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MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007

ASPEN COMICS' IRON AND THE MAIDEN

After nearly five years of publishing its own line of titles, Aspen Comics on Monday announced its first creator-owned property, the action-adventure series Iron and the Maiden.

From Jason Rubin, creator of the video-game series Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, Iron and the Maiden combines his opening foray into comic books with some of the industry's top artists.

Joe Madureira and Jeff Matsuda helped Rubin's vision come to life by providing character designs for Iron and the Maiden, a four issue mini-series portraying an alternate-universe 1930's metropolis. Background and concept designs are by Blur, with pencils by Francis Manapul and Joel Gomez and colors by Danimation.

Here's how Aspen describes the book, which launches on August 1:

"The City is struggling to survive a three-way battle for power between The Government, the ominous religious sect The Order, and the seedy criminal underbelly led by The Syndicate. Caught in the middle of this war for power, Michael Iron discovers firsthand the meaning of sacrifice, his only hope for survival coming in the form of a forgiving Angel and several more unexpected surprises along the way!"

"Iron and the Maiden has been stuck in my head for over eight years," Rubin said. "It's been an incredibly rewarding experience to work with such great talent as Joe Madureira, Jeff Matsuda, Francis Manapul, Joel Gomez and Danimation, and to finally bring this series out."

The first issue will feature 50/50 split covers, one by Manapul and the other a Madureira/Matsuda compilation cover. The series will also feature guest covers by Jim Lee, Michael Turner, Chris Bachalo and others.

Each issue will feature 28 full pages of story. Even though the series' issues will all be slightly oversized, Aspen is offering each with a 100 percent guaranteed shipping, making the books fully refundable to retailers.

"Iron and the Maiden represents everything we look for in a property," said Vince Hernadez, Aspen's editor-in-chief. "It is an innovative story alongside gorgeous artwork created by the industry's finest talents. Jason Rubin is a brilliant creator whose work in the video-game industry speaks for itself, and we couldn't be happier to have his first comic vision in our line of books!

"Because each book in the entire series is completed, we're going above and beyond industry standards to max out the enjoyment factor for readers and retailers alike by making the issues larger, but still delivering each one to store shelves -- on time every month -- guaranteed."



HEROES: ORIGINS

NBC on Monday announced Heroes: Origins, a spin-off series to air next season on the network.

Heroes: Origins will fill in for Heroes during breaks in the season. Six episodes are planned.

Each episode the spin-off will introduce a new character -- one of whom will be chosen by viewers through the Heroes website on NBC.com to become a cast regular the following season.

NBC is planning 30 combined episodes of Heroes and Heroes: Origins.

Heroes is returning to its Monday at 9 p.m. time period for next season.



NBC'S BIONIC WOMAN

NBC on Monday announced a new Bionic Woman series to air on the network this fall, as well as on Sci Fi at a yet-to-be-announced date.

The series, which will air on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., stars Michelle Ryan from EastEnders as Jaime Sommers.

Here's how NBC describes the show:

"Struggling as a bartender and surrogate mom to her teenage sister, Jaime Sommers didn't think life could get much harder. But when a devastating car accident leaves her at death's door, Jaime's only hope for survival is a cutting-edge, top-secret technology that comes at a hefty price. With a whole new existence and a debt to re-pay, Jaime must figure out how to use her extraordinary abilities for good, while weighing the personal sacrifices she will have to make. Ultimately, it's Jaime's journey of self-discovery and inner strength that will help her embrace her new life as the Bionic Woman."

Will Yun Lee, who starred in Wtichblade and the Elektra movie, plays Jae, a specialized operations leader.

The cast also includes: Mae Whitman as Becca, Jaime's younger sister; Miguel Ferrer as Jonas, the man who employs Jaime's boyfriend; Chris Bowers as Will, Jaime's boyfriend, who performs the operation; and Molly Price, as Ruth, Jonas' second-in-command.

Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff plays Sara in the pilot episode.

Bionic Woman is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio and executive-produced by David Eick, Glen Morgan, Michael Dinner (who also directed the pilot) and Jason Smilovic.



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PAINKILLER JANE: "BREAKDOWN"

Sci Fi has released six images from "Breakdown," this Friday's new episode of Painkiller Jane.

Here's how the network describes the episode:

"Jane and Maureen interview a number of patients who have been admitted to a psychiatric facility for the same unusual and terrifying nightmare."

The episode was written by Lisa Klink and directed by Will Waring.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images and look for more on Painkiller Jane soon here in The Continuum.



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FIRST LOOKS

For covers and three- to seven-page previews of upcoming titles, CLICK HERE.

