Sunday, July 06, 2008

Avatar plans for 2009: Ellis (lots of Ellis) and a little Moore....

CBR have the details of the Avatar Press Wizard World Chicago panel. The panel was presented by William Christensen; Avatar Press' head man and noted cigarette wrangler for Warren Ellis (his panel at Chicago was classed specially as performance art to get around the no smoking in public places law).

There's two ways to look at Avatar Press. They're either a small company with a habit of picking up name writers and giving them a friendly home for their non Marvel and DC work, specialising in material considered a little too extreme for other publishers. Or, the harsher way of looking at this is that Avatar is prepared to take half thought out cast offs from any old "name" in the hopes of slapping multiple covers onto it and calling it an exclusive variant edition. I'm sure we could throw examples at both of those models until something stuck.

They've new material from Garth Ennis with "Crossed", a 10 issue series about a populace becoming evil. And Christos Gage (Thunderbolts) would be writing for them as well. But, as you might have expected, there's an awful lot of Warren Ellis stuff coming out from them:

Avatar's "Doktor Sleepless" news came next. Issue number nine of the series is slated for an August release, with the book planned to stay on course for the rest of the year on a near-monthly basis.

Christensen then turned the audience's attention to the rest of Avatar's stable of Warren Ellis books. "’Anna Mercury’ series 2 has been green-lit," said Christensen. The book is slated for an early 2009 release with artist Facundo Percio returning for pencils. "It's been a ridiculously big hit. Once again Warren has pulled magic out of his butt. We're thrilled with the response."

Ellis' revisionist and actual history graphic novella, "Aetheric Mechanics," and a new "Wolfskin" series were announced for later this year, followed by an announcement that "Black Summer," the controversial superhero series in which the protagonist murders the President of the United States, would see trade paperback form in September. "It's the best-selling thing we've ever done,” Christiansen said. “It's an amazing book that no other publisher would touch with a 10-foot pole - fuck them, they suck!"

Now I've looked at a far bit of Avatar stuff on the site and have enjoyed some and found others to be a bit lightweight and throwaway. But for every Wolfskin or Narcopolis there's an Anna Mercury or Crecy. So I'm pleased to see them doing very well and will look over their new releases with some interest.

At this point I'd be remiss in not pointing out their excellent Flickr stream where a lot of promo images, character roughs and assorted bits of artwork is finding it's way.

But the greatest and most surprising bit of news was left until the end:

The panel ended with the announcement that Alan Moore will return to Avatar next year with several new works, including the first fully-sequential work painted by "Anna Mercury" cover artist Felipe Massafera.

"2009 is the year of Alan Moore for us," said Christensen, who noted that Moore and Massafera's graphic novel is done, and “it's yummy."

New Moore material? That will be something to look forward to. Hopefully it will be proper work, not just one of those "bare sketch of an idea by Alan Moore, script and story by someone else" jobs. Time shall tell.

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