Erik Larsen is leaving "The Defenders" after issue #12. Marvel spokesman Bill Rosemann says Larsen's recent bout with pneumonia is forcing the artist to scale back his work, so he can focus on his creator-owned "Savage Dragon." A new artist hasn't been named, but an announcement about the title could be made at the upcoming Toronto convention.
Artist Jill Thompson will see one of her most-beloved creations move from comics to the stage next month when her award-winning "Scary Godmother" is adapted by a theater group in her native Chicago. Previews for "Scary Godmother" begin Sept. 14 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. The Halloween-themed show is set to run from Sept. 21 through Oct. 28. Tickets are $10. Thompson helped adapt her stories for the stage and also worked on the costumes and set design. "It's going to be terrific," she says. "It's funny for adults and appropriate for children."
Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Joe Quesada will return to the artist's table in grand style when he inaugurates a new Marvel Knights title, "Marvel Knights Double-Shot," in October. The series, which will mark the Knights line's fourth anniversary, will feature two shorter-than-normal stories in each issue. First up are Quesada and Garth Ennis on everyone's favorite neighborhood psychopath, the Punisher. A backup tale about Daredevil will feature the writing and artwork of Rob Haynes, who drew the "Daredevil: Ninja" mini-series.
Marvel also is planning a monthly series based on the "X-Men: Evolution" cartoon. Writer Devin Grayson has been brought on board, making this her first foray into X-territory. The book will be the first comic in Marvel's "young readers" line, Quesada said.
Not to be outdone, DC is planning a regular series based on the new "Justice League Adventures" cartoon. "It's going to be vaguely for younger readers, but there's certainly something there for everyone," DC editor Dan Raspler says. The title will carry a rotating creative team.
Military-comics buffs, rejoice: DC is planning to collect classic tales of the Blackhawks and Sgt. Rock as part of its "Archives" line.
Fans of Kevin Smith's movies, including the soon-to-be-released "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," may recognize two of the guys manning the View Askew booth on the convention floor. Longtime Smith pals Bryan Johnson and Walt Flanagan will sell you plenty of Askew-related merchandise if you ask nicely.
As previously announced, Jimmy Palmiotti and Dan Didio will take over the writing chores on DC's "Superboy" starting with issue #94 later this year. Palmiotti says he's going to stay on for at least six issues. The first story, penciled by John McCrea, sees the Boy of Steel trying to get an apartment in Metropolis. "And no one wants to rent to him because they know he's Superboy," Palmiotti says. Look for the Creeper to appear in Joe Kelly's final issue of "Superboy," #93.
JLA fans have a busy winter to look forward to: "JLA: Riddle of the Beast," a JLA Elseworlds hardcover written by Alan Grant with art by 15 different artists takes a "Tolkein"-style look at the JLA in December. Those mourning the late Aquaman will be glad to know DC editorial staffers referred to him as "the once and future king" on Saturday, and suggested Aquaman fans pick up Joe Kelly's first issue of "JLA," issue #61, for clues to Aquaman's fate. (The issue also features a preview of Kurt Busiek's and Tom Grummett's forthcoming Power Company title.) And Superman, no stranger to being dead and getting better, will face his nemesis once more, when Doomsday returns 100 issues after he killed the Man of Steel in "Superman" #175.
Another big Elseworlds project is in the works, this one starring the Teen Titans, written by classic Titans writer Bob Haney. The story will be set in the 1960s.
Marvel's got another new direction for "Cable." Starting in issue #97, look to see him try to save the world in two-fisted style, heading to the world's hotspots.
Another Marvel mutant hothead, Wolverine, will appear in "X-Force" #120, including on the cover. The issue will feature a long conversation between him and Doop, discussing their shared history. Wolverine's appearance is the last cameo planned for the series for now. And Doop fans: Marvel hinted that a Doop screensaver may soon be available.
Chris Claremont's "X-Treme X-Men" may be picking up another mutant beauty he's long been associated: Marvel suggested that Rachel "Phoenix" Summers may be joining the cast.
Jason Borelli and Beau Yarbrough contributed to this story.