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Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah (all spellings)!  Habari gani!  And Good winter to you grumpy non-celebrants out there!

I love Christmas with my family.  But the season has been even more exciting because my first issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY comes out THIS WEDNESDAY!  It’s a crazy modern Cap story created along with ED BRUBAKER (Eisner Award  ) and FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA (Detective Comics, Black Panther)

PREVIEW! (note: these aren’t the FIRST 3 pages -so the comic itself has more context and storytelling…)

I loved the initial arc and the work Marc Andreyko and Chris Samnee were doing on it.   If you haven’t read it – you really should.  It’s great comics.  BUT, so you all know – our arc tells a very different story that any reader can jump right into.  I hope those who have loved the series so far will stick with us throught the serious gear-shift (in terms of era/creative team/and which “Bucky” we’re talking about).

If nothing else, I can promise you that FF’s art on our issues starts with all the passion and punch of his acclaimed work on DETECTIVE COMICS – and it seriously gets better and better with every page!  Some of the stuff he’s been sending in for parts 2 and 3 are the best work I’ve ever seen from him.  (And that is saying a lot. …Okay, here’s a sneak peek :)

ALSO!  My second issue of GENERATION HOPE (#14! with artist Ibraim Roberson & colorist Jim Charalampidis) came out last Wednesday!  And even with the holiday swooping in, a few folks had time to review it and say nice things!

Let them convince you to pick it up if you haven’t :

http://acomicbookblog.com/2011/12/generation-hope-14-review/

http://www.chicagocomicvault.com/2011/12/review-generatioin-hope-14-the-lights-ignite/

ALSO!  I did a SIGNING on last weeks release at CHALLENGERS COMICS + CONVERSATION in Chicago.  They were wonderful as always (and have a fantastic new comic art gallery that you should just go hang out in).  I left them with a few extra signed copies of my first TWO Gen Hope issues.  So if you missed the event, you can still swing by and pick ‘em up!

And finally, I deeply love this shirt from MightFine

…AND YOU SHOULD.

Enjoy your sweets and loved ones!

+james

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Hey kids!  Believe it or not, multiple people have asked me if I’d drop a suggested playlist for my issues of Marvel Comics’ GENERATION HOPE  as apparently Kieron Gillen had done before me.

And it just so happens that I was (am?) a music-mix maniac for so many people in my life, that I was really tickled to do so.  That said, things have been rushed, so I hope you’ll forgive the rough and simple nature of this one.  And yes, I can’t NOT think of this as a mix tape (two sides) even though I made a digital playlist.

I hope you dig the suggestions, and I hope you’ll check out Generation Hope #14 in stores tomorrow (and PREVIEWED at the end of the post)!

GENERATION HOPE MIX TAPE, Vol. 2 #1:  LOVERS & FIGHTERS

SIDE A – Fighters

  1. “Dance Yrself Clean” – LCD Soundsystem – FYI, this is a slow starter.  Don’t bail on it early!
  2.  “Memories of the Future” – Handsome Furs
  3. “I’m In Love With Destruction” – Let’s Wrestle
  4. “Capsize” – Karen O & the Kids
  5. “We Were Sick” – The Thermals
  6. “Titus Andronicus Forever” – Titus Andronicus
  7. “We Used to Wait” – Arcade Fire

SIDE B – Lovers

  1. “Whole Wide World” – Wreckless Eric
  2. “Kiss With a Fist” – Florence + the Machine
  3. “Trust” – Generationals
  4. “Gigantic” – The Pixies
  5. “Teenagers” – Department of Eagles
  6. “You Are a Tourist” – Death Cab For Cutie

DISCLAIMERS:  I am not saying that Generation Hope #14 (OUT 12/21!! Pick it up near you!) synchs up with this by any means.   These are mix of tracks that I listen to as I write the book for purposes of mood, youth-power, or because they remind me of something intrinsic to one or more of the Gen Hope kids.   There’s also no guarantee that if you like the book, you’ll like this music or vice-versa.  But hopefully, you will!

AND MERRY X-MAS!!

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(I tried to talk about different things different places, I promise.)

A quick collection of the latest interviews on GENERATION HOPE, CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY, ASTONISHING X-MEN, and even some stuff about theater, comedy, and where the hell I came from!

Probably the most quickly comprehensive interview I’ve done is on Comic Vine.  And it’s on a website that runs its own comics wiki that I use RELIGIOUSLY!

A dedicated chat about ASTONISHING X-MEN #43 with Newsarama!  Hilariously, this was going to be part of a comprehensive interview, but the writer and I really got chatty – so they broke it up into a couple pieces :)  PS – Astonishing is OUT NOW!

Newsarama part 2: GENERATION HOPE!  More than any interview, this is where I talk about the thought process behind some of the scripts and choices.

Why read?  Watch and listen to a video interview!  We talk a bit more about how comedy and theater lead me into comics.