Titles include Scorn #1 from Septagon Studios, Sonic the Hedgehog #176 from Archie Comics and Daredevil: Battlin' Jack Murdock #1 from Marvel Comics.

Click for the Warner Bros. Online Shop-WBShop.com


IMAGE COMICS' PX! BOOK ONE: A GIRL AND HER PANDA

Image Comics has announced an August 1 release for PX! Book One: A Girl and Her Panda, a 168-page all-ages graphic novel from Shadowline.

Created by Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson, the team behind the Sam Noir, PX! Book One: A Girl and Her Panda originally appeared as a webcomic at www.pandaexpress.com.

Printed in the landscape format, the graphic novel tells the story of Dahlia, a young girl who, with the help of her Giant Panda sidekick, sets off on an epic journey around the globe to rescue her missing father.

"In a market where there are still far too few graphic novels the whole family can enjoy, we believe this charming and beautifully illustrated tale will soon become a classic," Shadowline president Jim Valentino said.

"This story is about as far removed from Sam Noir as one can get, while retaining Trembley and Anderson's trademark humor and graphic excellence."

The book will cost $16.99.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images.



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BRIEFLY

* According to Variety, Industrial Light + Magic will be the principal visual effects house on Marvel Studios' Iron Man.

* Them, a television series based on Michael Avon Oeming's graphic novel Six, did not make Fox's 2007 fall line-up.



COMICS CONTINUUM BACK ISSUES

In case you missed The Continuum's coverage over the past month, here are some links. Click on the date to get the day's full report.

* Wednesday, May 9: Dark Horse Comics for August, Spider-Man 3, DC First Looks and Top Cow First Looks.

* Tuesday, May 8: Marvel Movies, First Looks and Desperado Pubishing for August.

* Monday, May 7: Spider-Man 3, Painkiller Jane, First Looks, Mirage Studios for August and World War Hulk.

* Sunday, May 6: Spider-Man 3 and Heroes.

* Saturday, May 5: Spider-Man 3, The Batman, The Simpsons and Heroic Publishing for August.

* Friday, May 4: Spider-Man 3's James Franco, Liv Tyler cast in Incredible Hulk, Marvel First Looks and Archie First Looks. Save up to 75% off your new comics!

* Thursday, May 3: Spider-Man 3's Thomas Haden Church, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Marvel First Looks and Superman Returns on Cinemax.

* Wednesday, May 2: Spider-Man 3, Iron Man movie, Marvel First Looks, DC First Looks, Spawn Animated DVD, TwoMorrows Publishing for August, IDW's The Claws Come Out.

* Tuesday, May 1: Spider-Man 3's Sam Raimi, Moonstone Books for August, First Looks, Painkiller Jane and Jonah Hex.

* Monday, April 30: Spider-Man 3, The Batman, Marvel Comics First Looks, Image Comics First Looks and Family Guy.

* Sunday, April 29: The Simpsons, Spider-Man 3, Image Comics First Looks and IDW's Scarface: Devil in Disguise.

* Saturday, April 28: Spider-Man 3's Tobey Maguire, Heroes and Smallville.

* Friday, April 27: Spider-Man 3, Iron Man, BlueWater Productions for August and First Looks.

* Thursday, April 26: Spider-Man 3's Topher Grace, Smallville, Marvel First Looks, Peter Tomasi exclusive writer for DC Comics and Heroes.

* Wednesday, April 25: Marvel First Looks, Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Family Guy.

* Tuesday, April 24: Spider-Man 3, First Looks, Top Cow's Unholy Union and Heroes.

* Monday, April 23: Spider-Man 3's Bryce Howard, The Batman, Painkiller Jane, Desperado Publishing for July, Dark Horse First Looks, Image First Looks and Marvel First Looks.

* Sunday, April 22: Legion of Super Heroes, Spider-Man 3, Dark Horse First Looks.

* Saturday, April 21: Spider-Man 3, Smallville and Marvel First Looks.

* Friday, April 20: Spider-Man 3, Smallville, Painkiller Jane and Image First Looks.

* Thursday, April 19: Spider-Man 3, Smallville, Painkiller Jane, Devil's Due Publishing for July, Avatar Press for July and Teen Titans.

* Wednesday, April 18: Dynamite Entertainment for July, Mirage Studios for July, Marvel First Looks and Image First Looks.

* Tuesday, April 17: Marvel Comics for July, Image Comics for July, Top Cow Productions for July, Archie Comics for July, Smallville and Dynamite Entertainment First Looks.




E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com



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