DRAWN & QUARTERED
A look ahead at '06
Comic books up the ante with the new and the revamped
HAUOLI Makahiki Hou! This marks "Drawn & Quartered's" 170th column, and on behalf of myself, Burl Burlingame, our anime/manga "twins" Jason Yadao and Wilma Jandoc, plus news wire contributors like Andrew "Captain Comics" Smith and Michael Sangiocomo, thanks for sticking with us over many Sundays. This year, expect more news and views from the wonderful world of "sequential art."
Here's what we can look forward to in comic-book stores in the near future:
» As Terry Morrow mentioned, DC's "Infinite Crisis" will restructure some of its foundation titles. One of his favorite listed titles, "The Flash," will end its lengthy run this month, as well as "Wonder Woman" and two of the Batman-related books, the excellent "Gotham Central," and "Gotham Knights." "Comic Shop News" reports that some of these titles are slated for a relaunch after a One Year Later event in March (featuring new creative teams on both established books and a smattering of new titles) and the May debut of the miniseries "52," focusing on a group of characters whose stories unfold a week at a time for a full year.
Brian Bolland's cover illustration for a collection of heralded stories by British writer Alan Moore.
» This week marks the debut of DC/Vertigo's "The Exterminators," described as "a smart, scary, darkly comic tale of roaches, rats, raccoons and the men who kill them for a living." Written by Simon Oliver and drawn by Eisner-nominated Tony Moore, the title centers on a dysfunctional group of bug killers in Los Angeles who don't understand that the roles are reversed -- that humans might be the pests and the bugs the real exterminators.
» Out Jan. 11 is "DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore," a large collection of superhero stories by the acclaimed author of "Watchmen," "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and "V for Vendetta," whose movie adaptation starring Natalie Portman opens in theaters in November. The best of Moore's 1980s stories are all here, including his excellent Superman story, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" and one of the best Batman-Joker tales ever, "The Killing Joke," illustrated by Brian Bolland.
» The following week, comics legend Joe Kubert revisits one of his seminal characters, Sgt. Rock of Easy Company, for the debut of his six-issue miniseries "The Prophecy." Based on a true story, Rock and his men have to get a young rabbi, who is thought to have the gift of prophecy, out of Europe during WWII in 1943.
» On the 25th, the award-winning team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev end their extended run on "Daredevil." Marvel's blind Man Without Fear went through a bunch of major story arcs with this duo, including his being "outed" from his everyday identity as lawyer Matt Murdock. Needless to say, this final issue promises another major life change and superhero guest stars galore. (Another formidable duo, Ed Brubaker and "Gotham Central" illustrator Michael Lark, start their run the following issue.)
» In February you can look forward to "Batman: Year One Hundred," a four-issue limited series by one of the most creative artists in the biz, Paul Pope; Marvel's "Fury: Peacemaker," a six-parter that tells the wartime history of the head of the secret organization S.H.I.E.L.D., from Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson; and "Hellboy: Makoma," from Dark Horse Comics, in what promises to be the horror-comics event of the year, with a great pairing of writer-originator Mike Mignola and the superb illustrator Richard Corben.
» And, don't forget, hitting theaters this year, "X-Men 3" (May 26) and "Superman Returns" (June 30). Up, up and away!