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WIZARD: THE COMICS MAGAZINE #137 (Cover B) (Feb 2003) Wizard Press

cover:  (Photo)
Date:  Feb 2003
Cover Price:  $4.99

Magazine (80 pages)

Other covers:
Sale on 18 Dec 02.
Includes JLA/Avengers Previews (2 pages).
Hugh Jackman cover scan courtesy of ES

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    WIZARD: THE COMICS MAGAZINE #137 (Cover B) (Feb 2003)
    Wizard Press

    WIZARD #14 (Spain) (2003)
    Planet DeAgostini

     May 23, 2003 | CBG's JLA/A Report
    From COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #1542 (6 Jun 03)

  • "Worth the Wait?"
    written by George Nelson
    published in COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #1542 (6 Jun 03)
    transcribed by Vu
    related websites:

    Pérez promises late 2003 release for JLA/Avengers

    Publishers of the long-awaited JLA/Avengers DC-Marvel crossover should be closer to setting a release date within a few weeks, artist George Pérez said at April's Pittsburgh Comicon. "This is going to be a very, very intensive two months," said Pérez, who is penciling and inking the crossover, written by his fromer Avengers collaborator Kurt Busiek. "It will be very nice in 2004 to be able to draw one page a day, five days a week, because that's all that CrossGen ever wants as output from their artists." Pérez draws Solus for CrossGen.

    The first two issues of JLA/Avengers are pencilled and inked, and Pérez has pencilled all but four pages and inked 16 pages of #3. Covers have been colored, as well as all of #1. the plot for the fourth and final issue also has been approved. "The book is definitely coming out the last quarter of this year," he told CBG. "As I've told many people, I refused to have this as the cover feature for Wizard's 2004 preview. It's been the cover feature now for two years. I've got to get that book out."

    The Avengers have 81 members, honorary members, and hangers-on - and the JLA includes more than 100. "As Kurt Busiek put it, when people say the Avengers have pretty low standards for members, the JLA have none," Pérez joked. "And, as was my desire - and they're honoring it - I wanted every single character who's ever been a member of either group to be in this book." There may be another 200 characters who have cameos. In the last issue alone, close to three dozen super-villains appear who had not previously shown up in the story.

  • AVENGERS: HEROES REBORN, art by Rob Liefeld/Jon Sibal
  • WONDER WOMAN (Eagle Bodice), art by Pérez/Giordano
  • Though he would not disclose plot details, Pérez said the story - which takes place, he quipped, on "Earth-$" - has time - and dimension-spanning aspects that allow him to draw things that he would not have had the opportunity to draw, if he had to stick to literal timeline, such as Wonder Woman with an eagle on her bodice.

    "When I was in issue #1, when I got to draw the Spectre, I said, 'OK at least Hal Jordan does appear.' Little did I know what Kurt had in mind. I get to draw the classic Green Lantern in the classic costume - even the one without the shoulder epaulets and the V-shapes: the very, very early version of his costume." Even Heroes Reborn versions of the Avengers might appear. Yes, Kurt is going to try to make this as logical as possible, but there's going to be some stuff you're just going to have to, as Marv Wolfman said, spray the fairy dust on and let your imagination run wild," he observed. "We're going to have fun with this book. It's a lot of work, I hope it's going to be worth the wait for you. For me, I'm just looking forward to not having to answer, 'When is JLA/Avengers coming out?'"

    Locations for the story include the Flash Museum, Asgard, Avengers Mansion in its different incarnations, and the various headquarters of the JLA. It also include nods to the original version of JLA/Avengers, started in the early 1980s but never published.

  • AVENGERS MANSION, art by George Pérez/Bob McLeod
  • ASGUARD, art by Ron Frenz/Brett Breeding
  • JLA SATELLITE, art by Chuck Patton/Romeo Tanghal
  • Announced in 2001, the crossover has been the subject of much speculation regarding its eventual release, and Pérez acknowledged that he had hoped the four-issue mini-series would have been finished sooner, as well.

    "When people ask why this book is taking so long, a lot of them don't know that I'm inking myself - so, when they find that out, suddenly all is forgiven," he said. He added that he has had to take on outside work to be able to afford the project, noting that his income dropped 60% during the year he worked on the series exclusively.

