After days of teaser images, Dynamite has unveiled its big announcement for New York Comic Con: the Gold Key heroes are returning.
Beginning in February 2014, the New Jersey-based publisher will be launching four new series based on Gold Key characters, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Solar: Man of the Atom, Magnus: Robot Fighter and The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. Best known to modern audiences as the basis for the launch of Valiant Comics in 1992, the Gold Key superheroes’ history is in fact much older – the characters were stars of comic titles in the 1950s and 1960s that were neck-and-neck with the original outburst of Marvel heroes like Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. For this 2014 relaunch, Dynamite has hired some of comics’ top superhero writers such as Action Comics’ Greg Pak, Daredevil’s Mark Waid, as well as veteran Marvel writer Fred Van Lente and up-and-coming writer Frank Barbiere.
"Launching a publishing event like this is an exciting opportunity to show how it can be done well, stylishly, and cohesively,” says Waid in the press release, who will be doing the The Occult Files of Doktor Spektor series. “The key (no pun intended), as far as I'm concerned, is to get to the core of these characters so we can, with dynamism and confidence, tell the readers who they are, what they want, and why fans will invest in that.”
To head up this new initiative, Dynamite has hired former Marvel editor Nate Cosby, who edited Archaia’s recent Jim Henson’s The Storyteller. Cosby describes the creators’ approach to these classic heroes as “super-bold”, saying “It's a treat to work with these guys to dig down and find the core of each character, what makes them tick and why they've lasted for so many decades. We can't wait to show you what we've been cooking up!"
The Turok: Dinosaur Hunter series will by written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Mirko Colak, and is a survivalist story about a Native American warrior who is transported to a lost valley full of dinosaurs.
“For sheer thrills and adventure, this book is going to be a blast to work on,” Pak is quoted as saying from a press release. “And I'm always drawn to stories that feature diverse casts, so I love that a Native American hero headlines the book. I'm also loving the worldbuilding we're doing. We're exploring the reasons why dinosaurs walk the earth and all of the social, historical, ecological, and political ramifications that follow. This is huge adventure combined with mind-bending alternate history, and I couldn't be happier."
Fred Van Lente will be partnering with artist Cory Smith to re-imagine the Magnus: Robot Fighter series, and says he’s heavily influenced by the character’s original creator – and industry icon – Russ Manning.
"I'm thrilled and honored to be reviving such a beloved series. I loved the original Russ Manning book as a kid, and am looking forward to bringing science fiction action to the new series in a thought-provoking way,” Van Lente states. “The very nature of robotics questions what it means to be human -- that's ultimately what Magnus: Robot Fighter will be about. That, and punching robots until they explode. There will be a lot that old-time fans will find familiar, but the science of robotics and cybernetics has advanced considerably even since the last time Magnus had a title, and you'll be seeing a lot of those reflected here."
The artist for Waid’s aforementioned The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor series has yet to be announced, but Waid’s already hit the ground running about the concept of the series.
“For Doctor Spektor, the challenge comes in figuring out how a professional skeptic, a famous investigator who debunks and exposes the extra-normal and keeps himself grounded, can function in a world that suddenly hosts superheroes and supervillains,” Waid explains. “What do you choose to believe in when your lifelong belief system is swept away?"
Joining this trio is Five Ghosts writer Frank Barbiere, who will be writing Solar: Man of the Atom.
"Dynamite has lined up some of the top talent in the business for the new universe of books, and I am both excited and flattered to be part of it,” says Barbiere. “I think fans are going to be thrilled by the new directions we're taking with many of the properties, Solar included. I'm a huge fan of the character and will be putting a unique spin on the mythology with an emphasis on family and character. I'm hoping my take will resonate strongly across the readership, new and old alike, and I'll certainly be bringing a lot of new and exciting things to the table."
Although this is a new announcement, Dynamite’s CEO and publisher Nick Barrucci has a long-known fascination for the Gold Key characters. In recent years he attempted to purchase the rights to the Valiant characters, and the acquisition of the rights to these Gold Key characters from DreamWorks is a major coup for this long-time fan.
"Longtime fans can rest assured -- their beloved heroes are in capable hands,” Barrucci says. “I can't believe the dream team of creators bringing these fantastic characters back, and with a vengeance! I'm honored that Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Frank Barbiere, and Mark Waid are at the helm. It's new, it's fresh, it's mind-blowing -- look for Turok, Solar, Magnus, and Spektor to win the hearts of dedicated fans and curious newcomers alike!"