i know it's old news, but

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Posted by Askews Me at ool-435338f5.dyn.optonline.net on May 05, 2002 at 02:17:32:

I just got an E-mail from Wizardworld.com and this is one of the main news stories

Details on the S & S exclusive deals double whammy

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up: The title may be canceled, but Marvel has replaced it with…well, an ultimate Marvel team-up.

Kevin Smith and J. Michael Straczynski, arguably the two most popular writers in comics today, have both inked two-year exclusive deals with Marvel Comics. What's more, the pair will play on what is arguably comics' most important stage--the Spider-Man titles. Smith will take over writing chores on Amazing Spider-Man, while Straczynski shifts to an all-new Spider-Man, which will launch with a new #1 issue.

"It's a Spider-Man revolution," said Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. "You're dealing with a man who took Spider-Man sales and almost doubled them in Straczynski, and another guy in Smith who knocked down the door to get movie and TV guys like Straczynski in. It's tremendous for Marvel."

The Marvel-exclusive deals take effect immediately, although there is some housekeeping to be taken care of. Straczynski's Rising Stars and Midnight Nation must complete their runs at Top Cow Productions, and Straczynski also has a one-shot Babylon 5 graphic novel from WildStorm in the works. Smith's DC Comics Green Arrow run ends in May, freeing him up for Marvel work. Smith's creator-owned "View Askew" comics, currently published at Image, will move to Marvel's MAX line, while a proposed DC Brave and the Bold relaunch will have to wait. "This doesn't pooch it completely," Smith said. "It just puts it on hold for awhile."

Smith's reason for moving to Marvel was simple. "Joe [Quesada] asked, and Joe's a friend," he said. Smith is confident the move will not damage another friendship-that with DC Editor Bob Schreck. "I love Schreck, and we had a phenomenal run on Green Arrow. But I started my superhero stuff at Marvel, and I've been itching to get back there for some time now."

Straczynski's reasoning has more to do with playing in the large Marvel sandbox. "The Marvel Universe offers a huge inventory of characters to play with, characters that I grew up reading," Straczynski said. "To have access to such iconic characters as Captain America and Doctor Strange and Daredevil and Thor and others...how do you beat something like that?"

Straczynski maintains his split with Top Cow is an amicable one, and that future collected editions of Midnight Nation and Rising Stars will still be published by the Cow. "They never changed a word I wrote, and that to me has always been the most important factor, that kind of creative freedom," Straczynski said. "But with the same freedom offered at Marvel, added to their vaster resources and the wealth of their established universe, it became a difficult but inevitable decision to move."

Straczynski's contract calls for 18 issues in his first year and 12 the second, a figure he said, "seems both comfortable and do-able. I'd like to shoot for more, however. The contract allows me to write established Marvel characters, to create new characters inside the Marvel Universe, and to create whole new titles/characters in my own universe, and I'd like to play in all three of those areas."

Straczynski pointed to mini-series on Captain America, Doctor Strange or Thor as areas he'd like to explore. "The hard part isn't deciding who to write, but in deciding who not to write, because there's such a wealth of material to choose from," he said. "Basically, I have a get-in-free card to play in the Marvel Universe. It's like being given a pass to Disneyland after hours, to ride all the attractions without anybody next to you barfing on the third turn at Space Mountain."

Smith is also targeting 12 to 18 issues a year. "And you can count on all of them having far too much dialogue, that's for sure," he quipped. About all that remains to be finalized is timing, with Smith's entrance on Straczynski's old Amazing and the launch of the new Spider-Man still up in the air. A January, 2003 launch is the target, and in all probability, Terry Dodson (Harley Quinn) will join Smith on Amazing, while current Amazing artist John Romita Jr. remains paired with Straczynski on the new title.

Straczynksi says his Spider-Man will continue to focus more on the "Man" than the "Spider." "Certainly, as in my work on Amazing to date, I'd like to focus on who Peter Parker is, why he is what he is, and where he's going," he commented.

Smith isn't sure what his take on Amazing will be yet. "Spidey's one of the all-time greats to me, but that'll be an easier question to answer in retrospect," he said. "I guess we'll find out when I'm done with my run."

One thing Smith is sure of, however, is his desire to return to the title that gave him his start at Marvel. "I've missed seeing Daredevil in the top 10 sellers," he teased. "So I might try to do something about that."

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