After covering characters and creators to look for in 2011 earlier this week, we turn what happens when you mix those two: the books themselves. We pared our focus to new series set to launch, and existing series bound for a major overhaul. We surveyed the landscape of the comics medium traveling from the realm of comic books to graphic novels to find 11 comics you shouldn’t live without in 2011.
Described as a tour of the 52 universes, this upcoming eight-issue series from DC pits Grant Morrison and an all-star list of artists with defining and redefining seven of the most prominent universes in the DC’s Multiverse. Each of the first seven issues will work as a defacto one-shot for a universe, complete with heroes and villains, while the eight will pull it together into one massive story. In an interview with CBR, Morrison describes each issue as “a bible for what could potentially be an entire comic line”. Linking back to the diverse worlds-building seen in 52, Multiversity will feature an issue devoted to the Charlton characters which ties into Watchmen, a book about Captain Marvel titled Thunderworld, and several more. Although a massive project and undertaking, Morrison is one of the few people with enough raw creativity and dedication to pull it off – and its already been announced that both Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart are amongst the talent roster. This could be DC’s answer to Fear, Itself as the event book of summer 2011.
Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons’ untitled series
From the co-creators of Watchmen, Wanted and Kick Ass. Sight unseen, from that quote alone the unnamed new comic series from writer Mark Millar and artist Dave Gibbons is bounded to set sales records for comic shops on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Although what’s been released so far about this un-named book amounts to a series of teases, Millar has promised to reveal the title and artwork from the book at his inaugural Kapow! Comic-Con in London this April. What we do know is that a publisher has been secured, and most likely the series will come in at six issues. This will be the first collaboration for these two titans of comics, although they’ve talked working together previously on Superman: Red Son and going back to a fan letter Millar sent Gibbons at the tender age of 18 hoping to enlist the artist on an idea he had for DC’s Captain Marvel. After Millar’s string of creator-owned concepts like Wanted, Kick Ass and Nemesis selling out and quickly being optioned for movies, it’s easy to imagine just how popular and profitable this collaboration could be for the duo.Ultimate Comics Spider-Man
As the standard-bearer for Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, Ultimate Spider-Man has a light in the storm that has surrounded the Ultimate Universe in recent years. Standing out from the creative shake-ups going on with other Ultimate titles, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man has been driven relentlessly by writer Brian Michael Bendis and a small, esteemed group of artists into one of the biggest modern epics in the web-crawler’s 51-year history. But with news of the upcoming story-arc entitled “Death of Spider-Man”, could this be the end for Ultimate Spider-Man … and perhaps the line itself? Joining Bendis on this special story is the other writer who was there for the line’s inception, Mark Millar, who is no stranger to shocking the audience. The Ultimate Universe was originally conceived as a place to tell stories about Marvel’s characters in a modern way with no need to keep the status quo; but with the main Marvel universe catching up (thanks in no small part of the Ultimate writers joining them), the Ultimate Universe as a whole has been rudderless. Marvel has promoted the death of Spider-man on numerous occasions leaving him neck-and-neck with pro wrestler Terry Funk with returns from the beyond, but could Marvel pull the trigger and do the one thing they couldn’t do in the regular Marvel Universe and truly kill Spider-Man? We’ll see.Habibi
In Arabic, the word “Habibi” means “my beloved”, and for Craig Thompson its about his interest and adoration in Islamic mythology and Arabic calligraphy. Habibi will be the long-awaited follow-up to Thompson’s Blankets, which won over comic fans and mainstream readers alike with its emotional portrayal of the life of a relationship and a person dealing with issues about their religion. Thompson has been working on Habibi for going on six years now, but with news that the cartoonist finished the comic itself in September all that’s left is some post-production work. The book clocked in at 600 pages, so never fear – when this book is finally released, you’ll know about it.Fear Itself
Described obliquely as what happens when real world fears and anxieties take their toll on Marvel’s mightiest heroes, the upcoming seven-issue series Fear Itself pairs writer Matt Fraction with artist Stuart Immonen to define Marvel’s titles in the year 2011. In a video-taped segment broadcast during the press conference, Fraction said the series will “speak to the world we live in”, pointing to widespread American anxiousness and unease due to recent events. The series’ casts looks to be drawn from all corners of the Marvel library, from stalwarts like Captain America, Spider-Man and the X-Men’s Cyclops to the recently revamped Dracula. The series villain is said to be a “God of Fear” according to Fraction, which could possibly tie into the young demigod Phobos, son of the deceased Ares and member of Secret Warriors. The series begins in April, with a special prologue the month prior by Ed Brubaker.
