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Dave Farabee here with the latest comic news, and I’m bummed to tell you we’re clearly in a comic news lull. All the big announcements have been made at the summer comic conventions, and what’s left will be doled out as exclusives by the Marvel/DC PR machine that is WIZARD magazine. We’ll report ‘em as they leak ‘em.

Meantime, I’ve culled the likes of Newsarama, The Pulse, Comic Book Resources, and Silver Bullet Comics and I’ve at least got some odds and ends bits o’ interest this week.


(And click the links for more info!)

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*Silent Devil productions will release a three-issue miniseries, DRACULA VS. CAPONE, in March 2006. The series is a follow-up to their currently in-production mini, DRACULA VS. KING ARTHUR. Jim “EARTH X” Krueger will write and Chris Moreno will return on art.

*Eric “THE GOON” Powell will take over as cover artist for Vertigo’s SWAMP THING with issue #21 in November. Details.

*Frank Miller’s 300 will be adapted to film by Warner Brothers Studios with directing by Zack Snyder, who directed the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD. Details.

*In November, Karl Kesel will write FANTASTIC FOUR WEDDING SPECIAL to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the longstanding marriage of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Details.

*Kids’ publisher Scholastic will continue its Scholastic Graphix graphic novel line (begun with the color editions of Jeff Smith’s BONE) in 2006. In April 2006, mini-comics creator Raina Telgemeier will begin adapting the popular girls’ fiction series, THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB. This will be followed with adaptations of the GOOSEBUMPS books produced by Scholastix editor Sheila Keenan and a variety of artists, including Scott “SPAGHETTI WESTERN” Morse and Greg “FREAKS OF THE HEARTLAND” Ruth. In 2007, Peter Beagle will adapt his famous fantasy novel, THE LAST UNICORN, with art by legendary illustrator Michael Kaluta. Details.

*A SPAWN manga will be released through Image Comics in November.

*Image Comics Publisher (and SAVAGE DRAGON creator) Erik Larsen has a new column at Comic Book Resources. As does WALKING DEAD creator Robert Kirkman.

*The class action lawsuit retailer Brian Hibbs filed against Marvel is in its final stages. The lawsuit stemmed from Marvel’s refusal to accept retailer returns on comics that had shipped late or with content changes from their solicitations. Beginning Friday, September 3rd, Marvel will have 30 days to pay retailers the settlement monies owed them. Details.

*Darwyn “DC: THE NEW FRONTIER” Cooke has signed a two-year exclusive contract with DC Comics. Upcoming projects include the BATMAN/THE SPIRIT one-shot written by Jeph Loeb and the SPIRIT ongoing with Cooke will both write and draw. Details.

*Steve “30 DAYS OF NIGHT” Niles will be moving his Cal McDonald series from IDW Publishing to Dark Horse Comics. The currently running series, SUPERNATURAL FREAK MACHINE, will be concluded at Dark Horse where the series will be collected as a trade. An ongoing series will follow shortly. Details.

*Marvel’s periodic Mary Jane comics from Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa will return in December with a new ongoing, MARY JANE LOVES SPIDER-MAN. Details

*IDW Publishing will collect early issues of the cult-‘80s/’90s detective comic MAZE AGENCY in November. THE MAZE AGENCY Vol. 1 features writing by Mike W. Barr, art by a then-new Adam Hughes, and the series’ pilot episode with art by Alan Davis. The trade will be accompanied by the launch of a new MAZE AGENCY miniseries. Details.

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SPAWN manga? I dub it “Spawnga.”

The news that really impressed me this week, however, was Scholastic’s commitment to their graphic novel line. Launching with the BONE reprints was an instant sign that they knew what they were doing and signing Peter Beagle to adapt his own novel, THE LAST UNICORN, speaks an ongoing classy approach. I was also impressed to see “artist’s artists” like Scott Morse and Greg Ruth in their line-up, and hell, even with no interest whatsoever in the BABYSITTER’S CLUB books, I admire their choice of a dedicated mini-comics creator as the adapter. These Scholastic mofos are clearly thinking outside the box and I hope their creativity pays off. The linked interview teases the remote possibility of Harry Potter graphic novels (Scholastic, of course, publishes the POTTER prose novels), and while remote, I can’t help but think these guys would do it serious justice.

As for Darwyn Cooke’s two-year contract with DC, I confess mild disappointment. I’ve no doubt he’ll turn up some interesting, maybe even inspired stuff with THE SPIRIT, but reading his comments in the article, I sense a tinge of regret to his exclusive. He was just about to start on a creator-owned series, dammit!

On the girly front, yes, I’m happy to see Sean McKeever getting yet another extension on his MARY JANE work for Marvel. Of all the stuff he’s done there, that’s the one that’s been the most unique and Takeshi Miyazawa’s artwork has been consistently perfect.

Lastly, I want to recommend Erik Larsen’s new column. Despite enjoying SAVAGE DRAGON for a few years, I don’t consider myself a real fan of his stuff, but I really like his knowledgeable and common sense approach to industry and fan issues. His first column opens with the amusingly candid admission that he’s not crazy about every book he publishes at Image, then springboards into why that’s just fine. His second column’s a potpourri of good recommendations and observations. The third column gets into championing forgotten comic book artists and learning to appreciate talents who’ve gotten a bad rap (Herb Trimpe, Don Heck, and Frank Robbins to name a few). As someone who hated Trimpe on G.I. JOE: SPECIAL MISSIONS back in the day, but later looked back with better trained eyes and saw both craftsmanship and hints of legendary adventure-strip artist Milt Caniff, I know right where he’s coming from.

Check dem columns out. A good mixture of fan sensibilities and pro knowledge.

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What prose novel (or novel series) do you think would make for a good comic book adaptation, and who’s your dream team to adapt it?

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