Wagner, Bisley, Jim Lee Team on LEGENDARY's Next Comic Book

The Tower Chronicles, the new Prestige format series from Legendary Comics, has now added another legend to its line-up: superstar artist and DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee.

Today at C2E2, Bob Schrek, the editor-in-chief at Legendary, revealed Jim Lee's cover for the first issue of the series. Schrek said there will be three other "big-name" artists on the subsequent issues of the series.

The Tower Chronicles, which will be released in four 72-page books expected later this year, is the brainchild of Legendary Pictures founder Thomas Tull.

The comic, which features the dream team pairing of Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley, focuses on a tortured soul named John Tower who works for hire as a supernatural bounty hunter who has his own mission to solve while he works on the problems of other people — as long as the qualify.

"Tower is a supernatural bounty hunter who has an elite client list," Shrek told Newsarama. "Not anybody can get on the list. You have to have either a truckload of cash and/or a righteous need for his services. He balances the two as he goes along."

Featuring scripts by Matt Wagner and art by Simon Bisley, the comic now has a cover by Jim Lee. The collaboration between Lee and the folks at Legendary Comics came about because there are several connections between the companies, Schrek said.

"There's all sorts of connections there, not the least of which is that I began working with Jim Lee way back on Batman: Hush with Jeph Loeb when we did that project back in 2003. And we also did the Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder, the All-Star book in 2005," Schrek said. "And you can also see, with Legendary's output in films, Legendary and Warner Bros. [DC's parent company] have been good pals and have had a great working relationship for many years already. Thomas, being a comics' fan, had the opportunity to meet and become friends with Jim many, many years ago.

"So all these various connections just kind of easily came about, and Jim is just the number one guy when it comes to fan-favorite and top-notch art, so we had to at least ask," he added. "With the great relationship between the two companies, it was something that came together very easily."

The same seamless working relationship developed when Tull began working on his idea with Wagner, who's writing scripts for the issues.

"Matt's been doing this a very long time, having created Mage and Grendel, and working on Batman projects and books at Vertigo. So he knows what he's doing," Schrek said. "So when Thomas and I began working together, he said he'd like to collaborate with somebody, but he needed someone who wouldn't be a wilting flower, somebody who would stand up and say, 'well, wait a minute -- that's not a good idea, but here's a better idea!' And that's exactly what he got.

"I've known Matt since the late '70s/early '80s, and he came to mind because he doesn't have a problem speaking his mind," he said. "He brings it right to the table. And on top of that, he's built so many great characters in the past. So Thomas was happy to be working with him."

Schrek said the two have been "world-building" in a way that the company is hoping can translate to a movie or TV series. But the editor emphasized that the first priority is making a great story for comics.

"First and foremost, we're making a comic book," Schrek said. "That's my job, to make sure that, as we move ahead with all these projects, they're coming together as comic books first.

"Then, as we develop the characters, we take a look at it and say, OK, this could work as either a film or television project, and at that point, we might greenlight that pursuit," Schrek said. "The potential is there, and that's one of the ways we're going about this. But first it has to be a strong line of comic books."

The comic will be inked by Rodney Ramos with colors by Ryan Brown, and Schrek said the high quality on Lee's cover is echoed inside the book in Bisley's art.

"We're far along on the process right now, and the book is looking fantastic," he said. "Ryan Brown was Simon's choice as colorist, and it almost looks as if Simon is doing his own painting. That's how much synergy there is between Simon and Ryan in the completed art." 

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