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Comics Relief: Marvel Announces the Return of The Punisher

Hey there, comics fans, and welcome to your weekend edition of Comics Relief! In this weekend’s installment, we’ve got announcements galore from creator Mark Millar and Marvel Comics, both revealing several new series for next year. And maybe the most anticipated series has to do with a certain angry vigilante who’s been somewhat MIA lately. Read on for all the details….

Marvel Announces New Punisher Ongoing Series

Since the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative was first announced, fans have wondered, “What about the Punisher??” Well, Frank Castle fans, your prayers have been answered. Marvel finally announced a new ongoing Punisher series from the creative team of Becky Cloonan and artist Steve Dillon. This is Cloonan’s first time writing the character, although Dillon illustrated two famous runs on Punisher, one with writer Garth Ennis and the other with Jason Aaron.

The new series has the Punisher investigating a new street drug that gives its users powers similar to Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum, although with very unstable side effects. According to writer Cloonan, “things are going to start out in a familiar enough place, but soon the Punisher is going to find himself in an unfamiliar environment without a lot of the things he usually relies on. We are going to strip away some of his layers, and push him right to the limit. I want to see how far he’ll go to accomplish his goals.” The Punisher is scheduled to launch sometime in early 2016. [Comic Book]

All-New, All-Different Marvel Grows in 2016

Aside from the anticipated Punisher series, Marvel also announced another batch of new series coming in 2016 at the UK Diamond retailer’s summit, and some of these might surprise even the most longtime Marvel fans.

First up is former member of the Defenders, Nighthawk. The publisher announced Nighthawk as a new ongoing series written by David Walker (Cyborg, Power Man & Iron Fist) with an artist to be announced later. [CBR]

Also getting an ongoing series is Hyperion, written by written by Star Wars: Aftermath author Chuck Wendig and drawn by 1872’s Nik Virella. This version of Hyerion originally comes from Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, where he was the sole survivor of his universe, now trying to make a life on 616 Earth (that’s the regular old Marvel universe, for the uninitiated). [Newsarama]

Also coming next year is X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever, which is a limited series that follows a new mutant named Bailey Hoskins. Hoskins is the newest member of the team that exists in a new standalone universe described as “best of” X-Men continuity.”  X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever will be helmed by writer Max Bemis and artist Michael Walsh. [Bleeding Cool]

Finally, the long-rumored second Iron Man book from Brian Michael Bendis and his former Daredevil partner artist Alex Maleev has been announced, and it’s called International Iron Man. The new book will only feature Tony Stark on globe-trotting adventures, and the series itself also will be translated and published in more than 20 different countries, including Argentina, Poland, and Spain. International Iron Man will debut early next year. [EW]

Mark Millar and Stuart Immonen announce new creator-owned series Empress

Mark Millar is returning to Marvel’s Icon line for his latest creator-owned series, where he team-up with artist Stuart Immonen for a new series titled Empress. Wade Von Grawbadger will provide inks, and Dave McCaig is on board as colorist.The new series is currently scheduled to run for three six-issue arcs and will debut in April 2016.

According to the official description, “The story centers on the wife of a galactic dictator who makes the decision to take her three kids and leave her evil husband. With the aid of a bodyguard, she tries to take her brood — Aine, her 15-year-old daughter who wants to be with her father; Adam, her gentle soul of a 10-year-old son who she knows would not survive the trials ahead to be an elite ruler; and Puck, her 18-month-old — to her home world. Oh, and as an added twist, the planet of which she is queen is Earth… 65 million years ago.”

Of his new series, Millar said “I think all the best science fiction has a very human element at the heart of it and a mother wanting to leave a dangerous relationship is very easy for readers to relate to. I’m not really interested in high-concept ideas as much as human emotions being the driving force of a story. Even Star Wars was really just a lonely kid who wondered who his real father was.” [The Hollywood Reporter]

Sequels to Chrononauts, More Jupiter’s Legacy coming in 2016

Hot on the heels of the Empress announcement, Mark Millar also revealed the details of several other upcoming projects to be published under his Millarworld banner, coutesy of Image Comics and Marvel’s Icon imprint.

This year’s Chrononauts will get the sequel treatment. Millar will reunite with Sean Gordon Murphy for Chrononauts 2: Futureshock, which comes out in July 2016. Next up, Jupiter’s Legacy will return with a new volume, also in the spring, by Millar and returning artist Frank Quitely. Jupiter’s Circle will welcome new series artist Chris Sprouse. Millar also announced that he’s working with Batman artist Greg Capullo and Jae Lee in a new creator-owned series, but he didn’t reveal what those projects are just yet. [Comic Book]

Bruce Lee Rises From the Grave In New Comics Series

In maybe the weirdest and creepiest news of the week, publisher Darby Pop, along with Bruce Lee’s own daughter, are resurrecting the martial arts icon for a new comic book series. What’s so creepy about that, you might ask? These aren’t fictionalized adventures of Lee back in the day. In the new comic, they are actually bringing the dead icon back to life in the present day. Here is the official synopsis provided by the publisher:

Bruce Lee never died. And he hasn’t aged. But, he has no idea who he is, what’s happened in the world in the past 40+ years, or why so many “thugs” want a piece of him. With the help of a fly BFF from the ’70s – Joe Toomey, P.I. – and a pair of precocious Teens, Bruce will piece together a mystery more insidious than ever imagined, and find himself forced to do battle with both an enigmatic Villain and his very own conscience. In other words, the Dragon rises… and “walks on” once more!

The 48-page oversized first issue will be released in April 2016, from the creative team of Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee, writer Jeff Kline (Jackie Chan Adventures), with art by Brandon McKinney (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) and cover art by Bernard Chang (Green Lantern Corps). [Comic Book Resources]

ICYMI: The Original Teen Titans Are Back. Sort Of.

One of the things longtime fans hated most about the New 52 continuity at DC Comics (well, there were a few, but this one was near the top of the list) was the removal of the original Teen Titans continuity from canon. It meant that when Teen Titans #1 came out in 2011, which featured Red Robin, Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl, Superboy and the Bart Allen version of Kid Flash teaming up together, that was the first time there had ever been a team of young heroes calling themselves the Titans in DC history. That… didn’t go over so well.

With this week’s launch of Titans Hunt #1, the new 12 part series from writer Dan Abnett, they’ve revealed that a team of Titans very much like the original incarnation of the team from the ’60s did exist, it’s just that they’ve all forgotten each other. At the end of Titans Hunt #1, we see an image of the classic team, and they look like a slightly updated version of the Titans fans know and love (minus Wally West as Kid Flash; some things you can’t fix I guess). Did this team ever grow to include Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, and Cyborg? Those four characters are on the book’s cover. Let’s hope it’s a hint of things to come. Titans Hunt #1 is on sale now.

R.I.P. Murphy Anderson, Creator of Zatanna

And finally, sad news to report this weekend, as Silver Age artist Murphy Anderson, best known for designing Adam Strange’s costume for DC and creating the Justice League’s resident magician Zatanna, has passed away. Starting on Buck Rogers in the 1940s, Anderson primarily worked at DC over the next few decades. He also did famous runs on characters like Hawkman and the Spectre, and was known as Superman artist Curt Swan’s inker. Less known about Anderson was the fact that he also created the industry standard art size of 10″ x 15″ which would allow two pages to be photostatted at the same time, saving money and time. This was then adopted across the US comics publishing industry. He was 89. [Bleeding Cool]

IMAGES: Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Icon, Darby Pop

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