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Indie comic news: O'Malley's "Seconds", "Umbrella Academy" and Bill Jemas' back

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The latest in the pre-Christmas independent comics related news for December 21st - 23rd, 2013!

O'Malley's "Seconds" has release date & cover!

Bryan Lee O'Malley's third creator owned graphic novel is officially on track for release in July 2014. Starting his career working with Oni Press, he drew for Jen Van Meter's "Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero" as well as lettered many of Oni Press' comics from 2002-2005. While with that publisher, he released his first graphic novel, "Lost at Sea" in 2003 before starting on the six volume series which spawned a film adaptation as well as made O'Malley a household name for most comic book fans - "Scott Pilgrim" - from 2004-2010.

His third creator owned work, "Seconds", began in 2011 and has been delayed due to a personal illness. As O'Malley explains, it is based around a time when he worked in a restaurant in his native Canada while working on "Scott Pilgrim" and is thus centered around a restaurant, which is the same as the title of the graphic novel. The protagonist is a red-head named Katie, who "is a lovable spaz". The tale is not connected to his other works but does take place in a town just to the left of reality, with all of the story taking place within the restaurant. I09 has an interview with the creator as well as an exclusive look at covers and interior art for the series, which is due to make a killing for Random House.

"Umbrella Academy" set to return!

From 2007-2008, "My Chemical Romance" singer (and former DC Comics intern) Gerard Way teamed with artist Gabriel Ba' to release a delightfully imaginative and bizarre series called "Umbrella Academy", which features the adventures of a team of operatives and super powered beings who were all trained as youths in a strange school in Britain of the same name. Published by Dark Horse Comics, the series existed as two mini-series before growing dormant for five years - apparently so Way could focus on his musical career.

Yesterday, Way posted sketches by Ba' on his Twitter account as well as offered updates for two more "Umbrella Academy" mini-series. There will be a third and fourth volume of the series "starting next year". One character stood revealed, named "Gas Panic". "Umbrella Academy" was one of the quirkiest and most fun new series of recent years, and it will be terrific to see it return in 2014.

Bill Jemas returns & runs Take Two comic wing!

From 2000-2004, Bill Jemas served in the high up position as publisher of Marvel Comics; it was an innovative time as the company emerged from bankruptcy under the leadership of Joe Quesada and kicked off their "Ultimate" line of comics. His tenure as publisher had its ups and downs, and he's mostly stayed out of the comic industry since. However, now he's back and working with Take Two Interactive, a video game company. Take Two has plans to start off their own unnamed publication wing to produce their own comic books, and Jemas has been tasked to run it.

Jemas has stated that while it is still early days, the company is interested in capitalizing on the intelligence properties they own to profit from them in other avenues, and despite the pessimism of fans, sales across the industry have been rising the last couple of years. These properties include "Grand Theft Auto", "BioShock", "Duke Nukem" and "Max Payne", among others. Jemas didn't know which of these will become comics yet, but it seemed clear that Take Two would be making comics based around the licenses they own rather than any creator owned series. Jemas also seeks to utilize the techniques he learned launching the "Ultimate" line in 2000 for these properties. Many third party companies such as IDW, BOOM! Studios, and Dynamite Comics all utilize licensed properties for comic book ore, and it will remain to be seen what impact Take Two's comics based on hit video games will fare.

BOOM! Studios runs with the zeitgeist with "Loki: Ragnarok and Roll"!

Whenever something becomes popular in current media, it tends to inspire many others to create stories along those veins. Why else have so many comics/TV shows/films have emerged in recent years that revolve around zombies or vampires? Currently, the Norse gods have reached new levels of recognition due to the recent Marvel Studios films, and creators Eric Esquivel ("Freelancers") and artist Jerry Gaylord ("Fanboys vs. Zombies") are set to capitalize on this for their latest series for BOOM! Studios.

Called "Loki: Ragnarok and Roll", the series centers on Loki after he has been banished to the land of mortals by Odin. Loki finds himself stumbling into a Goth bar and ultimately becomes part of a rock and roll band, where he interacts with other gods and has other adventures. It is a sequel to a one-shot Esquivel wrote last year, "Thor: Unkillable Thunder Christ". While this will be an original take on the Norse gods, the recognition from the Marvel films may aid this series in terms of sales, at least initially. It will then be up to its own quality to keep those interested readers.

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