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CHIANG-ing it Up: Cliff's New WONDER WOMAN Co-Writer Role

CHIANG-ing it Up: Cliff's New WONDER WOMAN Co-Writer Role | Comic Books |

via (Chris Arrant)

Artist Cliff Chiang is now officially co-writer on Wonder Woman with Brian Azzarello, and talks about what's to come.

One of the reasons why DC’s New 52 came about was to give a fresh take on DC’s storied cast of characters, and no book has lived up to that goal more than Wonder Woman. Writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang took the Amazonian princess back to her roots in the backstabbing world of Greek gods and defining Diana’s role in it and the world beyond.

And with April’s Wonder Woman #8, Chiang will be taking on a new role in addition to drawing the book: co-writer. Chiang and Azzarello have worked together prior to this series, and it’s a testament to that partnership that Azzarello asked Chiang to become more involved in the development of the story going forward. DC has ushered a number of artists into expanded roles as writers like J.H. Williams III, Francis Manapul, David Finch, and Tony Daniel; Cliff Chiang is next in that pantheon.

Newsarama talked with Chiang about what’s coming next, from boy gods to Wonder Woman’s new family and even into the depths of Hell itself.

Newsarama: Cliff, you’re set to return to the Wonder Woman series with next month’s Wonder Woman #7. What can we look forward to?

Cliff Chiang After the game-changing events in issues 5 & 6, Wonder Woman goes to Hell to rescue a loved one, but Hell will turn out to be an even worse place than she imagined.

Nrama: In the cover to issue #7 we see Wonder Woman forging a sword - presumably to use for herself. How does that factor into what comes next?

Chiang: Though he may look like a small boy, Hades is not to be underestimated. She's going to need help. And weapons. So she pays a visit to one her new uncles, the divine blacksmith Hephaestus.

Nrama: In the solicitations for Wonder Woman #8, you’re credited as artist and co-writer. What brought about this additional duty, and can you tell us about the process with you and Brian?

Chiang: Our creative process is pretty fluid, and both of us are concerned foremost with storytelling, so it just made sense for me to be involved at an earlier stage rather than do the book full-script. We'll throw ideas back and forth, he'll ask me to put on my old "editor's hat" for feedback on scripts, so really we're just making the process more official.

Nrama: People may not remember, but before you began your comic artist career you were an editor at Vertigo.

Chiang: Right. Basically, it's old school "Marvel-style," where I'll begin breaking down from a plot. Brian is still driving this thing, I'm just getting to add my two cents about the road we take.

Nrama: Will this be a permanent change or something just for this arc?

Chiang: We'll see how it goes! We're open to trying some new things, and I hope this ends up being creatively fruitful. I've always preferred comics that really rely on visual storytelling. It's what makes comics special. Otherwise, you're better off reading a novel.

Nrama: However you slice it, it’s still you and Brian forging ahead with this new direction for DC’s flagship female. One of your stated goals was to make Wonder Woman mean something again, and you've definitely done that. Now that the series is out and it's a success, what are your longer term goals for the character & the title?

Chiang: We've only started building the foundation for the series. We're going to introduce more gods, more intrigue, and some unlikely allies as we get a sense of the bigger picture and the monstrous threat on the horizon.

Nrama: You have a clear artistic vision for this series, and from interviews people can really tell you're invested in the book. What's it like having a guest artist like Tony Akins come in for Wonder Woman #5 and #6 and take what you've done and go with it, especially with you coming back on soon after?

Chiang: I think Tony's done some fantastic work. While I would love to draw every issue, it's simply not possible for me right now, and it would be a mistake to get proprietary about it. I was part of a rotating art team before on Human Target, and it's great when you have a team that works together as smoothly as this one.

Nrama: In addition to brandishing a new take on Diana, you've also done new renditions of a number of gods and godly people like Hades. Will we be seeing more of that in the near future?

Chiang: Absolutely. We introduce Hephaestus and his son Eros in issue 7, and they are a lot of fun to draw. Hephaestus, in particular, has allowed me to push things in more of a Jack Kirby direction, while Eros is quite modern and flamboyant.

Nrama: Now that you're several issues into the book, how has the response been from fans online and at conventions and stores for you?

Chiang: It's been really rewarding to hear how readers are enjoying the book. People often tell me they've never picked up a Wonder Woman book before, while others are excited to come back. When all is said and done, my biggest hope is that we've expanded the possibilities of what a Wonder Woman book can be.

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The Avengers Superbowl Trailer Is Here – And It’s Extended

The Avengers Superbowl Trailer Is Here – And It’s Extended | Comic Books | (Brendon Connelly)

Here's the new TV spot for The Avengers as premiered during the Superbowl - just, longer now. And that's a good thing.

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via (Josh Kushins)


We recently announced that writer/artist Rob Liefeld will be bringing his distinctive sensibilities to DEATHSTROKE, GRIFTER and THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 – and here’s a look at the full creative teams for those series.

