Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley's lengthy report on CBR, I've pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:
• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell's The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they've worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.
• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that's been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren's three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.
• Marvel Comics teased the "historic wedding" coming up in the pages of Astonishing X-Men, with issue #50 featuring a proposal and issue #51 featuring the wedding. The news "will break via a major national media outlet," so watch Yahoo! and related sites for potential spoilers. They also said the upcoming Peter Parker/Miles Morales meet-up will matter to the long-term lives of both characters, and said Ultimate Captain America will return in a crossover event between Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Ultimate Comics X-Men and Ultimate Comics The Ultimates. They promised "national attention for the story akin to the death of Johnny Storm based on a key decision a character makes within the course of the crossover." Finally, they teased a major shake up in the wake of Avengers Vs. X-Men.
• IDW Publishing announced more Jericho comics, a Danger Girl/G.I. Joe crossover series and a Battle Beasts comic. They also said they plan to streamline their comics lines. "We've heard we have too many tie-ins for some of these properties [and] to make them more fan friendly," said newly promoted VP of Marketing Dirk Wood.
• DC Comics shared results again from their New 52 Nielsen survey, and also said they planned to advertise Before Watchmen on TV, on channels like G4, IFC, BBC America, Cartoon Network and TBS. DC will also hand out a New Frontiersman newspaper mock-up on the floor of C2E2 to promote the book that probably looks something like this. They also promoted Batman: Earth One, noting the publisher sold 100,000 copies of Superman: Earth One and that the Batman edition is currently trending at 135 percent of Superman sales.
Friday brought a few announcements as well:
• On the digital front, DC Comics announced two additional digital series that will join their growing "digital first" line-up. In May, DC will launch Ame-Comi Girls, based on their line of manga-fied statues of Wonder Woman, Power Girl and other super-heroines. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will write the series, which will start off as a series of solo stories about the various super-heroines before they team up to take on Brainiac. They'll feature Wonder Woman art by Amanda Conner and Tony Akins, Batgirl art by Sanford Greene, Duela Dent art by Ted Naifeh, Power Girl art by Mike Bowden and Supergirl art by Santi Casas.
• DC also announced a digital Batman series that features out-of-continuity stories. Creative teams include Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire, Jonathan Larsen and JG Jones, Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott, Ales Kot and Ryan Sook, B. Clay Moore and Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles and Trevor Hairsine, Joe Harris and Jason Masters, TJ Fixman and Christopher Mitten, Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Phil Hester, David Tischman and Chris Sprouse, and more.
• Archaia and comiXology announced a new distribution agreement that includes exclusive “digital first” content and same-day-as-print distribution through comiXology’s various digital channels. The first two "digital first" titles became available today.
• Mark Waid announced Thrillbent, his new digital comics imprint that he started talking about back at WonderCon. Thrillbent’s first regular feature will be a new, free weekly series produced by Waid and artist Peter Krause, the team behind Irredeemable, with additional weekly series by Waid, John Rogers and others to follow.
• DC Collectibles, the merchandise imprint formerly known as DC Direct, announced new Before Watchmen and The Dark Knight Rises stuff, as well as a Justice League action figure set that will benefit their We Can Be Heroes charitable campaign.
• Legendary Comics shared more details on, and Jim Lee's cover for the first issue of, The Tower Chronicles by Thomas Tull, Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley.
• In terms of panels, DC Comics talked more about the New 52, the Earth One graphic novels and some Vertigo stuff at their DC All Access panel, while Marvel went in deep on digital stuff and their website at their House of Ideas panel. And finally, Archaia went over a slew of their upcoming projects at their panel.