Former Marvel publisher Bill Jemas and ex-Editor-in-Chief Alex Alonso have teamed up to launch to a new comic book publisher named Artists, Writers & Artisans.
News of AWA first emerged late last year, when Jemas raised $5 million from venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners for the enterprise. Now, courtesy of The New York Times, we finally know the ambitious scope of what the new publisher will entail.
AWA's launch slate will feature stories co-existing in a shared universe, but won't be relegated to just superhero stories. Jemas will be acting as chief executive and publisher, while Alonso will be chief creative officer, with Jonathan F. Miller (the man who brokered the deal between Netflix and Millarworld in 2017) signing up as chairman.
No exact release date has been given, but the first set of titles will launch this fall. They include American Ronin from Peter Milligan and ACO, which focuses on "highly trained operatives of huge corporations;" Bad Mother from Christa Faust, which deals with a mother searching for her missing daughter; Fight Girls, written and drawn by Frank Cho, which revolves around athletes in a competition for the title of "Queen of the Galaxy;" and also Archangel 8, written by Michael Moreci, about a "rogue angel" who uses guns under the tagline "Even God needs plausible deniability."
"The model here really is the old United Artists model, where people who are actually doing the creative have ownership, control and decision-making power over the work that they're doing," Jemas said, touting the creator-owned vision for the publisher.
"What we're offering creators is an opportunity to bet on themselves without putting it all on the line," Alonso added, indicating that their stable of writers and artists includes both veterans and newcomers. To refine the projects, AWA will be employing a creative council, which boasts screenwriter and director Reginald Hudlin, novelists Margaret Stohl and Gregg Hurwitz, comic book writer Garth Ennis and, last but not least, the man who'll be in charge of the origin point for AWA's heroes, J. Michael Straczynski.
Straczynski, known for his work on Spider-Man and Thor at Marvel, as well as developing TV projects such as Sense8 and, of course, modern Battlestar Galactica stories, said "I was open to returning to comics if the project was something challenging, so when Bill and Axel approached me about creating an entirely new, cohesive, shared comic book universe, the prospect was too much fun to resist."