On GRIFTER, Liefeld’s stories will be scripted by Frank Tieri, whose previous DC Comics work includes JSA CLASSIFIED, GOTHAM UNDERGROUND and BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS. Scott Clark will remain the ongoing series artist. Scripter Mark Poulton will support Liefeld’s vision on THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN. Poulton’s notable recent work includes a reboot of Liefeld’s AVENGELYNE for Image Comics. HAWKMAN will be illustrated by Joe Bennett, whose prior DC Comics work includes TEEN TITANS, HAWKMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST.

And on DEATHSTROKE, Liefeld will shoulder both writing and illustration duties, kicking off a new storyline with a battle royale between the mercenary against intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo.

Liefeld and the new creative teams join these three series beginning with their ninth issues in May. Check out the covers for all three series here at The Source.

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Spider-Man Gets Another New Costume in Spider-Man: Ends Of The Earth

Spider-Man Gets Another New Costume in Spider-Man: Ends Of The Earth | Comic Books |

Spider-Man: Ends Of The Earth is the storyline that writer Dan Slott says he’s been building up to, with Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six launching numerous world threats simultaneously.

Marvel teased a look at the new costume Spider-Man will be donning, and now we get the colour scheme. Red and blue, mostly.

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Time Travel Story "Too Cool To Be Forgotten" Gets Its Screenwriters

Time Travel Story "Too Cool To Be Forgotten" Gets Its Screenwriters | Comic Books |

None other than Jeff Smith, creator of my beloved Bone, called Alex Robinson‘s graphic novel Too Cool to be Forgotten his “favorite comic of the year” and, since then, I’ve been intending to read it.

But… erm… yeah. Been busy. There’s always a movie on somewhere, you know?

No excuse really. But now I can call at least call it research for work as screenwriters have been set up to adapt the comic to a movie. Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko have signed on to write, with Red Crown Productions’ Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Daniel Crown producing alongside Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman.

Here’s the blurb for the comic book:

Andy Wicks is a forty-something father of two who’s tried everything to quit smoking – from going cold turkey, to the latest patches and nicotine chewing gums – so he figures he’ll give this hypnosis thing a try. What’s the worst that could happen? Unfortunately, Andy gets dealt a fate worse than death – high school! Transported back to 1985, Andy returns to his formative years as a gangly, awkward teenager. Is he doomed to relive the mistakes of his past, or has he been given a second chance to get things right? One thing’s for sure: this time he’s going to ask out that girl from math class…

Back to the Family Man’s Hot Tub Peggy Sue Machine.

It’s all in the execution of course. Now… if you’ve read the comic can you tell me, does the 1985 setting pan out with a trip to see Back to the Future at the cinema? Because, you know, if I found myself back then, I’m pretty sure that would be one of the first things I’d do.

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Will Marvel Bring Peter Parker Face To Face With Miles Morales? - Comic Book Resources

Will Marvel Bring Peter Parker Face To Face With Miles Morales? - Comic Book Resources | Comic Books |
Marvel Comics is certainly making the first week of February all about Spider-Man. Since the beginning of the week, the publisher has been teasing Dan Slott's "Amazing Spider-Man" event "Ends of the Earth" with different preview images. Now, the publisher has released one more spider-centric teaser sure to set the Spider-Sense of fans tingling worldwide.

Showcasing the combined emblems of both "Amazing Spider-Man's" Peter Parker and "Ultimate Comics: Spider Man's" Miles Morales, the teaser simply states "Spider-Men" with a June 2012 release date. Although the teaser heavily implies a crossover between Peter Parker and Miles Morales, there is so far no evidence to support the theory.

Since the inception of the Ultimate line in 2000 with "Ultimate Spider-Man," there has never been a crossover between the mainstream Marvel U and the Ultimate Universe. Considering the popularity of Miles Morales and the upcoming "Amazing Spider-Man" film, it's understandable the publisher would put an event into the works involving an interaction between Miles and Peter Parker to draw in new readers fresh from the movie. Is it possible Marvel will publish the first-ever crossover between the mainstream Marvel Universe and the Ultimate books come June 2012?

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Stephen Amell Is Green Arrow: Lands Title Role In CW Drama Pilot ‘Arrow’

Stephen Amell Is Green Arrow: Lands Title Role In CW Drama Pilot ‘Arrow’ | Comic Books |

One of the highest-profile young lead roles this pilot season has gone to Stephen Amell. In a potential star-making turn, Amell has been cast in the title role of the CW drama pilot Arrow. In the Warner Bros TV-produced project, described as a modern retelling of the story of DC Comics character Green Arrow, he will play the vigilante superhero who fights crime using archery, martial arts and technology under his secret identity as Oliver Queen, a wealthy playboy and billionaire industrialist-turned-outspoken politician in Star City. David Nutter is directing the pilot, written/executive produced by Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim. Amell is a familiar face at the CW, where he has done arcs on The Vampire Diaries and 90210. He most recently recurred on HBO’s Hung and ABC’s Private Practice and was one of the finalists to replace Andy Whitfield as the lead on Spartacus. Amell is the second actor to portray the Green Arrow on the CW; Justin Hartley played the character on the Smallville for several seasons. Like Nina Dobrev, the breakout star of the CW’s Vampire Diaries, Amell hails from Canada. He is repped by SMS, Leverage and Canada’s Gary Goddard Agency.

