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Comics Relief: After 50 Years, SCARLET WITCH to Receive Her First Ongoing Series

Welcome to the today’s Edition of Comics Relief, where we’ve got news on one of DC’s best ever Batman-related series getting a proper and comprehensive collected edition, plus a vintage interview with the great Jack Kirby that simply has to be heard if you’re a comic book history fan.

First off though, a mainstay of the Marvel Universe is finally getting her own ongoing series after fifty years. Read on for all the details….

Marvel Officially Announces Scarlet Witch Ongoing Series

Although it was officially announced along with the other All-New, All-Different Marvel titles last month, the new ongoing Scarlet Witch series, the first ever for the longtime Avenger, was still without a release date for the first issue or an attached artist. That’s finally changed, as Marvel has announced that Constantine: The Hellblazer‘s Vanessa Del Rey will draw the first issue, and the series will then be drawn by a rotating group of artists, with Hawkeye artist David Aja providing covers.

Scarlet Witch will be made up of a series of standalone issues, with different artists tackling each chapter. The series, to be written by James Robinson, will explore the world of Marvel’s witchcraft, and focus on Wanda Maximoff and her quest to save other witches, as well as Wanda’s quest to find out if witchcraft is the true reason for her years of mental instability.

The first issue of Scarlet Witch hits comic shops in December.

Avengers Starbrand & Nightmask Receive New Ongoing Series

In other Marvel news, two of the more recent members of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, Starbrand and Nightmask, are teaming up for a new series this fall as part of All-New Marvel. Both heroes were reinventions of characters from Marvel’s ill-fated “New Universe” line of comics from the mid ’80s. The new book will be written by Greg Weisman, best known for his work on animated series like Gargoyles, Young Justice and Star Wars: Rebels, and artist Dominike “Domo” Stanton, best know for her work on the FX series Archer. The new series will find the title’s heroes “trying to balance their responsibilities as cosmic defenders and college students.”

According to Weisman, Starbrand and Nightmask is “a sci-fi buddy adventure, but that’s not all it is. There’s drama and pathos and romance and mystery and discovery and tragedy and even a little horror. Folks familiar with my work know I like to write densely plotted stuff, really packing stuff in. Starbrand & Nightmask will be no different.”

In a fun nod to Marvel history, the duo will be going to school at Peter Parker’s alma mater, Empire State University, where Marvel favorite Squirrel Girl is also attending. Want to bet a team-up is on the way? [Comic Book Resources]

Dark Horse Confirms New Serenity Series for 2016

All aspects of the Whedonverse will continue at Dark Horse Comics into next year, not just Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, according to a stealth announcement in the publisher’s letter column page in this week’s issue of Angel & Faith. The crew of Serenity will be making a return to comics next year. These will all be official in-canon continuity stories of the Firefly crew, following up on the publisher’s last Serenity series, Leaves On The Wind. And it looks like regular Whedonverse artist Georges Jeanty will return on art duties. [Bleeding Cool]

Gotham Central Finally Gets the Omnibus Treatment

One of the best Batman-centric comics of the last fifteen years was Gotham Central, which ran for forty issues from 2002-2006, and was brought to us by the once-in-a-lifetime creative team of Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and Michael Lark. Now, DC has announced the entire run is being collected in their hardcover omnibus format, due to be released next May, and it will come in at a whopping 800 pages, and with a cover price of $99.99.

These are some of the best Gotham stories ever told, so while the price tag might be hefty, it will be well worth it. These partially inspired TV’s Gotham, although the comics are way, way better. Now DC, WHAT does a guy have to do to get a Grant Morrison JLA omnibus edition, huh? [Comics Alliance]

Vintage Jack Kirby/Stan Lee radio interview is a must listen for any comics fan

This past week marked what would have been Jack Kirby‘s 98th birthday. In the twenty plus years since the King has left us, much has been made about the supposed rivalry with his longtime collaborator Stan Lee, with whom he created the vast majority of the Marvel Universe. Although the two never really worked together again after Kirby left Marvel in 1970, during a radio show in New York City in 1987 where Kirby was being interviewed, Stan Lee was the surprise call-in guest, and you can hear him do his best to mend fences with Kirby. The entire audio interview is now available, and you can hear Stan’s call come in at the 19-minute mark. Well worth a listen, even when things get pretty awkward between the two towards the end. [Bleeding Cool]

Valiant and Hastings Bookstore Chain Team-Up For The Craft of Comics Course

Bookstore chain Hastings has announced they are teaming with publisher Valiant Comics to offer a new course called The Craft of Comics, a live-streaming comics making workshop with James Asmus (writing), Clayton Henry (penciling), Ryan Winn (inking) and David Baron (coloring). Each of these events will livestream to more than 140 of Hasting’s store locations, while live audiences in attendance can participate in Q&As. Attendees will receive a free The Craft of Comics workbook, and anyone who gets through it can enter The Craft of Comics contest, where the winner gets his or her art published in a Valiant comic.

For more info, click on this link. [Comics Beat]

Do Women Like DC Better, And Think Marvel Is More A “Boy’s Thing?”

Is DC more women-friendly, and is Marvel a boys’ club? While there’s no doubt that plenty of people from both genders love both Marvel and DC, according to a recent report DC Comics’ “likes” on social media stands at 12 million individuals in the United States. The composition of that 12 million, however, is only 3.4 million women, an increase of 100,000 over the time period the report examined. Meanwhile at Marvel, Marvel’s “likes” decreased from 22 million to 18 million. The number of women who like Marvel decreased to 3.5 million, a loss of 900,000.

Not an exact science, but interesting  nevertheless. As a comic fan my whole life, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that most of the female fans I know, while still liking Marvel, tend to gravitate towards DC. For decades now, DC has supported female-led books like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Catwoman, Birds of Prey and more. While Marvel has been making big strides into gender equality in the last couple of years, for a long time it was just a token She-Hulk book or nothing. [Bleeding Cool]

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