Oh yeah, the other major news coming out of ComicsPRO, was the return of Paul Levitz, former publisher and president at DC Comics. Levitz stepped down as President a couple of years ago, although remaining on as a writer, but evidently his contract is over and instead of just sticking it out at his typewriter, he’s back at Boom Studios, joining their board of directors. What will he do there? According to the ABC story, “assist and consult with the publisher on various ideas, topics and pursuits” which is about as incredibly vague as you can get. Still, given that Levitz’s knowledge of the comics industry is second to none, do you really need to know more?
Levitz will continue with his writing, teaching and possibly scripting for DC.
Speaking of Levitz, he’ll be reading from his upcoming book on Will Eisner as part of Will Eisner Week, tonight at Parsons in NYC.
After roughly a three year absence, Dynamite is returning to the Project Superpowers universe with the July debut of The Owl. The title will be written by J.T. Krul, currently writing Superman Beyond for DC and Jirni for Aspen. Heubert Khan Michael, recently drawing Vampirella, will be the artist.
Project Superpowers ran primarily from 2008-2010, with a few spin-offs like Black Terror. It was driven by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, reviving a number of 1940s characters. The Owl was originally a Dell character from 1940-43. Ross, a co-plotter on the original P.S. material is only listed as a cover artist here. Dynamite is describing this as “a bridge series for more to come.” This isn’t totally surprising, since they’ve previously mentioned another run with the property at conventions.
This is also a return to Dynamite for Krul, who wrote a Highlander mini-series for them and an issue of Red Sonja back in the 2006-08 period.
Official PR follows:
J.T. KRUL! ALEX ROSS! THE OWL! DYNAMITE!
SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON LAUNCH FOR DYNAMITE’S HIGH FLYING HERO!
April 3, 2013, Mt. Laurel, NJ -The Owl returns to comics in his own limited series. Written by the critically acclaimed , J.T. Krul, with art by Heubert Khan Michael, and covers by Alex Ross and special Subscription Only Exclusive Covery Ardian Syaf, The Owl #1 hits stores this coming July!
In issue #1, lost for 50 years in an ethereal limbo, the Owl has come back to find a violent and desperate world of strangers. The woman he loved is gone, but he remains determined to continue his fight for justice. Can the Owl withstand the challenges awaiting him… or will this new reality crush his body and spirit?
“With a character like the Owl, I get to explore the heart of a true hero whose greatest threat seems to be the soul of the entire world around him,” says writer J.T. Krul. “Nick Terry used to live in a golden age it seemed, but he now finds himself in our present day – and a world filled with greed, apathy, and utter desperation at every turn. It’s the mark of a true hero, staying true to one’s ideals when there is little hope to be found. In this story, he’ll see what his mission and legacy has become and it will scare him more than anything else.”
“We at Dynamite extremely excited to work with J.T. again, hot off his DC Comics Exclusive,” adds Dynamite CEO / Publisher Nick Barrucci. ”We hope that this is the first of many more projects with J.T. and we are all in such anticipation for The Owl to ‘take flight’! The Owl is a bridge series for more to come from Dynamite, and we couldn’t be happier.”
I think we can finally throw some dirt on the coffin of the Neil Gaiman – Todd McFarlane lawsuit. The New York Times has announced that Gaiman’s Angela character (created for Spawn with Todd McFarlane, back in 1992), one of the objects of dispute, has moved over to Marvel. Nothing says “the legal battle is over” like going back about your business — in this case, placing the character in a universe and making her active again.
According to the Times, Angela will make some sort of appearance at the end of Age of Ultron. This sounds like it’s probably the sequence Joe Quesada is drawing.
“We were looking for a good entry point to tease our fans and to let them know she was going to be a major player,” he said. “Age of Ultron,” an event storyline that involves many of Marvel’s top heroes, seemed like the perfect spot. With so many big stories spoiled by the media (with the willing cooperation of the comic book companies) lately, Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel Comics, insisted the revelation of Angela’s participation did not count as a spoiler. Her presence is a bonus, “like the post-credit scenes in one of our Marvel studio movies,” Mr. Alonso said. The character’s appearance in “Age of Ultron” is designed to whet the appetite of fans.
