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DC Entertainment moving to L.A.; DC Comics staying in NYC; WildStorm and Zuda shutting down

Ending a year of industry speculation and acute employee anxiety, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson announced today that the company’s multimedia business operations — including feature films, television, digital media, video games and consumer products — and its administrative wing will be relocating to Burbank, California, home of parent company Warner Bros. Entertainment. DC Comics, DC Entertainment’s publishing division, will remain in New York City.

Meanwhile, in a separate post on DC’s Source blog, DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee announced the company will cease to publish comics under the WildStorm banner as of December. The imprint’s WildStorm Universe titles will end (though its characters are promised to return), its licensed and kids’ titles will instead be released as part of DC proper, and its editorial team will be restructured and folded into the Burbank-based DC Comics Digital wing. Finally, the struggling Zuda imprint, which already saw its foundational website shuttered in July, will cease to exist after this week, its future titles to be released under the DC banner.

Stay tuned to Comic Book Resources and Robot 6 for much more on these developments.


Fringe alternate covers surface on variant Fringe comic

Hey, remember those “alternate reality” comic covers that appeared on an episode of Fringe last season? They were designed by the artists at WildStorm for an episode that was set on a parallel earth where things were a bit “off” … like Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan wearing red instead of green, Jonah Hex replacing Guy Gardner in Justice League International, and other fun twists like that.

Well, in a weird bit of symmetry, it turns out that one of those covers will appear on an actual comic from WildStorm:

fringe2altcv1

Above is the variant cover for issue #2 of Tales from the Fringe, a spin-off from the TV show. The cover probably looks slightly familiar to anyone who bought the “Death of Superman” books back in the 1990s. Also, I hear if you hold up that cover in front of the TV while watching the episode of Fringe where it appeared, you’ll destroy the space time continuum. So proceed with caution.

Isotope Comics deconstructs the Ex Machina creative process

machine0

Back in 2004, James Sime of the San Francisco-based comic shop Isotope Comics teamed up with Ex Machina’s Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris for a voter registration drive where they gave away free copies of the comic and, of course, encouraged people to register to vote for that year’s election. They followed that up with an Election Day party in November, where they gave away an Ex Machina “virtual Criterion Collection styled DVD extras disc, autographed by the creators and jam-packed full of goodness,” Sime said.

Teaming up with Darren and Michelle Murata, co-founders of San Francisco’s celebrated Technology Think Tank & Digital Design Bureau ComradeAgency.com we made something truly beautiful. Packed with pages upon pages of Brian’s never before seen scripts and Tony’s production artwork from start to finish, thisDeconstructing the Machine disc took viewers on a personal tour behind the wizard’s curtain in a way nothing else ever had before. And we gave them away for free to each and every person who attended our event. And also to 100 lucky fans across the nation.

With Ex Machina‘s last issue hitting stores today, Sime has taken the contents of the DVD and put them on his website. It includes interviews with the creators, behind-the-scenes tours of Jolly Rogers Studios, production artwork and lots more. Check out the site here.

Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

The Light #5

The Light #5

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item.

Join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what we’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15 …

I would get the last issue of The Light ($2.99). I read the first two issues and was very impressed by the art and the characters; I need to catch up on this story and bring it to a close. I definitely want to get issue 2 of CBGB ($3.99), the comic that takes you behind the scenes at the world’s greatest nightclub, and issue 3 of Sixth Gun ($3.99), which promises to reveal some secrets and push the plot along. I’ll round it out with Donald Duck and Friends #357 ($2.99), and Dark Horse’s Usagi Yojimbo ($1), which is an introduction to a series I have long been curious about but never read.

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What Are You Reading?

X'ed Out

X'ed Out

As the final days of summer start to waste away and you’re looking for something to enjoy before hitting the books for school, there’s no better place to find some good stuff to read than right here in our weekly What Are You Reading? column.This week our guest is journalist/blogger Heidi MacDonald, of The Beat and Publishers Weekly fame.

To see what Heidi and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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What are you reading?

Adam Strange Archives Vol. 1

Adam Strange Archives Vol. 1

Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. With JK Parkin in the midst of San Diego Comic-Con madness, I’m taking over the WAYR duties for this week. Our guest this week is blogger, noteworthy critic and Newsarama contributor Matt Seneca.

