Avatar Press is bringing the industry and fans alike out of the chill of March, and gearing them up for the sizzling hot releases due out this Spring and Summer. This ezine will give you all the information you'll need to know about Avatar Press' May and June releases, which include graphic novels and brand-new, creator-owned series by the best talent in comics.

Juan Jose Ryp's ART OF LADY DEATH art book, the first comic to feature the work of this superstar artist, and a preview book of Garth Ennis' latest creation, STREETS OF GLORY, are both due out this May. In June, Avatar exclusive guest at the San Diego Comic Con, Warren Ellis, debuts the most talked about hero series of 2007 as BLACK SUMMER #0 hits the stands. CRECY, the first Apparat graphic novel of 2007 by Warren Ellis will also release in June, as well as the fight between LADY DEATH vs PANDORA and the first STARGATE comic of 2007.

So browse our May and June solicitations, and get all the information you need on Warren Ellis' BLACK SUMMER, including quotes from the writer/creator himself on the most thought provoking masked hero comic in decades. You'll also find an Avatar Press exclusive interview with BLACK SUMMER colorist Mark Sweeney on the darkest and most worthwhile Summer in years.

Avatar Press - PRODUCTS SHIPPING: May 2007

In May we are featuring mind blowing creator-owned work by the infamous Garth Ennis, and an art book dedicated to one of the industry's rising stars. Other Avatar Press releases include new issues John Russo's Plague of the Living Dead and Brian Pulido's Lady Death: Sacrilege.

Forget the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and prepare yourself for the completely Bad-ass. The STREETS OF GLORY Preview is written by Garth Ennis, the creator of The Chronicles of Wormwood, Preacher, and The Boys, and he's bringing back the Western this Fall at Avatar! This special preview book gives you several pages of the first issue to read, special designs by Mike Wolfer, and a new essay from Garth Ennis himself on why he wanted to write a Western. Garth Ennis is ready to re-define the classic genre of the Western with this brutal tale of 1899. Joe Dunn is one of the last bastions of the old guard drifters, those men that could be trusted to defend the common man with integrity, honor, and if need be, hot steel of death. Dunn has been away from Montana for more than 15 years, lost to all who knew him. Now he comes riding into a small town, Dunn still representing the best of the past, an era which is quickly fading. The way things are done is changing, the future is coming. The bodies will start to pile up while the streets run red with glorious blood. Ennis teams with Mike Wolfer (Escape of the Living Dead) for this epic full color series that promises to thrill every fan of Garth’s powerful story-telling and brutal violence.
Garth Ennis’ STREETS OF GLORY Preview
Retail Price: $1.99 US
Cover: Mike Wolfer
Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Mike Wolfer
Readership: MR
Format: Full Color, 16 pages
artwork: www.avatarpress.net/v/streetsofglory/

Want to get a taste of the art by the maestro Juan Jose Ryp, artist to the upcoming Avatar Press series Black Summer by Warren Ellis? Then check out the special LADY DEATH ART of JUAN JOSE RYP. Finally, one of the modern masters of comic art gets his first art book! When he’s not busy drawing epics written by Alan Moore, Frank Miller, or Warren Ellis, Ryp always returns to his first love, drawing beautiful women! No where can his passion for his craft be better seen than in his stunning work on Lady Death over the years. This special volume collects the earliest and rarest of Juan Jose Ryp’s Lady Death covers, this time available without any logos or text blocking the luscious artwork. This book is available with regular, wraparound, sultry, premium, and a special leather cover, all with art by Juan Jose Ryp.
LADY DEATH Art of Juan Jose Ryp
Retail Price: $4.99 US
Cover: Juan Jose Ryp
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Readership: All Ages
Format: Full Color, 40 pages

Also scheduled for release this month are Garth Ennis' Chronicles of Wormwood #5, Plague of the Living Dead #2, and Lady Death: Sacrilege #2. For complete graphics and info about these and all of our May solicited releases, check out

Please support your local comic shop and Avatar by asking for or ordering Avatar Press comics at your local retailer. If you can't get our May solicited releases locally, you can order them from our direct sales agent at

Avatar Press - PRODUCTS SHIPPING: June 2007

June is the month we here at Avatar Press have been revving up to reach in 2007, and some of the industry's most anticipated series are now preparing to release through Avatar Press this summer. Two brand-new creations from the dark mind of Warren Ellis, the final installment of Garth Ennis' tale of Armageddon and the Antichrist, and other great new releases from fan-favorite Avatar Press titles all hit the stands this June.