After that, Angela will be popping up in Guardians of the Galaxy #5. The bigger news being that Gaiman will be co-writing that issue with Brian Bendis. Marvel’s listing of this, doesn’t say if Angela is joining the Guardians or if Gaiman is writing more than one issue… but you’d think they’d tell you if Gaiman was going to be the regular co-writer. That’s bigger news than the Angela character turning up.
Marvel is spending a lot of time promoting the Guardians comic ahead of the film. Blade never got this kind of push. And speaking of that, the second GoG Infinity comic is up at Comixology. This one features Rocket Raccoon. There’s a little more going on in this one and it takes advantage of the Infinity format much better than the first installment did. It’s also free.
The other interesting thing is that Angela’s character, coming out of the Spawn universe, was very much an Angel. A bounty hunter for Heaven. Marvel has tended to shy away from Judeo-Christian characters, opting more for the likes of Thor and Hercules. It will be interesting to see how Angela’s origins are portrayed in this incarnation.
Consider it official, Joshua Fialkov is definitely off his Green Lantern books. DC’s Alex Segura has tweeted the new writers.
That would be Van Jensen of Pinocohio, Vampire Slayer (and more famously, of PW Comics World) with a plotting assist from Venditti on Green Lantern Corps and Charles Soules of 27 (excellent comic, BTW) and having his first issue of Swamp Thing ship next month on Red Lanterns.
So one new writer to the DCU, another new-ish writer getting a second book.
What happened to Fialkov? In his own words:
Just a quick note to confirm what everyone knows, I am no longer the writer of GLC and Red Lanterns for DC Comics. There were editorial decisions about the direction of the book that conflicted with the story I was hired to tell, and I felt that it was better to let DC tell their story the way they want. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’ll miss working with the entire Green Lantern team.
That’s pretty clear and up front.
While rewrites may not have been the exact issue here, you can spend an awful lot of time rewriting scripts (and not getting paid for the rewrites) if editorial changes their mind about where the story is going. It also can make it counter-productive to get ahead on your scripts, from the perspective of hours spent on a title.
It seems like a good day for announcements about leaving DC titles. First news breaks that Andy Diggle has left Action Comics. There are now two reports that Joshua Fialkov has left Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns.
Bleeding Cool cites “repeated editorial changes to already-approved directions” and Comic Book Resources cites “creative differences.” Sounds like independent confirmation.
DC has not replied to a query about this, but they may want replacement writers lined up before making a formal announcement.
It’s a little hard to say how far ahead Fialkov was on the scripts, but this makes 3 titles where the writer has left before the first issue hit the stands. This is also not to say Fialkov is hurting for work. He’s been writing the Alpha mini-series for Marvel and will be writing The Ultimates for Marvel’s Ultimate line starting with #25 in June.
That’s all anybody knows at the moment, but it sure does make you wonder if he’s crossing the street to Marvel. It also creates a new context for a two week old tweet:
Although he did have “TWO books” at DC, so maybe it’s related and maybe it’s not. Either way, it’s interesting.
Andy Diggle has left Action Comics. His first issue was #19. The whispers I’m hearing from high places are that Tony Daniel will be taking over as writer (in addition to artist) with issue #20.
Here’s how it played out on Twitter:
With confirmation from DC’s Alex Segura:
That’s quite a turn of events. I was very curious to see what Diggle was going to do with Superman, but those tweets suggest some serious creative differences. Tony Daniel surprised a lot of people with his sales on Detective Comics. (Remember how many months Detective #1 kept showing up in the top 300 comics?) It more when he was going to return to writer/artist than if.
What does this mean for the future? Daniel is confirmed as writer for remainder of the _arc_. It’s possible Daniel winds up as regular writer and it’s equally possible DC is shopping for a new writer as you’re reading this.
A developing situation and we’ll wait for the official announcement on issue #20.
