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Comics Relief: AVATAR Comes to Comics, and More New York Comic Con News

New York Comic Con is upon us, and that means a metric ton of big new announcements from all the major comic book publishers in this, our weekend edition of Comics Relief. So let’s get to it, shall we? Read on for all the details, starting with the biggest movie in history finally coming to the comics page…

James Cameron’s Avatar comes to Dark Horse Comics

James Cameron’s Avatar is still the highest grossing movie in film history, and although it’s been awhile since the movie was at the forefront of pop culture consciousness, expect that to change, with Cameron directing an all-new trilogy of films and an Avatar-themed land coming to Disney World next year.

Now the world of Pandora is coming to comics, as Dark Horse Comics revealed a 10-year licensing deal with James Cameron on the Avatar property. Cameron spoke to the audience via a pre-recorded message at NYCC, where Dark Horse made the big announcement saying, “For the past twenty-seven years, Dark Horse has been associated with my films The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss. I am excited that between now and the release of the first sequel, Dark Horse Comics will be bringing you new adventures from Pandora—covering the time before, during, and after the events of the original Avatar film.”

No release date has been given for Dark Horse’s first Avatar comic, but the publisher did release a poster image by artist Dave Wilkins to celebrate the announcement at NYCC, which you can see below: [Newsarama]

New Buffy the Vampire Slayer OGN takes us back to Sunnydale High

Also announced by Dark Horse at NYCC was a new OGN featuring their long running character Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although regular ongoing titles featuring continuations of the Buffyverse have been going on since 2007 (we’re at season ten now, if you can believe it), this Buffy project is different, as it would take Buffy Summers back to where it all started—Sunnydale High School.

Buffy the High School Years will be written by writer Faith Erin Hicks and illustrated by artist Yishan Li. Buffy’s creator, Joss Whedon, will work on the comic in an “executive producer role,” as he does on the ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith series. Hicks fans should “think of it as a lost episode from season 1 of the show.” No exact release date was given, but it’s expected to hit in Summer 2016. You can check out the first image from the new OGN below: [Comic Book]

Avengers: Standoff!  next big Marvel event

Although there were rumors of a Civil War II being Marvel’s next big event (and who knows, it may be announced just yet!), it now looks like the next big crossover from the publisher will be featuring the Avengers front and center. Coming in early 2016 is Avengers: Standoff!, which was just announced at New York Comic Con,

The new series begins in March with Standoff!: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz. The story continues to tie-in issues of Sam Wilson Captain America, All-New All-Different Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, New Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and other titles to be announced. Here is the official story description, direct from Marvel:

From the outside it looks like any other remote small town. Only Pleasant Hill is anything but. This gated community holds a dark and sinister secret — one that keeps its residents locked away behind its walls. Now, the time has come for its townsfolk to finally escape. As their revolt begins — why then are the Avengers trying to keep them inside?! And what does it have to do with S.H.I.E.L.D.? Even Earth’s Mightiest Heroes won’t be prepared for the truth behind Pleasant Hill.

This book will feature Captain America front and center, as the story will be part of Cap’s 75th anniversary celebration. All three men to bear the title of Captain America will feature prominently in the story, so expect lots of action for Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson. [IGN]

Frank Miller Announces Return to Sin City

Although mostly on hand at NYCC to help DC promote their upcoming Dark Knight III, writer/artist Frank Miller also made a major announcement while speaking at a press event at New York Comic Con. When asked if he plans on continuing to work in comics after Dark Knight III wraps up, Miller answered that indeed he would, and that the project to do that would his beloved Sin City series.

Miller called his new chapter “a Sin City love story set in the backdrop of World War II.” Dark Horse Comics, who’s published Sin City since it came out back in the early ’90s, had no comment, but with this news coming straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, I’d expect an official announcement is imminent. [Comic Book Resources]

Artist Greg Capullo taking a break from Batman to work with Mark Millar

Ever since the start of the New 52 at DC four years ago (yes, it’s been four whole years folks) the absolute stars at the publisher have been the Batman creative team of Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo. Now Capullo has announced at NYCC that he will be taking a bit of a break from Batman starting after issue #51 hits next year, to work on an unknown creator owned project with writer Mark Millar.

Writer Scott Snyder will be staying on Batman while Capullo is gone, saying, “Greg is going to take a little break after issue #51. It’s going to be very short. He and I have known this for a long time. He’s going to do a short project with Mark Millar. I’m going to stay on Batman. When you work with someone for a long time, the best thing about comics is the collaborative nature of it.” All I know is DC should pay that duo whatever they want to stay with the Batman, because these two are among the best creative teams the character has ever had. [Bleeding Cool]

Image Comics Founders Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen team up for a run on Spawn

Of the seven original Image Comics founders, Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen stand out from the rest for still working on their respective creations- Spawn and the Savage Dragon—some twenty plus years since they started them. Now the two image founders are teaming up, as it was announced this past Thursday at NYCC that Larsen would be joining Spawn as of issue #258, in what McFarlane describes as a “true partnership.” The duo will co-write the series with Larsen penciling and McFarlane inking.

McFarlane said of the new partnership, “It’s going to be sort of a tag team. We’re going to co-plot, we’re going to co-write. He’s going to do the early, rough laydowns on it, I’m going to do a little bit of inking, he’s going to do a little bit of inking, I’m going to do some penciling on top of his inking, and we’re just going to do this hodgepodge that, at the end, you’re going to go, ‘Who wrote that?” As of right now, the partnership is planned for five issues, although both creators stress it’s an open ended partnership and could go on well past that. You can see the duo’s cover for Spawn #158 below: [Comic Book Resources]

IDW Announces Creatives teams for ROM and Micronauts

Two toy properties from the late ’70s and early ’80s that found big success at Marvel Comics were Micronauts and ROM: Space Knight. ROM lasted seventy-five issues, and Micronauts ran for many years as well. Marvel lost the license to these characters decades ago, and it was announced last year the publisher IDW had acquired the rights.

Now at NYCC, IDW has announced the creative teams for these titles, and both properties are receiving top notch creators. Writer Cullen Bunn and artist David Baldeon will be handling the Micronauts, while Chris Ryall & Christos Gage will team with artists David Messina & Paolo Villanelli for the new adventures of Rom. No release date has been given yet, but IDW is sticking to sometime in 2016. [Newsarama]

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