Fox announces X-Men: Apocalypse, eyes expanded universe
20th Century Fox has confirmed a Twitter announcement by X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer that the series will continue in 2016 with X-Men: Apocalypse. The studio has also inked a three-year deal with Simon Kinberg, a co-writer and producer on Days of Future Past as well as X-Men: First Class and Fox's forthcoming reboot of the Fantastic Four, to develop an expanded cinematic universe linking the two superhero properties.
Millar, Parlov look to Starlight
The Hollywood Reporter has announced Mark Millar's next creator-owned project Starlight, debuting in March through Image Comics with art by Goran Parlov (Punisher). The six-issue series is centred on a Flash Gordon-style space hero who after retiring to a life of anonymity on Earth is decades later called into action for one last adventure.
Starlight will also kick off Millar's plans for a shared superhero universe, also including the previously announced MPH with Duncan Fegredo which will launch through Image in May.
Affleck/Damon to produce Sleeper movie
Variety reports Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will produce a movie adaptation of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' cult Wildstorm series Sleeper, set up at Warner Bros with TV writing duo Shawn Ryan and David Wiener attached to pen the screenplay. No director or cast are yet in place, with Affleck already attached to a number of directorial gigs in addition to his upcoming role as Batman in 2015's Superman/Batman. Ryan's credits including co-creating police procedurals The Shield and The Chicago Code, while Wiener was most recently a story editor on The Killing.
Published between 2003 and 2005 to enormous critical acclaim but dismal sales, Sleeper was among a number of titles revamping the Wildstorm universe for mature readers following the success of The Authority.
Daredevil heads Marvel-Netflix partnership
Marvel will partner with digital TV streaming platform Netflix for a slate of live-action series featuring street level characters Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones. Daredevil is expected to appear first during 2015, with each character's 13-episode solo series to lead into a team-up show under the moniker the Defenders.
The screen rights to Daredevil recently returned to Marvel following the poorly received 2003 movie starring Ben Affleck and after proposed reboots under directors David Slade and Joe Carnahan failed to enter production, while a Jessica Jones TV series was previously in development with involvement from Brian Michael Bendis who co-created the character in the pages of Marvel MAX title Alias.
Disney has also hinted an additional Marvel TV series is in development at US network ABC, in addition to the successful Agents of SHIELD. Meanwhile, the CW is looking to add to its hit series Arrow with small-screen adaptations of DC hero Hourman and cult Vertigo series iZombie, the latter with involvement from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas.
Fables to wrap up at #150
Fables writer Bill Willingham has announced his hugely acclaimed DC Vertigo series Fables will end during 2015 with issue #150, as the 60-year-old scribe prepares to step back from monthly comics work. Spinoff series Fairest will also wrap up around the same time. Since debuting in 2002 Fables has proven Vertigo's most successful title since Neil Gaiman's Sandman, winning more than a dozen Eisner awards.
Marvel Studios developing Black Panther movie
During an interview at the Thor: The Dark World premiere press junket Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed the studio is actively developing a Black Panther feature as part of its 'Phase Three' of post-Avengers 2 films. Feige also hinted again at Doctor Strange featuring in Phase Three, while commenting that Edgar Wright's Ant-Man will be a heist film and casting should be announced by the end of the year.
New York Comic-Con highlights
Marvel will begin republishing Miracleman from January 2014 onwards as a monthly series with remastered art, beginning with Alan Moore's massively acclaimed 1980s reinvention of the character and culminating in the completed but never published final issue of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham's Dark Age storyline.
DC will launch a new weekly series Batman: Eternal in mid-2014, with current Batman writer Scott Snyder overseeing a team of scribes including James Tynion IV, John Layman, Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley. Detective Comics illustrator Jay Fabok will be the lead artist on the series, which Snyder has revealed will feature the reintroduction of fan-favourite character Stephanie Brown as Spoiler.
Forthcoming titles from the Avengers family include Avengers World by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and Stefano Caselli, with a team including Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Spider-Woman and Thor tasked with protecting the entire globe; a relaunched Secret Avengers from Ales Kot and Michael Walsh; Avengers Undercover from Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, with the survivors of Avengers Arena going undercover in the Masters of Evil; and a new Black Widow ongoing series by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto.
