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The world of comics publishing was shaken at the end of June when it was announced that Boom! Studios had acquired Archaia Entertainment, merging two of the most respected indie companies into a single entity.  And while from a certain perspective, this seemed like a natural pairing – two titans of the small press teaming up to take on the world – it also raised some concerns among readers, creators, and press.

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By Matt Wilson

Each week, Matt Wilson, co-host of the War Rocket Ajax podcast and author of The Supervillain Handbook, examines at a major comic news item and picks a few winners and one loser among the week's comic book releases.

The big comics news of the week is that BOOM! Studios acquired Archaia, a publisher known for the high quality of its print publications. I have mixed feelings about it.

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BOOM! Studios made a sound equal to its name today when it announced it had acquired indie comic book publisher Archaia Entertainment, creating what is according to BOOM!'s press release, the largest library behind Marvel and DC.

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By Patrick A. Reed

Author Charles Soule has been getting quite a bit of attention from comic fans and press lately – he has a few well-respected indie projects under his belt (Image Comics' "Twenty-Seven" and SLG's "Strongman"); he's the new writer of DC's "Swamp Thing" and "Red Lanterns"; and it's just been announced that he'll be taking over Marvel's "Thunderbolts," beginning with issue #12.

And today, May 15, Archaia released his new hardcover graphic novel, "Strange Attractors." And it's one of the coolest, headiest, most interesting comics I've read in a long while.

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Shotaro Ishinomori's "Cyborg 009" is back with an all-new English-language comic from Archaia, co-written by F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp. The 60's manga would later spawn multiple animated series and feature films (most recently last year's "009: Re Cyborg"). But this is your chance to discover the characters of "Cyborg 009" from the very beginning.

Today, the book's publisher is releasing "Cyborg 009: Chapter 000," a one dollar comic introducing you to the nine ordinary humans forced into become cyborg weapons--and we've got a preview featuring commentary from the book's writers, artists, and editor Stephen Christy.

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Let's talk about the future: specifically, the far-flung year of 1999. Earth has colonized the moon following years strife and a third World War. This was the future as envisioned by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson, creators of "Space: 1999," the cult TV series which lived a short life from 1975 to 1977. Now writer Drew Gaska ("Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes") is taking us back to the the future year of 1999 with the graphic novel "Space 1999 - Aftershock and Awe" for Archaia, which reimagines the TV series with some new characters as well as elements planned but not shot for the show.

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"Iron: Or, the War After" is the watercolored OGN from writer-artist Shane-Michael Vidaurri. Vidaurri, who makes his debut at publisher Archaia with the book, uses it to tell the story of espionage, intrigue, and betrayal in the wake of a great war that has brought together the losers, victors, and victims--who all happen to be animals.

Vidaurri was kind enough to speak to MTV Geek recently about working on "Iron," its production, and some of his motivations and inspirations behind it. Plus, you can enjoy a sample of the book in the piece itself.

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It was teased at San Diego, and now will stand (mostly) revealed at New York Comic Con... It's "The Joyners in 3-D," the second collaboration between artist David Marquez, and writer R.J. Ryan. The ambitious 3-D graphic novel isn't officially released until 2013, but we've got your exclusive sneak peak at the cover here, as well as some notes on the process from Marquez, as well as collaborator Jon Adams.

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There’s a pile of garbage as big as Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and it is adorable. Okay, maybe the real life Garbage Patch isn’t that anthropomorphic, but in Rachel Hope Allison’s first graphic novel for publisher Archaia, we get to learn a little about a current environmental disaster in the cutest way possible. We chatted with Allison about the currently on the stands book, why she made the garbage the hero, and if there’s any chance we can get a plush garbage patch:

MTV Geek: What inspired I Am Not a Plastic Bag? It’s pretty clearly there in the book, but I’m curious to hear it from your end of things.

Rachel Hope Allison: The story was inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which more and more people have heard about, but really only started being researched in the last years. I learned about it back in 2007, and basically it's this area between California and Japan where oceanic currents swirl in a big circle, or gyre. Over the years, those currents have pushed trash from beaches and boats and cities out into that gyre, where the trash gets stuck in the middle and just accumulates. Read More...

Cow Boy features a miniature man with no name out for justice in the harsh, Old West. Well, not exactly: Cow Boy is actually about Boyd Linney, a squinty li’l hero out to bring down some outlaws he knows all too well. Created by writer Nate Cosby (Pigs, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller) and artist Chris Eliopoulos (Misery Loves Sherman), the series, which has been running online since January, is getting a hardcover collection this June from Archaia. Read More...