    He acknowledged that fans might be tiring of news regarding the project but said he thinks that will be taken care of, once an official release date is announced. "There have been a lot of false dates. Fans have made assumptions based on the Internet version of 'telephone', where news was actually disseminated incorrectly that there was a release date. No, there was a hoped-for date. I had hoped to get this book done a lot sooner, but it became apparent that, if I wanted to earn a living, doing this book alone without something to supplement my income was going to be a financially disastrous for me."

    He said the project is moving faster with DC Executive Editor Mike Carlin stepping in as DC's editor. He described former Editor Dan Raspler as "a bit of a tehnophobe," which slowed down approval of coloring. "Another great thing about having Mike Carlin involved - having nothing to do with Dan's ability or any disagreements - is that Mike Carlin was the late Mark Gruenwald's assistant editor, when Mark was the editor of the original JLA/Avengers, so Mike, is the only other personal involved other than me from the original. Having worked with Mike, I have a great, great respect for him as an editor: the type of editor who believes that, if you hire good people, let them do their jobs," he continued. "If he has suggestions, he'll be the first to tell you, but in the end he says we all have to be happy with the book."

    Pérez said he is satisfied with the work by colorist Tom Smith and remarked that working with Busiek reminds him of working with Wolfman: "The greatest compliment I can give to any writer."

     December 19, 2002 | More Wizard's 2003 Preview
    From WIZARD: THE COMICS MAGAZINE #137 (Feb 03)

    Andra Radiant, the hero of Heliotrope, is finally revealed to the millions of curious watchers who have followed her adventures for years in March's Solus #1 by Barbara Kesel and George Pérez. In issue #2, Andra visits Ayden of Quin, who gives her a gift endowed with a familiar orange energy, while in issue #3, Brath Mac Garen, from the pages of Brath, finds himself confronted by a powerful stranger, and the encounter leaves him permanently changed.

     December 19, 2002 | Wizard's Impending Doom
    From WIZARD: THE COMICS MAGAZINE #137 (Feb 03)


    Glory, the Hulk is pretty much plenty depressing enough on his own. Throw him into a barren wasteland of a future and you might as well read this thing on suicide watch at Bellevue. Banner gets tossed into the future courtesy of a mohawked Rick Jones descendant only to find the populace overrun by The Maestro, a graying, mean, old bastardy future version of himself. Hulk is left to consider why he becomes such a tool in the future, and it's up to him to put a stop to his evil self's plans. This involves the Hulk punching himself in the nads, then transporting him back to the site of the gamma explosion. Way to go. Also: Ow.

     December 18, 2002 | Wizard's 2003 Preview
    From WIZARD: THE COMICS MAGAZINE #137 (Feb 03)
    2003 PREVIEW
    written by James McDonough
    transcribed by Vu

    WHEN: Summer 2003
    MAJOR PLAYERS: Writer Kurt Busiek (Astro City) and artist George Pérez (The Avengers)

    WIZARD: THE COMICS MAGAZINE #137 (Cover B) (Feb 2003)
    Wizard Press
  • COMICS' SUPER BOWL. Fans have waited 20 years to see this official, "yes-it's- really- happening" wraparound cover to JLA/Avengers by Pérez.
  • THE LOWDOWN: After 20 long years, it's finally going to happen. The biggest guns in the Marvel and DC Universe will collide when the Justice League of America and the Avengers go toe to toe in the most anticipated comic book crossover of all time.

    "It's the JLA. It's the Avengers," barks Busiek. "The premier superteams of two worlds, together at long last. A threat big enough to menace two realities. Cosmic action. Marvel heroes versus DC villains and vice versa."

    Featuring an amazing set of wraparound covers, the four-issue crossover series can only be described by Busiek as "a full, 200 pages of cross-universe, superteam Pérez-y goodness."

    As for plot details, both Busiek and Pérez remain hush-hush in the hopes the excitement and suspense will snowball even more than their high expectations. However, they insist that one thing fans can bank on is that the story will not focus solely on a handful of stars.

    "Two teams, two groups, two pantheons of heroes," recites Busiek. "More Avengers than you can count. More JLAers than the Avengers can count. There's a reason we need 200 pages."

