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DC Comics news: Wonder Woman's new creative team and still more Batman comics

Here come the Finches!
Here come the Finches!USA Today

Husband-and-wife team to take over "Wonder Woman" in November!

With October's "Wonder Woman #35", the three year run by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang will come to an end. It will mark the end of one of the few creative teams from the start of the "New 52" era from September 2011 who, aside for some fill in artists, hadn't been interrupted by schedule or crossover. Rumors of the next incoming creative team had circulated online for months, but today's article by USA Today has made it official. Former Batman artist David Finch will be working alongside his wife, writer Meredith Finch to begin with November's 36th issue to begin a new era of the Amazonian princess' adventures.

Over the last three years, Azzarello has made some drastic changes to the iconic mythology of Wonder Woman. Among them are the fact that her father is Zeus (rather than her being the result of her mother Hippolyta's plea to the gods to bestow life to a clay child) and that the Amazons were not pillars of peace, wisdom, and love but instead traveled the seas raping sailors for weapons and children every few decades. Naturally, this meant that other Greek gods as well as some of Jack Kirby's "New Gods" (such as Orion) became supporting members of Wonder Woman's cast. Azzarello has been blunt in keeping his run apart from the activities of the rest of the DC universe, leaving "Justice League" and "Superman/Wonder Woman" to cover Diana's interactions with other heroes. The Finches plan to explore "the humanity" of Wonder Woman as well as delving into her interactions with her fellow Amazons as well as superheroes.

Meredith Finch becomes only the third female writer to handle the core "Wonder Woman" comic in her 73 year history; only Gail Simone and Jodi Picoult predated her. She went on to note the impact that Wonder Woman has on women in pop culture and a key part in DC's attempts to appeal to ladies is to have more women in positions of power within the DC Comics line. David Finch will be providing the artwork, although he will presumably run behind at some point and likely need a fill in artist after every 3-4 issues. This run may provide more ore for the heroine's upcoming life action film debut in 2016's "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" as she will sport not only her lasso, but a sword and shield in battle.

Lest anyone believe that this creative team was created due to nepotism, Meredith Finch has written comics before landing this plum position. As they were two issues of the low selling "Grimm Fairy Tales presents Tales from Oz" as published by Zenescope Entertainment, most people missed them. One can only hope that Mrs. Finch has the chops for a big break on DC Comics' most well known heroine, and is not merely the inexperienced wife of a company artist expected to tout the editorial line.

The elusive "Batmanga" sees digital and print release in the U.S.!

The influence and reach of American superheroes has long been proven to inspire artists from across oceans as well as nations. During the late 1960's, the "Batman" TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward had become an international sensation, and attempts to capitalize abounded. Among them was a Japanese comic (or "manga") featuring original Batman stories by Jiro Kuwata which ran in the weekly "Shonen King" manga anthology from 1966-1967. The result was a quirky and visually amazing 1,000 plus Batman tale made specifically for Japanese readers inspired by both the original comics as well as the TV show. The most memorable element from this run was Kuwata's creation of a villain called "Lord Death Man", who Grant Morrison took a shining to in his recent "Batman, Incorporated" run.

Unavailable by official sources aside for bits and pieces, DC Comics will begin offering translated issues of this manga on July 5th at a rate of 99 cents a pop for 15-32 pages of story. The entire run will be printed in three trade paperbacks later in 2014, after all of the issues are available digitally. Jiro Kuwata himself is best known for co-creating the iconic manga hero "8-Man" (whose 1965 anime was translated for U.S. syndication as "The 8th Man") alongside Kazumasa Hirai in 1963. In the years since, other manga creators had worked on Batman stories, including Kia Asamiya ("Batman: Child of Dreams", "Steam Detectives") and Yoshinori’s Natsume ("Toguri", "Batman: Death Mask"). However, until now this initial work was unavailable outside of Japan. It seems to fit into DC Comics' zeal to mine the continued popularity of the 1966 era of the "dark knight".

DC Comics adds two more Batman spin off comics!

DC Comics' has recently had a sales dilemma regarding few books which seem to thrive in the middle of the top 300 sellers every month. Much like the American capitalist system, the "New 52" has only hastened the creation of comics which sell extremely well, comics which sell incredibly poorly (and are canceled), with few comics in between. Timed perfectly with Batman's 75th anniversary, DC Comics has sought to shore up it's gaps by increasing the amount of Batman comics being sold by the company. This includes the weekly "Batman Eternal" series and now two more spin-off titles to add to the mounting pile of Batman comics ("Batman", "Detective Comics", "Batman Beyond Universe", "Batwoman", "Batgirl", "Grayson/Nightwing", "Batman and...", etc.).

Both of these new Batman spin-off titles hit the stands in October. The first is "Arkham Manor" by Gerry Duggan and artist Shawn Crystal, which sees Wayne Manor converted into an adjunct of the infamous Arkham Asylum. The second is the less bleak sounding "Gotham Academy" by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher with art by Karl Kerschl which follows a quirky prep school in Gotham City run by Bruce Wayne. Both are considered parts of the "New 52" continuity yet both seem to offer something different than the usual fare. "Arkham Manor" is yet another attempt to capitalize on the success of the "Arkham" series of video games, while "Gotham Academy" may be another attempt to reach out to new audiences than aging white men. "Gotham Academy" debuts on October 1st, while "Arkham Manor" arrives on October 22nd.