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Watchmen Prequels Announced

Watchmen Prequels Announced | Comic Books |

This summer, DC Entertainment will publish all-new stories expanding on the acclaimed WATCHMEN universe. As highly anticipated as they are controversial, the seven inter-connected prequel mini-series will build on the foundation of the original WATCHMEN, the bestselling graphic novel of all time. BEFORE WATCHMEN will be the collective banner for all seven titles, from DC Comics.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

Stepping up to the challenge is a group of the comic book industry’s most iconoclastic writers and artists – including Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS), Lee Bermejo (JOKER), Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL), Darwyn Cooke (JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIER), John Higgins (WATCHMEN), Adam Hughes (CATWOMAN), J.G. Jones (FINAL CRISIS), Andy Kubert (FLASHPOINT), Joe Kubert (SGT. ROCK), Jae Lee (BATMAN: JEKYLL AND HYDE), J. Michael Straczynski (SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE) and Len Wein (SWAMP THING).


RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner
Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

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Al Rio Passes ] Bleeding Cool

Al Rio Passes ] Bleeding Cool | Comic Books |

It has been reported by Brazilian journalists that comic book artist Al Rio has recently died.

Known especially for his Gen 13 and DV8 work for Wildstorm, and more recently for his Zenescope covers, especially Grimm Fairy Tales. Al Rio had worked across the comics industry, noth in Brazil and in the USA, including the likes of Grifter & The Mask, Alan Moore’s Voodoo, Avengylene for Avatar World War Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man and New Mutants.

The respected Brazilian journalist Sidney Gusman, after talking to those close to the family reports that is was apparently suicide, but that no note had been left.

Our thoughts are with his family.

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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: The Best New Character of 2011 |

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: The Best New Character of 2011 | | Comic Books |
Get to know Miles Morales, including a sneak peek at upcoming art from Chris Samnee!

Its official: everyone can’t stop talking about Miles Morales, the all-new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and USA Today’s best new character of 2011! From the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor, ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN was met with overwhelming critical acclaim and this February you can experience Miles Morales’ break-out story in the ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS VOL. 1 Premiere Hardcover!

“I love Miles. I just adore him. But the real gift is that every day somebody gets a hold of me to tell me how much they love him too,” explained Bendis. “The good news is we haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet because Miles is about to discover so many things including some very hard lessons. Everyone can look forward to some very powerful moments that will define him as a human being…and as a super hero.”

Once you’re all caught up, jump on board the next great arc of ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN as artist Chris Samnee joins Brian Michael Bendis ans Justin Ponsor in ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #6, available now in stores and on the Marvel Comics app! Then the team introduces Miles to a world of hurt as an all-new Scorpion makes his debut in the pages of ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #7 and we have your first look at the issue!

Love the all-new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man? Join the conversation on Twitter with #MilesMorales

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DC Releases Free Comic Book Day Details - Comic Book Resources

DC Releases Free Comic Book Day Details - Comic Book Resources | Comic Books |

Today, DC Comics unveiled new details about its offering for this year's Free Comic Book Day. Via its blog, The Source, the publisher announced "DC Comics - The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Edition" will include art by Jim Lee and a new story by Chief Creative Officer and "Justice League" scribe Geoff Johns, available May 5. Just as DC's 2011 Free Comic Book Day issue contained a short preview of Johns and Lee's "Justice League" as well as interviews and preview art of the New 52, 2012's offering will similarly feature preview material from the publisher's "Second Wave" including "Batman Incorporated," "Dial H," "Earth 2," "G.I. Combat," "The Ravagers" and "Worlds' Finest."

The "Second Wave" of the New 52 was announced earlier this month, heralding both six new titles beginning in May and the cancellation of "Men of War," "Mister Terrific," "O.M.A.C.," "Hawk and Dove," "Blackhawks" and "Static Shock" at the end of April. DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras spoke with CBR News after the announcement about DC's long-term plans for the "Second Wave."

"I think one of the things that I was very gratified with with the New 52 initially was that people took what we did -- we freshened up some characters, we presented them in a different light, we gave them this new start and we built up this great, great excitement," Harras said. "'Earth 2,' as part of the 'Second Wave,' is world-building. We're creating a bigger, larger epic that will encompass different worlds, different characters, and 'Earth 2' is very integral to that plan. More so than just calling it 'JSA,' we wanted to say, no, this is about a parallel world and what that parallel world will mean to our world down the line. Again, we have long-term plans."

