The Final Chapter?
If you didn’t see this coming then I have taught you nothing. It’s no surprise that CrossGen has filed for bankruptcy. The company’s debt has risen to around $3.5 million and that amount doesn’t even include all of the people and entities that are owed money by CG. Some say that CrossGen founder Mark Alessi was counseled to file Chapter 11 months ago but the paperwork was just processed last week. With no solicitations for the month of September and a definite absence from this July’s San Diego Comic Con the obvious reaction is that, if you’re a fan, you should stop shaking your head in bewilderment and go out, grab, and enjoy CrossGen’s few remaining lame duck titles.
Take That, Austen Haters!
If CrossGen is the industry whipping boy as far as companies go, then Chuck Austen is the human equivalent of whipping boy status. With Rob Liefeld coming in at a close second, I can’t think of more criticism aimed at any other individual in the history of sequential art. He been accused of it all: Continuity mix-ups, poor plot, bad dialogue, you name it. And some of it, rightly so (many would claim that most of the criticism is warranted) but I won’t go deep into opinions.
Well, despite what I, or anyone else, may think about Chuck’s style and ideas, he has weathered the hatestorm and come out the other side of it with what could turn out to be his best work to date: Worldwatch. Published by his own label, Wild and Wooly Press, Worldwatch is a mature readers title that seems to be in the same vein as the original Stormwatch (in concept) and Authority (in raw energy). Based on the panels I saw, there is a fair share of nudity and swearing which doesn’t always relate to a good story but coupled with his claims that this mini-series was partly inspired by the Watchmen series you can already tell that Chuck is going for some (much needed) critical acclaim. Based on all of the flak that Austen’s gotten over the past few years it would be nice to see him hit this one out of the park. Look for the first of its seven issues to appear in July.
2099: A New Beginning, But…
The good news for fans of the old Marvel 2099 imprint is that it’s coming back this September. The bad news for a lot of those fans is that it won’t feature any of the characters from the original 1990′s line up. In fact it doesn’t even take place in the same continuity; a new one has been created. To be released are five one-shots, all written by Robert (Invincible) Kirkman, about heroes in “another possible future” of the Marvel Universe. That’s right, no Miguel O’Hara as Spider-Man 2099. According to Kirkman’s vision of the year 2099, Miguel doesn’t exist. Instead you will get Daredevil 2099, Black Panther 2099, Punisher 2099 (not the same one), Inhumans 2099, and Mutant 2099 (a completely new concept).
Aside from Mutant 2099, does this line up look familiar? It should. These characters were the first ones to get published under the Marvel Knights imprint in 1999. The marketing ploy here is that these one-shots are being released as the 100-year anniversary (get it?) of the first full year of Marvel Knights comics and that leads us to the name of this new imprint: Marvel Knights 2099. Excited? I’m sure a lot of the fans of the old 2099 (myself included) are making the “we’ll see” face.
Your Friendly Indian Spider-Man
Marvel is taking a multi-cultural leap forward by allowing Gotham Entertainment, the South Asian publishing licensee for Marvel and DC Comics, to completely create and publish a four-part series based on a brand new, Indian version of Spider-Man entitled Spider-Man India. From the waist up Pavitr Prabhakar is drawn to look almost identical to Peter Parker’s version of Spidey, but from the waist down he has on Prince of Persia-looking ethnic garb (seeing is easier than explaining). If things go well, you can expect more from the Indian Spidey as well as others from the Marvel Universe. Details on an American release in English are yet to appear.
Neil Gaiman stated in his online journal this week that DC is developing an adaptation for his book Neverwhere. There are no confirmations at this point as to who the writer or artist is.
A Hellboy mini-comic will be found exclusively in Blockbuster’s version of the Hellboy movie DVD. The comic’s story is a previously released one entitled “The Corpse”.
In ongoing title news from Marvel, Dr. Strange will be returning in a new series brought to you by J. Michael Straczynski and Brandon Peterson. Also, the Thor: Son of Asgard mini-series, written by Akira Yoshida and penciled by Greg Tocchini, has just been promoted to ongoing status due to “popular demand.”