Believe it or not, I think there might still be some more stuff coming.

*   *   *   *   *

Also, CBR (ComicBookResources.com) gave my Astonishing X-Men issue 4/5 stars!  You can read it all here but the real take away is – YOU SHOULD BUY A COPY!  At your local comic book store :)

<3 You.

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Because NO ONE asked for it – I interview myself about my upcoming comics projects!

JAMES: Wow, James, thanks for sitting down to talk about all the awesome stuff you have coming up!  I’m a huge fan!

JAMES:  Please don’t gush.  You’re making us look desperate.

cover art for GENERATION HOPE #13 by Ibraim Roberson

JAMES: Fair enough!  First off, you were just announced as the new writer of GENERATION HOPE, Marvel Comics’ new young X-Men characters.  What can we expect from your issues?

JAMES: UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM.  Also, the teaser obviously lets you know that I’m bringing Sebastian Shaw (longtime X-villain, immortalized by Kevin Bacon in this summer’s X-Men First Class movie) into the mix.  But he is NOT the only X-character matriculating into Gen Hope…

But the number one thing I want people to know is that we are working hard to make this book easy to jump on to if you haven’t been reading it (or any X-men stuff).  I sincerely believe in making comics accessible to new readers in every issue.  But there will also be several big pay-offs to stories that have been building since  Kieron Gillen (the O.G. Gen Hope scribe) started the book.

I know that sounds like a tricky balance, but it really isn’t.  New and old audiences will both enjoy a scene that has previously established information – as long as characters are having an emotional response to the idea/event/etc. – and, most importantly, one that forwards the story and develops the character.

JAMES: So you’re saying there will be more focus on character, and less on tights and punching?

JAMES:  Yes and no.  Punching is still an emotional reaction.  But so is kissing, crying, betrayal, quitting, manipulating, and even… sacrificing your life.   The first story has a lot of action, but is ultimately setting up a lot of the emotional turns that will change everything for the team around issues #16 & #17.  Also, the book is gonna get a lot more hormonal.  The way any teenage story should be.

JAMES: Yikes! Changing topics – you’ve been shamelessly promoting (read: begging for support) your first creator-owned comic’s Kickstarter campaign.  What made you decide to do an “Apocalyptic Buddy Comedy” about the Rapture??

The Life & End Times of Bram & Ben art by Remus Brezeanu

JAMES:  Well, rather than get into my whole relationship with theology and religion – I’ll say there was a period a few years ago where I became fascinated with feature films made by televangelists.  Most of these were about “The End Times” (The Rapture, the Antichrist, etc.) – and starred B-or C-list names like Corbin Bernsen, Casper Van Dien, Jeff Fahey, and even Mr. T.

My biggest problem with these (okay, one of my biggest problems) was that – though the idea of the Rapture is that ‘good people’ are taken to Heaven and the rest of us jerks must live out a ‘tribulation’ to test our ultimate fate – almost all the characters are essentially still good Christian people.  That is NOT an interesting story!

Look, we’re never going to get difinitive proof that any religion is ‘true.’  But isn’t the much more compelling (and hilarious) Rapture story one about people who absolutely don’t believe in a religion getting hit with the reality that they blew it?  Seriously – WTF would you do?!?  

JAMES: So this isn’t a “pro-Rapture”, cautionary comic?  Like those weird, scary CHICK Tracts?

JAMES:  No.  But it’s not necessarily an “anti-Rapture” comic either.  In my mind, it’s no different from saying “what if you woke up and found out GHOSTS were real – and how are you going to deal with them?”   There are people who seriously believe in ghosts, and those who don’t.   I’m just interested in creating a fictional world where the “is there/isn’t there?” question answers itself in a HUGE fashion – and then tell a story that explores the reactions of people who totally bet on the wrong outcome.  

JAMES: So why a self-produced comic?

JAMES: Honestly?  Because I don’t think any other medium would let me tell this story.  The simple fact that there are jokes happening near people’s religious beliefs means that 95% of storytelling avenues would be terrified of helping me get this out into the world.  And to be honest, I have no idea how much of an audience there may be for this book.  But I know that I’d be excited to read it, and so would (a fairly diverse spread of) plenty of people I know personally.

more interior art by Remus Brezeanu

The truth is,my friend and collaborator on this (Jim Festante) and I may very well lose a lot of our own money on this. But I believe in what we have planned so strongly that I’m willing to risk it.  But I do hope that those who would like to read a book like this show support early with the Kickstarter campaign.  It’s going to make a huge difference as to our ability to get the book out quickly and at the level of quality we think it deserves.

JAMES: Well, I’m sure people reading this are at least willing to trade a $2 donation for a digital copy of the first issue!

JAMES:  I’d hope so.

JAMES: Anything else coming up we should know about?

