Kyle & Yost reunite for "Amazing X-Men" in June!
Writers/producers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost are both considerable talents by themselves, but have been best known for joint efforts in various Marvel wheelhouses for much of the 21st century. One of their most notable collaborations was as writers for "X-Men: Evolution" on then-Kid's WB from 2000-2003, in which they created the character known as "X-23". Since then the pair continued to collaborate on animated projects (such as "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes", "Wolverine & the X-Men" and a slew of animated direct-to-videos) as well as X-Men related comic book runs such as "New X-Men" and "X-Force". Both were promoted into Marvel Studios' film division, working most notably on "Thor" and "Thor: the Dark World" together. This June, they will reunite for X-Men comics once again.
It was announced earlier today that writer Jason Aaron would be leaving the recently launched "Amazing X-Men" after seven issues to focus on his other projects - most notably "Original Sin", Marvel's annual crossover event due to the summer. Paired with artist Ed McGuinness, "Amazing X-Men" effectively replaced the canceled "Astonishing X-Men" on the schedule back in November. Although the series debuted with over 112,000 copies sold, January's sales estimates note that sales have slipped 60% as of the third issue. Also writing "The Mighty Thor" among other projects, Aaron stated he would "step away" from the series "a bit sooner than I'd hoped". Aaron also recently "stepped away" from a long run on "Wolverine & the X-Men" (the comic, which was titled after the cartoon merely a year after the NickToons show was canceled) and is also known for writing "Ghost Rider" for a stretch as well.
Kyle and Yost will take over on the series with June's eighth issue, with Ed McGuinness remaining as the regular artist. They intend to keep the team roster (of Wolverine, Storm, Iceman, Northstar, Beast, Firestar, and the recently resurrected Nightcrawler) virtually the same aside for one addition. "It's too early to discuss specifics as to who will or won’t be on the team I can tell you Chris and I both love Colossus and he’s someone we both feel needs to be on this journey with us," Kyle said. The book will also be overseen by executive editor Mike Marts, who returned to Marvel after a seven year stint editing Batman comics.
Marvel announces "kid-friendly" Spider-Man comic for Infinite!
As the technology oriented convention SXSW gets underway, Marvel Comics made quite a few announcements. The biggest was the creation of a Spider-Man comic for their digital comics initiative, called Infinite Comics. It will be called "Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man" and will adapt stories from the Disney XD animated series "Ultimate Spider-Man". Unlike other digital comics, Marvel's Infinite comics have some "motion" animation as well as music, sound effects and voice work that flow along with panels that are clicked through.
The series will be written by Eugene Son, who writes for the animated series, along other writers Matt Kindt, Cullen Bunn and Tim Seeley. J.L. Mast and Geoffrey Beaulieu will act as storyboard artists, with Luciano Vecchio and Soutchey Leimetry providing the finished art. This series will be specifically geared towards children, "the next generation of comic book fans". One hopes that this generation won't mind seeing comic book versions of stories they already saw on TV with lessor animation quality on a hand held device.
If the success of Marvel Studios reveals anything, it is that this "next generation" of comic book readers aren't kept away due to the material itself. What keeps them away may be the fact that comics are sold in small retail locations that rarely advertise for too high a price, with stories that are either too densely complicated to be enjoyed or feature exaggerated violence and sex in place of genuinely mature storytelling. However, digital comics may be the best alternative to changing the entire direct market sales set-up, and this initiative continues Marvel Comics' online outreach efforts towards kids.
"Marvel: Avengers Alliance"'s reach expands!
Also announced at the SXSW convention was the total usage of "Marvel: Avengers Alliance", a free game available on Facebook and other mobile devices. Within just two years, the game has over fifth million players worldwide. Although the game itself is free, better gear and playing experience come to those willing to shell out money via credit, debit, or Paypal. The game has been able to successfully mingle elements from the comics, films, and TV shows into a cohesive whole - often "writing" crossover events better than the actual comic book writers did. The series is set to debut its' fifth chapter of its' "second season" soon, as well as incorporating characters and events from the next Marvel Studios films: "Captain America: the Winter Soldier" next month, and "Guardians of the Galaxy" in August.