    While a project of this magnitude - not to mention the high expectations- is daunting enough, it's the two superteams' distinct philosophies on taking on baddies that provided Busiek with one of his toughest challenges.

    "I expect we'll see ways in which the teams are different, as well as some of the similiarties they share," explains the writer. "The first thing we did is pitched a DC villain [Starro] at the Avengers that the JLA usually have to puzzle out a solution to and a Marvel villain [Terminus] at the JLA that the Avengers usually have to smack down big time, and see how each team handles it. But that's just the start. After that, things gets stranger and far more dangerous.

    And that stranger danger may result in the icons from both squads pitted against one another. But which encounter has fanboys salivating the most?

    "Going into it, the one conflict I was asked about the most was Batman and Captain America," relates Busiek. "I think it's a perfect clash and not what people will expect. But Cap's got more to deal with than the Caped Crusader."

    Legion of fanboys worldwide aren't the only ones pinching themselves over this dream event.

    "I never dreamed of tackling a project like this - not for real," laughs Busiek, who heard about the original crossover while working for a fan magazine that initially announced the event nearly 20 years ago.

    "I hadn't broken in as a writer yet, so I figured the crossover would be long-finished and published before I wrote comics professionally," Busiek recalls. "Even when it fell through, I never expected to actually get the assignment to write either book regularly, much less both of them in the same project." Many years and several false starts later, Busiek's career is coming full circle now that his wildest fantasy is coming true as he finds himself in the driver's seat of this massive project.

    And speaking of anticipation, not even the most hardcore fanboy seems as excited about the project as veteran artist George Pérez.

    "I'm so jazzed at some of the stuff that Kurt has come up with," giggles the Florida-based artist. "Believe me, I'm glad this project is causing such a stir. I know realistically that JLA/Avengers has had 20 years of anticipation which I hope I live up to."

    Busiek has no doubts the modern-day master of the superteam has the only choice to take on a project of this visual size and scope.

    "He was born to do the ultimate superteam crossover. He's one of the best artists ever on both series," gushes Busiek. "Plus, he's been champing at the bit to do this book - and do it right - for 20 years. It's hard to compete with that kind of energy. George was there first, and when he's going pedal-to-the-metal, nobody else could keep up."

    Pérez sees the project as a labor of love long in the making. "For a man who's been working in this business now [for 29 years], to be able to work on stuff I really really want to do, to do the ultimate superhero book - I've been very lucky," marvels Pérez, who's quick to admit he's even found a way to work in his beloved Teen Titans, which he co-plotted and illustrated during the early '80s. "Hey, I have certain things I must do."

    PROJECTED SALES: No. 1 at 150,000 copies for each issue. There's no better marketing tool than 20 years of fanboy anticipation. Plus, with Busiek and Pérez taking their time to ensure this book stands out as one of the greatest crossovers of all time, it's an event that will appeal to readers across the board.

     December 17, 2002 | Wizard #137 Ships This Week
    From Diamonds
    Shipping This Week: December 18


     October 31, 2002 | Wizard #137
    From PREVIEWS vol 12 #11 (Nov 02)
    On sale December 18, 2002

  • Wizard: The Comics Magazine #137 is our annual Year-Kicker issue! Our giant 2003 preview will present over 25 pages of the most exciting comics and more including Neil Gaiman's 1602 from Marvel, Michael Turner's next Top Cow series, JLA/Avengers, Hulk: Gray by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Superman's 10 cents Adventure along with news from Image, CrossGen, Dark Horse, Ultimate Marvel and everyone else.
  • One of the biggest movies of 2003 will undoubtedly be X-Men 2 coming next May. Visit the set of the film in Vancouver as we interview director Bryant Singer on what to expect from the new film. This issue will feature on exclusive "X-Men 2" Wolverine photo cover with actor Hugh Jackman.
  • Vote for your favorite creators and characters in the annual Wizard Fan Awards. The biggest ballot in comics will be in this issue. The winners will be honored at the Wizard Fan Awards ceremony at Wizard Wolrd Chicago next year.

    ___Magazine (Ultimate Jean Grey/Mary Jane/Storm cover by Joe Linsner) .......... $4.99
    ___Magazine (X-Men 2/Wolverine photo cover) .......... $4.99

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