Normal? Normal's overrated. That's what Cursed Pirate Girl writer and artist Jeremy Bastian would probably say, particularly given the choice between hanging out in the normal real world and the strange and magical realm of the Omerta Seas. Bastian's ornate art work and whimsical storytelling will adorn this summer's Cursed Pirate Girl collected edition from Archaia, as well as four-page story in Archaia's FCBD hardcover.

We spoke with Bastian about creating the world of Cursed Pirate Girl and taking the book from its crowdsourced roots to quitting his job and making comics full-time.
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For the past six years now, writer and artist David Petersen has been weaving tales of adventure, of action, of intrigue, and mice in his epic (in the proper sense of the term) Mouse Guard. Its current arc, Black Axe will be collected later this year by Archaia, and we spoke to the Eisner Award-winning creator about bringing this new era of characters to life, what's next for the series, and putting together talent for another volume of the anthology Legends of the Guard.

MTV Geek: Tell our readers a little about The Black Axe.

David Petersen: Black Axe is the third major Mouse Guard story arc. It's prequel which takes place roughly forty years prior to the events of the first book. It follows a character named Celanawe (pronounced Khel-enn-awe) who discovers he is the last in the bloodline of the original forger of the ancient and mythic Black Axe. The Axe is a weapon created to defend all mice and was to be wielded by a champion of mice who then takes on the neame of the weapon as his title. The series follows Celanawe's quest off the known mouse maps to a kingdom of Ferrets where he must recover the Axe and how to live up to the title of it.
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Animator, illustrator, and artist Yehudi Mercado is responsible for the upcoming graphic novel Pantalones, TX which is being released this September through Archaia. He’s also got his ode to Community, ActionFigurology, along with homages to Game of Thrones and even the Biblical book of Esther in the pipe. Suffice it to say, he’s busy, but he was kind enough to take a couple of minutes out of his schedule to answer a few questions by e-mail about his upcoming work before C2E2 2012.

Find out more about Pantalones, TX, which Mercado calls “Smokey and the Bandit meets Peanuts” after the jump.
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When you get right down to it, artist Janet Lee just can't seem to stop pushing the boundaries of what she's putting on the page and how she's putting it there. The Return of the Dapper Men and Emma artist continues to mix media and visual elements in ever more elaborate ways to tell stories both mundane and fantastic. And again, she's not stopping, carrying on this evolution of style in the upcoming Dapper Men sequel, Time of the Dapper Men as well as her illustrated alphabet project, The Wonderland Alphabet: Alice’s Adventures Through the ABC’s and What She Found There, both titles coming out from Archaia later this year.

Just before C2E2 2012, we caught up with Ms. Lee by e-mail to talk about her work and what she's got next for us to feast our eyes on.

MTV Geek: How did the Wolderland Alphabet come about?

Janet Lee: The year was 2009. There were a bunch of us in the Nashville arts community who had always wanted to illustrate a children’s book, so we came up with a gallery show called “Protopulp: Classic Books of the Future” as a sort of kick-in-the-pants to get us all to finish our books. Unfortunately, MY original book idea was Return of the Dapper Men, and I couldn’t show or sell pages from that until after Return was published. Silly me! Read More...

The basic pitch for writer/artist Royden Lepp's Rust: Visitor In the Field would appear to be a sepia-toned tale of robots and jetpacks set in the aftermath of a mechanized version of All Quiet On the Western Front. The story, involving the mysterious Jet Jones and the rural family whose life he disrupts when he comes flying in while being chased by a killer robot fuses sci-fi with family drama, taking its time to tell its tale. In fact, I would have to say that to enjoy what is apparently the first volume in a series of stories set in this world, you would have to be prepared to accept that Lepp is content to draw out the plot at his own particular pace.

Lepp sets his story somewhere around the 1960's or so, nearly 50 years in the aftermath of what looks like their version of the first World War which was waged using robots of escalating sophistication. A quick digression here—Lepp shows the robots initially in direct conflict with humans on the battlefield and later simply fighting amongst themselves which begs the question, is it really a war at that point when the participants are all automatons and no threat against human life appears to be present? The absence of any lives or territory being in peril makes the stakes feel weird.

In the "present," our hero isn't our mysterious boy with the jetpack, Jet Jones, but instead farmer Roman Taylor, responsible for maintaining the family homestead with his father away. Roman's not alone: he tends for his younger siblings Amy and Oswald as well as his mom, and with his younger brother preparing to go to school in the fall, Roman is looking to automate some of the farm work with scrap robot parts. When the seemingly impossible-to-kill Jet comes crashing into Roman's life, pursued by a towering robot bent on killing the rocket-propelled boy, the duo fend off the machine and Jet temporarily joins the Taylors on their farm as thanks and by way of apology for smashing a hole in their barn.
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