with Cates cracking joke after joke, mocking the ever-present Foundation trailer that seems to play before every panel, and giving the lackeys a hard time for not getting them coffee.
The large portion of the panel was focused on Cates and Stegman’s Substack comics. They talked about Vanish, their first creator-owned work together and Stegman’s first overall. He described it by saying “What if Harry Potter didn’t suck?” Cates tried to give the audience an idea of what the comic was about, but couldn’t help but go off on Harry Potter rants.
The creators discussed some perks for Substack subscribers and talked about their monthly hangouts in which they talk to fans while Stegman draws a sketch to then give away to a lucky subscriber. They also mentioned Flood, a Substack book from Cates and his wife he described as underwater Mad Max meets Cormac McCarthy.
The discussion went off the rails a bit when the new Venom: Let There Be Carnage film was brought up. Cates deadpanned, “Tom Hardy did a job,” and commented his Venom sounded very Grover-like. He joked about some of the film’s plot holes, like symbiotes’ inconsistent aversion to loud sounds and fire, and then moved on by saying, “Other than that, it was flawless.”
Some other quips of note from today’s panel:
- Cates joked their Substack would turn into an Only Fans “real quick” if his Marvel career “tanks.” “I wanna see some Venom taint,” Tieri joked.
- Cates said one of their goals with Vanish was to do what they couldn’t at Marvel. “What if we blew up the moon?”
- Cates expressed his desire to write Spider-Man someday, commenting that was why the webhead shows up in so much of his work. “I’m not gonna leave this Earth until I am the writer of Spider-Man.“
- Stegman simply forgot he did a story in a book called Teddy and the Yeti and had to be reminded by a fan.
- Cates teased three new events in the next couple of years, implying one could be Thanos-centric. There was a reason his first Guardians of the Galaxy arc was about Thanos’ conscious being downloaded in a new body.
- One of the final questions was about whom they’d want to see play Knull if the character was ever brought into film. Cillian Murphy, Peter Capaldi, and Mads Mikkelsen were thrown out as suggestions, as well as Rowan Atkinson and Bill Murray. Cates said Keanu Reeves would be “pretty fucking rowdy.”
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