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Awesomeness and Sparkles: Meet ‘Zodiac Starforce’, Your New Favorite Magical Girl Team [Interview]

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Magical Girls are showing up everywhere in comics and cartoons lately; from Steven Universe and Bee and Puppycat to Batgirl and Help Us! Great Warrior, it's getting easier to find that awesome combo of punching and sparkles every day. The generation that grew up on Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor is now beginning to tell their own stories, each with a very different take, and we couldn't be happier about it.

The latest addition to the canon, announced today by publisher Dark Horse, is Zodiac Starforce, a brand new all-ages miniseries coming in August from writer Kevin Panetta (The Amazing World of Gumball, Bravest Warriors, Regular Show) and artist Paulina Ganucheau (Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors). Both are regular contributors to BOOM! and IDW, and the team has adapted their short-lived webcomic into a four-issue story. We sat down to talk to them about the comic, their influences, and what to expect from this team of high school heroines.

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Queerness Without Question: Sfe Monster Brings the ‘Beyond’ Anthology to Kickstarter [Back Pages]

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Created by comics writer and editor Sfé Monster, Beyond is a planned collection of all-ages stories across all kinds of different genres, tones, and styles featuring contributions from at least 26 writers and artists. The book heads into fantasy and sci-fi in ways you don't often get to see in comics --- and also features a brilliantly-realized central conceit; all of the stories are about reflecting and celebrating diverse presentations of gender and sexuality, and presenting queer characters in a positive light.

Sfé and assistant editor Taneka Stotts are now running a Kickstarter, to make the anthology a reality, and has already easily exceeded its initial target of $22000! We spoke to Sfé to find out more about the project, and where it might go from here.

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Gail Simone Talks About Nightwing and Oracle’s ‘Convergence’ Reunion

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Barbara Gordon's Oracle identity will return in April, at least temporarily, with Gail Simone and Jan Duursema as the creative team for a new two-part storyline that teams her up with her sometime lover Dick Grayson in Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle. The series is part of DC's big spring event storyline that brings back several fan-favorite characters, including Cassandra Cain, Renee Montoya and, uh, Parallax --- but Nightwing and Oracle's return is probably one of the ones that fans are most excited for.

We spoke to Gail Simone to learn where this new story finds the pairing, to ask why Nightwing is so hot, and to learn how she was basically baited into writing the series by DC’s co-publisher!

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A Weak Spot for Fantasy Elements: Aatmaja Pandya [Hire This Woman]

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Aatmaja Pandya is a cartoonist who specializes in doing minicomics and zines as well as webcomics. Some of her past projects include The Bell Blues, Baker’s Dozen, and Travelogue, which is the webcomic she's currently working on.

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A Monstrous Case of the ‘Munchies’ from Katie Longua [Back Pages]

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A year ago, cartoonist Katie Longua --- best known for her ongoing Viking comic Rök --- started making a gag comic, mainly for herself, called Munchies. It's fairly simple to start with: it follows a girl who gets high one afternoon, then gets hungry, and then.... gets into universe-endangering trouble as she turns into a giant wolf monster who can only be stopped through the judicious application of pizza rolls and/or Cheetos.

Vivid, vibrant and very funny, Longua's comic has now come to Kickstarter as she looks to fund a print run of the story. As huge fans of her work as a writer and as an artist --- take a look at her coloring in the preview pages below --- ComicsAlliance got in touch to find out more about her plans for Munchies as part of our regular crowdfunding Q&A, 'Back Pages'.

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Phil Hester Tackles a Different Ollie Queen in the ‘Flash: Season Zero’ Crossover with ‘Arrow’ [Interview/Preview]

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We've already seen Arrow and The Flash cross paths a few times on their respective TV shows; now they'll meet up again in the tie-in next week's installment of the DC Digital comic series The Flash: Season Zero, from writers Lauren Certo, Andrew Kreisberg, and Kai Wu, and artists Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, and Kelsey Shannon.

This is not Hester's first time drawing a version of Ollie Queen, aka Arrow on the screen and Green Arrow in the DC comics universe. Hester and Ande Parks were the celebrated art team on Kevin Smith's Green Arrow run of the early 2000s. We spoke to Hester to learn what it was like to take on such a different take on such a familiar character, and DC provided us with an exclusive preview of the creative team's Arrow leaping into action.

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Dangerous Art: Jeff Lemire on ‘Bloodshot: Reborn,’ Comics With a Point of View, and His Career

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In his decade-plus as a comics writer and artist, Jeff Lemire has worn a lot of different hats: Indie darling, trailblazing Vertigo comics creator, DC Comics' go-to superhero writer.

Now, he's found something like a middle road. He's got a superhero book with an indie flair (Hawkeye), a creator-owned book with big sci-fi ambitions (Descender) and a new Valiant Comics series unlike anything he's ever done before: Bloodshot: Reborn, which is such a vastly new take on the character that plot details are hard to come by.

We talked with Lemire about his somewhat daring take on Valiant's most violent character, and also posed some questions about his varied career.

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Organic, Very Human: An Interview with E.K. Weaver [Hire This Woman]

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Hire This Woman is a recurring feature on ComicsAlliance that shines a spotlight on female comics creators, whether they're relative newcomers or experienced pros who are ready to break out. In an overwhelmingly male business, we want to draw your attention to these creators --- and to raise their profile with editors and industry gatekeepers.

Cartoonist E.K. Weaver produced her webcomic The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal for five years and it is currently being collected in an omnibus that's being Kickstarted by Iron Circus Comics. She's also done things as varied as erotica for Smut Peddler and covers for Adventure Time.

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Feminist, Queer, And Lots of Fun: ‘Cassius’ from Emily Willis and Ann Uland [Back Pages]

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We're always looking for new comics to champion, and Cassius, from Emily Willis and Ann Uland, immediately caught our attention with the promise not only of Romans, but ass-kicking Roman lesbians. The proposed three-arc series plots a bloody course through the back-stabbing politics of Rome (and given the setting, we mean that literally), following our hero Junia as she attempts to come out the other side in one piece.

Is there a single part of the phrase "ass kicking Roman lesbians" that is not absolutely perfect? And even better, the whole thing is based on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, so you're getting cultured at the same time. To find out more about the series, we spoke to both Willis (who writes) and Uland (who pencils), as we continue our new crowdfunding Q&A feature, Back Pages.

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Paid to Draw: Lissa Treiman Talks ‘Giant Days’ and Disney Animation

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Animator and artist Lissa Treiman is taking on her first regular comics work, after working at Disney Animation on movies like Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6. She's teamed up with cartoonist John Allison to bring his webcomic Giant Days to the print comics world with Boom Studios. Treiman's style is charming and dynamic, as befits someone who works in animation, and the first issue of Giant Days is a lot of fun. ComicsAlliance spoke with Treiman about animation, storytelling, comics, and how she balances all of the above!

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