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SDCC ’11 | A roundup of Thursday’s news

The serious business of Comic-Con got underway Thursday in San Diego with a wave of panels and announcements. Here are the highlights:

• Announcements at the Marvel panel included Jeff Parker and Patrick Zircher’s Hulk of Arabia arc, a new Deadpool arc, an Avengers Academy recruitment drive and Villains for Hire, a new spin on the Heroes for Hire concept. Also in the works: A series of Avengers Origins one-shots.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is coming back in November; the new comics will be written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Wes Craig.

• At the Marvel Digital panel, Marvel senior vice president of publishing David Gabriel announced that Marvel will begin simultaneous print and digital release of its Spider-Man and X-Men comics, starting next week with Amazing Spider-Man #666 and Spider Island line.

• DC released art for several of their New 52 comics. They also revealed Lois Lane’s new boyfriend.

• At the Vertigo panel, Executive Editor Karen Berger announced a new graphic novel called Marzi that would ba marketed to both young and old readers. She also said that Vertigo will launch a new Halloween anthology in October and a totally new series later this year.

• Writer Tim Seely (Hack/Slash) and artist Victor Drujiniu will collaborate on a four-issue The Occultist miniseries for Dark Horse.

• Following up on yesterday’s announcement of a Wally Wood collection, IDW announced John Romita, Sr.’s Amazing Spider-Man: Artist’s Edition. Also, IDW also announced that it is teaming up with DC to create the crossover Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes. Chris Roberson will write the comic, which will be published by IDW.

• In one of Riverdale’s unlikelier pairings, the Archie gang will meet KISS. Archie Comics and IDW share the KISS license now; IDW’s KISS series will launch next year.

• Drawn & Quarterly announced Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, the latest in cartoonist Guy Delisle’s graphic memoirs-slash-travelogues.

• Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins announced a third volume of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer.

• Anime Diet liveblogged the Stan Lee/Yoshiki and “Manga: Lost in Translation” panels.

• The Japanese publisher Square Enix is offering a free first volume of any of its 15 online manga, including Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler, for con-goers and Facebook fans, through August 10.

• Director Robert Rodriguez said he is still working with Frank Miller on the script for a Sin City 2 movie, but he plans to make it this year.

• Hugh Jackman confirmed that he will fight the Silver Samurai in Fox’s The Wolverine.

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