And we're back. But no looking back. The year-in-review thing's being done all over the Net. Been there, done that. It's done. We're done with 2003, so how about a look ahead at 2004?
In this week's column, we're breaking some news and sneaking some peaks at stuff that has not been shown to the comic book reading public before. That's right, you're seeing it or hearing about it here first time, fans! Not on Newsarama. Nope! The Pulse? Puh-lease! CBG? Sorry! Wizard? Wah! You've been scooped!
Without further ado, a look ahead at what some folks have in store for 2004…
SUNDAY ON THE STRIP WITH JAMIE
The Sunday Comics feature is making a comeback on the Oni Press website. In the past, the online comic strips were used as both a marketing tool to promote Oni's books as well as provide a place for creators to try something different. Previous contributors include Brian Michael Bendis, Judd Winick, Brian Woord, Bernie Mireault, and Paul Dini among many others. However, the program seemed to have ended quietly last summer after two very active years of new content that proved popular with fans. But this Sunday, January 18th editor-in-chief Jamie S. Rich plans to bring it all back and kick start a new year of Sunday Comics with the help of Comic Book Idol winner Patrick Scherberger.
"I don't really want to give anything away, but it's a three part-romantic comedy full of twists and turns. And maybe the occasional pirate," says rising comic star Scherberger. "Okay, I lied. There are no pirates. But, Jamie's written a terrific little romance and everyone should check it out."
In a press release sent out earlier this week, Rich is quoted as saying he wanted the strip to showcase Scherberger's abilities. "Patrick is so agreeable, he'd probably have drawn anything. But really, what I hoped to give him was something where he could experiment with storytelling, styles, and character acting."
Here's a teaser image from "Chance Meetings" to whet your appetite…
And while we're at it, here's a sneak peak from Scherberger's back-up feature for CrossGen's "The Path" written by Ron Marz…
Watch this space for more on that story!
SPEAKING OF COMIC BOOK IDOL
Remember Martin Redmond? You know, the funny French dude who drew like this…
He's providing the cover artwork for "The Magic If," which is set to debut at APE next month from Headless Shakespeare Press.
BRAND NEW JAY
Jay Faerber's got a couple of soon-to-be-released books to hype: "Dodge's Bullets" is an 80-page b/w graphic novel from Image Comics, about Webster Dodge, a struggling Seattle musician who pays the bills by working as a private eye. "Dodge's case to re-unite an estranged father and son soon turns out to be much, much more, with hired thugs, hidden agendas, and more punch-outs and put-downs than you can shake a guitar at," explains the "Noble Causes" creator. "The book is drawn by James Francis, sports a cover by Tony Harris, and will be in stores in late February." Here's an exclusive sneak peak at some pages…
You may have also heard about "Strykeforce," Faerber's new monthly super-hero comic from Top Cow. The series follows a band of outlaw super-heroes who hire themselves out as mercenaries while staying one step ahead of the FBI. "In the first story arc, Strykeforce is hired by a desperate woman to locate her missing son," says Faerber. "The deeper they dig for information, the more apparent it becomes that some very powerful people don't want this kid found. It's sort of a cross between 'The A-Team' and 'The Ultimates', with amazing artwork by Tyler Kirkham, and it launches in March." There's supposed to be a preview on the Top Cow site but I couldn't get the page to load properly, so I asked Faerber to give me some pages to post that no one outside of The Cow has yet to see…
NO MORE DICKING AROUND
You also heard this here first: B. Clay Moore, writer of the critically acclaimed "Hawaiian Dick" published by Image Comics, is working on "Vampi: Vicious Circle" scheduled for an April debut from Harris Comics. Moore tells me that his story set in the dystopian Vampirella futureverse has Vampi rescuing an underground society of "disenfranchised corporate castoffs" from the evil clutches of "mutated toxic raiders." Ooh.
Two artists are working on the three-part miniseries. And this may be another first: Gabriel Rearte will be drawing the action that takes place "above ground" and Dub from Grafiksismik Studio will be illustrating the action that takes place "underground." Double ooh.
Also on deck for Moore this summer is "Clean Living" an OGN to be drawn by Azad ("Sammy the Tourist") and published by Image Comics. Moore describes it as "a coming of age story that jumps from the 60s to the present as we follow a father and son at the same age." Here's the first look at some art from that project…
The bad news for artist LeSean Thomas is that Dreamwave's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is "on hiatus" as of issue #7 due to lower than expected sales. But the good news is that the current issue of "Wizard" (#148) lists "TMNT" #8 as one of the "Hot Books of 2004." Thomas explains: "When I requested my remaining pages back from Dreamwave they only sent me issues #6 and #7. With twenty-two pages of pencils complete and the issue partially inked, Dreamwave is holding onto my pages for #8 because they're still deciding if they're going to publish the issue." That's right, folks, there's still hope for these heroes in a half shell.
