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MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2008


PHILADELPHIA -- In his panel at Wizard World Philadelphia on Sunday, Garth Ennis introduced Battlefields, his new series of war comics from Dynamite Entertainment.

Ennis explained that Battlefields will be nine total issues, with three three-issue stories:

* Night Witches will be drawn by Russ Braun and tells the story of Russian women pilot squadrons fielded completely women.

"It was due to the absolute desperate straits Russia was in a at the beginning of World War 2," Ennis said. "Also, Stalin was interested in the notion of Communism truly meaning equality, and he was keen for women to play their part.

"So women were given a chance. They still had a very, very hard time to find acceptance in a male-dominated environment. They went into action and did their bit."

Ennis also noted that capture was especially perilous for these women and that Russia lost more than 20 million people during World War 2, with some historians estimating as many as 40 million.

* Dear Billy will be drawn by Peter Snejbjerg and deals with a British Nurse, who runs afoul of the Japanese in the retreat from Singapore and her attempts at revenge, which are ill-conceived," Ennis said, adding "it's a strange story."

* Tankies will be drawn by Carlos Ezquerra and will center warfare on Normandy after the D-Day invasion.

Ennis said John Cassaday is providing covers, with Gary Leach providing alternates.

In other panel highlights:

* Ennis thanked audience members for sticking with The Boys after its move from DC/WildStorm. "It's been very, very gratifying," he said. "We'll be there all the way to #60."

* Asked about HBO's Preacher television series, Ennis said he had no news. "I'm assuming it's not going to happen," he said. "If it did, then I would be surprised. I'm not expecting any news on that anytime soon."

When asked later about possible casting choices for Preacher, were Lucas Black for Jesse, Simon Pegg for Cassidy and Katee Sackhoff as Tulip.

* Ennis said he and Steve Dillion will work together again.

"We'll eventually get around to doing this Vertigo book we're supposed to be doing," he said. "We're going to be working together forever."

* He also said we also come back to The Punisher. "It's such a great character," he said. "We were made for each other."

* Butcher from The Boys will be getting his own six-issue mini'series. "His story is a doozy, frankly," Ennis said. "He needs a bit of space to see what's going on there."

* Like The Preacher TV series, Ennis said he had no updates on The Boys movie.

* Ennis described Crossed, his new horror series from Avatar Press, as "the most extreme thing" he's ever written. "That's brutal, messed-up stuff," he said.

The series is set a post-Apocalypic world -- although the planet itself is in good shape. "It's what happens when humanity turns evil," he said.

* Ennis said he has 100 percent creative freedom at Dynamite and Avatar, 90 percent at Marvel and 60 percent at Vertigo.

One story he was not allowed to do at Marvel had Frank Castle killing a child-molesing priest. "It's a button they didn't want to push," Ennis said. "They didn't want to piss off the church."

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