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Superman's Underpants For Sale in Malaysia

Superman's Underpants For Sale in Malaysia | Comic Books |

Now that Superman's no longer wearing his trademark red undershorts, in either the comics or movie versions, you might have wondered what's become of them. And apparently, they're in Malaysia, where they're a hot-selling item.

According to the New Straits Times, residential neighborhoods in Tampoi have been plastered with ads for "Superman's Underpants," which are supposed to be able to cure sexual problems. The special undergarments, which come equipped with magnets, are supposed to be able to cure impotence and increase penis size. The Straits Times quotes affronted retiree Mohd Ilham Samudin as saying:

"For me, this could cause a bad influence among the community. Superman fans, especially the men, could be duped into spending thousands of ringgit to buy the product with the assumption that they could gain special powers by wearing them."

Samudin adds that it's inappropriate to use the Superman name to advertise this product which, after all, has nothing to do with Kal-El, or any of his powers. But at least now we know where Henry Cavill's missing red trunks went.
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50 Comic Books from 50 Years Ago: A Fanboy’s View of January 1962 »

50 Comic Books from 50 Years Ago: A Fanboy’s View of January 1962 » | Comic Books |

What were fanboys and fangurls reading fifty years ago? Well here’s a selection of over fifty comic books from January 1962. The first thing that’s interested about this selection is the variety of genres — superheroes only represent a percentage of the titles that were on newsstands: In 1962 you could find comic books that took place in the old wild west, World War II, outer space and there were also romance comic books for the ladies and quite a few cartoony kid friendly titles as well....

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Nemo: Heart Of Ice – A New League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Comic For The End Of 2012

Nemo: Heart Of Ice – A New League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Comic For The End Of 2012 | Comic Books | (Rich Johnston)

In yesterday’s webchat (referred to earlier), Alan Moore revealed that the next League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen project to follow the conclusion of Century this summer, is to be called Nemo: Heart Of Ice, and that forty of the forty-eight pages involved have been written so far… and that we’ll see it before the end of the year…

Nemo appears to be on his deathbed in LOEG: Century 1910, and this adventure is set in he twenties, so something is up. More told the throng that “It takes place in Antarctica and [the work of H.P. Lovecraft] is a major component. You figure it out.” We are sadly denied a reference to King Kong though…

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via (Vaneta Rogers)

Fans of Mark Waid's Irredeemable and Incorruptible are learning today that the old adage is true: All good things must come to an end.

After three years of telling the critically acclaimed story of a superhero gone bad — and his former nemesis turned good — Waid is ending both series in May.

The final story arcs for the two series will take place in Irredeemable #34-#37 and Incorruptible #27-#30.

Incorruptible is a spin-off from Irredeemable, the Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated series that started in 2009. The twoseries, which have been lauded for their complex exploration of the path to villainy and redemption, just finished their first crossover in January 2012.

Writing the two series was a journey that started with Waid's decision to serve as the editor-in-chief at Boom! Studios back in 2007. The new position gave him the freedom to invent a new superhero universe, populating it with characters whose story could evolve and change and grow.

Of course that ability to "evolve" could spell doom for fan favorite characters as the ending looms near. The titles' lead characters, Plutonian and Max Damage, can actually die. And stay dead. And no one will bring them back to life — or write a prequel — unless Waid wants it.

"It's not like you're playing in another universe and you make changes to characters and build the mythos, and then the next guy comes along and just wipes it clean," Waid told Newsarama last year. "Incorruptible and Irredeemable may not have as broad an audience, being that it's not one of the bigger publishers, but at least I feel like it's a story that will stay intact, with a legacy that will stay intact. So yes, as a writer, that's very rewarding."

But the freedom he explored on the series doesn't mean Waid ever abandoned shared universe stories, continuing to work on titles like Amazing Spider-Man even while developing Irredeemable and Incorruptible. Waid stepped down as Boom's CCO a year ago and has more recently started a run on Marvel's Daredevil, for which he's been lauded by critics and fans.

As the writer finishes up his stories in Irredeemable and Incorruptible, Newsarama asked the series editor — and Boom's current editor-in-chief — Matt Gagnon to sit down with Waid to talk about the ending of the two series.

And as the conversation continued, we found out more about the series' ending — and hints of a TV series, a digital project, and something else Waid will write for Boom!

Click thru to continue reading the full interview

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Before Watchmen’s Straczynski addresses Babylon 5 comparisons | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Before Watchmen’s Straczynski addresses Babylon 5 comparisons | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources | Comic Books |

Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment.

Addressing one of the more frequent reactions to his involvement in DC Comics’ newly announced Before Watchmen project, J. Michael Straczynski has tackled the question, “How would you feel if Babylon 5 was being done without your permission?” His answer is, well, a little complicated.

The writer, who’s penning Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl for the sprawling prequel to the acclaimed 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, drew some criticism yesterday when he told Comic Book Resources, “A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level. Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say ‘No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.’ Nor should he have.”