Find out what Matt’s been reading (he’s got a long list), and be sure to include your own current reading list, after the jump …

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SDCC ’10 | A roundup of Saturday’s news

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, once upon a time, was “big movie day” at the con … back before every day became big movie day at the con. Still, today somewhat lived up to its reputation for being eventful, as the Avengers assembled on stage, Green Lantern movie footage was shown and one poor fan was stabbed in the eye while attending programming in Hall H, where several of the big movie panels took place. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center, while his attacker was taken away by police after attendees detained him.

In happier news, here’s what was announced on the comics front:

• Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada confirmed that Marvel is “gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff.” CrossGen, which published numerous titles like Sojourn, Way of the Rat, Abadazad and Meridian starting 1998, went bankrupt in 2004. Disney bought their assets that same year.

Their titles covered many different genres, from fantasy to horror to detective stories. “I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint,” Quesada said. No word yet on what properties they plan to bring back.

• Kurt Busiek announced that American Gothic, the urban fantasy comic announced at last year’s WildStorm panel, will now be called Witchlands. The series will be drawn by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know, which will include illustrations by Carlos Pacheco.

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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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Amanda Conner’s new cover for the Two-Step collection

Two-Step

Two-Step

On his blog, writer Warren Ellis reveals an impressive new cover that Amanda Conner and colorist Paul Mounts created for the trade paperback collection of Two-Step, which is finally being collected this November. The comic was published in 2003 by WildStorm, under their Cliffhanger imprint, I believe, and was written by Ellis and draw by Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.

“You know how this project started? I’d worked with Amanda before — on a Vampirella thing, just because I wanted to write something for Amanda, because she’s brilliant,” Ellis wrote on his blog. “And a couple of years later I got an email from Jimmy that read, I swear: ‘Wanna write something for Amanda and I? We both think you don’t suck.’”

What Are You Reading?

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is writer and artist Dean Trippe, creator of Butterfly and co-founder of the Project: Rooftop blog, among other credits. He posts regularly on his Tumblr site Bearsharktopus-Man, where he is currently selling this nifty Doctor Who/Batman crossover print. He also has some art in the Webcomics Auction for the Gulf.

To see what Dean and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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SDCC ’10 | Highlights of Sunday’s comics programming

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

At last we arrive at the schedule for the final day of Comic-Con International — Sunday, July 25 (aka “Kids’ Day”).

Below you’ll find highlights of the comics-related programming, which include the final Smallville panel, an appearance by famed Japanese artist Yoshitako Amano, spotlights on Matt Fraction and Dennis O’Neil, and a look at the upcoming Spider-Man storyline “Origin of the Species.”

The full programming schedule for Saturday can be found here.

10 to 11 .m. Emily The Strange — Get your last day of Comic-Con off to a strange start with Dark Horse’s Emily the Strange panel! Meet Emily’s creator Rob Reger and Dark Horse editor Shawna Gore, and come prepared to quench your curiosity about all things Emily. Exciting announcements, wacky wordplay, and tasty news bits are all on the menu for this early bird panel! Room 3

10 to 11 a.m. Jack Kirby Tribute — It’s time once again to pay tribute to Jack “King” Kirby, the prolific writer/artist who co-created some of the world’s most famous superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, the New Gods and many more. Kirby biographer and friend Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) hosts this annual Comic-Con tradition and is joined this year by writers Marv Wolfman (Tomb of Dracula, New Teen Titans) and Kurt Busiek (Astro City, JLA/Avengers) and other Kirby fanatics to discuss the King. Room 4

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SDCC ’10 | Pickets, programming and … Pitt and Jolie?

With a mere 13 days left until Comic-Con International — well, 12 if you count Preview Night — the convention-related stories are beginning to pour in:

Westboro Baptist Church

Westboro Baptist Church

• Rich Johnston catches word that Westboro Baptist Church, the small but vocal anti-gay extremist group best known for picketing funerals and Jewish institutions, will protest Comic-Con on Thursday — if only briefly. The Kansas-based congregation, which is headed by Fred Phelps, is in San Diego to oppose the appearance by former Vice President Al Gore at the 2010 AHA Health Forum Leadership Summit. However, members are squeezing in time from 1:15 to 2 p.m. to take a run at nerds, who “have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them.”

