Frank Miller has yet to finish work on Xerxes, his long-discussed follow-up to 300, meaning Dark Horse won’t be able to release the comic in time for the March-premiering 300: Rise of an Empire.
What’s more, ICv2.com reports no progress has been made on the planned five-issue (previously six-issue) miniseries since March 2011, when Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson told the website Miller had completed the second issue.
With the 2007 release of director Zack Snyder’s 300, sales of the collected edition soared, propelling the 1998 book to the top of bestseller lists and leading Dark Horse to order two 50,000-copy printings to meet demand.
While Snyder’s film was a direct adaptation of the comic by Miller and Lynn Varley, even replicating its imagery, it’s unclear how close Rise of an Empire hews to the plot of Xerxes, which the writer had described as “a sweeping tale with gods of monsters” centering on the Battle of Artemisium (it’s a naval engagement that occurred at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae).
Publishing | In a wide-ranging interview with retail news and analysis site ICv2, Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson discusses the state of the market, the potential impact of Borders’ bankruptcy, digital comics, the decline in manga sales, the success of Troublemaker and more. Of particular note is Richardson’s confirmation that Apple’s stricter enforcement of a prohibition on in-app purchases outside the iTunes store was behind the delay of the planned January launch of Dark Horse’s digital comics program. He also says that Frank Miller is working on the third issue of his 300 prequel Xerxes, which is expected to be “roughly six issues, but he hasn’t exactly decided yet.” [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson provides an overview of recent changes to BOOM! Studios’ kids’ line, from the loss of the Pixar licenses to a new imprint name — changed from BOOM! Kids to kaboom! — to the announcement this week of a Peanuts original graphic novel. “BOOM Kids! was designed to publish children’s comics — kaboom! is designed to be a true all-ages imprint, and for that reason Peanuts is the perfect launch title, the sort of material that adults and kids read alike,” CEO Ross Ritchie said. “Roger Langridge’s Snarked! is along these lines, as is Space Warped and Word Girl. I put the Word Girl announcement on my wall on Facebook and immediately there were a zillion adults commenting, ‘My child loves this show but I’m buying this comic book for myself!’ The title mix will be broader for kaboom! than it was for BOOM Kids!” [Publishers Weekly]
Next year Dark Horse Comics is bringing back its very first title, Dark Horse Presents. Courtesy of Dark Horse, here are two covers for the first issue of the anthology, featuring Frank Miller’s Xerxes (above) and Paul Chadwick’s Concrete (after the break), a strip that appeared in the first issue of the original DHP back in the 1980s.
Comic-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.
Frank Miller promises the long-discussed prequel Xerxes will tell “a more complex story” than 300, his 1998 miniseries about the Battle of Thermopylae that became a 2007 box-office hit.
Officially confirmed on Tuesday by Dark Horse, the six-issue miniseries will likely debut in 2011. The publisher will release a Xerxes lithograph in October.
As Miller first revealed in December, Xerxes will take place 10 years before Thermopylae, beginning with the legendary Battle of Marathon, which marked the end of Persia’s first invasion of Greece.
“The story will be the same heft as 300 but it cover a much, much greater span of time — it’s 10 years, not three days,” Miller told the Los Angeles Times this week. ”This is a more complex story. The story is so much larger. The Spartans in 300 were being enclosed by the page as the world got smaller. This story has truly vast subjects. The Athenian naval fleet, for instance, is a massive artistic undertaking and it dwarfed by the Persian fleet, which is also shown in this story. The story has elements of espionage, too, and it’s a sweeping tale with gods and warriors.”
He said that while Xerxes is the title character, the protagonist is Themistocles, the famed Athenian politician and general.
Nestled in this Los Angeles Times article about the resurgence of Greek mythology in popular entertainment just may be the first official details of Frank Miller’s sequel to his 1998 miniseries-turned-2007 box-office hit 300.
Previous reports had indicated that the new graphic novel, which would be used as the basis for another movie, is set between the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Plataea, shown at the end of 300.
However, according to the LA Times article, the follow-up is now titled Xerxes — Xerxes I of Persia is the antagonist of 300 — and takes place 10 years before Thermopylae.
“It’s the Battle of Marathon through my lens,” Miller told the newspaper last week. “I’ve finished the plot and I’m getting started on the artwork.”
Among the criticisms levied against 300 is Miller’s depiction of Xerxes as an inhumanly tall, bejeweled androgynous figure at the head of a near-demonic horde.
The Battle of Marathon marked the end of Persia’s first invasion of Greece, triggered by the involvement of Athens and Eretria in revolts by several regions in Asia Minor against Persian rule. Xerxes’ father Darius I was the ruler of Persia at the time of the conflict.