IDW will launch an ongoing Transformers/G.I. Joe series from veteran Transformers writer John Barber and co-writer and artist Tom Scioli, while Fred Van Lente will succeed Brian Wood as writer of Dark Horse's ongoing Conan the Barbarian.
X-Factor is back in business in All-New X-Factor from Peter David Carmine Di Giandomenico, with a new team including Polaris, Quicksilver and Gambit employed as superheroes 'on retainer' by an Internet search giant. Meanwhile, the time-travelling original X-Men will feature in The Trial of Jean Grey, a six-part crossover between Brian Michael Bendis' All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Other forthcoming titles from Marvel include: the James Rhodes-starring Iron Patriot from Ales Kot and Garry Brown; Elektra by Zeb Wells and Mike Del Mundo; Punisher by Nathan Edmonson and Mitch Gerads, the creative team behind Image's The Activity; New Warriors by Chris Yost and Marcus To, with a lineup including Nova, Speedball and Scarlet Spider; Ghost Rider from Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore; and Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred. In addition Fantastic Four will be relaunching with a new #1 in February, with a new creative team not announced but widely reported to be James Robinson and Leonard Kirk.
January's Detective Comics #27 will celebrate the first appearance of Batman in 1939 with a giant-size anthology issue featuring contributions from writers and artists including Scott Snyder, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Bryan Hitch, Dustin Nguyen, Neal Adams, Frank Miller and Franceso Francavilla. The issue will also launch the final story arc from the current creative team of John Layman and Jay Fabok, before they hand over to the outgoing Flash pairing of Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul.
Dynamite is the latest publisher to resurrect the Gold Key characters of the 1960s and 70s, with forthcoming ongoing series for Turok, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Solar: Man of the Atom and Doctor Spektor from writers including Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak and Mark Waid.
George A. Romero brings the Dead to Marvel
Cult filmmaker George A. Romero will unleash his latest zombie epic at Marvel with Empire of the Dead, a fifteen-issue series debuting in January and illustrated by Eisner-winning former Daredevil artist Alex Maleev. Based on an unproduced 300-page screenplay, the story is set in New York several years after the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse and features members of the walking dead exhibiting signs of intelligence.
Romero pioneered the zombie movie genre with 1968's independently produced Night of the Living Dead and has gone on to write and direct a number of films in the 'Dead' series. He has previously written for comics with the 2004-5 DC series Toe Tags.
WB prepping Gotham, Constantine TV series
Deadline Hollywood reports US television network Fox has won a bidding war to secure Gotham, a new series from Warner Bros TV and The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller chronicling Gotham City police chief Jim Gordon's origins as a police detective. Meanwhile, NBC has tapped Man of Steel and Batman Begins writer to develop a series pilot featuring DC's occult detective John Constantine.
James Robinson ruenites the Invaders; Ellen Page eyes Queen and Country movie
World War II superhero team the Invaders reunite this January in All-New Invaders, an ongoing series from James Robinson and Steve Pugh teaming Captain America with Namor, the android Human Torch and Captain America's military sidekick Bucky Barnes in his new identity of the Winter Soldier. Robinson, a fan-favourite and Eisner-winning writer from titles such as Starman, recently made an abrupt and high-profile departure from DC Comics.
Variety reports Canadian actress Ellen Page is in negotiations with Fox to play the lead role of British intelligence agent Tara Chase in a big-screen adaptation of Oni Press series Queen and Country. Page is set to reprise her role as Kitty Pryde in next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past, having previously appeared in X-Men 3, Inception, Juno and Hard Candy.
Penned by Greg Rucka and illustrated by a series of artists, Queen and Country garnered huge critical acclaim and multiple Eisner wins and nominations during its original run between 2001 and 2007. Both Rucka and Oni Press have indicated the series will return with a new volume during 2014.
Batwoman team quits over gay marriage
Batwoman artist J.H. Williams III has announced he and co-writer W.H. Blackman will leave the series after issue 26 after DC apparently reversed editorial direction and 'prohibited' the title character from marrying Maggie Sawyer. The series won a GLAAD Media Award in 2012 for its positive portrayal of homosexual characters.