Marvel’s SVP associate publisher Ruwan Jayatilleke has been let go, CBR reports. An 8-year Marvel veteran, Jayatilleke was promoted in 2011 and was behind many of their new business initiatives over that period, including the Stephen King and Halo graphic novels, and most recently, working on the digital and trade book businesses.
Although better known behind the scenes, Jayatilleke was a frequent message board poster, as a recent post here revealed. He was also looking forward to debuting Marvel’s new and still veiled #1 initiative at SXSW
While the factors behind Jayatilleke’s departure aren’t known, it’s part of a recent pattern of top level executive departures for Marvel, mostly due to budgetary decrees by legendary penny pincher chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter. In 2012, SVP of Integrated Sales and Marketing, Publishing and Digital Media John Dokes was let go, and in 2011 it was Chief Operating Officer Jim Sokolowski. Being a high-level business exec at Marvel seems to be a fairly perilous job.
Jayatilleke was formerly at Scholastic and has a strong portfolio under his belt. As they say, he should land on his feet and we wish him well.
Gail Simone isn’t exclusive at DC any more. She’s picked up her first non-DC/Marvel title in a loooooong time in the form of a new Red Sonja series from Dynamite, set to launch in July.
Fiona Staple’s cover for the revamped Red Sonja
Walter Geovanni joins her as the (interior) artist. Geovanni’s done Red Sonja interiors in the past, but may be better known as a regular cover artist for the series. The covers? The cover rotation is going to female comics artists, so Nicola Scott, Colleen Doran, Jenny Frisson, Stephanie Buscema and Fiona Staples are all mentioned in the announcement.
What’s Simone planning on doing on Red Sonja? We asked her.
Q: Nick Barrucci is nothing, if not a persistent suitor. There are plenty of stories about him pursuing a creator for a couple years before a project happens. How long was he chasing you and how quickly did Red Sonja come together?
Gail: Nick is indeed a determined fellow! He’s asked about me doing projects in the past but was always very respectful of my DC exclusive, which I’ve had for something like eight straight years. The moment the story got out that my exclusive had ended, Nick was the very first person sending me an email, then LOTS of emails.
But I have to say, I am having a blast with Dynamite. Nick’s taken every possible step to make me feel welcome and it’s absolutely been lovely.
And then, of course, there’s getting to write the original redhead badass slayer!
Q: You worked with some traditional fantasy themes in Wonder Woman, how much of a jump is it going from fantasy adventure in a super hero(ine) setting to fantasy adventure in a more traditional fantasy setting?
Gail: Anyone following my work has probably seen that I love shoe-horning in fantasy and pulp elements into my superhero books. Catman was inspired by Tarzan, the Secret Six went to Skartaris, Wonder Woman met Beowulf and Claw. To be blunt, I love that stuff.
I love the earthy primal quality of it, I love the pulp mythos from people like Lovecraft and Burroughs, and of course, Robert E. Howard.
It seems to me that as we increasingly live in an age guided by tech that was science fiction just a couple decades ago, there’s something willfully punk about telling stories of people in loincloths with swords.
It’s just fun. I keep getting up to write pages at odd hours…because, you know, finally, I get to write this stuff with the genuine article, the best she-barbarian ever created.
Q: When your tenure starts, where will it fit in with Dynamite’s continuity for Red Sonja?
Gail: We start from a position of a clean page, all of that stuff is in her story, but we come at this as if people had never read Sonja at all.
I think Sonja is a character people want to love, but sometimes it feels the history can be daunting. This is very much Sonja coming up out of the fire right at your brain. You don’t need to research anything.
I want to also praise the art…we have some magnificent art in Walter Giovanni, he’s doing spectacular character work, I’m delighted with him. It feels like an artist who really cares about the detail.
And beyond that, we came up with a fun idea that the covers and variants would all be done by top female artists, almost all of whom turned out to be closet Sonja fans. We made a dream list and EVERYONE said they wanted in. I can’t wait for people to see these, they are RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous.
