This week in Super Folk, Publishers Weekly’s superhero news roundup, the latest DC and Marvel news from Fan Expo Canada, Image and Comixology offer digital #1s for free, details emerge for upcoming Image titles and Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new series, and more.
Fan Expo Canada: Big News from the “Big Two”
Last weekend Toronto hosted Fan Expo Canada, the country’s largest convention celebrating all things pop culture including some big news from the comic book industry’s “Big Two,” Marvel and DC Comics.
On Sunday, DC Comics announced Justice League of America a new JLA ongoing, beginning in early 2013. The new title, written by DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns and illustrated by David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight), features a lineup of the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Catwoman, Katana, Stargirl, Vibe, Green Lantern (the new one), and team leader Steve Trevor. It will be published alongside the bestselling Justice League (also written by Johns) and focus on separate threats starting with the “Secret Society of Super-Villains.” In an interview with MTV Geek, Johns and Finch explain the appeal of using lesser-known characters, and how the team may resemble the Justice Society (which Johns has also written in the past) more than the Justice League.
Before Watchmen, another high profile DC property, was also a topic of discussion over the weekend when the publisher announced a new two-issue prequel miniseries. Before Watchmen: Moloch, written by J. Michael Straczynski (Before Watchmen: Night Owl, Dr. Manhattan) and illustrated by Eduardo Risso (Spaceman, 100 Bullets) will tell the origin of the Minutemen’s nemesis, and join the other seven prequels when it arrives in November. DC also announced that artist Bill Sienkiewicz (Daredevil) will take over as inker on Before Watchmen: Night Owl, replacing Joe Kubert who died on August 12.
In other DC news, the publisher confirmed the Arab-American identity of Baz, the new Green Lantern making his first appearance in Green Lantern #0 next month. To promote the title and the character, Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns is headlining a pair of development workshops at the Arab American National Museum in Detroit on September 8. Also, two creators, Judd Winick (Batwing) and Rob Liefeld (Grifter, The Savage Hawkman, Deathstroke) left their titles at DC. Winnick cited scheduling conflicts for the departure, while Liefeld, who a few weeks ago said he would stick around until 2013, left abruptly, citing creative differences with DC’s Editorial department. It is not known who will replace Winick, but illustrator Marat Mychaels (Hawk and Dove) will take over art duties on Grifter starting with issue #13. Finally, DC Comics released an update to its digital app (powered by Comixology) that offers increased social media integration, allowing readers to share what they’re reading with friends on Facebook and Twitter,
Marvel Comics also came to Fan Expo Cananda with some big announcements, starting with a new Morbius: The Living Vampire ongoing beginning in January. The character first appeared in 1971 as a Spider-Man villain, but has since starred in his own self-titled series in the 1970s and 1990s. The new series, written by Joe Keatinge (Glory, Hell Yeah) and illustrated by Rich Elson (Thor), takes the science-created vampire on the road and will differ from previous Morbius comics in the past in terms of tone, as well as highlight the often unseen supernatural and horror aspects of the Marvel Universe.
Marvel also announced that writer Jeff Parker (Hulk) and artist Neil Edwards (Scarlet Spider) are taking over Dark Avengers, ushering in a new era for the title with issue #184 in December. The team will consist of USAgent, Moonstone, Ragnarok, The Witch, Trickshot, The Spider Man, Ai Apaic and Skaar, Son of Hulk, all villains that see themselves otherwise who, according to Parker, will have to “make less-than-moral choice to achieve their ends.”
Hot off his Eisner win for Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, artist Ramon Perez will be joining writer Jason Aaron on Wolverine & The X-Men (replacing Nick Bradshaw) beginning with issue #25 in January. The new story arc sees the students of the Jean Grey School travel to the Savage Land and encounter Wolverine’s estranged brother, Dog. Marvel also revealed that, due to personal reasons, artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (Invincible Iron Man) will replace Marco Checchetto on the upcoming Punisher: War Zone, written by Greg Rucka. Finally, weeks after he announced his departure from Captain America, writer Ed Brubaker revealed he is also leaving Winter Soldier (starring Cap’s sidekick, Bucky Barnes) and being replaced by writer/artist Jason Latour (B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror) starting with issue #15 in January.
