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Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley’s lengthy report on CBR, I’ve pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:
• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell’s The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they’ve worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.
• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that’s been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren’s three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.
Entertainment Weekly shares the news that Dark Horse has two spinoff miniseries planned for later this year, featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer supporting characters Spike and Willow.
The Spike miniseries, which kick off in August, will be written by X-Men writer Victor Gischler and picks up after the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #10. “The focus is on Spike and his coming to terms with some things, sort of getting right in the head,” Gischler told EW. “He loves Buffy, but can’t be with her. What does that mean to a vampire with a soul?” He also meets up with some demons trying to collect the shards of the magic “seed” that was destroyed in Season Eight of the comic.
The Willow series, meanwhile, starts in November and is written by Thunderbolts and Hulk writer Jeff Parker. Willow, who took off from the pages of Buffy with the mystical slayer scythe, hunts down Angel in a quest to try and bring magic back to Earth.
You can see the cover art for the first issue of the Spike series over at the EW site.
Update: Kiel Phegley at CBR picks up a few more tidbits on the two miniseries at the Diamond Retailer Summit leading into C2E2; Brian Ching will draw the Willow series with covers by David Mack and Megan Lara. Paul Lee will draw Spike with covers by Jenny Frison and Steve Morris.
Thinking about it, Willow was a perfect concept for an ’80s animated series. It had just the right mixture of magic and sword-fighting, adult adventurers for kids to look up to and – if you aged baby Elora Danan several years – a relatable kid about the same age as the target audience. Even the brownies were custom-made to fill the role of the annoying “comedy” sidekicks that every ’80s cartoon had to have.
Lucasfilm thought so too, according to a set of concept drawings posted at io9. A Willow cartoon would have made sense too considering the success of the Droids and Ewoks cartoons that it looks very much in the spirit of. Check out the io9 gallery for drawings of all the major, familiar characters as well as new – if forgettable – ones like Generic Witch and Friendly Dragon. I actually like the artistry of these drawings a whole lot, it’s just that the cartoon it suggests looks very by-the-numbers for that era.