More good news for Thomas is that he's moving on from turtle power to some serious fire power. Starting with issue #4 (due in stores this June) he'll be picking up the pencil to help Com.X complete its "Bazooka Jules" miniseries. You heard it here first, comic fans! And here's a first look at the pencils for the wraparound cover of the issue…
As previously reported here, more good news for Thomas is that Com.X has picked up his creator-owned series "Cannon Busters" after Dreamwave dropped it. A previous rumor had "TMNT" scribe Peter David co-writing the title with Thomas, then it was "Bazooka Jules" creator and Com.X co-founder Neil Googe, now Geoff Johns of "Teen Titans" fame is being connected to the project. When asked about Johns' involvement with the project, Thomas replied: "You're getting warmer."
Forget warm, here's a hot, new, never-before-seen image from "Cannon Busters" illustrated by Corey Lewis and colored by Scott Iwahashi…
Oh, and this just in: Thomas also is doing a cover and back-up story for Udon's "Street Fighter" comic.
SOMETHING TO "HYDE"
You may have seen this image elsewhere online…
You may have even seen Steve Niles ("30 Days of Night") quoted to describe "Hyde" as "The Hulk meets Jack the Ripper."
But you've never seen these pages before…
IDW Publishing describes "Hyde" as the story of "Two brilliant but misunderstood scientists who seek to unlock the secret of man's dual nature. They succeed, unleashing a murderous beast on a terrified city. As suspicion and treachery grows, the startling secret of the beast's origin is revealed."
Kris Oprisko, Vice President of IDW, adds: "This book is tentatively slated for a June 2004 release. Steve [Niles] and I worked out the plotting and scripting of the one shot. Aadi Salman, the artist making his stateside debut with our "Silent Hill: Dying Inside" miniseries (issues #3-5) is set to provide artwork. Dimension Films has an option on "Hyde" for motion pictures."
Special thanks to Beau Smith for the hook up for this scoop.
IT'S NOT ONLY THE MUTANTS THAT ARE NEW
After reading "Maria's Wedding" I just had to find out what other comic book goodness Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis had coming out. First up, another scoop! OYM has the privilege of breaking the news about "The Tomb"…
"The Tomb" is a haunted house/Indiana Jones type story. It's about an archeologist who is hired to investigate an old New England manor that is rumored to be decorated inside like an ancient Egyptian tomb. She and a tabloid reporter go in to search of a missing artifact from the King Tut expedition. But they and their team get trapped inside and much mayhem ensues. Oni Press has the book drawn and inked by Christopher Mitten ("Last Exit Before Toll") slated for a July 2004 release.
But before ushering us inside "The Tomb," Oni is set to release "Once In A Blue Moon" this spring. "Once In A Blue Moon" is the story of a teenage girl who falls into the storybook her parents used to read to her as a child. Once there, she discovers it's her destiny to ride the last dragon and save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, over at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters: "New Mutants is moving forward - albeit slowly at the moment," says Weir. "We had a bump in the road during our second arc where editorial decided to re-evaluate the demographics of the book. But we all seem to be on the same page now."
On the artist front, DeFillipis also concedes to a bit of a "bumpy ride." "We've had quite a few," he says. "Keron Grant was the regular for the first arc, but left after four issues. Mark Robinson filled in for issues #5-6 and did a great job, but Marvel already had a new regular in mind with Carlo Barberi. Carlo is handling the second arc, but we had Khary Randolph as a fill-in with issue #9." Then it's back to Barberi for the rest of the arc and Randolph returns for issue #13. As for a regular artist come their new story arc, the writers of the book aren't sure.
However, fans can look forward to the return of Rahne Sinclair towards the end of the aforementioned second arc. "Rahne's return should stir things up and keep our new kids on their toes," continues Weir. There's also the introduction of a new student named Noriko Ashida whose integration into the school will not be a smooth one, but a reunion of certain former students is what x-fans have really been waiting for. "Sam, Roberto and Amara will be coming to Salem Center and the old New Mutants will get a chance to catch up with one another," promises Weir.
So, there you have it, folks. Some cool comic book stories and events to look out for in 2004. Some are coming your way as soon as this weekend, while others you have to wait a bit for. But good things to those who wait, right? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed all the sneak peaks and exciting announcements. I'll see what I can do about doing another one of these in the near future. Lastly…
The answer to that Comic Book Idol question a lot of people have been asking is: yes.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Next week: Speaking to Scott Morse.
Meanwhile, drop by the OYM forum and tell me what you thought about my first column of the year and what you're looking forward to comics-wise in 2004.
Thank you for your attention.