The Biggest Comic News from San Diego Comic-Con 2017

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The Biggest Comic News from San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Another San Diego Comic-Con is behind us, and as always, there’s an overwhelming amount of news to sort through, from massive movie trailer debuts to stunning cosplay to the root of it all: comics. This year’s convention, and the days leading up to it, were full of major announcements, including Marvel’s new Comixology-exclusive digital comics and Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr. teaming up for Superman: Year One. But it’s a testament to the enticing teases below that neither of those announcements made our list of the best comic news out of San Diego this year. Instead, we’re hyped about rising stars taking over intergalactic despots, influential editors assembling surprising original talent, long-awaited sequels, kid-friendly new content, creators hopping company lines and reality-bending crossovers. For all of your cinematic needs, be sure to check our Movies and TV sections. For sequential-art goodness galore, scroll on down.

Grant Morrison Announces Arkham Asylum 2 with Chris Burnham

Grant Morrison let slip two announcements on the first full day of San Diego Comic-Con: the second volume of Wonder Woman: Earth One with Yanick Paquette and Arkham Asylum 2, an unexpected return to the title that helped make his name at DC Comics way back in 1989. Morrison's original Arkham Asylum, painstakingly painted and photographed by Dave McKean, features a sexually repressed Batman barely grasping at the remains of his sanity, and is DC's best-selling original graphic novel of all time. Arkham Asylum 2 seems to be a sequel in name only, with Morrison collaborator Chris Burnham coming aboard for a tale of future Damien Wayne, as glimpsed in Batman #666. Any new Morrison work is cause for celebration—a Burnham collaboration that continues their Batman saga while paying tribute to Morrison and McKean's 1989 classic is cause for hysterical fainting. Steve Foxe
Andy Kubert

Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez Unite for Black Crown Comic, Assassinistas

Former Paste contributor and spitfire comic scribe Tini Howard announced a new comic in editor Shelly Bond's Black Crown line at IDW, and it sounds fanfuckingtastic. Described as a cross between The Expendables and Fun Home, Assassinistas revolves around a retired '80s contract killer pulled back into action as she attempts to reconcile her relationship with her young-adult son. Protagonists Octavia and Dominic should steer the Sarah/John Connor relationship from the Terminator franchise into disarming, emotional terrain, while retaining a grindhouse bullets-and-broads homage. Love and Rockets icon Gilbert "Beto" Hernandez joins as artist, injecting the same kinetic, b-movie adulation seen in Fatima: The Blood Spinners and Loverboys. The comic debuts in December. Sean Edgar
Gilbert Hernandez

Duke Thomas Gets His Own Comic, Batman: The Signal

In the Dark Knight mythos, few characters have deserved to be Batman's apprentice more than Duke Thomas. After Gotham was devastated by The Riddler and Joker in the Batman series proper, Thomas erected a rag-tag volunteer army of heroes in We Are Robin, emphasizing hope and reconstruction over grim vigilantism. His parents were also rendered maniacal, laughing victims after being exposed to Joker's toxins, layering in a mandatory level of parental neuroticism, though without the nihilism and abandonment of Bruce Wayne's origin. That pathos will be explored in a new series, Batman: The Signal, at an undisclosed date after the conclusion of DC's summer event, Metal. No artist was announced, but the series will be written by character creator Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick—an alumnus of DC's Talent Development Workshop and the scribe behind the Black Mask comic X'ed. Only a handful of satellite Batman comics have thrived creatively in the past few years, but Thomas' disposition could lend itself to some intriguing narrative directions. Sean Edgar
Declan Shalvey

Mark Waid & Chris Samnee to Rehabilitate Captain America

Regardless of your stance on Nick Spencer & co.'s controversial Secret Empire mega-event—in which Steve Rogers leads Hydra in a fascist takeover—it's undeniable that the character will need some…graceful handling following the event's conclusion. Marvel already assured fans a few months back that Steve wouldn't become a full-blown villain (or dead) following SE, but it's not easy to come back from, you know, aligning yourself with fictional Nazis. Enter Marvel's premiere duo for restarting popular characters: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. The pair recently concluded their run on Black Widow and collaborated for the bulk of the previous Daredevil volume, both series acclaimed for bringing their respective stars back to their roots while also moving forward. Preview art for Waid and Samnee's Captain America, which begins with issue #695 this fall, reveals a heroic Cap, cowl-wings and all. After a year of watching Steve hail Hydra, this couldn't be more welcome. Steve Foxe
Chris Samnee

Disney to Produce Illustrated Marvel Chapter Books

Disney's Marvel Press produces a range of high-quality children's books starring Marvel's best-loved characters, from activity books to its recent middle-grade and YA offerings, including Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel. Now the imprint can claim an additional age range: the chapter book audience. Marvel's native comics for early readers are primarily screen-capture comics assembled from cartoons, which means regular viewers aren't getting original experiences aimed at them. This new line, starting with Deck the Malls in September from co-writers MacKenzie Cadenhead and Sean Ryan and artist Derek Laufman, offers young fans wholly original content appropriate for early reading levels. Deck the Malls sees Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen face off against Venom during the holiday season, and showcases Disney's efforts to establish new creations like Spider-Gwen among the comic readers and filmgoers of tomorrow. Steve Foxe
Derek Laufman