One man versus al-Qaeda; that’s what the next book from Frank Miller has been described as. Originally planned as book centering on Batman, in 2010 Miller announced that Holy Terror’s concept outgrew the DC’s Dark Knight and would instead work as a creator-owned book with all new characters. An ex-special forces agent known as the Fixer finds a new outlet for his talents when his city is attacked by a band of terrorists. There has been no announcement as to who will be publishing this new series, but Miller is quoted in an interview with the A.V. Club that it’ll be out in 2011. Also be on the look-out for Xerxes, Miller’s sequel to 300 set to be serialized in Dark Horse Presents.Flashpoint Described by some as the Flash equivalent to Green Lantern’s Blackest Night opus, Flashpoint pairs DC’s chief writer with one of the publisher’s top artists Andy Kubert to take the scarlet speedster and the related speed characters on epic marathon of a series. Although details about the plot remain under wraps, we have confirmed it will be about all the various Flashes – good, evil and other-wise – and concerns a threat to the Speed-force and time itself. Kubert has been quoted as saying he was working on this book as early as April 2010, so one would imagine that several issues are in the can to ensure a timely monthly schedule – something that plagued the Flash’s last major miniseries, Flash: Rebirth.
Brian Wood’s untitled music series
In an interview at Robot 6 earlier this year, Wood described 2011 as the beginning of an new era as he writes the final issues of DMZ and transitions to several new projects he has in the wings. One of those is a comic book series sit in and around the world of music. Originally created as a series with ties to the Beatles, this unnamed series got a life of its own after the writer became embroiled into the world of music as not just a listener but a bona-fide musician as well. Described as a Northlanders-esque series but about music, the shape of this is still very rough but seems potent enough to appeal to long-time Wood fans as well as comics fans and music fans alike.Super Dinosaur
A boy and his dinosaur. It’s as simple as that. But take that and put it into the hands of Robert Kirkman and Astounding Wolf-Man collaborator Jason Howard and you have the potential for something unique. Birthed out of a throw-away concept Howard dreamed up to entertain his child, Kirkman ceased on the raw idea and worked with the artist to develop it over the past few years. What it boils down to is a world underneath own where Dinosaurs abound, and one is picked by the discovering scientist and accelerated into a super-intelligent T. Rex. This T. Rex teams up with the scientist’s son to find out what happened to the boy’s father and to protect the dinosaur world from being destroyed. In many ways, this all-ages story is a culmination of the ideas Kirkman espoused in his popular manifesto he released in 2008 – and could be come the third franchise in Kirkman’s growing comics empire.<u>Spaceman</u>
The band’s getting back together. The band’s getting back together. After the nine-year 100-issue epic 100 Bullets ended its run in 2008, fans were left to wonder what’s next for the creative duo of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Azzarello has kept busy leading DC’s pulp adventures in the First Wave titles and writing the Vertigo Crime’s debut title Filthy Rich, while the elusive Risso has popped up twice: once on a three-issue Wolverine series for Marvel and then doing the lead Batman story in Wednesday Comics. But with news earlier this year coming from Vertigo itself that the duo were coming back to the imprint for a brand new series, readers were left to wonder what shape this new partnership would take. During a comic convention in Argentina, we found out – (thanks to reader Ivan Costa). Azzarello & Risso’s next project is a 9-issue series called Spaceman, described as speculative fiction and not the kind of story you’d expect from them. As a bonus, the third member of the 100 Bullets posse – cover artist Dave Johnson – would be joining them on the series.Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 9
Forget what they say – you can come home again. The comic series Buffy the Vampire Slayer burst onto comic shelves in recent years as a thriving title – and line – for Dark Horse, and gave Joss Whedon a chance to continue the stories he began so many years ago. Upon its launch, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 skyrocketed to the top of the U.S. sales charts – outstripping all others including Marvel and DC that month. Over the course of 40 issues, series creator Joss Whedon has taken readers dour expectations of a comic book based on a TV series and turned it on its head, leaving hardcore Buffy fans and comics readers alike scrambling for each new issue. With the culmination of Season 8 scheduled to hit January 19, Dark Horse has already started teasing the follow-up series set for later in 2011. Joining the line-up in 2011 will be a standalone series about Angel, who reappeared late in Season 8, as well as a few surprises according to the publisher.
In The Corner of Our EyeMoon Knight : After showing up on top of our list for characters to watch in the New Year, Marvel’s Moon Knight resurgence is both about the character and the series he’ll be a part of. After successes like Daredevil and Scarlet, anticipation is high for what Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev see for the schizophrenic superhero.
Battling Boy Emerging as a modern hybrid of the super-hero, independent and manga scenes, Paul Pope is a rock star in the world of comics. After years of development, his graphic novel Battling Boy is shaping up for 2011 debut from FirstSecond. The novel is set to revolve around the son of a god who’s sent down to earth to rid the world of a continent-sized city of monsters. Pope has teased a 50-page fight scene in the comic, as well as online serialization before print, but one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be big.
Batman: Earth One : Originally announced back in 2009, Batman: Earth One teams Geoff Johns with long-time collaborator Gary Frank to re-invent DC’s dark hero. Following up from this year’s Superman: Earth One, this new book will feature a darker Batman and a new “twisted” origin for Gotham City.What series and graphic novels are you looking forward to in 2011?