Incoming!

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So THE WIZARD’S TALE looked gorgeous. And now I have in my hands (or more accurately, I have on the desk to my right) an advance copy of the SHOCKROCKETS: WE HAVE IGNITION hardcover from IDW. And as I said to editor Scott Dunbier, earlier today, “Damn, every time IDW reissues one of my books, it winds up looking better than before.”
Scott immediately demanded that I Twitter and blog that comment. So here you go, Scott.
And for the rest of you, here’s a look at the book that’s making me so happy this afternoon, which should be in stores soon. Click on any picture to see it bigger.
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An Advance Look

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Art’s been coming in, and I’m more than a little bit head-over-heels about it. Above, the cover to THE WITCHLANDS 1 by the ineffable Zachary Baldus.
And as long as I’m showing off the cover, how about a peek at some interior pages, by the beguiling Conner Willumsen?
Consider it a look ahead at something off on the horizon, but headed this way, just a little closer every time you forget to look. If I can match up to what these guys are doing, it’ll be an amazing book.
Click on images to see them bigger.
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We Have Re-Ignition!

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Here’s the cover to look for, in a couple of months, when Shockrockets: We Have Ignition comes out in hardcover for the first time, from the fine gents and ladies at IDW Publishing.
Full-size 168-page hardcover with gorgeous new design work, a nice sketchbook section with a bit of commentary, this snappy new cover treatment, and we even caught and fixed a few scripting/lettering errors from previous editions. New design work by affable Bostonian Bill Tortolini, from unbelievably-crappy design sketches by me. Overseen by the majestic Scott Dunbier. New cover colors by Jeromy “Sure, No Prob” Cox.
In the unlikelihood that your local comics shop or bookstore displays new releases spread-eagled, you’d be looking for this:
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Click on the image to see it larger

Astro City Future????????????

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Me and my new iPad!

So, here’s what my blog in-box looks like these days:
From WILL:

I just read that Dan Didio and Jim Lee are shuttering Wildstorm. Will this affect Astro City? Will KBAC come out under the DC banner then?
From ROBBIE:
i was wondering (and i probably missed something) with the new announcement about wildstorm shutting down where will new astro city issues be coming out of? will they be coming out of the dc banner or something else? i have similar questions about the future of the america’s best comics line
From ZORBA:
I’m wondering what is the fate of Astro City with the end of the Wildstorm line?
…and so on.
One post at my Facebook page puts it quite simply:

Astro City Future????????????
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That’s a lotta question marks, for a sentence that couldn’t afford a verb…

I’ve addressed this on Twitter and Facebook, but maybe to spread the word further (or at least have a nice linkable place to point people, here’s the word, at least as it currently stands:
There won’t be any news about the future of Astro City,the Arrowsmith novel and The Witchlands, my three Wildstorm projects, for a little while, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.
Here’s what’s going on: On Tuesday, DC announced that they’d be moving a large portion of the New York-based DC operations to Burbank over the next year (everything but the publishing division, pretty much), where it could more easily interact with the movie/TV operations of Warner Bros. And at the same time, they announced that the Wildstorm imprint, based in La Jolla, California, would be closing down, and that, after some restructuring, the staff there would be the core of DC’s digital/e-publishing operations in Burbank. The news pretty much went out to everyone at once—I heard about it from Twitter, right around the time the Wildstorm staff was being told in the La Jolla offices.
This wasn’t rude or short-sighted—they couldn’t exactly tell me ahead of time, because the people who’d have been doing the telling were just hearing about it themselves. And they couldn’t tell everyone on staff ahead of the announcement, because news travels at internet speed these days, and someone would have posted the news online and then bam, it’d be announced even if they hadn’t announced it yet.
[One Internet commentator, the sagacious Tom Spurgeon, was wondering why the information rolled out in two waves, and I’d suggest the answer is time zones. The New York-related news came out of New York after everyone was in the office and could be told, and then the La Jolla-related news came a few hours later, after Wildstorm’s staff was at the office and could be told.]
Anyway, the announcement from Wildstorm mentioned that the Wildstorm Universe line would be ending, though the characters would be cropping up again in the future, and that licensed Wildstorm books like Ratchet & Clank and Fringe would be moved over to the DC imprint. But they didn’t say anything about creator-owned books like Astro City and The Witchlands.
The reason for that’s pretty simple, too: They can’t announce anything before they talk it over with me, and with the owners of any other creator-owned books in the works, and make sure we’re cool with whatever the plans are, or discuss alternate plans, or whatever else needs to be done. And they weren’t able to do that yet, because they’d just made the announcement.
They still haven’t been able to talk to us yet. That’s not rude or short-sighted, either—it’s just a function of the fact that all the editors I work with, all the production people, all the support staff and so on, are all having individual meetings at Wildstorm to talk about each employee’s future. Are they moving to Burbank? Are they leaving the company? Are they going to New York, maybe? I have no real idea what’s happening in those meetings, but they’re all about people’s jobs and lives, so they’re more immediately crucial than the question of where the next issue of Astro City will come from, when it’s ready to go.
And everyone I deal with at Wildstorm is either having those meetings, or conducting them.
So let ’em get through that, and then they’ll be able to talk to me and other creator-owned guys.
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Who the hell is that?

I won’t speculate on what the upshot will be, but I wouldn’t worry about it. Astro City is a profitable series, and DC isn’t going to be in a hurry for it to go away. [And frankly, even if they were, in the last few days I think I’ve heard from almost every American comics publisher whose staff isn’t tied up in meetings, letting me know that if it should possibly happen that DC and Astro City part ways, there are safe landing spots.]
So don’t worry. There won’t be any news for a little while, but that’s because we haven’t had a chance to work things out. There’s more immediately-important stuff going on.
But we’ll talk. Things will be figured out. And announcements will be made.
In the meantime, hold tight.
As for the future of America’s Best Comics—sorry, Robbie, I don’t have a clue. Wish I could tell you.