JAMES:  Yes!  Actually, before either of those projects coming out – the issue I wrote for ASTONISHING X-MEN #43 will come out in October!   I am beside myself to have the opportunity on a book that was previously helmed by Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis!

I do have a bit of bittersweet news to break about the issue, though – the awesome Nick Bradshaw was ultimately unable to draw the book (at the last minute)!  He had the misfortune of getting hired onto the new Wolverine & The X-Men comic written by superstar Jason Aaron.  I’m sure he feels demoted.   Instead, the book is graced by the phenomenal DAVID YARDIN – who has mostly been churning out crazy dynamic COVERS for the last few years.  So it’s a great treat to have him doing some beautiful interiors again!  Additionally, pages which take place… elsewhere will be illustrated by the seemingly un-link-able GABRIEL HERNANDEZ!

The story itself gives a big bright spotlight on two of my favorite X-ladies, Emma Frost and Danger.  This story was deliberately designed to harken back to Joss Whedon’s initial stories with Danger.  I promise you, the story will make perfect sense (and be a blast) even if you haven’t read those issues.  But if you have, we’re both tying up some unresolved parts of his run and developing her character further.  I’m VERY EXCITED about this one.

Also I’ve got a soon-to-be-revealed project with the fantastic FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA(!!!) which will be a VERY big change up for my work at Marvel – but I couldn’t be more honored and excited to be on it :)   More on that in just a few weeks!

JAMES: This is probably way too long.

JAMES:  Yeah.  I doubt anyone’s still reading.

 

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I am THRILLED to finally be able to say that I am taking over the monthly writing joys for Marvel Comics’ young X-Men title, GENERATION HOPE starting this November with issue #13!!

 

I’ll be taking over from Kieron Gillen – who is a fantastic scribe and gentleman.  You can still read his monthly magic over in UNCANNY X-MEN, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and a bunch of other gems.   I have legitimately been a fan of this book since it debuted last year.  And I’ve been having a blast continuing their paths – and mixing in a bit my own madness as well.

Art will be provided by a master of form – Ibraim Roberson (who did the Steve Rogers annual I wrote earlier this year)! …and yes, that IS Sebastian Shaw on the team :)

 

YOU WILL WANT TO SEE THIS.  Preorder with your local comic shop, please.

 

And thank you.  (more words on this later)

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Steve Rogers Super Soldier Annual #1

Steve Rogers Super Soldier Annual #1 : part 2 of "Escape From the Negative Zone"

If you’ve thought of reading any of my comics – I seriously recommend “Escape from the Negative Zone!” The crazy-fun smash-up with gorgeous art continues this month in STEVE ROGERS: SUPER SOLDIER ANNUAL #1 – out now!

STEVE ROGERS! (Captain America) X-MEN! NAMOR! Steve Rogers goes on an interdimensional rescue mission after the X-Men find themselves imprisoned by Blastaar! But the Negative Zone alien isn’t the biggest problem that the #1 Avenger and the X-Men are going to face. The most visually spectacular Marvel story in years is not to be missed! This issue, IBRAIM ROBERSON (X-MEN: SECOND COMING) joins writer JAMES ASMUS for the latest chapter of this blockbuster.  Part 2 (of 3)

CHECK OUT SOME PREVIEW PAGES:

Page 1Page 2Page 4

*** *** *** *** *** ***And while you’re at your local comic shop

Pick up Part 1, Uncanny X-Men Annual #3! (with amazing art by Nicholas Bradshaw)

Ask them to reserve you a copy of Part 3, Namor Annual #1! (explosively illustrated by Max Fiumara)

And finally, if you take a minute to browse around, I’d recommend you check out some other great new comics by great people:

Axe Cop

Axe Cop! written by a 6 year old, drawn by his 30 year old brother

Batgirl - recommended for fans of Buffy... and Smallville

Madman - beautiful, kinetic, and warm-hearted - my #1 favorite

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It’s announced!  (So I can finally talk about it!)  I’m working on my biggest Marvel project yet -

ESCAPE FROM THE NEGATIVE ZONE!

Out in March 2011 (just in time for C2E2), the story will cross-over between the Annuals for Uncanny X-Men, Steve Rogers: Super Soldier, and Namor: First Mutant.

HOLY CRAP!

This has really been a thrill, and I hope you all dig it too.   And make sure you pre-order it from your local comic shop so they know to order enough!  :)

I’ll talk more about this project here in the coming months.  In the meantime, check out the links below for all kinds of more info.   Seriously, go to them.  If nothing else, to check out a bunch more art from the first two annuals by

Steve Rogers Super Soldier art by Ibraim Roberson

Nicholas Bradshaw & Ibraim Robertson.  These guys are killing it with these pages!

Article at MARVEL.COM

Article at COMIC BOOK RESOURCES

Interview at NEWSARAMA

ADDED 10/7

Interview at IGN

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