Q: What’s your long game for Red Sonja?
Gail: Really, I would like people to feel her humanity. Even in some of her best stories, Sonja herself can come off a little distant.
I think the fun thing to do with a slayer, a she-devil, is to put them in a situation that is ill-suited to their skills and see what happens. These are situations I don’t think anyone expects in a barbarian comic.
Other than that, epic battles, horrible diseases, flying leeches, arenas, war unicorns, stinky pirates, fish men, mouthy twins, unlikely suitors, bits of Sonja’s origin that we never knew, and a duck. AND the most badass nemesis Sonja’s had to face in ages.
Now I have to put a duck in there. I just liked the way it sounded.
Q: It’s been awhile since you’ve done non-DC work. Should we expect to see more of you at Dynamite than just Red Sonja?
Gail: Nick has made it very clear he’d love to have me do more work for Dynamite, and I’m having such a good time, it’s definitely a possibility. Lord knows I love that pulp stuff!
I hope people give this book a try. It is blood-red, funny, sexy, and sometimes very raw, but there’s some real heroism in it. It’s one of the all-time iconic heroines with a fresh spin. I can’t even explain how much FUN it is.
Just pick it up or I’m sending Red Sonja to your house.
That may actually be the most backfiring threat ever, know that I think about it. Who DOESN’T want Red Sonja to come to their house?
Official Announcement and covers follow:
GAIL SIMONE SIGNS WITH DYNAMITE!
SIMONE TO WRITE ONGOING RED SONJA SERIES!
March 1st, 2013, Mt. Laurel, NJ - Dynamite is delighted to announce that the one and only Gail Simone is taking on RED SONJA with a brand-new #1 issue launching this July – in time for San Diego Comic Con! Gail Simone – one of the premiere writers in the comics industry, is best known for DC’s Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and especially Batgirl! Walter Geovanni will join her, as the interior artist. Covers will be drawn by some of the top female artists in comics today! We are extremely fortunate to have Nicola Scott, Colleen Doran, Jenny Frisson, Stephanie Buscema, Fiona Staples on covers, with more high profile female cover artists to be announced! Fans will definitely want to pick up Gail Simone’s RED SONJA #1 this July!
To help kick off the celebration of Gail’s take on The She-Devil with a Sword, Dynamite is proud to give away, to all Emerald City fans, limited edition prints featuring art from the upcoming Nicola Scott covers! These limited edition, high-end prints are sure to be highly sought after collectibles, and are being given away to fans for free, as premium prints, to be signed by Gail herself at Emerald City Comic Con, to rev up for the launch in July!
“It’s like this…even most of the best female heroines when I was a kid were pretty polite. What I love about Sonja is that she isn’t polite, she says what she means and if you give her any lip about it, hello, sword in the gut. She’s smart, she has a heart, she has some compassion. But when it’s go time, she’s a hellraiser, a mad general, she’s a sword edge virtuosa, she’s death on wheels. She is the woman you never want to mess with. I can relate, Sonja. No offense to all her guy writers, but THIS Red Sonja is about sex and swords! It’s everything you love about Red Sonja, except with more monsters getting stabbed in the eye.”
“Words can’t even express how excited I am to have Gail Simone, one of the premiere writers in all of comics, write RED SONJA, a character she was born to work on. Fans will see in the first issue that she really cuts in to the heart of the character :-) ,” says Dynamite Entertainment CEO/Publisher Nick Barrucci. ”I have wanted to work with Gail for years, and it’s incredibly exciting that her first choice in working with us is Sonja. A strong-willed female with fiery red hair writing about a strong-willed female with fiery red hair – AND A SWORD! It is a dream come true that this project has finally come to fruition! Gail and Sonja’s will be the blades that cut the deepest to her enemies chagrin!”
Gail Simone got her start in comics writing for Bongo Comics, home of The Simpsons. Following her time there, Simone entered the mainstream comics world with a run on Marvel Comics’ Deadpool, and later, Agent X. Gail is best known for known for runs on DC’s Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl.