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Jack Kirby is probably the single most important figure in the development of American comic books. His career spanned seven decades, and though he is best-known for his work on super-hero titles, he defied simple categorization and worked in nearly every style of comic: horror, science fiction, romance, comedy, fantasy, funny animal, crime, war, western, and probably some others that I'm forgetting.

He didn't just define a single genre: he constantly defined (and re-defined) the entire comics medium, right up until his death in 1994. So in honor of his 96th birthday, we here at MTV Geek have assembled A Week Of Jack Kirby, a series of posts celebrating the life, work and inspiration of the man that Stan Lee dubbed simply 'The King'.

Today is Jack Kirby's 96th birthday, and more than a quarter-century after his first published work, his spirit permeates every corner of the comic industry. He possessed a seemingly unlimited imagination, creating new characters, concepts, and genres with every stroke of his pencil. And today, a truly staggering cross-section of the comics community have joined us to offer words and pictures that give an idea of what this one man, and his work, have meant to them. In fact, there were so many people contributing, we've had to break things up among several posts – for the entire series, click here.

And now, on with the show!

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MTVG-Primates

Welcome to MTV Geek's New Comic Book Day Pull-List! Each week, we'll look at the best new releases hitting comic shops, and point you at the books you should be reading.  Read More...

Well now, Chris Roberson's brand spanking new MonkeyBrain Comics imprint, launching just a few short weeks earlier, isn't stopping with dominating Twitter, selling tons of copies on comiXology, and intense critical acclaim: as of today, they're launching another seven titles, starting with the comedy/fantasy Wander.

The other titles, before we get into it, are:
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Wondering what writer/creator Chris Roberson was up to after leaving DC Comics earlier this year? Wonder no longer, as he lifted the veil, so to speak, on Monkeybrain Comics, his new independent comic book company, in a press conference held earlier today. And the line-up is pretty huge, including Fables creator Bill Willingham, comic book power couple Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, and a bunch more of the usual suspects.

In fact, as we found on the call, there are over thirty projects in development - with more to be announced at San Diego Comic-Con. In addition, the books are - at the moment - digital only, so creators are free to anything they want with the properties in print. "Our goal is to satisfy the creators, and the retailers," said Roberson. The goal is to do print down the line, but Roberson stated he wants to do it in a way that isn't, "financially punishing for anyone." Read More...

A lot is happening for writer Chris Roberson: over the last couple months he very publicly left his comic book work for DC behind, created his own webcomic project Monkeybrain, and saw the publication of his latest science-fiction novel "Further: Beyond The Threshold." Published by Amazon.com imprint 47North, "Further" is a "Star Trek" for our current age, one that takes into account not only hot-button topics like trans-humanism and genetic modification, but presents a snapshot of the future that is more realistically diverse (friendly sentient whales notwithstanding).

The novel really feels like two parts, the first being a narrative of what happens to Captain Ramachandra Jason Stone when he wakes up after 12,000 years of cryogenic suspension. Very reminiscent of classic sci-fi dystopian narratives such as H.G. Wells' "The Sleeper Awakes" (sans the jaw-dropping racism), this section of the book very methodically gets "RJ" -- and the reader -- up to speed with what's been going on with Earth over the millennia. And what's been going on include a world-shaking cataclysm, the insurgency and subsequent "banishment" of the thinly-disguised religious fanatics The Iron Mass, and an explosion of advances in technology and genetic splicing which has pretty much rendered humanity near-immortal. Read More...

Turns out that when writer Chris Roberson up and quit on DC Comics, he wasn't just sitting round twiddling his thumbs. Today, the creator sent out a cryptic message promising more information on what he's doing on July 2nd, as well as a few teaser images... And if you head to his comics website at monkeybraincomics.com, you get the above graphic.

A recap of the situation. Roberson was working on a few titles for DC, including Vertigo's iZombie, issues of Fables, and even a spin-off series focusing on Cinderella. But a few months ago, Roberson left DC, saying he was no longer working for the Publisher. According to Roberson, in an interview with The Comics Journal this had to do with DC's decision to publish Before Watchmen without creator Alan Moore's permission, as well as a few other fractious decisions made by the Publisher. Saying:

Well, this has been building over the last few months, and mostly had to do with what I saw DC and Time Warner doing in regards to creator relations.

In kind, DC responded by immediately pulling him off any and all upcoming books, which, given that he quit, didn't seem that rash an action. Read More...

Chris Roberson (Superman, Stan Lee's Starborn) and Francesco Biagini will be bringing to life a new Elric comic book for BOOM! Studios -- and the first story is free to readers!

Elric: The Balance Lost FCBD Edition will be available in May on Free Comic Book Day, and the story will lead directly into the first issue of Elric: The Balance Lost coming out in July. Elric, the classic character created by Michael Moorcock 40 years ago, is in great hands with Roberson and Biagini. Check out this video of Roberson chatting with MTV Geek at this year's Emerald City Comicon about the project:

ECCC 2011: Chris Roberson Tackles Moorcock's Elric

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MTV Geek caught up with Chris Roberson at Emerald City Comicon last weekend and the comic book writer was so kind to chat with us about Superman, iZombie, his upcoming Elric story, Stan Lee, and a whole lot more!

Chris Roberson on...

Stan Lee's Starborn:

ECCC 2011: Chris Roberson Talks Writing Stan Lee's Starborn

Preview: Stan Lee's Starborn #4

Working with Stan Lee:

ECCC 2011: Chris Roberson On Working From Stan Lee's Creation

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I don’t know about the other attendees, but for my money, the most interesting revelation at the Vertigo panel was that the DC Imprint’s Editor-in-Chief, Will Dennis refers to artist Sean Gordon Murphy (Joe the Barbarian) as the “honeybadger of comics.” Oh, yeah, and Murphy will be providing covers and art for this summer’s WWII-set mini, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest, where all hell breaks loose when a group of Romanian scientists attempt to find a “cure” for vampirism.

Also on hand at the panel were writers Chris Roberson (iZombie, Cinderella), Matt Sturges (Jack of Fables, House of Mystery), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), and artist Chrissie Zullo (Cinderella: Fables are Forever, Madame Xanadu) to talk about the slate of upcoming titles from Vertigo. There weren’t a lot of new titles announced but there were some interesting developments coming for existing titles.

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Chris Roberson is an overnight success... Which means, like most overnight successes, it took years of hard work. Still, the veteran SciFi writer seems to have popped out of nowhere, writing multiple comics over the past year, including BOOM’s new Starborn series working with Stan Lee, taking over the reigns on Superman, and getting Bill Willingham to let him write Fables solo.

With three new comics out this past Wednesday, we checked in with Roberson on how success feels, why his alien soap opera is true to life, and what’s coming up in all of his books:

Geek: Catch us up to speed on Starborn… What’s happened up to, and including issue #3?

Chris Roberson: Starborn is the story of Benjamin Warner, a guy with a mind-numbing day job who dreams of being a successful science fiction novelist. But when aliens from his stories show up in the real world things get a little confusing, even more so when the aliens turn out to be gunning for him. Benjamin is saved at the last minute by the timely arrival of the girl of his dreams, his childhood next door neighbor, who is revealed to be an alien shapeshifter. By the third issue, Benjamin and his shapeshifting protector are on the run, trying to get off the planet Earth before any of the alien hunters catch up with them.

Oh, and things explode a lot.

Geek: This last issue, you introduced what I’m for the moment going to call “The Power Glove.” What makes this different from, say, The Witchblade, or… The Power Glove?

CR: There’s a whole science-fictional rationale behind the Gauntlet, which we’ll be getting into as the story unfolds. But before it’s use as a weapon, the Gauntlet itself is a pretty powerful symbol in the alien civilization to which Benjamin is fleeing—but it isn’t a symbol that anyone, alien or human, is happy to see. Read More...

By Chris Arrant

At both major superhero comic publishing power-houses DC and Marvel there exist a core group of creators that serve as the most valuable players and the engines for both companies' comics. Marvel recently identified its key writers with December's "Architects" announcements, but what about their counterparts – both across town at DC as well as their collaborating artists?

It's with that idea in mind that I've put pen to paper – or in this case finger to keyboard – to draw out the top talent in several categories. This exercise follows in the footsteps of Marvel's recent "Architects" announcement and "Young Guns" from years past, while taking a big picture look at both major companies' talent roster in five categories: writers, artists, special teams' creators, future franchise players and overlooked creators. Using sales charts, creator workloads as well as reader sentiment, I've compiled this list.

Take note: this looks at the talent pool based strictly on each company's primary lines of titles – the company-owned superhero lines.

TOP WRITERS:

They're where the ideas start, and where ideas turn into plots that turn into scenes and then dialogue. Both DC and Marvel have in-person meetings (called "summits") with their top writers to plan out story-arcs and goals for the future of individual titles, groups and lines as a whole. With the rise of readers following creators just as much as they follow characters, writers have become a key selling point as well as behind-the-scenes and behind-the-scenes coordinators with editors.

DC: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, James Robinson, Peter J. Tomasi, Gail Simone
MARVEL: Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker

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Press Release

Hot on the heels of the bestselling Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1 release and following the excitement of Stan Lee's The Traveler extended preview, comes a sneak peek at the newest gotta-have title from Stan Lee and BOOM! Studios with Stan Lee's Starborn! Written by iZombie and New York Times bestselling author Chris Roberson and drawn by Spider-Man's Khary Randolph comes Stan Lee's Starborn aiming to expand the universe this December. Don't miss it!

