Warren Ellis, Other Creators React to WILDSTORM's End

First Look: BAGLEY Covers WildStorm!

The WildStorm imprint will end in December, concluding more than 18 years of comic book publishing history involving some of the industry's top creators.

Founded as an independent publisher in 1992 by Jim Lee, WildStorm became an imprint of DC Comics in 1999. Over the years, it's seen a variety of superhero teams and independently created comics, often interacting within a shared WildStorm universe.

The imprint that created titles like Warren Ellis' The Authority and Lee's Gen 13 will disappear at the end of December. The current runs on WildCats, The Authority and Gen 13 will end at that time. The mini-series of DV8 and Welcome to Tranquility will continue into the new year, reaching their planned conclusions.

The kids comics and licensed properties that WildStorm publishes, including video game tie-in comics like World of Warcraft and Gears of War, will be published under the DC banner beginning in January.

Characters in the "WildStorm Universe," like Grifter, Midnighter and Bliss, will take what DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are calling a "break" after December's final issues.

"In this soft marketplace, these characters need a break to regroup and redefine what made them once unique and cutting edge. While these will be the final issues published under the WildStorm imprint, it will not be the last we will see of many of these heroes," DiDio and Lee said in a statement Tuesday. "We, along with Geoff Johns, have a lot of exciting plans for these amazing characters, so stay tuned."

The implication of the statement is that there's a possibility the heroes from WildStorm could return as part of the DCU, although the plans for their future are still unknown.

Newsarama talked with a few of the creators who have helped form WildStorm over the years about what they think of the change. We'll continue to update their reactions.

Warren Ellis:

Well, The Authority do belong to DC. So they can do anything they want with The Authority. And presumably there's been enough editorial turnover that The Authority concept isn't actively hated by the New York office the way it was in 1999.

I don't think there's anything wrong with resting an idea. Let someone bring back The Authority in ten years, when there's something new worth saying about the subgenre and it takes a company-owned asset to say it with. Honestly, when *all* the superhero comics are about ripping people's bits off and rubbing dead cats over themselves while pretending to be on heroin, The Authority as originally executed really doesn't bring the different any more, does it?

That said: the WildStorm  Universe stuff was as robust a set of company-owned assets as you can find in the field, and ceasing publication and integrating them into DCU (if that's what's going to happen) makes less sense than taking the leash off WildStorm 's intelligent and hungry editorial department, kicking some funding loose and letting them do the necessary surgery to get those assets earning money again.

I wish everyone at WildStorm  the best of luck.

Cully Hamner:

I'm a little pensive about it, sure. I've drawn a noticeable chunk of my career there, dating back to before the sale to DC, even. I still have close friends there, so it's a little sad to hear. On the other hand, it's not clear yet what the ramifications are. As I understand the announcement, the "WildStorm " name is going away, but the characters will resurface. Also, they already handle all the licensed stuff, the kids' line, and DC Digital, and I'd hope that the present staff would continue doing that—in Burbank, I suppose. So, from what I know, it seems more a shift than an ending. Whatever the case, I'm just hoping for the best for all my pals at WildStorm .

Marc Bernardin

I fell out of comics for a long while in the '90s, frustrated by the mercenary sameness that seemed to pervade the industry. The book that pulled me back in was Warren Ellis' The Authority. The wit with which he treated characters that were clearly designed to evoke comic book archetypes was savage and refreshing and it hit me at a time when that's exactly what I needed from my superheroes. The fact that I got to write those characters fills me with a sense of completion, just as the news that those characters won't exist -- in their current forms, at least -- to pull in other new readers fills me with sadness. Of course, the sales figures show that new readers weren't turning out in droves, but there were some -- and every pair of fresh eyes is a victory. There is still life in some of the WildStorm  Universe roster -- I hope DC figures out a way to preserve what made them terrific in the first place.

Ed Brubaker:

Since I don't know any of the specifics of it, all I can really say is that I'll always be grateful to Jim Lee and Scott Dunbier for inviting me into WildStorm  back when. If not for them, Sean Phillips and I wouldn't have become collaborators and my career would be a lot different, and by that I mean it'd be a lot worse. Jim and Scott kept Sleeper going when anyone else would've cancelled it, and we were able to build something really special. I'll never forget that. That's the kind of place that WildStorm  was.

As for universes, it seems that superhero readers only ever care about Marvel or DC, so it's not a huge surprise that this has come to pass. WildStorm  was never just about that stuff though. At it's best it was about Danger Girl and Planetary and Ex Machina. That's what it'll be remembered for.

Gail Simone:

I loved working in the WildStorm  Universe. It was a fantastically creative environment, and some of the best people in comics passed through those doors.

My current Welcome to Tranquility series is totally done, written, drawn, everything, and I've been assured the issues will come out exactly as planned. While I love the WS imprint, there's a question of whether or not it currently has enough of its own signature to justify being a separate entity. I don't know what the complete plan is, but if it means I get to write the Gen13 kids again somehow, I'm fine with that, I love that group of boneheads.

Scott Beatty:

I think my response to the news is like any other creator: How does this affect ME? I have nothing but admiration and respect for Wildstorm, especially since I spent more than two years of my writing life ensconced in the WSU's current status quo, a post-apocalyptic setting I helped to create with Senior Editor Ben Abernathy, Christos Gage, Chris Sprouse, and so many other wildly talented writers and artists. Chris Sprouse and I added a slew of new characters to the WSU with the heroes and villains "retroactively" introduced in Number of the Beast, and I'm sincerely hoping Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and Dan DiDio take a good long look at their potential as viable properties for Earth-50, the DCU "proper," or any other corner waiting to be filled. Given the WSU's upgrade to part of the DC "Multiverse" in 52, this decision seems to have been inevitable, and I can only believe that the WSU and its catalog of characters, including Gen13 (which I wrote during the initial WORLD'S END aftermath for a memorable year), will find a comfortable home and greater success with the DC bullet branding on their respective covers. I don't see it as an end of Wildstorm as much as it is an expansion of the greater DC Universe, just as DC's acquisition of the Quality, Fawcett, and Charlton pantheons made the DCU a bigger and better sandbox. Wildstorm was a wonderful place to visit and I'm thankful to Jim, Hank Kanalz, Ben Abernathy, Scott Peterson, and all the rest of the staff in La Jolla for making me feel welcome during my stay.   

 

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