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Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison talk about reuniting for 'Multiversity: Pax Americana'

There are a number of reasons why The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1 is one of the most interesting comics coming out this week. First and most obvious—it’s more Multiversity (the fourth installment, for those keeping score.) But it also marks the latest collaboration between writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, a pairing that consistently puts out career-defining work. Also of interest is Pax Americana‘s setting—Earth-4, home to the characters DC acquired from Charlton Comics, which were the inspiration for the cast of characters used by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in Watchmen.

Interested? Below, see some stunning exclusive preview pages and read a Q&A with Morrison and Quitely.

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See the movie tie-in cover for 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

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You knew it was coming. Check out the steamy movie tie-in edition of Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James in time for the film in early 2015. Very few book lovers admit to preferring a movie tie-in edition over the original, but this one might be an exception for die-hard Fifty Shades fans given the Jamie Dornan eye candy. Against-the-wall makeout sessions are SO much hotter than closeups of monochrome silk ties.

Enjoy!

'Superior Iron Man' plays up Silicon Valley's dark side

Tony Stark is a character who’s supposed to be all about progress and looking toward the future, but there’s one aspect of his character that’s always seemed a little incongruous: He’s a weapons manufacturer. Part of this is necessary for the redemptive arc that makes him a hero—he’s a war profiteer who comes to grips with the effect he has on the world, and decides to take responsibility for it. But he’s also a futurist, celebrated for being one of the most brilliant minds in the Marvel Universe. Stark’s superpower is his genius, and his history in arms manufacturing informs the way he develops technological solutions. But it’s big. It’s corporate. It’s very out of touch.

Superior Iron Man, however, paints a Tony Stark who’s decidedly different—and relevant.

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What We're Reading Now: 'The Book of Strange New Things' by Michel Faber

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If I have a literary weakness, it’s for stories about the improbable. Not the impossible — because really, how exasperating – but for things cast far out into weirdness with just enough realism and humanity winking at the edges that I start believing it could, maybe, just maybe, be real. Michel Faber in The Book of Strange New Things (which EW reviewed here) has done just this. It twisted and bent my mind around an alternate universe, the apocalyptic demise of a near-future Earth, and the small, robed aliens waiting for humans on the other side. It also happens to be full of meditations on relationships, religion, and the power of love.

Our protagonist Peter Leigh is a reformed addict who has found God. He is chosen for a special, highly mysterious mission by a special, highly mysterious organization called USIC. At first, I honestly thought he was leaving England, his wife Beatrice, and his cat for a destitute region elsewhere on earth that needed the Gospel. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t be able to talk to his wife (because, Skype?) or how real his fear of death was. Then they were pumping his veins full of a pudding-like substance to subdue him for the month-long trip across the stars towards the barren planet Oasis where he would be greeted by a community of aliens with faces akin to brains.

Safe to say, I underestimated Faber there. READ FULL STORY

'Community' creator Dan Harmon's first book of original essays coming in 2016

Here’s something worth saying “Cool… Cool-cool-cool” about. Community creator and exec producer Dan Harmon is writing a book of funny essays to be released in 2016, EW has learned exclusively. According to publisher Doubleday, the as-yet untitled collection will “present a mix of the author’s recollections, musings, and riffs.” There’s a lot of material for Harmon’s musings and riffs, in addition to the highs and lows of Community’s fraught five-season run on NBC. (It’s since been picked up by Yahoo Screen). He’s the co-creator and exec producer of the Adult Swim series Rick & Morty, as well as the Host of weekly podcast Harmontown, and the star of the recently released documentary, also called Harmontown.

Harmon is already a published author—his first book, You’ll Be Perfect When You’re Dead, was a limited-edition compilation of greatest hits from his brilliant, rambling blog Dan Harmon Poops. But this will be his first book of essays that were always meant to be in a book.

New literary journal asks, 'What if we were all James Franco?'

We should’ve seen this coming. America’s highest-profile English student and most prolific Faulkner adapter is now the namesake of a literary journal. Prepare for The James Franco ReviewBut despite bearing the actor’s name and silhouetted image on its cover, the journal won’t feature articles curated or written by him. Instead, it’s a publication founded on this question: “What if we were all James Franco?” At least, that’s what it’s founder Corinne Manning claims on the Review‘s about page.

The project is essentially devoted to giving everyday writers the visibility they’d have if they were Franco. Manning and her colleagues came upon the idea after seeing Franco’s byline in multiple publications, and realizing they might stand a better chance of getting published if they submitted as the movie star, instead of themselves. A couple degrees of abstraction and poof: The James Franco Review.

