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The comics of Comic-Con, Part 2: Marvel really likes events

With all of the TV and movie news coming out of Comic-Con, it’s easy to miss the flurry of comic book news that happens under the same roof. Be sure to read Part 1, which covered preview night and Day 1 of the convention. Part 2 is all about Marvel, simply because the publisher made a deluge of announcements spread across all four days of the convention.  

Marvel has several events on the horizon, and accompanying each of those big stories is a dizzying amount of new titles, both ongoing and limited. For the most part, there are three big ones this fall: Spider-Verse, The Death of Wolverine, and Avengers NOW. These events have been in the making for some time now, but there was one very big surprise.

Spider-Verse

This November’s Spider-Verse event promises to feature “every Spider-Man ever,” and as such we’ll be seeing a number of new titles where some of those Spider-Men (and Women) will be featured. New books include Spider-Verse Team-Up, a three-issue limited series by writer Christos Gage and various artists that will feature a number of Spideys working together, spinning out of the events of the main Spider-Verse series.

Also tying into Spider-Verse is Scarlet Spiders, by Mike Costa and Paco Diaz. The limited series will focus on Spider-Clones Kaine, Ben Reilly, and Ultimate Universe Jessica Drew as they embark on a special mission to save reality.

New ongoing series Spider-Woman, by Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land, will also tie into the big Spidey extravaganza, at least initially. It’ll feature Jessica Drew in the lead, with some support from other Spider-Women like Anya Corazon and the recently introduced Silk. For those fatigued by the prospect of so much Spider-Verse (there’s also the previously announced, actually-kind-of-interesting Edge of Spider-Verse miniseries), it’ll be interesting to see where Hopeless and Land will take Jessica Drew once the big Spider-Event is over.

Everything Avengers-related

With the recently announced shakeups on the way for Marvel’s flagship team, there are surprisingly few changes being made to the Avengers lineup of books.

In addition to succeeding Steve Rogers in All-New Captain America, newly appointed Captain America Sam Wilson will be taking the lead in Al Ewing and Luke Ross’ Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. The book will be a relaunch of Ewing’s Mighty Avengers run, and will continue the story of Marvel’s most diverse Avengers lineup. For a bit on what to expect, check out Ewing’s interview with Comics Alliance.

Also announced was Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, by the writing team of Marguerite Bennet and Kieron Gillen with art by Stephanie Hans and Phil Jimenez. It’s a great creative team for a character whose creation has a far more complex history than the actual stories she’s appeared in. (For the uninitiated: Angela was created by Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman in 1993 for McFarlane’s Spawn over at Image. For 20 years the character’s ownership was disputed, until a settlement was reached in 2012. Gaiman then brought Angela over to Marvel Comics in March 2013.) The new series will focus on defining Angela’s place in the Marvel Universe, which co-writer Kieron Gillen describes as “Asgardian Black Widow.”

Also Avengers-related: the characters from the ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  will be getting their own comic book. Simply titled S.H.I.E.L.D., the book will be written by Mark Waid with a rotating team of artists.

Death of Wolverine

A quick recap: Wolverine is dying this September in a weekly, four-issue limited series by Charles Soule. That series will be followed up by Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy, a seven-issue, three-month limited series by a wide range of creators examining the fallout of the character’s death.

At Comic-Con, Marvel announced a third limited series spinning out of Death of Wolverine. Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program, by Charles Soule and Salvador Larrocca, is a five-issue limited series that will focus on the program that turned the late (for now) hero into a living weapon. Writer Charles Soule views The Weapon X Program as part of a 12-part series with The Logan Legacy, together forming one big story about the aftermath of Wolverine’s death.

Wolverine is going to be dying for a very long time, folks.

Star Wars

But Marvel’s biggest surprise had nothing to do with superheroes. While it’s been known since January that the Star Wars license would be moving from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel in 2015, Marvel’s plans for the license remained unknown. No longer. Marvel announced three Star Wars titles at Comic-Con, each paired with some of the most acclaimed creators working with Marvel right now.

Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, will tell stories set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, from the heroes’ perspective. Set during the same period is Star Wars: Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca. Gillen’s series will focus on Vader’s growth from the man who got beaten at the end of A New Hope to the unstoppable force of Empire Strikes Back.

Finally, Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson will be a five-issue limited series that will more fully explore the character’s personal journey in the aftermath of her home world’s destruction in A New Hope.

Coming up: A roundup of several other notable publisher’s big announcements.

Inside the far-off world of 'Star Wars Workbooks'

Many elementary school kids spend their days wishing school was more like Star Wars. But what if Star Wars was school?

That’s the ambitious theory behind Workman Publishing’s new collection of Star Wars Workbooks, which aim to drill youngsters in everything from “Preschool Number Fun” to “2nd Grade Writing—by means of everything from Boba Fett to Padmé Amidala. The books align with Common Core requirements, and Workman promises that they drill basic concepts in much the same way as the company’s highly successful Brainquest workbook series. Of course, the Star Wars books will also help everyone remember the long “O” in Obi-Wan (which we think is far more important than two plus two). READ FULL STORY

Check out an excerpt from 'Star Wars: Lockdown: Maul' featuring Darth Maul -- EXCLUSIVE

If there’s one thing that’s certain about Sith Lords, it’s that you can’t keep them down — particularly a mogul like Darth Maul. The popular Star Wars villain takes the spotlight in Joe Schreiber’s new novel, Star Wars: Lockdown: Maul, a follow-up to Darth Plagueis, taking place before the events of The Phantom Menance. The new novel follows Darth Maul as he infiltrates a space prison where no one is safe from harm and everyone is out to sabotage each other. But Darth Maul isn’t just fighting for survival — his goal is to obtain an object that will enable him to rule the galaxy. And he’ll have to endure more than just angry prisoners to be successful and stay alive.

Read an exclusive excerpt below, and then check out an exclusive audio clip read by Sam Witwer, whom you may recognize as the voice of Darth Maul in the popular animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars. READ FULL STORY

Sneak peek at 'Star Wars: Empire & Rebellion: Razor's Edge' starring Princess Leia

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Defeating the Empire is no easy task — even for a whip-smart, blaster-touting princess. Princess Leia takes the spotlight in a new novel set in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars: Empire & Rebellion: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells follows Leia as she is forced to work with pirates from her home world, Alderaan. On the surface this may seem lucky for the Rebel Alliance leader, but much to her chagrin, the marauders blame the Rebellion for Alderaan’s destruction.

Razor’s Edge debuts a couple weeks ahead of the second annual Star Wars Reads Day, which celebrates the expansive pantheon of books based on a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Reads Day events, which include author and illustrator appearances, take place in bookstores and libraries nationwide on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Watch the official trailer for Razor’s Edge here: READ FULL STORY

Listen and read along with an excerpt from 'Star Wars: Kenobi' -- EXCLUSIVE

Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t become a wise old wizard overnight. Yet, his transformation from Jedi leader (who looks like Ewan McGregor) to Luke Skywalker’s mentor (who looks like Sir Alec Guinness) is one that still remains a mystery in the vast Star Wars Expanded Universe — until now. Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller is a new Star Wars book starring the ultimate non-parental father figure, Kenobi. Told from Obi-Wan/Ben’s perspective, the tale showcases Kenobi as he settles into life as a distant protector of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader’s son Luke on the desert planet Tatooine.

But life on the remote planet is not a restful one — nearby Tusken Raiders led by a ruthless chief and the ever-present threat of the newly created Galactic Empire complicate Kenobi’s mission to keep an eye out for young Skywalker and his family. (In true Star Wars fashion — I have a bad feeling about this.)

James Arnold Taylor dons the same voice he uses to portray Kenobi on the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars in this exclusive audio excerpt as Kenobi attempts to reach out to the spirit of his former master and mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn. Star Wars: Kenobi will be available Tuesday, Aug. 27.