Image Comics: Free Digital #1s, New Series Details
On Friday, Image Comics announced it is permanently offering the #1 issues of twenty of its most popular titles for free digitally on Comixology, just in time for many of the first collected trades to reach shelves. Series include Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Thief of Thieves, by Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer and Shawn Martinborough, Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Planetoid by Ken Garing, Prophet by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy, and more.
Last week, details emerged for some of Image’s upcoming series, originally announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July. First up, writer Matt Fraction talked to Comic Book Resources about his and artist Howard Chaykin’s upcoming Satellite Sam, out in 2013. The story takes place in the 1950s and follows the son of a popular children’s show star who is found dead, after he finds a box containing pictures of all the women his father slept with. Over the course of his amateur investigation into his father’s death, the son uncovers the unscrupulous business of the early days of TV. Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus also begins in 2013 and takes place in the future where all the world’s resources are owned by a handful of familial entities, and follows Endeavor, a genetically altered woman who handles security for one of the families, who learns the truth about the world. Talking to CBR, Rucka and Lark cited the Occupy movement as inspiration for the story, and the use of allegory to tell a science fiction story that comments on today’s issues. Then there’s artist Whilce Portacio and writer Glen Brunswick’s Non-Humans, where a disease from space imbues inanimate objects with the personalities of those who own(ed) them, beginning in October.
First Details on Scott Pilgrim Creator’s New Comic
In an interview with Random House of Canada, Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of the hugely popular Scott Pilgrim series, revealed the first details on his follow-up work, Seconds, out in 2013. The comic takes place in a restaurant called Seconds, and centers on Katie, one of its employees. O’Malley said little concerning plot, but when asked if the book will resemble Scott Pilgrim’s over-the-top tone, he said that Seconds has a feeling all its own that is “grounded in the reality of the restaurant environment” which “…takes off into a story that is very strange”.
Misc. Comics News
Dark Horse announced that it will begin numbering issues of Hellboy spin-off B.P.R.D as an ongoing instead of separate miniseries, starting in October with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #100: Return of the Master #3 of 5 (as opposed to B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Return of the Master #3). The decision, said editor Scott Allie, makes it easier for fans to pick up and follow the series, which he admitted is really more of an ongoing anyway.
Boom Studios announced a new Hellraiser comic, based on the popular horror series originally created by Clive Barker. Hellraiser: The Road Below, written by Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor) and illustrated by Ibraim Roberson (Uncanny X-Men) takes place after the event of the movies and follows Kristy Cotton, who once avoided the evil Cenobites led by the infamous Pinhead, but now leads them as the queen of hell. The series begins in October.
Due to its sexually explicit content, Howards Chaykin’s Black Kiss 2, published by Image and distributed by Diamond, has been dropped by Diamond UK after UK Customs barred the second issue from entering the country. Although the first issue was also only temporarily delayed for the same reason, Diamond UK was unwilling to risk a possible delay on all its books and decided to drop the title, which, unfortunately for UK fans,was an exclusive.
In another bit of bad news, on Monday, Cerebus creator Dave Sim broke the news that the original negatives to Cerebus: High Society were recently lost in a fire of his scanner’s home in Cambridge, Ontario. A newly restored digital edition of the book was scheduled to arrive in September after a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year. As of now the book is still set to be finished and delivered, but will be delayed for the foreseeable future.
Celebrity and biographical comics publisher Bluewater Productions recently switched all distribution of its titles to Comic Flea Market from Diamond Comic Distributors, after Diamond canceled their titles due to not meeting minimal sales benchmarks. Currently, Diamond is the by far the largest comic book distributors which controls much of the mainstream distribution in the US.