“The destruction of this nation is imminent,” the group’s website reads, “so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry.”

• Brace yourselves for a media frenzy: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are rumored to be attending Comic-Con to promote their films Megamind and Salt.

• DC Comics has released the full programming schedules for its DC Universe, Vertigo and WildStorm imprints.

• Speaking of programming: As we noted yesterday, convention organizers unveiled the schedule for Thursday. I run down the highlights here, and break out the TV and movie panels at our sibling blog Spinoff Online.

Douglas Wolk and Robert T. Trate roll out survival guides. But don’t forget Tom Spurgeon’s sprawling list of tips.

The Live Feed breaks down some of the TV series that won’t be at Comic-Con, and why.

• San Diego News Room has a general overview of the convention.

Trailer for Red hits the web

The trailer for Red, the adaptation of Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s mini-series that was published by Wildstorm, has hit the web:

The movie stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Mary-Louise Parker, and hits theaters Oct. 15.

Wetworks returns in September

Wetworks one-shot

Wetworks one-shot

Wildstorm announced yesterday on their blog that Wetworks will return in September as a one-shot called Wetworks: Mutations #1.

The book is co-written by Kevin Grevioux and Christopher Long, with art by Julius Gopez and a cover (above) by Brandon Badeaux. Grevioux wrote, produced and starred in the Underworld films, in addition to writing New Warriors and Legend of the Blue Marvel for Marvel Comics. Gopez, meanwhile, worked on the Dragonlance books from Devil’s Due.

Here’s the solicitation info:

Roaming the post-Apocalyptic American landscape, it’s Wetworks like you’ve never seen them before. With their symbiotes no longer reliably functioning, the team finds themselves running up against Lord Defile, intent upon remaking the ruined Earth in his own vision, which includes experimenting on human prisoners to create a hybrid species! Writer, actor and co-creator of the Underworld movie franchise Kevin Grevioux and co-writer Christopher Long bring their unique take to this classic WildStorm franchise, with incredibly detailed art by newcomer Julius Gopez.

And if I’m not mistaken, Wildstorm posted a teaser for the book in the form of a page of art back in February.

Wetworks was created by Whilce Portacio and was intended to be one of Image Comics’ launch titles back in the early 1990s, before Portacio had to withdraw from the company. It was eventually published by Image under the Wildstorm banner.

A closer look at those Fringe “alternate reality” covers

As noted earlier this week, last night’s season finale of Fox’s Fringe featured an alternate reality where everything was topsy-turvy — including the comics. Over at DC’s the Source blog, DC’s Geoff Johns and Wildstorm’s Hank Kanalz talks about how the mock covers used on the show came about.

“A month or so ago, I was fortunate enough to take on the job of Chief Creative Officer. That meant I was charged with bringing out characters out of the comic book pages and into the vast world of television, film, animation and video games that is DC Entertainment,” Johns said. “One of the first calls I got was from the director of the Fringe season finale – writer/producer/director Akiva Goldsman. He was shooting a scene in an alternate world where things weren’t exactly like ours. Where even the smallest details were somewhat off. Including the comics. Together with executive producer Jeff Pinker, Akiva wanted to showcase an array of DC Comics that could’ve been including the ones you can see below. He wanted them to be as authentic as possible. Something only the hardcore would really recognize. We all came up with some ideas. That’s when Hank Kanalz came in…”

“We mobilized Batman: Arkham Asylum artist Carlos D’Anda, The Authority: Lost Year artists JJ Kirby, Michael Lopez, and Oliver Nome, and art directors extraordinaire Larry Berry and Ed Roeder to create these fun alternate reality covers,” Kanalz said. “We assembled the first four covers quickly…but we really wanted to exceed all expectations for the fifth cover. With the concept of RED LANTERN/RED ARROW we had only one choice – Ivan Reis. Geez, did he and Oclair Albert deliver, or what?”

In addition to the Red Lantern/Red Arrow cover, there were several other classic DC Comics covers that got a little twist of their own. For instance, Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 featured the classic Superman holding a lifeless Supergirl … but on the show last night, the roles were reversed:

"Mock" Crisis #7 cover

"Mock" Crisis #7 cover

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