Jeff Lemire Writes The Terrifics for DC

As recently as the late '90s, famous comic creators generally spent their time between Marvel and DC, hopping properties and characters every few years. Jack Kirby, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, the Simonsons and countless others traded Manhattan offices for better deals and more intriguing work. That trend dried up with the advent of creator-owned comics and interest from film/TV. If creators weren't investing in their own properties that they could license out, they were joining writing rooms. Jeff Lemire seemed like he would become another statistic in this trend, wrapping his fantastic Moon Knight run, among other Marvel titles, to devote his time to creator-owned titles Royal City and Descender at Image and Black Hammer for Dark Horse. Mic drop: DC Comics has drafted the Eisner-award-winning cartoonist for The Terrifics, a superhero team book starring endearing B-listers Metamorpho, Plastic Man, Mr. Terrific and Phantom Girl. Illustrated with house-style verve by Ivan Reis based on designs by Evan "Doc" Shaner, the title spins out of DC's summer event, Metal, which makes sense—the story is engineered by Lemire's friend and AD: After Death collaborator Scott Snyder, so a superhero landscape established by a like-minded peer would be far more attractive. While we know little about the comic, expect Fantastic Four-trolling science adventures and pensive gazes into the void when this series releases in the fall. Sean Edgar
DC Comics

Jeff Smith Returns to the Bone Universe with Smiley's Dream Book

There hasn't been a work by cartoonist legend Jeff Smith we haven't fallen into obsessive love with, and his first work—the fantasy/comedy epic Bone—looms tall as a sequential-art gateway. After wrapping his adult sci-fi noir, RASL, and before revamping his mythic god-brawling adventure Tuki Save the Humans, Smith is revisiting his lovable trio of albino cousins tripping into Tolkienesque yarns. Last year he released Bone: Coda, a 25th-anniversary graphic novel that pitted his creations against a monstrous vulture as they returned home to Boneville. Next summer, he'll cast the cigar-chomping, guitar-strumming goofball Smiley in a picture book for Graphix. Smiley's Dream Book is the first of two planned works, and the format fits Smith's storytelling prowess perfectly. The cartoonist excels at tight panels unafraid to show subtle variations in body language and story progression. It will be a charming, lush edition to any library, and hopefully features a cameo from Bartleby, the lovable rat creature cub Smiley adopted in Bone. Sean Edgar
Jeff Smith

Donny Cates & Geoff Shaw Take Over Thanos

Hot on the heels of announcing an exclusive contract with Marvel and a run on Doctor Strange with Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Babyteeth and Redneck scribe Donny Cates can add another Marvel Cinematic favorite to his resume: Thanos. Joining Cates on the purple villain's solo title is Cates' God Country collaborator Geoff Shaw, whose ink-slashed style should mark a kinetic step up from Mike Deodato, Jr.'s work launching Thanos alongside outgoing writer Jeff Lemire. While Lemire's return to DC is notable, his swan songs at Marvel have been mostly unremarkable, with Thanos in particular flying under the radar. Now that audiences have a better look at Josh Brolin's upcoming film portrayal and the devastation he'll cause, the source comic deserves the bombast Cates and Shaw can deliver. Steve Foxe

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion Finally Has a Release Date

Who knew that the only thing standing between Gerard Way and a semi-regular writing schedule was his massively popular music career? Since putting My Chemical Romance to rest and releasing a successful solo album, Way has focused largely on comics, steering the Young Animal pop-up imprint at DC and writing its flagship title, Doom Patrol. This past weekend, Dark Horse announced the imminent release of Way's longest-lingering comic, Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion. First teased in 2009 following the series' smash-hit volumes one and two, Hotel Oblivion has yet to see the light of day, with both Way and co-creator Gabriel Bá producing other work in the interim. Now that Netflix has announced an Umbrella Academy live-action series, it makes sense that Way and Bá would return to their award-winning goth-pop universe…sometime in 2018. Dark Horse knows better than to announce an exact release date for this one until pages are ready to go to the printer. Steve Foxe
Gabriel Bá

Young Animal Crosses Over with the DCU

We love Young Animal—a "pop-up imprint" curated by former My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way—something fierce. The four-comic branch fosters a deep adoration for wonder, optimism and the batshit weird post-modern rabbit hole of classic Vertigo comics and old-school Jack Kirby hyperbole. That volatile energy couldn't be contained under one editorial umbrella, and come January it will leak into the main DC Universe. Way announced that each series—Doom Patrol, Shade, The Changing Girl, Mother Panic and Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye—will cross over with a marquee superhero book in a line of annuals. The first entry will pit the dimension-hopping outcasts in Doom Patrol against the socially-minded Justice League in a book co-written by Steve Orlando and illustrated by ACO, who pencilled Orlando's excellent run on Midnighter. Information on the remaining specials is still mum, but the approach sounds thoughtful and collaborative, and a fantastic avenue to shine more attention on this fertile pocket of comics. Also: a glorious cover courtesy Frank Quitely starring new hero and hypothetical calcium advocate, "Milkman Man." Sean Edgar
Frank Quitely