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Andrew Wheeler

IDW Acquires Top Shelf Productions; Chris Staros Remains As Top Shelf Editor-in-Chief

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IDW Publishing, the San Diego-based publisher of original series such as Locke & Key and 30 Days of Night and licensed comics including My Little Pony and Transformers, has acquired Top Shelf Productions, the publisher best known for literary works by authors such as Jeff Lemire, Craig Thompson, and James Kochalka, plus many of the recent works of Alan Moore, including League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls.

Top Shelf co-founder Chris Staros will remain with the company as editor-in-chief, and the publisher will retain its identity as an imprint of IDW, and its base in Marietta, Georgia. Staros's business partner Brett Warnock has announced his intention to retire from comics.

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Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month): December 2014

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A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month

For the final covers of 2014, we showcase excellent work by some of the year's most reliable talents, including Kris Anka, Michael Del Mundo, and Riley Rossmo; some truly standout work by R.M. Guera and Jay Shaw; and the very best 'theme month' of the year.

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Phil Noto’s Stunning Marvel Variant Retro Photo-Style Covers Revealed

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Phil Noto knows how to create a stylish retro vibe, and he can conjure up a soft-edged gauzy aesthetic that perfectly evokes the nostalgic familiarity of photographs from the 1960s and 70s. It's a talent that he exploited to beautiful effect in a series of pieces for his Tumblr that presented Silver Age Marvel heroes in the mode of old celebrity snaps from Life Magazine; the images that would have existed if these heroes had been real in the age they were created.

Those Tumblr images are the clear inspiration for a month of Phil Noto variant covers at Marvel this February, though the inspiration stretches beyond Life Magazine pastiches to cover hip-hop, fashion photography, and even candid personal images. Several of the covers were released this week courtesy of Marvel, Comic Vine, CBR and Newsarama, and they're a gorgeous selection of images, so we've collected them all in one place for your appreciation.

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Warriors Three Face Up To The New Thor In Marguerite Sauvage’s Thor Annual Cover [Exclusive]

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We're hoping for great things for Marguerite Sauvage in 2015. Though she's a much sought-after and award-winning commercial illustrator, her love of comics shone through in her fashion-forward Wonder Woman short for Sensation Comics, and her style -- which she described in our profile of her last month as "feminine, modern, a little sexy, soft, light and joyful" -- is a welcome breath of fresh air.

One of Sauvage's great strengths is her grasp of character, and that's in evidence in her portrayal of the Warriors Three on this variant cover for next year's Thor Annual #1, unveiled exclusively here on ComicsAlliance. Volstagg and Hogun look alarmed by the appearance of this new Goddess of Thunder, but it's Fandral's no doubt reflexive attempt at a smolder that really wins the day -- and makes us excited to see how that meeting is going to play out.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Art, Marvel, News

Oh Thank God: Spider-Woman Rocks A Great New Look, Courtesy Of Kris Anka

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As everyone knows, Spider-Man's costume is the best; a true masterpiece of design. The webbing, the colors, the chevron belt, the split arms, the wide-eyed mask; it's all perfect. Steve Ditko smashed it out of the park. It's also inspired some amazing costumes, like the black Spider-Man costume designed by Mike Zeck in 1984 (reportedly based on a suggestion by fan Randy Schueller), and this year's Spider-Gwen costume by Robbi Rodriguez.

And then there's Spider-Woman. Her costume was designed in 1972 by Marie Severin, and it hasn't really changed since -- and I hate it almost as much as I love Spider-Man's costume. It's ugly, tacky, and it doesn't match the personality of Jessica Drew, the woman behind the mask. So I'm delighted that artist Kris Anka has given Jess a new set of togs that look chic, modern, and appropriate to her character.

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Legendary Batman Artist Norm Breyfogle Hospitalized By Stroke, Expected To Make Full Recovery

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Norm Breyfogle, one of the definitive Batman artists of the late 80s and early 90s, is in hospital as a result of a stroke, according to a Facebook post by his former partner Barbara De La Rue. De La Rue says that he is expected to make a full recovery, and has asked that people keep him in their thoughts and prayers. We at ComicsAlliance extend our best wishes for a full and speedy return to health.

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Filed Under: Category: DC, News

Writer Amy Chu Spins A Wonder Woman Parable In Sensation Comics [Preview]

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One of the great strengths of DC's digital-first line of comics is that it's a showcase both for emerging talent and for some unorthodox storytelling approaches. DC's digital wing plays to the strengths of the anthology format, telling the sort of stories that the main line just isn't interested in telling. For a character like Wonder Woman, an icon beloved by a lot of people who aren't invested in the rigmarole of month-to-month continuity, the approach is especially liberating.

The latest writer to tackle Wonder Woman for the digital-first Sensation Comics series is Amy Chu, an up-and-comer who we've profiled in the past. Chu has collaborated on short stories with Larry Hama, Steve McNiven, and Janet K. Lee, and has self-published her comics through her Alpha Girl Comics imprint. Her Sensation Comics story, 'Rescue Angel,' tells a Wonder Woman tale with a focus on a different female warrior, a young combat pilot, with art by Bernard Chang and colors by Wendy Broome.

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On Imperfect Allies, And Why ‘Batgirl’ Still Deserves Our Support

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On Monday I reported on the controversy surrounding the most recent issue of Batgirl, issue #37, and the hurt it caused readers with the presentation of a character who played into transphobic tropes. On Tuesday we ran a piece by activist J. Skyler that further placed the story in the broader cultural context of transphobic media. In both cases, our hope was to showcase and respect the opinions of the critics and put their voices ahead of those of the authors or any defensive fans. These are critics who are often marginalized and shouted down; what they had to say about this controversy is important and must be recognized and listened to.

As I also mentioned on Monday, Batgirl is a book at the vanguard of a movement towards genre stories for young, progressive, predominantly female readers -- a more modern and diverse readership than the one traditionally associated with the superhero genre. Because of this, and because the creators apologized for their mistakes, I think Batgirl still deserves support. Issue #37 damaged the book's image and reputation, but it remains one of the best and most important superhero books being published today.

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Magic Clark: A Moment Of Appreciation For Emanuela Lupacchino’s Hunkstice League of Absmerica

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We already praised DC's movie-themed variant covers last week, and it feels safe to say there's plenty of great work on show here from Dave Johnson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Marco D'Alphonso et al; this is a variant month that justifies its existence through excellence.

But I want to draw particular attention to just one cover, which I think deserves special recognition for oustanding achievement in its field. I refer, of course, to Emanuela Lupacchino's cover for Justice League #40 in the style of a poster for the 2010 Steven Soderbergh movie Magic Mike, which re-imagines the Justice League boys as oiled-up strippers.

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‘Batgirl’ #37 Criticized For Transphobic Content; Creative Team Apologizes

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DC's new take on Batgirl has been one of the pioneers of a new movement towards mainstream comics for a progressive young female audience -- a movement whose other flagbearers have become a mantra of sorts in 2014; Lumberjanes, Ms. Marvel, Gotham Academy, etc. In the hands of creators Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, Batgirl offered a satisfyingly contemporary and feminist take on Gotham superheroics.

So it came as a particular disappointment when last week's Batgirl #37 contained themes and imagery that were transphobic and transmisogynistic, leading several critics to call out the creative team for their insensitivity. This weekend the creators offered a statement of apology, saying, "we want to acknowledge the hurt and offense we've caused."

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