This summer, Warren Ellis' BLACK SUMMER will demolish the conventional limits of masked heroes, and kill the President of the United States as well. The world goes black as Warren Ellis unveils his all-new super-powered heroes and villains epic that promises to be the biggest event of 2007! With art by the genius Juan Jose Ryp, no fan of The Authority or Wanted will want to miss this bleeding-edge eight issue masterpiece. This #0 issue priced at 99 cents features an original story that leads directly into the full-size monthly series. The regular series which begins in August is priced at just $2.99 per issue! When the political situation in the USA becomes more than Horus can stand, he moves to take matters into his own hands. But since many of his other team-mates aren’t so eager to throw the world into chaos, an epic conflict starts to form. And no one will be safe as the bodies start to fall. The event-launching issue is available with a regular or wraparound cover, and also a rare 1-in-25 cover featuring the Horus design sketch, all by series artist Juan Jose Ryp.
Retail Price: $0.99 US
Cover: Juan Jose Ryp
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Juan Jose Ryp
Readership: MR
Format: Full Color, 16 pages, monthly, 0 of 7
artwork & info: www.blacksummer.net/

Black Summer #0

Black Summer Wrap Cover #0

An original graphic novel from Warren Ellis and his Apparat line of books, Warren Ellis' CRECY Graphic Novel will continue to explore the classic pulp side of comics, and showcase one of Ellis' fond interests, the English kicking the bloody hell out of those French frogs. A highly trained but under equipped army invades another country due to that country's perceived threat to home security. The army conducts shock-and-awe raids designed to terrify the populace. The English army has to stand and fight. In Crecy, France on the 26th of August 1346, modern warfare changed forever. This is the story of England's greatest battle. Featuring the stunningly detailed art of Raulo Caceres. CRECY is a sure hit with all fans of Frank Miller's 300 and epic battles told by the best writers in the industry.
Warren Ellis' CRECY Graphic Novel
Retail Price: $6.99 US
Cover: Felipe Massafera
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Raulo Caceres
Readership: MR
Format: B&W, 48 pages
artwork: www.avatarpress.net/v/crecy/

Warren Ellis Crecy Gn

LADY DEATH vs PANDORA #1. The ultimate battle of the uber-women is here! Lady Death and Pandora square off in this continuation of last year’s hit one-shot Lady Death vs War Angel! Drawn by regular Lady Death series artist Gabriel Guzman, this fight will not disappoint fans of battling babes! This book is available in a few editions: the regular cover by Rafa Lopez, a Painted Wraparound cover by Felipe Massafera, Martin cover by Matt Martin, Bondage cover by Juan Jose Ryp, Pawns and Premium covers by Daniel HDR, and a super-limited Jewel Edition by Rafa Lopez, featuring jewels actually on the cover of the book, packaged in a special hard-case, and limited to just 350 copies.
Retail Price: $2.99 US
Cover: Rafa Lopez, Felipe Massafera, Matt Martin, Juan Jose Ryp, Daniel HDR
Writer: Brian Pulido
Artist: Gabriel Guzman
Readership: All Ages
Format: Full Color, 16 pages
artwork: www.avatarpress.net/v/ladydeath/pandora/

Lady Death Vs Pandora #1

STARGATE SG1 2007 Special. Stargate SG1 continues its stellar run in comics with this year’s special one-shot! The SG Command has a whole new type of problem on their hands when an evil doppelganger of Jack O’Neill is loose on the base, with free reign to cause havoc!
STARGATE SG1 2007 Special
Retail Price: $2.99 US
Cover: Lucio Rubira, Jorge Correa, Ryan Drake
Writer: James Anthony
Art: Jorge Correa
Readership: All Ages
Format: Full Color, 16 pages
artwork: www.avatarpress.net/v/stargate/sg1/

Stargate Sg1 2007 Special

Also scheduled for release this month are Garth Ennis' Chronicles of Wormwood #6 and Plague of the Living Dead #3.
For complete graphics and info about these and all of our June solicited releases, check out

Garth Ennis Chronicles Of Wormwood #6

Please support your local comic shop and Avatar by asking for or ordernig Avatar Press comics at your local retailer. If you can't get our May solicited releases locally, you can order them from our direct sales agent at

>>We have been preparing for the most monumental summer of releases in Avatar Press' ten year history, and if you missed any of the news recently you missed too much already. The mushroom cloud atop Avatar Press' summer is the much anticipated masked hero comic Black Summer, created and written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Juan Jose Ryp. Not since Moore's Watchmen has anyone so successfully altered the fabric of traditional hero comics, until now.

Warren Ellis Starts a Masked Hero Revolution with BLACK SUMMER

Everything you know about masked heroes changes this June with the release of BLACK SUMMER from creator/writer Warren Ellis. Avatar Press will debut the saga with BLACK SUMMER #0, a 99 cent issue featuring an all-new, full color story which leads directly into the beginning of the $2.99 monthly seven-issue series in August. The series features artwork by Juan Jose Ryp (Frank Miller's Robocop) and color by Mark Sweeney.

"I've always said I'm not going to publish superhero comics at Avatar until I can do them better than Marvel and DC. I just did," says Avatar Press Editor in Chief William Christensen. "Black Summer is Warren Ellis on fire. He's out to redefine the masked hero and take us all for a ride the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time." BLACK SUMMER is the first masked hero title in Avatar's 10-year history and the first creator-owned hero comic book from Ellis.

Series protagonist John Horus was a retired member of the once government-endorsed team of superheros called the Seven Guns, but when the political situation in the USA becomes more than he can stand, he moves to take matters into his own hands. Since all his other team-mates aren't so eager to throw the world into chaos, an epic conflict starts to form. And no one will be safe as the bodies start to fall.

