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SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2006


LOS ANGELES -- Two new Garth Ennis-written series will launch in the fall, it was announced Saturday at the Wildstorm/Vertigo/CMX panel at Wizard World Los Angeles.

The Boys, drawn by newly exclusive Darick Robertson, will begin in October. The Midnighter, featuring the character from The Authority, will feature art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story and will start in November.

Appearing on the panel, Robertson said that Ennis is trying to "out-Preacher Preacher" with The Boys. "And I'll do what I can to outdo Transmet," Robertson said.

The Boys is about a team of five super-powered operatives who work for a secret department within the U.S. government. Itıs their job to monitor and investigate super-hero behavior, gathering information to be used against them.

"In a super-powered world, you can assume there's super-powered vice," Robertson said.

The Boys have all suffered damage because of super-heroes.

"The super-heroes move through the world like celebrities and politicians combined," Robertson said. "They donıt really notice who they step on on the way during the course of their super battles. This is what happens to the people who end up as collateral damage."

The leader of The Boys is Billy Butcher, whom Robertson called "the meanest, hardest son of a bitch you can ever imagine." Robertson said readers will experience things through a character named Huey.

You are going to see Huey get initiated into this dark world," he said. "The CIA needs The Boys to be on our side to get information on super-heroes and sometimes they need to take down super-heroes who get out of line. They do't necessarily always do this by violence. Sometimes they do it with blackmail, they do it by knowing their deep dark secrets."

Robertson said that Ennis first approached him about The Boys just before he was going to sign an exclusive for Marvel and begin a Wolverine run. He took the Marvel gig and admitted he felt bad, but was happy that Ennis came back.

"We've got five years and a 60-issue run planned," he said.

Here's how DC describes The Midnighter:

"The Midnighter gets his own ongoing series in November. And he's got a new mission. Well, actually it's more the same old mission, only more so: He's selecting trouble spots around the globe, traveling there, and beating hell out of whatever bad guys he finds."

In other highlights from the panel:

* Gail Simone's second WildStorm series, following the September launch of Gen13, will be Tranquility, targeted for December.

Tranquility is a planned community where super-heroes can retire in peace, without being hounded by enemies and fans. But when a series of murders is committed, a conspiracy is exposed that might endanger the lives of everyone who lives there.

The monthly book features art by Neil Googe.

* Rokkin, a monthly series by Andy Harnell, Nick Bradshaw and Jim Charalampidis, launches on July 12.

The series' description: "In a time of barbarians, warlords and mythic creatures, one ordinary man must protect the innocent -- but will he have what it takes to become a hero?"

* Jim Lee said the new WildCcats book will be "like Image Comics on crack, but it will be legible and readible."

He said that writer Grant Morrison has effectively taken the various versions of the Wildcats and molded them together.

* Writer Steve Seagle on American Virgin: "We venture to strange corners of the Earth and discover practices that we would find shady and appalling, but the rest of the world is OK with."

* Deathblow, by Brian Azzarello and Carlos D'Anda, is scheduled for October.

* Swamp Thing writer Josh Dysart said that Jason Woodrue is a product of what the DC Universe did to him. "He is literally fractured," Dysart said.

* John Ridley said his The American Way series poses the question: "Can you really have a group of people with super-powers who are still prisoners of their own humanity?"

* Upcoming artists on American Splendor will include Richard Corben, Chris Weston and Eddie Campbell.

* Editor Jonathan Vankin said that a new Mike Carey series will be announced soon, following the end of Lucifer with #75.

* Editor Scott Dunbier said that Whilce Portacio has completed six issues of pencils for the new Wetworks book. "If you're a fan of Whilce's early work, it really harkens back to his Marvel days and the beginning of Image," Dunbier said.

* Lee said Majestic will be in Wildcats and appears in the first issue.

* Dunbier said the only upcoming work from Alan Moore is the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, due at the end of the year.

* Kaoru Mori's Omukae Desu will make its CMX debut, and Emma will follow in September.

* The Empty Empire Vol 1, a science-fiction shojo series from Naoe Kita will be in stores in August.

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