SAN DIEGO, DAY 3: Jason Alexander named next 'Queen & Country' artist

[Queen and Country]Saturday Oni Press announced in a press release that the next artist for "Queen and Country," winner of the Eisner Award for Best New Series last night, will be Jason Alexander, creator of "Empty Zone" and artist on "The Tower" (Sirius) and a contributor to "The Waiting Place" (Slave Labor Graphics. Alexander will handle cover and interior art chores beginning with the new story arc that kicks on in issue #13 in January, 2003.

"Jason Alexander has actually been waiting in the wings for a little while," said Oni Press editor James Lucas Jones in the release. "We started talking with him back in early May about taking over once Leandro Fernandez has finished his five-part story. We have a tradition on the book now to change our artist with each new arc, and every time we change, we attempt to look for someone different than the last. Like the ever-changing world of international intelligence, we want to constantly keep moving and keep our readers guessing where we will go next."

"Jason's art is completely different than anything we've had before," said Rucka in the release. "He goes for a different ink line than our previous artists. He's more abstract in some ways, and more realistic in others. Which isn't that unlike the world we depict in 'Queen & Country' to begin with."

[Queen and Country]"It's going to be interesting stepping into an established series like this," Alexander added. "Thankfully, everyone involved is interested in letting each contributor have some latitude. I like the complexity of Greg's scripts, and I look forward to having the chance to bring my visual style to them."

Eager fans know that issue #13 comes four months after the release of #12. Oni described the delay and what fans can expect in the future.

"Never fear," explained Jones, "you won't be deprived of 'Queen & Country.' Originally, we were only going to take two months off, but then 'Queen & Country: Declassified' morphed from a 48-page one-shot to a three-issue miniseries, which is a much larger commitment for Greg. The final issue of 'Declassified' will overlap with #13, though, and you'll actually get a double-dose of the Minders, starting 2003 with a bang."

"It's an exciting time for us," Rucka concluded. "The book has been performing in ways we never expected, and with each changeover, my creative juices are renewed. I can't wait to work with Jason, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for Tara Chace and the rest of the group."

"Queen & Country #13" ships in January, 2003. It's 32 pages, black-and-white story and art with painted covers and is suggested for mature readers. Each issue will retail for $2.95.

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