That of course led more than a few people to ask how Straczynski, who created the 1990s space opera Babylon 5, would feel if someone else were to develop a sequel, or prequel — “Babylon 4″? — to the television series (a revival has been long hoped for by fans, but the writer denied rumors as recently as August that he’s in negotiations with Warner Bros.). To answer the question, which he characterizes as “How would you feel if Babylon 5 was being done without your permission?,” Straczynski took to his Facebook page last night, writing, “It’s a fair question, and it needs to be fairly answered … but it has to be an honest comparison, apples to apples, not apples to pomegranates.”

“First, we have to take the word ‘permission’ off the table. Warner Bros. owns Babylon 5 lock, stock and phased-plasma guns, just as DC owns the Watchmen characters. [...] But I get that we’re talking about the emotional aspect of all this, not the legal stuff, which is pretty cut and dry,” he wrote. “So again: apples to apples. How would I feel if Babylon 5 were being made and I were shut out of anything to do with it, despite my desire to be involved? I’d feel pretty crummy about it. But as it happens, that has absolutely nothing to do with this situation in any way, manner, shape or form.”

Referring to repeated unsuccessful attempts by DC to convince Moore to revisit Watchmen — the most recent was in 2010, when the publisher offered to relinquish the rights to the comic if the writer “would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels” — Straczynski said, “He declined at every point. Fair enough. It’s his choice, and it’s his right to make it.”

“So now – apples to apples – let’s make the B5 comparison,” he continued. “Let’s say Warner Bros. came to me and said, ‘we want to do more Babylon 5, and we want you to run the whole thing. We’ll pay you anything you want, give you a proper budget, and you will have complete creative freedom.’ [...] So let’s say that Warners makes that offer, and I said, ‘No, I don’t want it, take your accursed money, your big budget and your complete creative freedom and begone, get thee behind me Satan!’ Let’s say they came back and said ‘Okay, then how about we pay you vast sums of money just to consult? How about that?’ [...] ‘What if we sweeten the deal? What if we offer to give you full ownership of Babylon 5, legally and contractually, so you own it? How about that?’

“If Warners offered me creative freedom, money and a budget to do the show the way I wanted, up to and including my completely owning the show, and I said no to that deal, and if after Warners waited TWENTY FIVE YEARS for me to change my mind they finally decided to go ahead and make B5 without me … then I would have absolutely zero right to complain about it,” Straczynski wrote. “Because it was my choice to remove myself from the process, it wasn’t something foisted upon me by anybody else.”

He went on to address other related topics, such as the supposed “sacredness” and one-off nature of the characters, before concluding this morning in a separate post that, “At this point, quite honestly the work needs to stand on its own. So with equal appreciation for both the kind words and the hard questions, and having said pretty much everything I can think of to say on the subject, I think it’s appropriate for me to recede a bit now into the shadows. As the books come out I hope that everyone who spoke out here, pro and con, will reconvene to continue the conversation and express their thoughts with the same clarity and precision they have demonstrated today.”

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Acclaimed novelist Gregg Hurwitz will be taking over as the writer for BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT beginning with issue #10 in June. Hurwitz is the internationally bestselling author of YOU’RE NEXT. No stranger to the shadows of Gotham City, he is also currently writing PENGUIN: PAIN AND PREJUDICE, a five issue mini-series which explores the dark and peculiar past of one of Batman’s most iconic rogues.

“Okay. So this is the job I’ve been waiting to get since I was eight years old. I’m thrilled to be tackling one of the world’s greatest characters with one of the industry’s greatest artists,” said Hurwitz on his upcoming run on BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. “Finch and I are very fired up to take the Batman into dark and dangerous new terrain, presenting a story that’ll be epic and sweeping and juuust a little bit twisted. We’re gonna see a cornerstone villain from a whole new angle, too. I’ve always been fascinated by Jonathan Crane—not just what makes him tick, but what could have happened in his past to make him obsessed with fear at the expense of all else. And perhaps that particular obsession isn’t so different from the demons that drive the Dark Knight. As I discovered when writing Penguin: Pain and Prejudice—Batman fits uniquely with the villains in his rogue’s gallery. They are two sides of the same coin, yin and yang, ego and shadow. But in some cases, maybe the match is even closer. Maybe instead of ego and shadow, it’s shadow and shadow. Maybe when Batman looks in the mirror, the Scarecrow’s face is looking out. We’re used to Batman teaching his villains a lesson, but this time the Scarecrow might have something to teach Batman, too. Right now, I’m knee deep in straw and burlap, trying to stitch together a tale I hope you’ll find familiar yet new, a twist on a classic. It’s gonna get bumpy and scary and bit unhinged, so buckle up for the ride.”

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #10 won’t be out until June, but you can check out Hurwitz’s work in the climactic final issue of PENGUIN: PAIN AND PREJUDICE, out next week.

