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DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint has been releasing one-shot anthologies on a fairly regular basis, using them to dust off old titles like Strange Adventures, The Witching Hour and Mystery in Space, which gives contributors a general theme, and likely helps the publisher maintain trademarks.
Despite once being as common as mutant superheroes are today, anthologies of any kind haven’t been readily embraced in the modern marketplace, and one imagines the ever-increasing costs of comics doesn’t help. These Vertigo titles, featuring short, generally forgettable, riff-like stories from a multitude of creators — which the law of averages suggests will include some stories a reader won’t like — will run you $7.99, just two bucks shy of an ad-free, spine-having trade paperback collection of Image Comics’ Pretty Deadly … or Vertigo’s own FPB: Federal Physics Bureau.
This year the imprint is trying something slightly different: It’s still publishing $8 anthologies, with a variety of creative teams riffing on a theme, but rather than raiding long-faded DC titles (sorry if you were waiting for a revival of More Fun Comics or Adventures of Bob Hope),Vertigo is going with a sort of printing theme. Four anthologies, published on a quarterly basis, each using one of the four basic colors of traditional printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK. If nothing else, this will make repackaging and reselling these stories in a trade format a little easier, as the theme will be consistent between a series of anthologies.
The cyan issue debuted this week; it’s a very strikingly designed comic. The cover by designer Jared K. Fletcher is simple and understated, and it pops off the comics rack and begs for special attention. Even the two-page table of contents, in which each story is given a paint swathe-like panel of cyan/different shades of blue, is lovely (I feel tempted to make a joke about combining the thrill of reading a table of contents with the thrill of picking out a paint color, but I can’t; I genuinely dug those pages on an aesthetic level).
So the idea is rather inspired, as is the design — but how are the stories? Par for the course, I suppose. Some good, some bad, some mediocre; some clever uses of the theme, some that seem to ignore it all together. Let’s take a look, shall we?
As part of All-New Marvel NOW!, veteran artist Lee Garbett will team in February with writer Al Ewing for Loki: Agent of Asgard, a series the god of mischief is fully grown and in the service of the All-Mother. More immediately, however, Marvel is setting the stage for the initiative with All-New Marvel NOW! Point One #1, a one-shot that arrives Jan. 8 with a Garbett-drawn Loki serving as the thread that brings together all of the stories.
In my interview with Garbett, the artist clearly relishes the opportunity to draw Asgard’s new “one-man secret service” as well as work with Ewing. ROBOT 6 is also pleased to provide an exclusive page from the upcoming All-New Marvel NOW Point One.
Given Loki’s current popularity, both on the big screen and in his pint-sized form in Young Avengers, it was only a matter of time before Marvel’s god of mischief earned his own comic.
The publisher revealed during this afternoon’s “All-New Marvel Now” panel at New York Comic Con that writer Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett are teaming up for Loki: Agent of Asgard, a new ongoing series in which the now grown-up trickster — now in the service of the All-Mother — is made official defender of the home of the gods.
Ewing explained to Marvel.com that Loki will be sent on missions “that are relevant to the future security of Asgard. For example, in Issue 2, Loki’s given the job of tracking down Lorelei, the Enchantress’ younger sister, who’s been out in the realm of Midgard getting up to mischief. Whether Loki and Lorelei’s relationship mirrors that of their older siblings — well, you’ll have to pick up the book to find out.”
Look for more details Saturday in Comic Book Resource’s interview with Ewing.
Valiant Entertainment released a Ninjak teaser earlier this week, and now here’s the payoff: The ninja spy is indeed returning, in September’s X-O Manowar #5 — and as you can see, he’ll be going sword-to-lightning-sword with Aric of Dacia.
Here’s the quick summary from the press release:
X-O Manowar has landed on Earth – and now the world’s most lethal intelligence agent has a new target. But who is the operative known as Ninjak? And who – or what – has marked Aric of Dacia for death by his blade? Find out when the all-new, all-ruthless Ninjak makes his shocking debut – and cuts his way to the forefront of the Valiant Universe!
Robert Venditti will continue to script the series, but Batman R.I.P. penciller Lee Garbett will take over as artist, replacing Cary Nord, who illustrated the first arc. Comic Book Resources talks with Vendetti about Ninjak’s return to the Valiant Universe.
The teaser image (below) will be the cover of X-O Manowar #5, and the image above is the interlocking variant covers by Patrick Zircher. Philip Tan will also do a pullbox-exclusive variant cover.