 

'The Star Wars' trailer: See the original Han Solo... as a lizard?

“Longer ago, in a galaxy even farther away…”

That’s how the trailer for the new comic-book series The Star Wars, an eight-issue series adapted from George Lucas’s original 1974 rough-draft screenplay, begins. The names of the characters might be familiar, but there are a few surprises once you see the art. “For instance, Luke Skywalker is an older general and, uh, Han Solo is a big green lizard,” explained Dark Horse Comics editor Randy Stradley to EW. “Wookiees are the ones that lead the attack in the end on the Imperial Battle Station, which is never called the Death Star. Things are different but there are aspects that are the same as well.”

Check out the book trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Watch the book trailer for 'William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope' -- EXCLUSIVE

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“In time so long ago begins our play/ In star-crossed galaxy far, far away.”

This isn’t your parents’ Star Wars. It’s more like your ancestors from the Old World’s Star Wars. Author Ian Doescher reinterprets the classic space opera into a classical play written in the majestic style of the Bard of Avon. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope takes all of the characters you know and love and has them speaking in asides, soliloquies, and poetic verses. Even Chewie and Artoo roar and beep in iambic pentameter. For an exclusive look at what’s in store, check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Read an excerpt from 'William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope' -- EXCLUSIVE

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“Darth Vader, only thou couldst be so bold.”

Carrie Fisher may inexplicably have a bit of a British accent during the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, but this latest genre mash-up puts the epic space opera in the hands of the Bard himself. Debut author Ian Doescher blends protocol droids with iambic pentameter in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope.

Tapping into the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars follows the basic structure of the original Star Wars film but molds it according to the style of a Shakespearean play. Lord Vader still seizes the spaceship of Princess Leia of Alderaan in search of the Rebellion’s plans against the Galactic Empire. C-3PO still cries and complains about everything. R2-D2 still beeps and buzzes — but this time in flowing verse.

So if you’re a fan of Stormtroopers and/or soliloquies, check out Act I, scenes 1-4 of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars below: READ FULL STORY

See 10 images from 'Vader's Little Princess' and 'Darth Vader and Son'

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In Jeffrey Brown’s apocryphal but oh-so-cute re-imagining of the Star Wars universe, Darth Vader is a doting father to younglings Luke and Leia, even though he’s still totally evil and trying to take over the galaxy. Vader’s Little Princess, which comes on the heels of Brown’s Darth Vader and Son, released on April 23 and became an instant best-seller. Click through to see why Vader’s Little Princess and Darth Vader and Son may make great Father’s Day gifts.

FIRST UP: College talk

See the trailer for 'Star Wars: Jedi Academy' by Jeffrey Brown -- EXCLUSIVE

In case you didn’t get enough Star Wars on May the 4th (be with you), launch into hyperspace to Jeffrey Brown’s cartoonified and family-friendly vision of the far-away galaxy. Brown, who brought you Mother’s and Father’s Day giftables Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess, invites you to enroll in Jedi Academy come Aug. 27.

Jedi Academy captures the humor and awkwardness of middle school — all told through one boy’s comics, journal entries, letters, doodles, and newspaper clippings. Roan’s one dream is to leave home and attend Pilot Academy like his older brother, father, and grandfather. But just as Roan is mysteriously denied entrance to Pilot Academy, he is invited to attend Jedi Academy — a school that he didn’t apply to and only recruits children when they are just a few years old. That is, until now. This novel follows Roan’s first year at Jedi Academy where, under the tutelage of Master Yoda, he learns that he possesses more strength and potential than he could have ever dreamed. Oh, and he learns other important things too — like how to make a baking soda volcano, fence with a lightsaber, slow dance with a girl, and lift boulders with the Force.

Check out a sneak peek of Jedi Academy below!: READ FULL STORY

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