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Archie Is Having a Baby with Valerie From 'Josie and the Pussycats' - ComicsAlliance

Archie Is Having a Baby with Valerie From 'Josie and the Pussycats' - ComicsAlliance | Comic Books |
Over the past few years, Archie Comics has become one of the most socially progressive comic book publishers in the market, with genuinely solid storytelling that's been pushing the boundaries of what they've done with their formula in the 70 years since the freckle-faced teenager made his debut. Today, they announced their latest move: In the upcoming Archie #633, they'll tell the story of a future where Archie marries Valerie Smith (of Josie and the Pussycats fame) and they have a daughter.

It won't be the first time that Archie has portrayed an interracial marriage in their comics. This month's Life With Archie #16 already hit that mark by putting the marriage of a gay soldier right there on the cover of one of the few comics you can still pick up at the grocery store.

That was a huge deal, but it's also worth noting that as big a step as it might be, it also involves two characters -- including Archie's gay classmate Kevin Keller -- that were largely created to fill that role. Valerie and Archie's romance, however, is something different. They're two established, high-profile characters, one of which has been a fixture in Archie's media efforts and another that the actual company's named after -- coming together in something that you just wouldn't have seen from those characters, even five years ago.

When Archie and Valerie first started dating back in 2010, I wrote about what it meant in the context of a company that in the past had treated interracial dating as something so controversial that obviously black characters were colored in the stories to have lighter skin. In fact, it was standard practice for years to introduce minority characters in twos so that they could pair off without having to date Betty or Veronica -- a Nancy for every Chuck and a Frankie Valdez for every Ginger Lopez.

Archie and Valerie change all that, and the way that it's been pulled off in the past by writer/artist Dan Parent, one of Archie's strongest creators, has made perfect sense. They build their relationship on a mutual love of music and, in Archie's case, the fact that he falls in love with beautiful girls regardless of race. As an isolated idea, it meant a lot, but in elevating it to this level, their relationship is being treated as something just as valid as Archie's relationships with Betty and Veronica. The addition of a daughter, something that hasn't been explored in the Betty or Veronica marriages and something that has traditionally been even more controversial in American history, goes even further -- in a good way.

But the best part is that while you might be able to call it a stunt from a publishing perspective, in the comics, it's just another simple fact of life for the character that's meant to represent America's typical teen. According to Archie CEO Jon Goldwater, the man credited as a driving force behind the company's current edict to try new things, the fact that Archie and Valerie fall in love and have a kid is no big deal to the characters:

"To us, this is just another chance to tell a great story. The fans want more Archie/Valerie – they ask about it at shows and everywhere we go. Like we did with the best-selling LIFE WITH ARCHIE, where Archie marries Veronica and Betty, we thought it'd be interesting to show a future where Archie marries Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats and the life they lead together.

I can't really speak to whatever issues some people might have with them getting married or having a child. Like Kevin Keller's wedding – it's not an issue in Riverdale. Riverdale welcomes everyone and always will. For us, it's about telling a great story involving two wonderful characters and how they interact. The fans have asked for it and we're making it happen."

For the stories that still get into the hands of kids that have never read another comic, the idea that "Riverdale welcomes everyone and always will" is one of the most positive messages I can imagine.

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BEFORE WATCHMEN Creators Part With ALAN MOORE on Project : Newsarama

BEFORE WATCHMEN Creators Part With ALAN MOORE on Project : Newsarama | Comic Books |
For fans of writer Alan Moore and purists upset Wednesday morning about DC's confirmation of Before Watchmen, you can at least take some level of comfort in the fact that you're not alone. While Dave Gibbons' approval appears in the press release announcing the seven weekly mini-series, co-creator Moore has a somewhat different take on the subject, telling the New York Times, "I don’t want money, [w]hat I want is for this not to happen," and going on to describe the project as "a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago."

Dependent...? Maybe not, but certainly somewhat reverential towards. J. Michael Straczynski, who's writing Nite Owl and Dr. Manhattan mini-series as part of the line, told the Hollywood Reporter that "The first time all of us got together in New York to solidify the storyline, we each had copies of Watchmen in hand and whenever a question was raised about what happened to whom and when, we’d flip through looking for the slightest clue. I joked at the time that it looked a lot like Saturday afternoon Bible Study."

Most Bible Study groups don't gather to write a Bible prequel, however. But Straczynski also calls the argument that the Watchmen characters should remain sealed in the original series forever and never be touched again, "absolutely understandable and deeply flawed":

“Leaving aside the fact that the Watchmen characters were variations on pre-existing characters created for the Charleton Comics universe, Straczynski continued, “it should be pointed out that Alan has spent most of the last decade writing very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde, and Professor Moriarty (used in the successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, ‘I can write characters created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it’s wrong for anyone else to write my characters.’”

The potential for backlash even before the books have been released initially turned Darwyn Cooke, writer of Silk Spectre and writer/artist on Minutemen, off the project altogether. Cooke told the L.A. Times, "I said no out of hand because I couldn’t think of a story that would measure up to the original — and let’s face it, this material is going to be measured that way — and the other thing is, I frankly didn’t want the attention. This is going to generate a lot of a particular type of attention that’s really not my bag. But what happened is, months after I said no, the story elements all just came into my head one day; it was so exciting to me that, at that exact moment, I started seriously thinking about doing the book." Ultimately, he continued, "I don’t feel any more trepidation than Alan [Moore] did by refitting the Charlton characters. It feels like the right time and the right place and I think I have a strong idea."

