- In a depressing update to the Stormwatch news posted here last week, Rich Johnston is reporting that Stormwatch: Team Achilles is not going to release issue #24 at all. According to the report, Wildstorm’s Scott Dunbier has stated that the book will not be re-solicited and the story will not be concluded. More on Micah’s soap opera as it unfolds.
- Rich Johnston reports that one of Grant Morrison’s upcoming works for DC will be entitled Seven Soldiers. It will spotlight seven B-list characters, each with their own mini-series. All seven mini-series will tie together in some roundabout way. Johnston also says that Morrison is interested in writing Superman sometime in the future, but only if Frank Quitely draws it.
- Johnston’s rumor mill also has it that two of DC’s Focus series, Touch and Fraction, are going to be cancelled after the release of issue #6.
- It has been guaranteed that there will be no interruptions at all during the publication of the third volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Of course, they said that last time.
- Leonardo Manco will be taking over sole penciling duties on Hellblazer beginning with #201. Three artists will pencil issue #200: An old fan favorite (Steve Dillon), the current penciller (Marcelo Frusin), and the future one being Manco.
- For those of you familiar with the popular 80′s comic Grimjack, published by First Comics, the lovable guy is coming back courtesy of IDW Publishing. IDW will be putting out reprints of old material from First as well as new material to be written by John Ostrander and drawn by Tim Truman, the original creators of the series.
The Genre Within the Genre
There’s some sexy undercover work around the corner. In the wake of the enormously successful X-Men films and the popularity of the hit TV show Alias, Marvel took a chance on its own hot, ass-kicking espionagette Mystique. Now, we all know that Marvel’s unspoken motto is ‘more is always better’ and to prove it they’ve has gone back to the well for the next femme fatale du jour. The result: Black Widow. The recently revived character is getting her own ongoing title to be written by novelist Richard K. Morgan. More interestingly, though, is that Bill Sienkiewicz will be doing the illustrations. That alone could bring some sophistication to the title. With him on board readers may actually make some room for Black Widow in this (growing?) mini-genre.
Looking Forward to the Past
The assembly line of nostalgia keeps churning out the fuzzy feelings. Recently Marvel has brought back, or will bring back, from the dead such once-cancelled titles as Alpha Flight, What If?, Iron Fist, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, New Mutants, and Silver Surfer (I’m most assuredly leaving something out). Along with all of the other characters getting a second (or maybe fifth) chance at life, Fabian Nicieza came back to the X-Fold to write a Cable & Deadpool team-up book. It seemed like a good idea (don’t they all): Bring back two of the most popular characters from X-Force, pair them up like Oscar and Felix, and it should write itself. Maybe it is good idea. You wouldn’t have to be bogged down with the whole lineup of X-Force, right? Well, for better or for worse, the Nostalgia Express keeps on rollin’ with a new caboose. Nicieza is working on another Cable-related title along with fan-favorite Rob Liefeld in order to bring you the new and, uh, new X-Force. It has not been determined how long the series will run / last but, for now, the emphasis, as stressed by Nicieza, will be on “f-u-n”. Look for the good times to begin in the Fall (or when Liefeld’s got enough issues in the can that he can’t miss a deadline).
Over the Memorial Day weekend Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons officially pledged his exclusive allegiance to DC for the next two years. Beginning this summer Gibbons will begin to honor that agreement by roughly putting about 50% if his efforts into writing chores and the other half into art. A team-up with Alan Moore is highly unlikely due to Moore’s past gripes with DC but it is nice to daydream about the possibilities of a Minutemen mini-series based off of the unparalleled Watchmen. Gibbons’s most recent project is a 160-page graphic novel called The Originals and it, according to Dave, is a semi-autobiographical romp through a semi-English place filled with Mod-like characters. The Originals will be released by Vertigo and is the last work of his to be released before the 2-year exclusivity at DC begins.
DC and Archie Team Up for the Kids
It has been announced that DC will now release the Archie line of titles. Take the titles DC already aims at kids, add Archie, Jughead, and friends to the mix and you get what is tentatively called “DC Comics’ 2005 Kids Group”. This new line of licensed and owned characters, which already includes Teen Titans, Looney Toons, and Scooby Doo, will be putting out over twenty titles next year. A large company behind a comic line aimed at children? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Maybe the more young readers the comics industry gets, the better the whole market will be in five years when they’re tastes have grown. Kind of like Big Tobacco recruiting cigarette smokers in middle school, only with healthier results.
An Interactive Comic Book with a Pop Sensibility
Man or woman with vibrant personality,
super-human powers a must.
In his recent mini-series, Todd Nauck’s WildGuard: Casting Call has been poking fun at the latest trends in pop culture and getting readers involved at the same time. As WildGuard moved along, a multitude of Nauck’s characters were introduced and voted on by actual readers in hopes of them finding one he / she likes and championing them through to the end of the series (kind of like you would have for Ruben or Clay and if you don’t know who they are then you’re among the lucky ones). In the end, there would be one winning character that would join the other four ‘winners’, already chosen by the ‘producers’ (the first four were predetermined by Nauck himself). Part American Idol parody, part demographic research, WildGuard (a play on the term wildcard) has been blazing quite a new trail: Industry research hidden behind the facade of a reality television satire. Nauck, using the American Idol parody as a lure of familiarity, has found an interesting way to make comics interactive as well as finding out which of his characters were liked and hated. It has doubtlessly given him plenty of information on which of his characters work with readers and which ones should never grace a page again. This is the type of strategy that any comic company would jump at the chance to steal. And don’t think it won’t happen down the road.
Nauck plans on releasing a one-shot to further the team’s story and he’s also currently posting weekly strips (referred to as online episodes) on WildGuard’s website to keep you up to date on the characters’ profiles. Quite an impressive and progressive approach to the industry. You can check out more at http://www.wildguard.com.