Dynamite Announces ‘Sweet Valley High’ Comics, Benjamin Percy On ‘James Bond,’ And More [NYCC 2016]
So here's the bad news: The sentence "Dynamite announces new James Bond, Bettie Page, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Sweet Valley High comics" does not refer to one single series that's going to combine all of those properties into a single high-school themed alternate universe where Tarzan, 007, and the real-life queen of pin-up photography are all taking math class together and trying to figure out who to ask to the prom.
The good news, though, is that they're four separate announcements that all seem pretty interesting: Writer Benjamin Percy taking over James Bond, Bill Willingham returning to Dynamite with artist Cezar Rezak for the Burroughs-themed crossover The Greatest Adventure, a new line of Sweet Valley High graphic novels, and – for the first time since 1997, the return of Bettie Page to officially licensed comics.
The Greatest Adventure finds Bill Willingham and Cezar Rezak trying to live up to a pretty lofty title by combining Tarzan, Korak, John Carter, and Dejah Thoris into a single story that finds some of the greatest heroes of the pulps taking on that most pulpy of threats, a death ray from Mars:
A crash landing reveals a secret plot by a mysterious cabal of scientists to weaponize Jason Gridley's famous wave, turning it into a disintegration ray that can bypass distance, on a galactic scale, to destroy a single person, or even an entire world at a time. Gridley seeks the help of Tarzan and Jane to stop these villainous adventurers from finding the final piece needed to fulfill their devious end. When Tarzan puts the word out to assemble a crew to man Jason Gridley's Martian Flying Ship, the galaxy's greatest fighters and adventurers come together to stop this evil plan.
For James Bond, Green Arrow writer Benjamin Percy follows in the footsteps of Warren Ellis and Andy Diggle, joining a yet-to-be-announced artist to take over 007's ongoing comics adventures:
Benjamin Percy says, "When I was a kid, my father and I would watch -- over and over again -- the Bond marathons on TBS. When I was in high school, I took a career test and wrote 'spy' as my dream job. When I was in college, I signed up for an espionage novel course and fell in love with Fleming's books. The first drink I ordered was a vodka martini -- shaken, not stirred -- though I now stay true to the novels and favor bourbon. And over the past few months, I've followed the Warren Ellis run at Dynamite with admiration and jealousy. Bond is ingrained in me, a character who has centrally influenced my life and sense of story. I love the legendary, exquisitely cool 007 franchise and I couldn't be more excited to thrill readers with exotic locales, nifty gadgets, colorful villains, dangerous seductions, and wildly orchestrated action set-pieces. Cue the theme music."
No creative team has been announced as of yet for the upcoming comics based on Bettie Page, but Dyanmite's announcement highlights her influence in the world of comics and the fact that while comics about the pinup queen have certainly existed before - both in Dave Stevens' thinly veiled tribute in the pages of The Rocketeer and in officially licensed forms, most recently in Jim Silke's Bettie Page Comics - this will mark the first time in 20 years that she's returned to the printed page.
For Sweet Valley High, Dynamite is teaming up with author Francine Pascal for a line of original graphic novels based on the book series that currently weighs in at over 600 entries. Again, the creative teams for the new line have yet to be announced, with the focus of the announcement on the popularity of the books and their lead characters, identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield.