Azzarello exclusive to DC

[DC]DC Comics has announced that writer Brian Azzarello has signed an exclusive, two-year contract with the publisher. This signing is a big one for DC as it allows him to continue working on concepts and stories for all their various imprints: DC, Wildstorm and Vertigo. This high-profile signing follows on the heels of Warren Ellis' exclusive contract signing announced over a month ago.

"I'll be honest: this was not an easy decision to make," Azzarello said in the release. "I'm not entirely comfortable with the concept of exclusivity, but after sitting down and really listening to the level of commitment DC was offering me and the types of projects I was interested in doing, it just made sense. The gun Karen [Berger] held to my head didn't hurt, either."

The Chicago based Azzarello has made a name for himself with his no-punches-pulled style of writing. He's best known for his work on "100 Bullets" with Eduardo Risso which has won the team critical acclaim an Eisner Award. Azzarello is also the current writer of Vertigo's "Hellblazer," and has the upcoming Wildstorm mini-series "Batman/Deathblow: After The Fire" with art by Lee Bermejo and Tim Bradstreet coming in March. Also in the future for Azzarello is a Batman graphic novel to be illustrated by Risso, a graphic novel and another creator-owned project for Vertigo and as as yet undetermined project from Wildstorm. DC said announcements on these and future projects will be made in the coming months..

"Brian's the real deal," said Karen Berger, VP - Executive Editor, VERTIGO in the release, "From his very first work for Vertigo, his powerful, spare writing stood outacross a crowded room. Like the best modern crime fiction writers, hisgripping, hard-boiled stories have an unerring sense of realism and pack anunderstated yet deep impact. And without a doubt, Brian writes the beststreet-cred dialogue in comics.

"I couldn't be happier that he has made this exclusive commitment to DC. Brian's writing has had a major impact on the industry, and with Eduardo Risso on '100 Bullets,' he has created a vital and visceral must-read book."

"The lion's share of my work is with and will continue to be at Vertigo,"Azzarello continued. "There's an investment here in the types of comics I wantto be a part of. Editorially, a mature readers imprint is the best placefor me to call home. '100 Bullets,' and working with Eduardo, naturally, ismy primary focus. We've still got a lot of story to tell in that book. Inaddition to '100 Bullets,' there's a graphic novel in the works that shouldtwist some heads, and I'm developing another creator-owned project withMarcelo Frusin that both Karen and Will Dennis are anxious to get off theground. So am I."

"Brian's one of the best," said Jim Lee, WildStorm's Editorial Director in the release. "With a restrained, stark voice, this guy explores territory others fear to tread. A five-tools-writer, he can do it all: crime noir, action, horror, humor, romance... and usually all in one story. As a fan, I can't wait to read the projects he has planned with us in the coming years."

"WildStorm's an interesting arena," said Azzarello. "I think they make therules up there as they go along - and I mean that in a good way. It makesfor an exciting place to work. Beyond 'Batman/Deathblow,' Lee and I arealready looking at our next collaboration. It's something very differentfrom what would be expected from either of us - and WildStorm's the rightplace for it. There's also been some talk about creator-owned projects forWildStorm's mature readers line, which is the direction they'd like me to bemoving in."

"Brian is writing some of the coolest stories in comics today," boasted Mike Carlin, VP - Executive Editor, DC Universe in the release. "And after seeing 'Batman/Deathblow,' I'm anxious to see what he does on the Batman graphic novel with Eduardo and to be wide open if he has any other ideas that work best in the DCU."

More on "Batman/Deathblow" can be learned by reading the CBR News interview with Bradstreet and Bermejo from February 18th. "Batman/Deathblow #1" is scheduled to be in stores March 20th.

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