Shipping this December, Stan Lee's Starborn is the third of three new ongoing superhero series brought to you by BOOM! Studios and Stan Lee. Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1 hit store shelves last week and quickly became the bestselling BOOM! book of all time. Written by Paul Cornel and Javier Pina, Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1 has garnered praise from all quarters. This November, Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated Irredeemable writer Mark Waid and Amazing Spider-Man's Chad Hardin bring you a epic time bending tale in Stan Lee's The Traveler. Yesterday six of the seven covers for Stan Lee's Starborn were revealed with the seventh cover, which will be signed by Stan Lee, to be revealed soon. Read More...

Press Release

The December release of Stan Lee's Starborn #1 will mark the third of three titles debuting from Stan Lee and BOOM! Studios with Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1 in store now and Stan Lee's The Traveler #1 shipping this November. All three titles were announced by Stan Lee during a press conference at Comic-Con International this past summer. Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1 opened to record sales and critical acclaim.

Already premiered in October is Stan Lee's Soldier Zero. This ongoing series, written by Doctor Who and Action Comics scribe Paul Cornell with art by Superman artist Javier Pina, tells the story of a wheelchair-bound astronomy lecturer who finds himself in a freak accident that bonds him with an alien weapon of war.

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Press Release:

BOOM! Studios and POW! Entertainment announced today that STAN LEE'S STARBORN #1 is available to pre-order from your local comic cook retailer. Debuting this December, STAN LEE'S STARBORN is a new ongoing series written by iZOMBIE's Chris Roberson and drawn by SPIDER-MAN's Khary Randolph.

STAN LEE'S STARBORN tells the story of a regular guy who discovers he's the heir to an intergalactic empire, putting him at the center of a war between five alien races.

"This powerhouse team-up of acclaimed sci-fi writer Chris Roberson and comic book visionary Stan Lee make STARBORN a thrilling space epic like nothing before seen in comics! Fans can't imagine the surprises STARBORN has in store." said BOOM! Studios Marketing Director Chip Mosher. "Combine the already sensational writing with the kinetic art of Khary Randolph you've got a story that moves worlds! Fans need to be sure to demand this book."

"Stan Lee, Chris Roberson and Khary Randolph build a universe and mythos so rich it can barely be contained in one series!" Says BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. "This book explodes with pulse-pounding action, superb suspense and heart-wrenching drama that could only be brought by a mega collaboration like Lee, Roberson & Randolph!"

The December release of STAN LEE'S STARBORN #1 will mark the third of three titles debuting from Stan Lee and BOOM! Studios with STAN LEE'S SOLDIER ZERO #1 hitting store shelves in October and STAN LEE'S THE TRAVELER #1 shipping this November. All three titles were announced by Stan Lee during a press conference at Comic-Con International this past summer.

Premiering in October is STAN LEE'S SOLDIER ZERO. This ongoing series, written by DOCTOR WHO and ACTION COMICS scribe Paul Cornell with art by SUPERMAN artist Javier Pina, tells the story of a wheelchair-bound astronomy teacher who finds himself in a freak accident that bonds him with an alien weapon of war.

Hitting shelves this November is STAN LEE'S THE TRAVELER. This series, written by Eisner and Harvey Award-nominee Mark Waid (IRREDEEMABLE, KINGDOM COME) with art by AMAZING SPIDER-MAN artist Chad Hardin, features a mysterious new superhero with time-traveling powers battling the Split-Second Men, super-powered assassins from the future. THE TRAVELER ships this November.

The revelation this past March of Stan Lee presenting this series of three superhero titles at BOOM! followed on the heels of a viral marketing campaign announcing “Stan’s Back” that hit the internet in late February. The L.A. Times’ Hero Complex & L.A. Times’ Brand-X also got in on the action, running the “Stan’s Back” campaign in print and on their respective websites. All the banner ads linked back to www.stansback.com, a site which had only the “Stan’s Back” logo and nothing else disclosing additional information.

For one week, the internet was in a frenzy, with comic fans everywhere trying to figure out what the “Stan’s Back” teaser campaign meant. This culminated with the announcement that Stan Lee is back, this time at BOOM! Studios, creating a line of three new superheroes.

Fans then had to wait until the press conference at Comic-Con International this summer for POW! Entertainment and BOOM! Studios to reveal the characters, series and creative teams for the three superhero titles. Attended by Stan Lee, Paul Cornell, Mark Waid, Chris Roberson and BOOM! Studios Publisher Ross Richie, the announcement garnered press from all over the world including news outlets like CNN, Wired and covered extensively by one of the biggest news sites in China and all over the globe.

STAN LEE'S STARBORN #1 solicitation appears in this months' issue of Diamond Previews letting fans know about this not-to-be missed publishing event of the year.

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