Brian Azzarello agrees. "I think the gut reaction is going to be, ‘Why?’ But then when the actual books come out, the answer will be, ‘Oh, that’s why,'" he told the New York Times, adding in a USA Today interview that the key to Before Watchmen is "that we all get in there and we tell the best possible stories we can and we reconnect these characters. It's 25 years later. Let's make them vital again."

What to expect from Before Watchmen in terms of content remains a mystery, still - although Cooke teased a more optimistic tone for Silk Spectre at least when talking to Entertainment Weekly, saying, "I think the older you get, the more you look for hope or positive things. Maybe I’m just getting old."

But the writers of the books are determined not to tarnish the legacy of the original series, as Straczynski explained to Comic Book Resources: "Every writer and editor on this project is a massive fan of the original book, and of Alan's work. As the months passed, we e-mailed each other with the smallest question of continuity, determined to be excruciatingly faithful to the original book because we know what's at stake. We want to add to, not subtract from, the quality of what Alan and Dave created. We know we have a hell of a legacy to live up to, and we're determined to achieve that."

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The Before Watchmen Gallery And Quote File ] Bleeding Cool

The Before Watchmen Gallery And Quote File ] Bleeding Cool | Comic Books |
Darwyn Cooke – “The nature of the undertaking is going to polarize a lot of the readership…I think a lot of people will be excited about this and there are a lot of people that will be dead against it… I don’t feel any more trepidation than Alan did by refitting the Charlton characters. It feels like the right time and the right place and I think I have a strong idea.”

JMS - “The harder, and riskier path is to reconsider and relaunch every major title in your library, or in this case, to bring back characters and a universe no one has dared touch in 25 years and say, “Okay, what can these characters tell us about the world we live in as seen through the eyes of readers in 2012 that’s new? What can we learn from them? What kinds of stories can we tell about them now that we couldn’t tell 25 years ago?” It’s a gutsy move, any way you want to slice it… A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level. Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say “No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.” Nor should he have.”

Len Wein – “I’m examining a lot of what it means to be the smartest man in the world, how that knowledge both weighs on one’s morality and yet frees it at the same time.Adrian Veidt is a fascinating character to write. It’s not easy realizing you’re the only person who can save the world from nuclear destruction, and you lose a whole lot of your soul along the way.,, As far as I know there are no plans for more books after this, but 25 years ago there were no plans for these books, so who truly knows?” I think reboots are almost mandatory in an industry that has existed for over three-fourths of a century now. The need to inject new blood, new ideas, new approaches, is the only thing that keeps our readers coming back for more.”

Brian Azzarello -”I think the gut reaction is going to be, ‘Why?’ But then when the actual books come out, the answer will be, ‘Oh, that’s why.’ ”

John Higgins – “What we are trying to achieve with the Crimson Corsair pages within the regular new series is to create a graphic ‘buffer’ and to use the darkness of the Crimson Corsair stories as a literary counterpoint to the regular book… The challenge is to make the stories modern and relevant to 2012 and to show what can be done with respect and consideration for the source material that has inspired so many people over the years. By adding to the mythos and not to detract from it,” he said. “’The Watchmen’ had such an influence on graphic storytelling since it first appeared and is a timeless classic. If we can create a new set of stories that can be enjoyed 25 years on, that would be an achievement and a reward in itself.”

More Darwyn Cooke – “One of the first things I did was go back through the original book and look at all the female characters and their position in the story and the arcs they had. What I realized is that as much as I really like Laurie, she’s really only just Dr. Manhattan’s girlfriend and then Nite Owl‘s girlfriend. We never get to see her being self-sufficient and dealing with herself and dealing with her own problems. She’s there for a man. I came up with the idea of looking at the brief period of time when she becomes an adult”

Dave Gibbons – “The original series of ‘Watchmen’ is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”

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Jeff Lemire takes on JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK / DC Universe: The Source Blog

Jeff Lemire takes on JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK / DC Universe: The Source Blog | Comic Books |

Following the JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK/I,VAMPIRE crossover in issues 7 & 8, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK will have a new writer.

Beginning with issue #9, superstar Jeff Lemire (ANIMAL MAN, SWEET TOOTH) will be taking over the reins. We asked Lemire about following the sage Peter Milligan and what he’s got planned and here’s what he has to say:

“This is my dream gig at DC Comics, no doubt about it. The characters in Justice League Dark are my absolute favorite in the DC Comics stable, and I can’t believe I’m actually getting a chance to write John Constantine, Zatanna and Deadman (as well as a few new team members!).