“We seek to publish works of prose and poetry as if we were all James Franco, as if our work was already worthy of an editor’s attention,” Manning writes. “All submissions received are submitted as James Franco and are read by a roving cast of guest editors who choose based on their tastes as readers.”

This falls short of parody and definitely isn’t an homage. It’s almost an indictment. [L.A. Times]

Save the date: On April 28, 2015, you’ll be able to read the true story of America’s first Ebola casualty. Thomas Eric Duncan died on Oct. 8 in Dallas after contracting Ebola while in his native Liberia. Now his fiancée, Louise Troh, has signed on with the Weinstein Company and the Perseus Books Group to tell her story. “Louise Troh’s account of Eric’s life and the aftermath of his death will put a human face on an issue that has gripped the entire nation,” David Steinberger, Perseus’ President and CEO, said in a press release. [AP]

Remember when everyone was toting around copies of Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father? Books are one of the best ways for political hopefuls to get across their message with style, coherency, and depth—and now possible presidential candidate Marco Rubio has signed on to release one. Due out Jan. 13, the book will actually be Rubio’s second, after his 2012 memoir. Based off the title, American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone promises to provide readers with a bit more partisanship, and maybe some reasons to vote for or against the Florida senator. [L.A. Times]

Learn how to be a privileged rich kid with 'The Social Climber's Bible'

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The Social Climber’s Bible: A Book of Manners, Practical Tips, and Spiritual Advice for the Upwardly Mobile came out on Oct. 28. The must-have guide for any aspiring socialite teaches readers the commandments of the art of social “Mountaineering” at any and every event, from a cocktail party to a funeral.

And be assured that the authors, Jazz Johnson and Dirk Wittenborn, know what they’re talking about. Ms. Johnson is an heiress of the wealthy and prominent Johnson & Johnson family; Mr. Wittenborn is a novelist and filmmaker who produced an HBO documentary called Born Rich, about, well, being born rich.

In fact, Jazz Johnson’s famous fam joined forces to make a hilarious satirical (we think) video, The Social Climber’s Bible Presents JET ETIQUETTE—an excellent expert resource if you ever happen to find yourself onboard a private plane, and aren’t quite sure how to navigate the skies savvily. Check out the short video below.

Here’s a billing of the Johnson family members who appeared:

Jim Johnson (Jazz’s father ) as The Butler
Pearl Johnson (Jazz’s sister) as Lady on the balcony
Gretchen Johnson as Lady at the party #1
Dirk’s wife Kirsten as Lady at the party #2
Loring Biedron (Jim Johnson’s grandson) as Boy at the party

Harlequin names international romance novel contest winner

Romance fans, meet the newest author to join Harlequin’s ranks: Amanda Cinelli, an Irish writer whose manuscript featuring an ambitious wedding planner’s romance with a bachelor earned her a two-book contract as the winner of the publisher’s fifth annual So You Think You Can Write contest.

Cinelli’s winning effort—titled Resisting the Sicilian Playboy—will published digitally by Harlequin/Mills & Boone in February 2015, with a print edition to follow. Here’s an official description:

Dara Devlin needs Leo Valente’s help if she wants to keep her job and plan the wedding of the year. Leo Valente is intrigued by Dara’s ambition and sets out to show her what it means to have fun. Things heat up and they enter into a no strings affair, just one problem. Leo falls in love. Dara can’t have children and vowed never to marry, Leo shows her that she is worthy of love.

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Amazon and Hachette resolve conflict

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The feud has ended. As The New York Times reports, Amazon and Hachette have signed a fresh multi-year contract. Neither company released the agreement’s specifics.

The dispute between the two parties gained notoriety when Amazon removed the pre-order buttons from Hachette titles, delayed shipments of many of the publisher’s books, and came under fire from Authors United and customers. In its defense, Amazon suggested Hachette wanted to fix ebook prices higher than they should be—but Hachette supporters said this ran contrary to Amazon’s desire to take a bigger slice of ebook revenue.

“This is great news for writers,” said Michael Pietsch, Hachette’s chief executive. “The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”

Although the publisher will get to set the prices of its ebooks—a sticking point during the dispute—an Amazon executive, David Naggar, said the new terms include “specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices.” The magnitude of concessions Hachette will make remains unclear.

NASA meets time travel in Mark Millar and Sean Murphy's 'Chrononauts'

What if we explored time the way we did space—with expeditions manned by our best and brightest as the whole world watches on live television? That’s the premise behind Chrononauts, a new Image Comics series by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, The Secret Service) and Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, The Wake). 

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