SPIDER-MAN Turns 50, SCALPED Wraps, SPIKE Goes Solo and More

<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p><i>The Dark Knight Rises</i> has fallen out of the box office top five and <i>Amazing Spider-Man</i> and <i>Avengers</i> are disappearing from theaters, but of course that doesn't mean you can't get your comic book fix. <p>Another big New Comic Book Day arrives on Aug. 22, and with it, the 50th anniversary of a genuine comic book icon, the end of an acclaimed Vertigo series and the final <b>Before Watchmen</b> debut. <p>Click "start here" in the upper-left corner for our picks of what's new and noteworthy this Wednesday. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>

VENOM #23

<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=4449&page=15>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Cullen Bunn had been co-writing <b>Venom</b> with the increasingly busy Rick Remender, and as of this week, takes over as the solo writer of the title with artist Thony Silas. <p>"I start introducing an entire new cast of supporting characters, but I wanted to keep it similar in tone to what Rick has been doing," <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/cullen-bunn-venom-deadpool-kills-marvel.html>Bunn told Newsarama</a>. "That's the kind of tone I like for that character. I like these fast-paced, frantic stories, but then at the heart there's the story of Flash Thompson, and how he is dealing with becoming a superhero, and how, frankly, he's been failing at it." <p>Also written by Bunn and out this week: <b>Captain America and Namor #635.1</b> (<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=4448&page=23>preview here</a>), teaming, you guessed it, Captain America and Namor.

RACHEL RISING #10

The cover to the latest issue of Terry Moore's <b>Rachel Rising</b> attracted some degree of controversy due to the inclusion of a Star of David (which Moore said was meant to be a pentagram and will be fixed upon printing) and a noose, which a reader suggested to him could be racially offensive. <p>Moore <a href=http://www.terrymooreart.com/?p=2347>responded on his website</a>, saying, "I told him there were no elements of racism in Rachel Rising. This story is about one thing, the 16th century witch trials. They hanged women for witchcraft back then. In <b>Rachel Rising</b>, the town of Manson hanged <i>real</i> witches who come back 300 years later for revenge. This cover depicts the execution of one of those witches. The defiant smile on her face and the symbols of witchcraft she wears all give the same message: <i>you're making a big mistake</i>."

DRAGON AGE: THOSE WHO SPEAK #1

Video game developer BioWare has seen success with their licensed comics through Dark Horse, in part because of the level of authenticity having people who work on the games involved with the comic books. <p>Such is the case with <b>Dragon Age: Those Who Speak</b>, a three-issue series starting this week. It's written by David Gaider, lead writer of <i>Dragon Age: Origins</i> and <i>Dragon Age II</i>, with art from Chad Hardin.

INVINCIBLE #94

<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=4455&page=19>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Image Comics has been promoting <b>Invincible</b> heavily as of late, with a <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/invincible-100-death-of-teaser.html>series of teaser images</a> hinting very strongly towards a major character death in issue #100. <p>But there's still six issues to go before the series gets to that point, and #94 by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley is out this week, with bad news for the new Invincible and the Guardians of the Globe thanks to the Flaxan Army.

ARCHIE #636

As you've surely noticed, Archie Comics has been very effective at getting attention the past couple of years for a series of surprisingly progressive moves for a 70-plus year-old publisher. <p>The latest may not be as bold as openly gay character Kevin Keller's same-sex marriage, but it's certainly visually striking: "The Great Switcheroo" by Tania del Rio and Gisele is pretty much how it sounds, showing the classic Archie love triangle between Betty and Veronica, gender-reversed. (And yes, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is involved.)

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SPIKE #1

<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=47145>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Happy 50th birthday, James Marsters! In honor of the big occasion, your beloved television alter ego Spike from <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i> and <i>Angel</I> is getting his own five-issue solo series. <P>It's from the team of writer Victor Gischler known to vampire fans from both his novels and his work at Marvel and artist Paul Lee, and places Spike, as the solicitation reads, on a "steampunk ship filled with loyal, oversized alien cockroaches." <p>"Spike starts out this story unhappy, confused and in a slightly self-destructive frame of mind," Gischler <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/victor-gischler-spike-dark-horse.html>said in an interview with Newsarama</a>. "His on-again off again relationship is rough; if you've ever been in love, you don't ever want to be in that off-again part. So he's mentally wrestling with the reality of that."

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1

The seventh and final <b>Before Watchmen</b> series to debut is <b>Dr. Manhattan</b>, from writer J. Michael Straczynski and with rare interior art by Adam Hughes. <p>"The Dr. Manhattan mini is... hard to explain," <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/jms-before-watchmen-details.html>Straczynski told Newsarama</a>. "It's neither upbeat nor downbeat. It's both a character piece about who Jon Osterman was, and how that affects Dr. Manhattan and a mystery set against the backdrop of quantum mechanics and the question of free will. On a purely metaphysical basis, the story gets into the tall grass really fast."

THE ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #1

IDW has received acclaim for its <b>Rocketeer</b> material as of late, and this week debuts a new ongoing series with the acclaimed creative team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. <p>"All I can tell you is that as someone who bought all the original <b>Rocketeer</b> comics as they came out and read them until they fell apart, every page of Dave [Stevens]'s work is burned into my brain and we intend to come at Rocketeer with the same sense of respect and honor that Dave himself showed to his forebears," <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/Wondercon-2012-idw-new-rocketeer.html>Waid told Newsarama</a> when the series was announced earlier this year.

SCALPED #60

Jason Aaron, along with artist R.M. Guera, wraps his critically lauded 60-issue run of <b>Scalped</b> at Vertigo this week. He's busy with superhero work at Marvel including <i>Wolverine and the X-Men</i> and the forthcoming <i>Thor: God of Thunder</i>, but he plans on returning to creator-owned material in the very near future. <P>"It'll probably be sad once <b>Scalped</b> is wrapped up, and I realize I don't get to write those characters anymore, or work with that exact same creative team right after that," <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/jason-aaron-wolverine-hulk-120119.html>Aaron told Newsarama in January</a>. "But for now, I'm still excited to finally bring that story to a close, and hopefully wrap it up and send things out on a high note, and then move on to what's next. I'm ecstatic with the response that Scalped has gotten, but I'm excited to move on to other things."

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692

<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=4448>Click here for a preview!</a> <p><b>Amazing Spider-Man #692</b> is the official 50th anniversary of Spider-Man, and features Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos adding a new layer to the character's mythos: A sidekick, named Alpha, who has an origin that parallel's Peter Parker's first appearance back in <i>Amazing Fantasy #15</i>. <p>"It finds something to resonate with, with <o>Amazing Fantasy #15</i>, that hasn't been done yet in the 50 years of Spider-Man," <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/amazing-spider-man-700-dan-slott.html>Slott said</a>. "That is a story that really has been mined for every single scrap, so we've actually found something that gets to the heart of that story and have mined it and produced 'Alpha.'" <p>Also featured in the oversized 50th anniversary issue: New stories from the likes of Joshua Hale Fialkov, Nuno Plati and Dean Haspiel who tells the tale of what happened to Spider-Man's costume after he threw it in the trash in the legendary <I>Amazing Spider-Man #50</i> story "Spider-Man No More!"

SPIDER-MAN Turns 50, SCALPED Wraps, SPIKE Goes Solo and More

Date: 20 August 2012 Time: 08:43 PM ET