This week in Super Folk, Publishers Weekly’s superhero news hub, Marvel NOW shakes things up this fall, DC Comics’ upcoming titles, annuals and creator changes, new from Dark Horse, Image and Boom, Diamond Digital Launches and June Sales.
After months of rumors concerning a major shake-up following the conclusion of Avengers Vs. X-Men, last week Marvel Comics announced Marvel NOW, a bold relaunch initiative set to kick off in October. Similar to DC Comics’ New 52 reboot from last year, Marvel NOW aims to push the Marvel universe in a new direction while refreshing the publisher’s line of books by introducing new titles and creative teams. However, unlike the New 52, which launched all fifty-two comics in one month, Marvel is taking a more gradual approach, offering new titles and jumping-on points in existing titles every week from October to February 2013.
Leading off Marvel NOW in October is Uncanny Avengers, a new title written by Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers) and illustrated by John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Planetary), a “bridge book” that takes place in the aftermath of AvX and features a lineup including Avengers-mainstays like Captain America and Thor, as well as mutants such as The Scarlet Witch and Havok (Cyclops’ younger brother). Then in November there’s Avengers, which is switching to a bi-weekly title written by Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four, Ultimates) and illustrated by Jerome Opena (Uncanny X-Force), which stars a more classic Avengers lineup in large-scale cosmic stories. Hickman will also be writing a TBA New Avengers, illustrated by Steve Epting (Captain America), beginning in January. Writer Brian Michael Bendis, long thought to be taking over the X-Men line, is in fact writing All-New X-Men, illustrated by Stuart Immonen, a new X-men series starring the original 1960s X-Men (including the long MIA Jean Grey) displaced into today’s Marvel universe.
In a follow-up teaser released Monday, Marvel teased Marvel NOW Point One, asking “Who Will Shape the Future of the Marvel Universe” with an image featuring Nick Fury Jr.
Other Marvel News
In other Marvel news, the publisher announced Wolverine MAX, the newest addition to the MAX line of mature-themed titles such as Punisher MAX and Fury MAX. Beginning in October, Wolverine MAX, written by crime author Jason Starr, will take place in modern Japan and feature a more realistically violent take on the character. Starr also promises to peel back a bit of Wolverine’s past, and hinted at a few cameos including his nemesis Sabretooth. Marvel also teased something called “Minimum Carnage,” beginning in October, promising more information at the Amazing Spider-Man panel at Comic-Con this weekend. Finally, Marvel pulled back the curtain on Daredevil: End of Days, a new miniseries that explores a hypothetical future Marvel universe in which Daredevil is murdered. The miniseries, written by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack and illustrated by Klaus Janson and Bill Sienkiewicz, is set to begin in October.
Once again, comic sales enjoyed a positive month as well as an overall positive first half of the year. According to ICv2, June sales were up 10.18% over last year, boosted by big releases like Avengers Vs. X-Men and Before Watchmen. Overall, the first half of 2012 is up 18.16% over that of 2011. Marvel took a slim lead in market share, 33.77% to DC’s 33.03%, but DC led Marvel in unit share 38,23% to Marvel’s 37.82%. Image held fast at third with 7.36%, followed by IDW at 6.22%, Dark Horse with 4.51% Dynamite with 2.82% and Boom Studios with 1.25%. Avengers Vs, X-Men #6 and5 took the top two spots, respectively, followed by Batman and Justice League and then four Before Watchmen issues and Spider-Man #1. The Walking Dead Volume 16 was the top-selling graphic novel, followed by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century 2009 and Watchmen.
DC Comics in October, Mexico
Last week DC announced a string of creator changes set to take place in October. First, Tony Daniel, who previously said he was leaving Detective Comics, will draw a new two-issue arc of Justice League, written by Geoff Johns, beginning with #13. The storyline will reintroduce classic Wonder Woman villain The Cheetah. To replace Daniel on Detective Comics will be writer John Layman (Chew) and artist Jason Fabok (Batman Annual) with a story featuring Nightwing and The Penguin. Ann Nocenti (Green Arrow) will be the new writer on Catwoman, joined be artists Adriana Melo and Julio Ferreira, beginning with issue #13 with a new origin story. Finally, Dan Jurgens (Green Arrow, Justice League International) will write and draw The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Men.
