"Widescreen" comics are the buzz word du jour, brought into vogue by Warren Ellis' run on DC/WildStorm's "The Authority." Now Ellis is bringing that same larger than life, cinematic style to a non-superhero genre next year in "Red."

"It's about a retired CIA assassin named Paul Moses, who lives the quiet life of an elderly gentleman, tending to his garden and the like, and periodically reporting his inactive status ('Green') to his CIA contact," artist Cully Hamner told the Comic Wire on Friday. "But when an attempt is made on his life in his own home, he returns to active ('Red') status. Violence ensues."

The project's a ways off, so Hamner's not exactly burning the midnight oil on "Red" yet: "I won't until October/November. I'm knee-deep in another special project for DC right now."

The appeal of this "spy who came in from out of the cold with heavy artillery" tale is simple for Hamner.

"Several things: First, it's creator-owned. There's definitely something to be said for not having worry about exterior continuity and crossovers and stuff. We're responsible solely to our own story.

"Secondly, it sounds like a film to me, not necessarily a comic. Therefore it's unusual for the medium, yet still very commercial. People who don't read comics could definitely get into something like this, and that's very attractive to me as a storyteller.

"Third, I've been waiting to work with Warren for years. I'm a big fan, and when a story like this turns up on your electronic doorstep and says 'Draw me!' you don't hesitate."

In the meantime, fans who don't want to wait on the "Red" miniseries can pick up ... something.

"Hopefully, you'll pardon me for being a little cryptic, but I'm currently in the midst of drawing a 128-page, Prestige-format mini-series called 'Tenses.' It's written by Joe Casey, and it features a Guy with a Big Cape and a Symbol on his Chest. Also, there's a short story in August that's written by Warren, drawn my myself and Karl Story, and starring a character that everyone thought Warren had left behind forever. He did it as a favor to me. Keep your eye on Previews and you'll see why."



[Martian Manhunter]Fans of DC Comics' Martian Manhunter bemoaned for years that the green-skinned Justice Leaguer needed his own monthly series. They got it, but they aren't keeping it: The company announced last week that the title will be ending later this year.

"Evidently, it's true," series writer John Ostrander told the Comic Wire on Thursday. "Last issue will be #36. [Artist Tom Mandrake] is working on a different series at the moment so there are no immediate plans for working together although we like doing so and no doubt will again work together at some point."


[WonderCon]As readers of Monday's Comic Wire know, Comic-Con International, which runs a string of comic conventions, has just acquired WonderCon. What you haven't heard yet -- in any detail, anyway -- is why.

"The decision has been one Mike [Friedrich] and I have been mulling for a couple of years," WonderCon partner Joe Field told the Comic Wire on Wednesday, "but it wasn't until just a few months ago that we took any steps toward moving to a new situation.

"When we both realized that WonderCon had a good solid future no matter what, but that we wanted to put our full-time concentration in other areas, we initiated a dialogue with Fae Desmond at Comic-Con. That was in January, and negotiations were conducted for another six weeks or so, before we put it all together to everyone's satisfaction."

The transfer of power is well underway.

"The sale of the convention has been announced and we're currently in escrow. Mike and I are continuing to finish the business related to WonderCon 2001. In future years, we'll serve as consultants to the Comic-Con International team. Mike will consult on the administrative side, and I'll consult on issues of promotion, advertising, programming and guest relations."

After 15 years, though, no longer running WonderCon will be a dramatic shift for Field.

"I've been with WonderCon longer than Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff has been open, so any move away from WonderCon is difficult. I'd really like to take the time to make Flying Colors even more of a world-class store than it already is.

"At the same time, Mike's position with the comics' industry is undergoing a transition, in that the comics' agency biz doesn't make up a full time gig anymore, so he's been looking to move into other areas.

"Both of us hope to remain active with WonderCon, and the arrangement we've made with CCI keeps us on as consultants for at least a couple of years."

The sale shouldn't be seen as a sign of weakness for WonderCon, though.

"WonderCon is probably the only comics' convention that has consistently shown a profit for the last decade," Field said. "This year's show is likely the highest attendance we've ever had, for instance. We also sold more space on the exhibit floor than we have in the last several years. So this sale was not a financial distress call at all. It was more the case of one very healthy partnership joining forces with a much larger player in the event management business.

"But being a for-profit partnership also has its constraints, and the need to turn a profit made growing the show more difficult. Our hooking up with CCI should be a very positive signal that the comics' industry is definitely on the way back up. CCI's track record of having one of the few truly independent convention management teams (meaning they're not owned or run by those with a financial interest in another publishing company) shows their commitment to the entire industry, I believe. That's a fit that both Mike and I are proud of."

Field can't leave the convention floor after a decade in a half without a few final words, though:

"First, I want to thank the great staff at WonderCon, who helped us build our reputation of having the friendliest big show in the business. But I also want all the fans and pros to know that we appreciate all they've done for us over the years.

"Like I said at the press conference [on Sunday], this isn't a sad good-bye but rather a big hello to a really exciting new era for WonderCon. CCI is going to be able to give the San Francisco Bay Area a continuation of the really good stuff Mike and I have been able to do, but with more resources and more full-time commitment. That's a win for everybody in my book ... and I'll happily be along for the ride."


[Hellboy]"Hellboy" fans are a forcibly patient breed, taking their doses of Mike Mignola's demonic paranormal investigator as they can get them. This summer, Mignola's got a little something for attendees at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

As reported Wednesday by Hellboy.com, Mignola will be selling the straightforwardly-named "Hellboy Convention Sketchbook" at his table at the convention. The books measure 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" and are 24 pages long. Each of the 1,000 sketchbooks is signed and numbered, and will sell for $10 each.


Here's what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief:

  • Second Foot Soldiers trade to be released by AiT/Planet-Lar with Sienhiewicz cover
  • Peter David to write 'Vanadla II' for Chaos!
  • Fantastic Four film gets a director, finally
  • host World screening in Hollywood a big success
  • Greg Capullo's The Creech comic book returns
  • Viz Publishing Solicitations for product shipping July, 2001
  • Steve Conley's Bloop.tv launches

As for last time in the Comic Wire:

  • Ghost Rider Back in the Fast Lane
  • From Kirby to Kavalier & Clay: Chabon's Comic Book Odyssey
  • "Hawkman" Takes Flight From "JSA"
  • DC/WildStorm Round-Up
  • Comic-Con International Buys WonderCon

Powers of X House of X feature
House of X's Big Revelation Changes Everything for the X-Men

More in CBR Exclusives