Superman/Batman secures Baffleck; Marvel close to Scarlet Witch casting
Warner Bros has announced the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in its forthcoming Superman/Batman movie, yet to receive an official title, and also set a release date of 17 July 2015. The followup to this year's Man of Steel will see the return of director Zack Snyder and lead Henry Cavill and is reportedly inspired by if not a direct adaptation of Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns, featuring an ageing Batman coming out of retirement. At age 41 Affleck will be the oldest actor to portray the Dark Knight on the big screen.
Affleck has an existing relationship with Warner Bros as a director, having reportedly declined a 2012 offer to helm the studio's planned Justice League feature.
Meanwhile the Hollywood Reporter notes Elizabeth Olsen is in final negotiations with Marvel Studios to play the Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, also forthcoming in 2015, after writer-director Joss Whedon's first choice Saoirse Ronan passed on the role. Whedon has previously indicated the second Avengers movie will feature both the Scarlet Witch and brother Quicksilver, despite the mutant speedster also appearing in the in-production X-Men: Days of Future Past.
With one of its 2014 releases Guardian of the Galaxy having commenced production Marvel has reportedly offered the voice roles of Rocket Racoon to Bradley Cooper and Groot to Vin Diesel, with both members of the titular Guardians to be all-CGI creations on screen.
Valiant ushers in Unity
Valiant Entertainment will add the first team book to its slate with the launch in November of ongoing series Unity from writer Matt Kindt and artist Doug Braithwaite. Following on from the current 'Homecoming' arc of X-O Manowar, Unity will see Harbinger Foundation head Toyo Harada assembling a team with Livewire, Ninjak and Eternal Warrior in response to X-O Manowar's invasion of Romania.
Published by Valiant's first incarnation as a publisher during the 1990s and the first of numerous crossover events of the decade, the original Unity was masterminded by Valiant editor in chief Jim Shooter and encompassed all nine of Valiant's ongoing titles of the era in a complex time travel storyline.
San Diego Comic-Con highlights
Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and star Henry Cavill stunned the Comic-Con crowd by announcing their followup film will be Superman/Batman, with production expected to begin during 2014 for a mid-2015 release. Screenwriter David Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan will also return, although the film will not be connected to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy or feature Christian Bale as Batman.
Marvel Studios announced 2015's second Avengers feature will be subtitled Age of Ultron, although writer-director Joss Whedon has clarified the film will be an origin story of the classic Avengers villain and not an adaptation of the recent comics event.
Nightcrawler returns from the dead in Amazing X-Men, a new ongoing series from Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness, while artist Steve McNiven joins Uncanny Avengers with issue #14.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' hit Image series Saga was one of the big winners at the 2013 Eisner awards, picking up both Best New Series and Best Continuing Series along with a Best Writer gong for Vaughan. Matt Fraction's Hawkeye lost out to Saga in all three categories but did secure Best Cover Artist for regular series illustrator David Aja, who also split Best Penciller/Inker with Chris Samnee for Daredevil and IDW's Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom. Chris Ware's most recent work Building Stories took out Best Graphic Album (New) along with Best Writer/Artist, Best Coloring, Best Lettering and Best Publication Design.
The Ultimate and main Marvel universes will collide in Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand from Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, the original creative team on Ultimate Spider-Man. Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Adam Kubert will look back to the early years of Wolverine with Origin II, a sequel to the 2002 limited series by Paul Jenkins and Adam's brother Andy.
Prolific writer J. Michael Straczynski will next tackle two licensed properties in a twelve-part Dynamite series based on classic 1960s anthology TV serial The Twilight Zone, and a twelve-issue Dark Horse limited series Terminator: The Final Battle with artist Pete Woods continuing the story of John Connor's campaign against Skynet in the aftermath of 2009 film Terminator Salvation. 'JMS' began his television writing career as story editor for the final season of a short-lived 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone.
Dark Horse is developing a new Tomb Raider series scripted by Gail Simone, along with a Halo ongoing title and a tie-in book to Ridley Scott's 2012 film Prometheus, while Dynamite has acquired the licence to Robotech and will kick off with a Robotech/Voltron crossover series.
