Archie Comics has tapped indie superstarlet Lena Dunham, creator of HBO's hit series Girls, to pen a four-part arc of its flagship Archie series during 2015. The latest high-profile move for the publisher was arranged through a personal connection between Dunham and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, writer of 2013's Glee/Archie crossover and the current zombie-themed Afterlife with Archie, whom Archie Comics has also appointed as its first chief creative officer.
Fox readies new Fantastic Four
The Hollywood Reporter notes 20th Century Fox is close to securing the main cast for its forthcoming big-screen reboot of the Fantastic Four. Michael B. Jordan has all but confirmed his casting as Johnny Storm with a 'flame on' comment via Twitter, while Kate Mara is expected to sign on to play Sue Storm. Miles Teller is in the frame for Reed Richards subject to the in-demand indie star's availability, while UK actor Jamie Bell has emerged as the late frontrunner for Ben Grimm.
With a screenplay by X-Men: Days of Future Past's Simon Kinberg and to be directed by Josh Trank, helmer of 2012 superhero deconstruction Chronicle which featured Michael B. Jordan, Fantastic Four is slated for a July 2015 release.
Preacher, DMZ in development for small screen
AMC has won a bidding war to land a television series adaptation of hugely acclaimed Vertigo series Preacher in development by Seth Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg. The pair are set to script the pilot and executive produce the series, with Sam Catlin of AMC's Breaking Bad attached as showrunner. From writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, Preacher ran for 66 issues between 1995 and 2000.
Meanwhile more recent Vertigo series DMZ by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli is also in development as a television series, with US cable channel SyFy signing up former Mad Men executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton along with Harry Potter producer David Heyman.
Johns, Romita Jr team for Superman
DC Comics has announced the next ongoing creative team on Superman will be the all-star pairing of core DC writer Geoff Johns and fan-favourite artist John Romita Jr. The announcement sees Romita Jr stunningly move to DC after a career-long association with Marvel, featuring iconic runs on characters including Spider-Man, Daredevil, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Punisher, Thor and the Hulk. Johns and Romita Jr are expected to take on the Man of Steel mid-year, with Romita Jr's frequent collaborator Klaus Janson joining on inks.
Meanwhile senior DC editor Mike Marts will move in the opposite direction to take up the newly created position of executive editor at Marvel. Marts was previously at the House of Ideas as X-Men group editor, overseeing hugely successful books including Grant Morrison's New X-Men and Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men, before switching to DC in 2006 to take up a similar role with the Batman titles.
Image announces 2014 slate
Image Comics announced a plethora of new titles at its 2014 Expo, with the publisher looking to build on several continuous years of growth including securing the highest selling title of 2013 with The Walking Dead. Among the projects announced were two horror titles, Nameless by Batman Incorporated's Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham and Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock; The Wicked and the Divine, a modern fantasy book from the Young Avengers and Phonogram pairing of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie; Low, a sci-fi series from Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini; the 'women in prison' and exploitation-themed Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro; and Restoration from Fables writer Bill Willingham and artist Barry Kitson. Star writer Ed Brubaker closed the expo by announcing he and regular collaborator Sean Phillips have inked a unique five-year publishing deal with Image, beginning with 1940s Hollywood murder mystery The Fade Out.
Marvel exposes Original Sin
Marvel has announced Original Sin, its event series for 2014 kicking off with the murder of Uatu the Watcher. Writer Jason Aaron joins artist Mike Deodato Jr for a core eight-part limited series shipping biweekly from June to September which will see Nick Fury leading the Avengers and other Marvel heroes in investigating the murder, while tie-in arcs of other titles will explore the fallout from Uatu's death and the theft of his accumulated artefacts and secrets.
A prologue issue #0 in April by Mark Waid and Jim Cheung will set up Original Sin and recap the history of Uatu, an enigmatic near-omnipotent being who has observed the events of the Marvel Universe since his introduction in 1963's Fantastic Four #13.
Star Wars comics head to Marvel in 2015
Marvel has announced it will be the new home of Star Wars comics and graphic novels from 2015. Current publisher Dark Horse has held the licence since 1991 as a tentpole of its monthly comics slate, publishing numerous acclaimed ongoing and limited series set in the past, present and future of the canonical Star Wars Expanded Universe. The move of Star Wars comics to Marvel was widely seen as inevitable after Disney purchased Lucasfilm and its properties in late 2012, having similarly acquired Marvel in 2009.
Writer Brian Wood has indicated his run on the current Star Wars ongoing series will wrap with issue #20 towards the end of 2014, while the Star Wars: Legacy team of Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko have confirmed their title will also be ending around the same time.
Marvel launched the original Star Wars comics series in 1977 following the release of the first movie, with what was expected to be a minor interest title going on to run for over 100 issues with sales in the millions which then-Marvel editor in chief Jim Shooter credits with saving the company from financial ruin.
2015 will also see the return of Star Wars to the big screen with the release of the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode VII on 18 December.
Stray Bullets reloads at Image
David Lapham's cult crime/noir series Stray Bullets is set to return after a decade-long absence in March 2014 through Image Comics, with issue #41 wrapping up the previously incomplete arc leading into a new #1 and story under the subtitle 'Killers'. Lapham previously self-published the book, which chronicles the lives and misdeeds of a large range of characters from the mid-1970s to mid-90s, through his own El Capitan Books. Image is also preparing an omnibus edition collecting the entire first volume of the series, for which Lapham picked up an Eisner award for Best Writer/Artist in 1996.
Having launched his comics career as an artist at Valiant in the early 1990s on titles including Harbinger and Warriors of Plasm, in recent years Lapham has focused on work-for-hire writing on characters and series including Batman, the X-Men, G.I. Joe, 30 Days of Night and Crossed.
Sony eyes expanded Spider-Man universe; War Machine joins Avengers 2
Sony has revealed plans to continue the Spider-Man series beyond 2016's Amazing Spider-Man 3 by announcing future films centred on Venom and supervillain team the Sinister Six. The studio has assembled a 'brains trust' including Amazing Spider-Man series director Marc Webb, Transformers and Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Cabin in the Woods writer-director Drew Goddard to oversee this expanded cinematic universe, with Andrew Garfield and the core Amazing Spider-Man cast not contracted beyond Amazing 3. Kurtzman is attached to co-write and direct Venom while Goddard, who was recently announced as the showrunner of Marvel Studios' Daredevil made-for-online TV series, will write and potentially direct Sinister Six.
Meanwhile, Don Cheadle is widely reported to reprise his role as James Rhodes/War Machine in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, joining an expanded cast of Earth's Mightiest Heroes also including Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver.
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.
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.
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.
Writers & Artists Unite @ Grace Emily Saturday April 5th during OZ Comic-Con!
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 5th of April from 2pm!
Why not head to the showgrounds in the morning
for Oz Comic-Con, then relax at the Grace in the afternoon?
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!