This week in Super Folk, Publishers Weekly’s superhero news column, DC reveals, two new series and some Before Watchmen news, Marvel takes March thanks to Avengers Vs. X-Men despite overall monthly decrease, a new Witchblade, a new KISS comic, Eisner Nominations, and more.

DC Lays Down a Pair of New Titles

Last week DC Comics shed some light on two new titles, separate from the publishers imminent “Second Wave” of its New 52 comics. First, a new He-Man comic book called Masters of The Universe (based on the sci-fi adventure cartoon from the 1980s), written by James Robinson (Earth 2, The Shade) and illustrated by Philip Tan (The Savage Hawkman). The new six-issue miniseries begins in July and takes place in a world where series villain Skeletor has already conquered the mythic land of Eternia and the world’s heroes have forgotten their identities. Also in July DC is launching National Comics, a new ongoing series showcasing some of the publisher’s more offbeat characters in original standalone stories. Beginning with a Kid Eternity story by Jeff Lemire and Cully Hamner, National Comics will feature a different character and creative team each issue.

Before Watchmen at Kapow, and Creators Open Up

The Kapow! Comic Convention announced that top DC executives including Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, Editor Will Dennis, and senior vice president of sales Bob Wayne, will be attending the convention in London in May to discuss Before Watchmen, which begins this summer, at the DC All Access Panel. In similar news, Before Watchmen creators Darwyn Cooke and Brian Azzarello both opened up about working on the series, which has been a fiercely divisive issue since it was announced in February. In an interview with science fiction news blog io9, Darwyn Cooke, writer and artist on Before Watchmen: Minutemen and writer on Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre (with artist Amanda Conner), admitted to originally rejecting the offer only to accept about a year later when an exciting idea for a story “fell into [his] head.” Azzarello, who is writing the Rorschach miniseries (with artist Lee Bermejo) and The Comedian miniseries (with artist J.G. Jones), on the other hand, in an interview with IGN was attracted to the book’s controversial nature like a “moth to the flame.” Both are confident that when the issues arrive, most fans’ skepticism will dissipate and they’ll come on board.

DC Comics also hinted at major revelations in its Free Comic Book Day offering, specifically concerning Pandora, the mysterious character that inexplicably appeared in the background of all the first issues of the New 52 titles. Free Comic Book Day is May 5th. Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns also hinted at big things to come in Green Lantern (a title he writes) including a “third army” that could potentially replace the Green Lantern Corps.

A Marvelous March Despite Overall Decrease

Thanks in part to the prequel and first issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Marvel Comics took both the top spot in market and dollar share for the month of March, despite overall sales dipping after a streak of positive months. The two issues also took the top two best-selling comics for the month, dethroning Justice League, which dropped to 3th. Although AvX #1 technically came out in April, the book was shipped to retailers a week early (to ensure delivery) thus it was counted in March. Overall sales for AvX have broken 200,000 and after reorders it seems poised to break 250K as was predicted. Marvel’s other debut issue, Avengers Assemble (a sort of companion series to The Avengers movie, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagely) was the fifth best-selling issue.

To celebrate the start of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Marvel teamed up with MTV Geek for Avengers VS. X-Men: War Journals, “an unprecedented new video series going behind the scenes of the year’s most important comic book event.” The series kicked off its inaugural episode at Midtown Comics in Times Square, New York last week.

Bendis to Release Book on Graphic Novels

Brian Michael Bendis, the superstar writer (and driving creative force behind the “Avengers” franchise) announced that he is writing a non-fiction book on creating comics titled Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Graphic Novels, published by Random House and slated for 2013. The book will not necessarily be a how-to book, claims Bendis, but instead offer advice the veteran writer has learned to those looking to break into the business.

New Series From Fraction and Aja Coming

On Monday, Marvel announced a brand new ongoing series from writer Matt Fraction (Iron Man, Fear Itself) and artist David Aja (Red Skull, Secret Avengers) to be announced at the “Cup O’ Joe” panel at Chicago’s C2E2 on April 15. The news was released with an image of the words “coming soon” which may or may not reveal something about the new series.

New Witchblade at Dynamite, KISS at IDW, and Abnett & Lanning at BOOM!

Dynamite Entertainment announced Witchblade: Demon Reborn, the sequel to 2003’s Witchblade: Demon (written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Jae Lee). The new series, by writer Ande Parks and artist Jose Luis, takes place a year after the original and follows Sara Pezzini as she battles a serial killer she once exiled to hell who has emerged with the hopes of dragging Sara back down with him. Witchblade: Demon Reborn kicks off in July.

IDW announced a new KISS comic, based on the heavy metal band, coming this June. The series, titled KISS, is written by IDW Chief Creative Officer and Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall and Tom Waltz (on alternating arcs) and is illustrated by Jamal Igle and Casey Maloney. Ryall, a lifelong KISS fan, said that the new comic will be similar to the old KISS comics from Marvel, and star the band’s four members’ stage personas, The Demon (Gene Simmons), Starchild (Paul Stanley), Spaceman (Ace Frehley) and Catman (Peter Criss) as talisman wielding superheroes.

Finally, BOOM! Studios revealed that frequent collaborators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are working on a “cosmic” project. The publisher has not provided any further details, but Abnett and Lanning have worked on similarly themed comics, particularly for Marvel, in the past.

Eisner Nominations

The Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards for outstanding comic works released its nominations for 2011 with Marvel’s Daredevil (by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera) coming up big with six nominations including Best Continuing Series, Best Single Issue and Best Artist. Other notable superhero titles include Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli) also up for Best Continuing Series, Flashpoint – Batman: Knight of Vengeance (By Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso) for Best Limited Series, artist Chris Samnee for his work on Captain America and Bucky and Ultimate Spider-Man. For a full list of nominations, click here. Curiously, the Best New Series category was left out this year due to, according to the Awards committee, a lack of deserving content. (For Publishers Weekly previous coverage on the awards, click here).

New Series Announcements

More new series! First, at Emerald City Comic Con, artist Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Takio) announced an original mature superhero title called Victories. The new series centers on a member of the superhero team known as “The Victories,” who is grappling with his past. Victories #1 drops in August.

Rebellion (owner of the UK’s weekly comics anthology 2000AD) released a trio of teaser images for what could be a new comic book series. Each image has a mysterious symbol on it and promises “They Are Coming” with a May 2 date. The company, mostly known for its video games, has not released any further information.

From Studio 407 comes Fictionauts, a new series by Mauro Mantella and Leandro Rizzo, follows a group of scientists who bring to life and subsequently must defeat characters from fiction, both good and evil. The series creators promise “over-the-top pulp action, humor and high-concept science fiction with some of the most famous literary characters.” Fictionauts is out in June.

Finally, screenwriter Zak Penn, known for his work on films such as X2: X-Men United, The Incredible Hulk and the upcoming The Avengers adaptation is teaming up with writer Scott Murphy (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and artist Michael DiPascale (Lady Death, Crossed) for Hero Worship, a new six-issue miniseries about an omnipotent hero named Zenith, and the dark side of his overwhelming popularity. Publisher Avatar promises a cape-and-cowl story that will push the boundaries and make readers think differently about superheroes.

Jack Staff on Indefinite Hiatus

In the latest issue of Mudman, series creator Paul Grist addressed readers and told them he was putting his long running and critically acclaimed superhero title, Jack Staff (currently titled The Weird World of Jack Staff) on hold indefinitely. The most recent issue, #6, came out in 2010 while issues #7-9 were solicited for later that year. Grist attributes lackluster sales and more focus on Mudman as the reasons behind the move.