Mixed martial arts champion turned action movie star Gina Carano has signed on for the lead role in a big-screen adaptation of Rob Liefeld's Avengelyne.
Marvel prepares to become Inhuman; Fox plans X-Force movie
Marvel has provided the first hint at the post-Infinity direction of the Marvel Universe by announcing Inhuman, a new ongoing series debuting in December from writer Matt Fraction and artist Joe Madureira. The book will anchor an 'Inhumanity' event centred on the release of the mutagenic Terrigen Mists across the entire Earth, activating latent superpowers in millions of people, and what Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso termed a Game of Thrones-style struggle for control of the Inhumans.
The Hollywood Reporter notes 20th Century Fox has hired Kick-Ass 2 writer/director Jeff Wadlow to adapt 1990s hit series X-Force for the big screen. A huge sales success on its debut in 1991 and a star-making book for writer/artist and future Image founder Rob Liefeld, X-Force evolved out of secondary X-Men title New Mutants with the addition of characters including Cable, Domino, Warpath and Deadpool. Wadlow is also currently penning a screen adaptation of Valiant series Bloodshot for Sony.
Marvel to resurrect Marvel Knights
Marvel has announced it will relaunch its Marvel Knights imprint later in the year for three miniseries from notable independent creators: Marvel Knights Spider-Man by Matt Kindt and Marco Rudy in October, X-Men by Brahm Revel in November, and Hulk by Joe Keatinge and Piotr Kowalski in December.
The Marvel Knights imprint launched in 1998 shortly after Marvel had declared bankruptcy, helmed by Event Comics partners Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti with a mandate to revamp and modernise titles such as Daredevil, the Punisher and Black Panther with a fresh roster of creative talent including future star writer Brian Michael Bendis. The success of the imprint in reviving sales and interest in B-list characters and attracting new readers to comics led to Quesada replacing Bob Harras as editor in chief of Marvel in 2000.
Vertigo, Image unveil new projects
DC's mature readers imprint Vertigo has announced the first slate of projects under new executive editor Shelly Bond, debuting in October through December. Joining the previously announced Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III will be a new series of spin-off book the Dead Boy Detectives by British novelist Toby Litt and with layout art and painted covers by Fables' Mark Buckingham, while popular young adult fantasy novelist Caitlin Kittredge joins arist Inaki Miranda for the southern gothic Coffin Hill. Lee Bermejo will write and illustrate Suiciders, while Peter Milligan teams with Leo Fernandez for erotic thriller The Discipline and Ian Edginton joins Franceso Trifolgi for post-apocalyptic epic Hinterkind. Finally, Halloween will see an anthology one-shot The Witching Hour featuring stories from Kelly Sue DeConnick, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Sturges, Shawn McManus and more.
The Walking Dead will celebrate its tenth anniversary by switching to a biweekly schedule for seven months beginning with issue #115, with inker Stefano Gaudiano joining regular series artist Charlie Adlard. Fan-favourite writer J. Michael Straczynski continues the resurrection of his Joe's Comics imprint at Image by bringing back his Marvel Icon books Book of Lost Souls and Dream Police, and is also working on a limited series with Bill Sienkiewicz.
Other forthcoming projects from Image include Velvet, a contemporary espionage thriller from the Eisner-winning Captain America pairing of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting; Black Science by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera, a followup to Remender's cult Fear Agent; Deadly Class, also by Remender and centred on a elite high school for assassins; and Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Jupiter's Legacy writer Mark Millar also plans to launch a new line of superhero titles in January 2014, beginning with the Duncan Fegredo-illustrated MPH.
Image has also launched a new web-based digital comics store selling DRM-free issues in PDF, CBR/CBZ and ePub formats, with both new books and selections from the publisher's back catalogue to be added each Wednesday.
Writers & Artists Unite @ Grace Emily Saturday January 4th!
Prospective writers and artists, professional scribes and illustrators, curious comic buffs and those up for a great chat or just a relaxing time are all more than welcome to get down to the Grace Emily Hotel, 232 Waymouth St Adelaide, on Saturday the 4th of January from 2pm!
Kitted out with some snacks, PFC-funded happy hours and wonderful persons, the Grace Emily plays host to everyone creatively minded on a sunny Saturday afternoon!