William Christensen’s Avatar Press kept its reputation for unhinged sci-fi, fantasy and horror alive Friday with newly announced titles from comics luminaries Warren Ellis and Alan Moore. The new titles, “Supergod,” “Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island” and “The Neonomicon” highlighted Christensen’s “Avatar Comics” panel alongside artist Jacen Burrows, where they explained what it’s like letting all-star writers run wild.
“One of our big announcements for this show is a new Warren Ellis series called ‘Supergod,'” the Avatar editor-in-chief revealed. Launching in November, the five-issue, full-color series will fall into Ellis’ thickening body of superhero work with the publisher, featuring artwork by Gary Gastoni of Radical Publishing’s series “Caliber. ”
“Supergod is what happens when there actually are super-humans that you worship as gods and then they turn on you,” Christensen explained. “The body count might be higher than anything else we’ve ever done.”
Ellis’ next Avatar title, “Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island” will following in January, taking the “Transmetropolitan” writer’s storytelling to 19th-century London. The series is by Ellis with artist Raulo Caceres.
Burrows spoke up for the company’s third big announcement, which will see his detail-intensive stylings reunite with Alan Moore for a direct sequel to the “Watchmen” author’s horror tale “The Courtyard.”
“After ‘Crossed,’ Jacen is going back to the on-again-off-again ‘Neonomicon,’ which is [an] all-new Alan Moore horror series,” Christensen stated. “It’s a follow-up to ‘Courtyard, ‘ which came out a few years ago.”
The Avatar head spoke candidly about Moore’s enthusiastic acceptance to work on the title with no editorial interference, stressing that the new series lets him indulge his notoriously bizarre vision, though “there’s nothing illegal,” Christensen noted.
“If you’ve ever read [Moore’s] ‘Swamp Thing’ books, it’s got similarities in that really, really creepy Gothic tone,” Burrows added.
Christensen forecasted into 2010, naming titles with several new Avatar creators. Polish artist Marek Oleksicki, whose Warren Ellis-penned OGN “Frankenstein’s Womb” debuted at Chicago Comic-Con this week will join another big-name writer, George R.R. Martin, in the coming year for the werewolf story “Skin Trade.”
“Early next year we’ll be adding projects from both Kieron Gillen and Si Spurrier,” Christensen also noted. “We’ve got multiple projects with both of them.” Names for the titles were not unveiled, but he estimated launch dates in Spring 2010.
Still to come in 2009, meanwhile, Garth Ennis will resume his darkly comedic take on the Anti-Christ with a sequel series to his Avatar title “Wormwood,” though Burrows, who assisted the first time around, will be replaced by artist Oscar Jimenez.
“Early September will be the beginning of the next ‘Wormwood’ series,” Christensen said. “Every time I get his pages in with Jimmy the Rabbit, I burst out laughing.”
The cantankerous rabbit Ennis created for his first “Wormwood” volume even inspired Jimenez to buy one of his own.
“Once he started the project, he was so enamored with Jimmy that he actually went out and bought a pet rabbit,” the EIC revealed.
Burrows’ artwork can still be found, however, in Ennis’ Avatar title “Crossed,” which marks their third collaboration together.
“It’s the book that I always describe as if someone else had drawn it, I would have been pissed,” Burrows said. “That’s the book I was meant to draw.”
Noticeably absent from Avatar’s announcements was Burrows’ fellow artist Juan Jose Ryp. Christensen said that Ryp was busy working on cover assignments but Ryp would be a part of another new project currently in the works.
“His actual series we’re not quite ready to announce yet, ” he indicated, “but yes, it will rock.”