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Wake Up And Smell The Coffee: Ch-Ch-Changes...

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It’s been a pretty long time since I wrote that last column. It was actually due to appear much earlier, as I wrote it just days before the San Diego Comic Con began. Since then, DC/Wildstorm has made dozens of announcements, including a new mature readers imprint, major creative changes and the solicitation of what is probably the most highly anticipated follow-up in the Modern Age of comics…The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Many of these announcements relate to my issues posted last week and some of them are actually positive changes for DC, so I thought I would cover a few of them today.


WildStorm: Mature Readers label

All I can say is… well played. If anyone has been reading Wildcats for the last year, they’ll know that the content has been getting considerably more adult every month. Joe Casey has definitely brought more depth and flavor to the series, but he’s also upped the ante when it comes to subject matter. This is all well and good, but you may as well slap a mature label on the cover to be safe. It’s not going to hurt anyone and it’s a pretty good bet we know who the audience is anyway. The same goes for The Authority, which will also be labeled mature beginning with Brian Azzarello and Steve Dillon’s upcoming run in April. Taking full advantage of this new imprint, WildStorm is also taking the opportunity to launch a few new titles… as well as relaunching the existing ones. At first, I thought that was a great idea. After all, it might be better to place some space between the original titles and their new “mature” incarnations. However, I’m starting to get the feeling they may take this relaunching a bit too far and unnecessarily apply it to several other titles, creating a line-wide sales gimmick (a la Marvel circa 1998/99). It’s a little too early to speculate, but I’m a bit wary none the less. We’ll see what happens.


Batman

Wow. Simply… wow. Batman editor Bob Shreck, clearly the biggest gun DC has today, has lined up some amazing projects for the fans over the next year. Aside from the obvious – excellent storytelling among the core titles – Shreck has been building several new titles and side projects to keep us counting the hours to every shipping date. The Catwoman relaunch has been solicited for November, with Ed Brubaker (Batman) and Darwyn Cooke (Batman: Ego) setting up their series with a pre-launch storyline in the pages of Detective Comics. Word is Brubaker and Greg Rucka (Detective Comics, Queen & Country) are now working on a Gotham Police Dept. ongoing series that they would alternate writing duties for with artist Michael Lark (Legend of the Hawkman). Also of note, Shreck is soon placing artist Steve Lieber as the new ongoing penciler of Detective Comics. Lieber is well known for his award-winning collaborations with Rucka on Whiteout and Whiteout: Melt from Oni Press. If you haven’t read these two books yet, I implore you to do so. If all this news has been tasking enough, the upcoming Batman mini-series and original graphic novels will probably kill you. Joe Casey (Wildcats, Uncanny X-Men) and Cully Hamner (Wildstorm Summer Special) are working together on a 3 issue mini-series, Batman: Tenses, and the fan-favorite 100 Bullets creative team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are putting together their own Batman graphic novel. Do I even need to mention The Dark Knight Strikes Again? 3 issues, 80 pages each, Frank Miller writing, Frank Miller drawing, starting in December… be there. There are even some projects that we haven’t been privy to yet… pretty big ones. I assure you, if there was ever a time to be reading Batman… that time is now.


Superman

I can’t imagine this has nothing to do with the controversy surrounding a 3 month long crossover, but regardless, the Superman creative teams have said they plan on breaking up the books into individual storylines for at least a while. I don’t know, I’ll believe when I see it. Otherwise, I am happy to see DC used their typical December gimmick planning to issue a harmless theme with the special covers. Doesn’t affect the content and gives people something a little different. Maybe this is the sign of a kinder, gentler DC? Ha ha… probably not, but it’s a start.


Chuck Dixon

Another major DC creator moves to CrossGen, who would have guessed? Actually, this one surprised me. By all rights, I should have seen it miles away after the cancellation of Marvel Knights and Fantastic Four editor Bobbie Chase’s departure from Marvel. I didn’t, though, and it was quite a shock. Perhaps it was the 3 monthlies Dixon has fathered and nurtured for the last several years. I mean, who would have thought someone could leave that behind? I’m sure it was a very difficult decision, but working nearly to death as a freelancer just doesn’t add up when comparing it against the employee benefits at CrossGen. I hope Dixon finds the creative environment he needs to flourish here in Tampa, but I sure will miss his work on Birds of Prey. On the brighter side of things, at least I don’t have to worry about a sequel to Joker: The Last Laugh… I hope.


I think this has pretty much brought my thoughts on DC & WildStorm up to date. Hopefully next week I’ll turn my evil eye towards Marvel and their odd practices of late. Anyone who knows me is probably dreading the words, Ultimate Marvel, but they’ll have to wait and see. Until next time…



I want to use this space today to express my deep sadness over the terrible tragedy that has afflicted the world over the last week. The loss of family and friends is far too great for anyone to have to bear, but I hope they will be able to find some light when this chaos has passed. I also hope that despite the anger and rage many of us are feeling as Americans, that we will not turn it on our fellow brothers and sisters of this country due to differences in race or religion. We must stand together against this atrocity as a nation and not allow the petty bigotry and hate that lead Laden and his extremists to violence plague our people. Thank you. - Drew


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