Comics marketing is a funny thing. Despite it only being a few weeks into January, us comics fans already have a pretty good idea what is coming up for the rest of the year: January sees the solicitations come out for April (Dark Horse released their’s yesterday and the new Lone Wolf & Cub is there !! Woo-hooo ! More on that later), DC announced in November their plans for trade/GN publishing through until July 2014, and the rumours are pretty much confirmed about the next DC event in September 2014.
All of this news has made me very excited indeed for the the titles to be published in 2014. Here is an outline of some of those titles that have me salivating in anticipation (anyone have a bib I can borrow ? Wait my 8-month old son does !)
The fun kicks off in January with the “L’il Dynamite” event orchestrated by Art and Franco !! They are doing L’il Battlestar Galactica, and the covers for the other books, which include L’il versions of Vampirella, Red Sonja, the Bionic Man and Woman, and Evil Ernie – written and drawn by Roger Langridge
Also in January is Detective Comics # 27, a 96 page anthology celebrating the seminal Batman issue. The book includes art by Neal Adams, Frank Miller and my current favourite bat-artist Jason Fabok as well as a story by the all-time best ever Batman writer Paul Dini
The awesomeness Marches (yay, bad pun !!) on with Greg Rucka releasing a new 5 issue limited series called “Veil”. The story concerns a beautiful girl who wakes up in a….you know what ? It doesn’t matter what the plot is. This is Greg Rucka folks ! So, the story will feature strong characters, clever plot twists and dialogue crisper than fresh celery. Put the series on your standing order at the Comic Zone as soon as you see it in Previews, I will be !
Dynamite will have more fun coming along in 2014 as they launch new series featuring beloved characters from Gold Key (and later Valiant): Magnus, Robot Fighter, Turok, Solar Man of the Atom and Doctor Spektor. I loved these characters back in the day, when I could grab random issues in supermarkets (that was a very long time ago kids !) and enjoyed their Valiant incarnations (especially Magnus, whose personality was improved dramatically). Best of all, the characters are being shepherded by some of the best writers in the business – Fred Van Lente is taking on Magnus in what I think will be the breakout success story of the launch; Greg Pak is writing Turok and Mark Waid (who I have loved since his days on Flash) is revamping the Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. I reckon this one will be a great success, as awesome writers give us their take on awesome characters.
Marvel are also relaunching series with great characters in their All New Marvel Now. Leaving aside the “All New” Marvel Now campaign seems more about launching old series with a new #1 rather than introducing new characters/concepts, there are some offerings which look interesting. Nathan Edmondson kicked arse on “Who Is Jake Ellis ?”, so I expect his run on The Punisher will have a decent amount of cool twists, realistic yet awesome tech and mind-bending psychology. Similarly, Phil Noto will be the artist on Black Widow, so based on his previous work this book and the lead character will look gorgeous.
The series I am most intrigued by is New Warriors, as this is another case of great creators working on great characters. The new New Warriors is being written by Chris Yost, who has been crafting amazing stories on Marvel’s animated shows for years (Spectacular Spider-Man and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes being highlights) and most recently made me interested in the Peter Parker clone Kaine in his Scarlet Spider series. The New Warriors book picks up on plot threads from Scarlet Spider, as well as having Kaine and his “sidekick” being front and centre of the team, so this is a must-read book for fans of that series. The book will also have old favourites Speedball and Justice (Hoo-RAAAYYY !) as well as the new Nova, so it seems the pieces are al present for this to be a great book. Best of all, the book’s artist is Marcus To ! I love To’s style, which is made up of clean lines reminiscent of Tom Grummett (whose art on Karl Kesel’s Superboy series looks incredible). Check out Red Robin and you’ll see just how suited To is to portraying the adventures of teenage superheroes.
Also, Dan Slott and Mike Allred are doing a new Silver Surfer series !!!! ‘Nuff Said !!
As well as the new stuff, there is also some great old stuff continuing in 2014. Super-talented and even more super-cool Aussies Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott will keep on rocking it hard on Earth 2, while Mike Carey brings us the final arc of the incredible Unwritten story in Unwritten: The Apocalypse. Fred Van Lente will make Archer & Armstrong the best “buddy” book ever again in 2014, while Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie will bring us the long awaited Phonogram story spotlighting the acerbic Emily Aster. And all of the comics in my top ten will also continue to be amazing, making next year at least as cool as 2013 !!
Oh, and Sandman Overture will be completed this year, which will give Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III the time to work on their Doctor Strange graphic novel (thanks G-Money from Ultimate Facepalm for the idea !!).
Finally, and most exciting of all, Dark Horse has announced they will be bringing to the Western world the sequel to seminal manga series Lone Wolf and Cub ! It seems Kazuo Koike and new Hideki Mori have released in Japan two seasons of a new Lone Wolf and Cub story featuring Ogami Itto’s son Daigoro (the Cub of the title) which begins a few minutes after the climactic battle in which (SPOILERS for the original series) Itto is killed. Dark Horse will be releasing the first season in 2014, and subsequent seasons (including the third season which Koike is currently working on) in years to come.
Along with Dark Horse releasing the original series in omnibus sized digests, now is the perfect time to get into Lone Wolf and Cub (which will be the subject of a future blog) !!
This is what I am excited for in 2014 – what about you ? Tell me what you are excited to see in what will be an amazing year for comics !!!!