I have a huge amount of respect for Peter Milligan. I’ve loved everything he’s done since his original SHADE run in the pre-Vertigo days of DC to his current run on Hellblazer and JL Dark. It’s a bit daunting to take over this title from someone who I revere as much as Peter, but at the same time I can’t help but be inspired by the work he’s already done with this book.

I obviously have my own ideas for the title as well, and can’t wait to share them with readers. One of the things I’m anxious to explore is just why the name “Justice League” is in the title of this book? I want to explore and create new connections between this team of mystical misfits and Geoff and Jim’s big guns in The Justice League. On that note, Geoff and I have had many discussions on how to link our two books and make the Justice League franchises connect in new and unexpected ways. More on that in the near future…

So, what else can you expect from the “New” Justice League Dark? Well, you’ll see an old haunt becoming the team’s new HQ. Constantine, the master manipulator that he is, will emerge as the clear leader of the team, and there will be 2 new members as well! (Hint one’s a man and one’s a woman. One uses magic, one doesn’t.) Not enough….hmmm…how about a classic Justice League villain re-imagined as The Justice League Dark’s new arc-enemy? And that’s just the start. I have a huge storyline planned with implications across the Dark line of books.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that the amazingly talented Mikal Janin will be staying on board to draw all of this fun stuff, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’ve loved Mikal’s work since I first saw it in the Flashpoint: Deadman mini-series and I think Mikal is the perfect artist for this book. And I can already tell by our initial talks that this will be the start of a great partnership. And we’re both lucky to have the incomparable Ryan Sook making us look good.

I’m pretty damn excited to be writing Justice League Dark. And I hope you’ll join me as I take you and these characters into the darkest, strangest corners of the DCU and beyond!”

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Marvel's The Avengers Assemble on Twitter |

Marvel's The Avengers Assemble on Twitter | | Comic Books |

Marvel's The Avengers Assemble on Twitter
Marvel Studios sponsors global Twitter chat with director & cast for fans around the world!

Marvel Studios announced today that they will be sponsoring a Global Twitter Chat on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 11 a.m. PST with cast members and the director of their highly anticipated action-adventure “Marvel’s The Avengers,” opening in theaters on May 4, 2012. The 30-minute live tweeting event features writer/director Joss Whedon and cast members Tom Hiddleston and Clark Gregg.

Fans around the world will be able to participate in the Q&A on Twitter by using the @Avengers handle and the #Avengers hashtag. Participating fans will have the opportunity to see a 10-second tease of the 30-second Super Bowl spot that will air during Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 on NBC. They will also have a chance to answer “Avengers” trivia for a chance to win “Avengers” prize packs.

International fans will be able to submit questions for the talent in their native language through a global translation tool provided by The chat will be moderated by Marvel’s @Agent_M.

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Avengers Vs. X-Men #0: First Look |

Avengers Vs. X-Men #0: First Look | | Comic Books |

The biggest war in super hero history begins this March when Avengers Vs. X-Men kicks off!

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #0, on sale March 28, sees the focus turn to The Scarlet Witch and Hope, as these two key players in the AvX saga prepare for events that will change their lives forever. We have your exclusive first look at the return of Wanda Maximoff as she faces off against the malevolent M.O.D.O.K. in these pages by artist Frank Cho!

Which team will reign supreme? Join the conversation on Twitter with #AvX!

For more on Avengers VS X-Men, please visit


Art & Cover by FRANK CHO

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Vaughn Back for X-Men Sequel

Vaughn Back for X-Men Sequel | Comic Books |
Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class prequel was one of the most lauded superhero movies of 2011, and Fox CEO Tom Rothman told us last year that they're doing everything possible to get the director back for a sequel. In a new Deadline story about Fox's President of Production Emma Watts renewing her own contract through 2015, there's a matter-of-fact mention that the company has closed the deal for Vaughn to return to direct the unnamed sequel, working from a script being written by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: THe Last Stand, Jumper, Sherlock Holmes) and with Bryan Singer once again producing.

It's a given that all the original cast from the first movie signed a multiple picture deal in their contract so we expect James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender returning as Professor X and Magneto respectively. It may be some time before we learn whether any of the rest of the cast, such as Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique or January Jones' Emma Frost, will be included in a follow-up to the prequel or if any new X-Men characters will be introduced.
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Why the Avengers shouldn't text

Why the Avengers shouldn't text | Comic Books |
Joss Whedon loves to remind us that the Avengers are just one big dysfunctional family, and if there's one thing that family does, it's send horrible text messages to one another. The Avenger's text messages reveal side you don't get to see in the comics, including Pepper Potts' attempt to explain Harry Potter, and Captain America and Iron Man's secret love.

The Avengers Shouldn't Text is a Tumblr collection of the mightiest heroes' private text messages. The curators frequently take requests for texted conversations, but seem to be creating their own little phone-based Avengers universe. Two key things these messages reveal: Thor is a surprisingly avid texter, and Cap and Iron Man share a very tender relationship. Also, Darcy Lewis keeps stealing Iron Man's Iron Man Snuggie.

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