October also brings a Green Lantern crossover event, which will include Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, and Red Lanterns, and deal with the teased “Third Army” and feature an all-new human Green Lantern (teased on the cover of September’s Green Lantern #0).
In late October, DC Comics will begin publishing Joe Kubert Presents, a new six-issue anthology series featuring the work of the legendary writer/artist, as well as other writer/artists Brian Buniak and Sam Glanzman. The series will contain standalone stories starring classic Kubert characters such as Hawkman, The Redeemer and Sgt. Rock.
DC Comics Presents #13 will begin a new story arc featuring the return of two heroes that have yet to be seen in the New 52 DC Universe. Blue Devil and Black Lightning will team-up in a new story written by Marc Andreyko (Captain America and Bucky) and illustrated by Robson Rocha (Demon Knights).
Finally, DC Comics announced a number of new annual issues for October including Action Comics Annual #1 (written by Sholly Fisch and illustrated by Cully Hamner), Batgirl Annual #1 (written by Gail Simon and illustrated by Admira Wijaya), Justice League Dark Annual #1 (written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Mikel Janen) and Swamp Thing Annual #1 (written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Becky Cloonan).
After losing its publishing license through Editorial Vid a few months ago, DC Comics has resumed publication in Mexico, reports Bleeding Cool, this time through Editorial Televisa. The company has begun publishing some of the New 52 including Justice League, The Flash and Batman, as well as the original graphic novel Batman: Earth One.
Diamond Digital Launches
On Monday, Diamond Digital, the digital storefront service from Diamond Comics Distributors and iVerse, officially launched after months of beta testing. The new service allows retailers to sell digital comics and other content through in-store redemption codes as well as online through their own DD-augmented sites or the service’s website. Diamond Digital also released its Digital Comics Reader App for iOS and Android, which allows readers to freely access and store their purchases.
New and returning series from Dark Horse, Image, Boom, Dynamite and Howard Chaykin. Last week, Dark Horse announced the return of Billy the Kid with the release of Billy The Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness, a new ongoing by writer Eric Powell (The Goon) and artist Kyle Hotz. Beginning in October, the series follows Billy on his way to Scotland with a mission to save his friend, Callahan, from Count Dracula. Dark Horse is also teaming up with IDW for an inter-publisher crossover of Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night (both written by Steve Niles). Kicking off in December, the crossover, written by Niles and illustrated by Christopher Mitten, stars Criminal Macabre’s Cal McDonald on a manhunt for 30 Days of Night’s Eben in Alaska, after the murder in LA by a new vampire villain. Finally, Dark Horse announced the November 21st release of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Conqueror Worm, the first in an upcoming series of Poe adaptations by Richard Corben.
Image co-founder Marc Silvestri revealed he is reviving Cyber Force. Top Cow will publish the series, but Silvestri plans to use Kickstarter to fund the first issue, due out in October and then offer each subsequent issue for free in both print and digital formats. Silvestri will serve as co-writer, along with Top Cow president Matt Hawkins, and Koi Pham will provide the art.
After a pair of cryptic teaser images released a few weeks ago, Boom Stuidos revealed its upcoming series, Freelancers. Written by Ian Brill and illustrated by Joshua Covery, Freelancers follows LA bounty hunters Val and Cassie, two kung-fu and weapons experts with little in common in terms of personality. On Comic Book Resources, Brill emphasized the stylish look of the series, but promised the characters would not be overly sexualized.
Dynamite Entertainment announced a new Vampirella crossover, pitting the titular blood -sucker against Fluffy the Vampire Slayer in a new miniseries written by Mark Rahner and illustrated by Cezar Rezak, and the latest in Rahner’s Vampirella mash-ups (last was a play on Twilight). Vampirella Vs. Fluffy begins in October.
Hermes Press revealed a new Buck Rogers comic book series written and drawn by Howard Chaykin. While little was divulged, the new series is set to be a send-up to the classic science fiction series and have much of the same look and feel as the old comic strip.
Aw Yeah Comics and Harvey Nominations
Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, team behind the Eisner Award-winning series Tiny Titans, are creating a new creator-owned all-ages series called Aw Yeah Comics. Beginning in September, the new comic will star Action Cat, Adventure Bug, Awesome Bear and Daring Dog and feature a rotating team of creators.
Last week, the nominees for the 2012 Harvey Awards were announced, with a slew of superhero creators receiving nominations. Check out the full list here. Winners will be announced at Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8-9.