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Six by 6 | Six awesome WildStorm titles

Sleeper #1

Sleeper #1

After 18 years, former Image studio and current DC Comics imprint WildStorm is shutting down this December. And as many have noted already, the house that Jim built has produced many awesome, memorable and even game-changing (to steal a phrase from Rob Liefeld) works in the last two decades.

Here are six of them that we found to be particularly awesome; let us know what we missed in the comments section.

1. Sleeper: There have been many comics that mash up superheroes with down-and-dirty genres like crime and espionage over the past decade; this may just be the best. The high concept is a gripping one: Super-spy Holden Carver is so deep undercover in an international super-criminal organization that when his one contact is placed in a coma, literally no one knows he’s secretly on the side of the angels. Carver’s predicament, the way he plays and gets played by both sides, his growing unwillingness or inability to draw the ethical lines needed to save his soul, if not his life–such is the stuff of a great crime drama. Superstar in the making Ed Brubaker brings all his talents and obsessions to the table here: his knack for crafting morally compromised characters while neither romanticizing their misdeeds nor softening them up, his recurring theme of how the secrets and sins of our pasts never truly leave us, his belief that damaged people seek out other damaged people to repair that damage, his eye for and ability to work with strong visual stylists. In this case that meant Sean Phillips, never better in his ability to believably root spectacular action and super-powers in a naturalist-noir milieu. All of this in a WildC.A.T.s spinoff, proving just how wild WildStorm was once willing to go.

Even its relatively short run redounds to its benefit: The complete story of Holden Carver is yours to own inexpensively, read easily, and ponder at your leisure. (Sean T. Collins)

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Around the web: The end of WildStorm

Planetary #21

This week brings the end of an era, as DC Entertainment announced that the WildStorm imprint is shutting down in December. That, of course, has brought a lot of commentary and remembrances around the web.

  • Both Newsarama and The Beat have round-ups of reactions from creators and former WildStorm employees. As Heidi notes in her intro, “…it isn’t just another in a long list of comics imprints that have ended over the years. It’s the end of a comics company that made history for 18 years as a vital part of several revolutions in commercial comics.” She received a comment from Rob Liefeld that really drives home how game-changing WildStorm was, noting how several prominent creators got their start under WildStorm, and how WildStorm published some of the biggest comics works of the past two decades.
  • My favorite piece on WildStorm is probably Andy Khouri’s essay on ComicsAlliance, where he talks about the generation of comic fans who have grown up with WildStorm (and Fairchild’s breasts). “… the history of WildStorm tracks well with that of many turn-of-the-century babies like myself, whose unconditional affection for the comics medium (and, in some cases, employment in the comics industry) can be traced back to WildStorm founder Jim Lee’s pied piper act, where the most influential comic book artist of the 1990s lured a generation away from the safe, altruistic heroes of our childhoods and into much darker, much sexier and much more violent comic book worlds where we roamed free before he finally led us back to water,” he wrote.
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Quote of the day II | A WildStorm hits Kurt Busiek

Astro City: The Silver Agent #1 by Alex Ross“Hoping for the best for friends at Wildstorm, and the business side of DC…All I know about this, I’ve learned from Twitter. I assume I’ll find out more when the guys at Wildstorm have dealt with whatever eruptions this is causing for them.

“To all who’ve been asking: They haven’t said anything yet about creator-owned Wildstorm books. Presumably they want to talk to us first. And right now, they’re busy absorbing what this means for them. So I doubt I’ll know anything for a day or two.”

Astro City writer Kurt Busiek, whose guess as to how the move of much of DC’s business end to Burbank and the closure of WildStorm will impact his colleagues — not to mention on his long-running creator-owned title, heretofore published through that imprint — is apparently as good as ours.

SDCC ’10 | A roundup of Wednesday’s news [Updated]

FULL_CHARACTER_CONCEPTS-stanleeComic-Con International in San Diego doesn’t officially kick off until tomorrow, but they are hosting a preview night tonight. And not surprisingly, there were some announcements today, albeit not as many as we’ve seen on Wednesday in years past — or at least not as many as I remember on Wednesdays from years past. Maybe the fact that we’ve had so many announcements leading up to Comic-Con over the last week or so led to a quieter pre-con Wednesday. I won’t complain; instead, let’s see what was announced …

• BOOM! Studios announced at a press conference this afternoon that writers Paul Cornell and Chris Roberson would join Mark Waid as the trio of writers working with Stan Lee on a new line of comics. Cornell and artist Javier Pina will bring Soldier Zero to life in October, Mark Waid and Chad Hardin will tackle The Traveler in November, and Chris Roberson and Khary Randolph’s Starborn debuts in December.

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Straight for the art | R.I.P. Silver Agent, by Alex Ross

Silver Agent #2

Silver Agent #2

Wildstorm’s The Bleed shares Alex Ross’s cover to the upcoming Astro City: Silver Agent #2. The two-issue series will “uncover more of the city’s secrets” as we learn about the Silver Agent’s final battle.

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