Horus takes destiny into his own hands in the events of Black Summer #0. "John Horus, a man with the personal destructive capability of a fleet of Apache helicopters, walked into the Oval Office and killed the President," says Ellis.

"In a field as well-mined as the superhero genre, it's hard to find questions to ask that aren't also complex or self-referential," notes Ellis, "And I wanted something direct that stood on its own two feet. So when this hit me, it spoke to me not only of the reasons why someone might put on a helmet and find justice their own way, but also why we read these myths of social justice ourselves. Where would YOU draw the line? And where's the line before which you embody the outrage of the people and beyond which you become the fears of the people?"

Work has been underway on the long-planned series for some time and all involved are committed to timely release dates. "If you're going to play in the superhero arena, you need to play by the rules," adds Ellis. "And superhero comics are supposed to come out monthly to meet the expectations of a habitual Wednesday audience. So BLACK SUMMER will hit the mark."

Avatar Press regular and critically acclaimed artist Juan Jose Ryp will pencil the entire series. "Ryp can draw anything. He's not human," says creator Warren Ellis. "And that high-definition, super real style of his gives genre work a killer punch. He does incredibly dynamic action stuff, but he gives everything weight and texture. Working in superhero fiction, he gives pages a density and reality that people haven't seen in the genre from a page-a-day guy in years. He draws like someone wired Geof Darrow to a nuclear reactor." Ryp and Ellis have worked together on two previous Avatar comics, Apparat title Angel Stomp Future and the barbarian fantasy Wolfskin.

Ellis will release the first Apparat title of 2007, CRECY, also this June. "I have a ton of stuff coming from Avatar over the next year," Ellis assures his fans. "In the next year, Avatar will become unrecognizable to people who think they know what the company does. It's going to be good." He is attending the San Diego Comic Con this July as the exclusive guest of Avatar Press, where they will announce details on other major upcoming releases.

BLACK SUMMER begins with the full color, 16 page #0 featuring an all-new story which will be released the first week of June at a special price of only 99 cents. The regular seven issue series will continue in August, published monthly for a cover price of only $2.99. The series is written by Warren Ellis with artwork by Juan Jose Ryp and color by Mark Sweeney.

Avatar Press is a comic book publisher that continues to push the boundaries between mainstream and independent with current and upcoming work from creators such as Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Brian Pulido, George A. Romero, George R.R. Martin, Joe R. Lansdale, John Russo, Mike Wolfer, Juan Jose Ryp, Jacen Burrows, and numerous others. The company has published a wide range of comic books including creator-owned titles like Garth Ennis' 303 and Brian Pulido's Lady Death, company-owned comics such as Pandora and The Ravening, licensed hits like Frank Miller's Robocop and George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, and many other titles. A publisher that has established itself as one of the cornerstones of the American indy comic book scene over the past decade, Avatar has published some 500 comic books since 1997.

For additional information on Warren Ellis' BLACK SUMMER visit www.blacksummer.net.


Mark Sweeney talks BLACK SUMMER

Working with the likes of Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp is no small order, but artist Mark Sweeney is ready for the task. Sweeney took some time out of his schedule to talk about the upcoming project BLACK SUMMER which he is coloring.

*How did you come to be involved with Black Summer?

MS - I was dragged in kicking and screaming.

No…. William asked me if I'd like to color a monthly series by Juan Jose Ryp and Warren Ellis. William didn't elaborate on what it was about, but was very excited about it, and said I’d be perfect for it. Even from the beginning, secrecy was paramount…
I was stunned that William asked me to color this. And terrified. Working on a Warren Ellis Book? With art by Juan Jose Ryp? My first reaction? “Oh Fuck me!”

Now I had to be honest with myself. Did I want to color this? “Hell yes!” More importantly, was asking myself, “Can I deliver my best work, consistently, for the entire 8 issue run, in a timely manner?” That’s the real question.

I’ve colored Juan’s work before. My second book for Avatar Press was Robocop #9. The amazing level of detail in Juan’s art is daunting, challenging to color, and very time-consuming. I’ll spend more time on one page of Juan’s art than any three pages for other books. My answer? I cleared off my calendar for the next 8 months and said ‘Yes’ before anyone could change their mind.

I turn 40 in July. I fully expect to be spending that day coloring Black Summer. And loving every minute I spend on this book.

*Black Summer is a very gritty super hero epic. How did you take into account Warren Ellis’ hard-boiled tone and the superhero genre in your work?

MS - Now that’s a fun question. I've finished issue #0, and just started coloring issue #1. Issue #0 takes place mostly in the White House. I'd considered going for something much darker and moodier than what I did, but I felt that would be taking those scenes in the wrong direction. They aren't about mystery, suspense, or even violence, despite the copious amounts of blood.

We have John Horus, a well respected hero who often confers with President of the United States and his advisors, walking into the Press room of the White. He is drenched in blood, stunning the press corps as he walks to the podium, where he simply states, “Ten minutes ago, I executed the President of the United States. And the vice president. And several of their advisors.” This is the most shocking thing you can do in just about any story. Kill the President of the United States of America. This isn’t the work of some raving lunatic hell-bent on world domination; some evil shadow corporation attempting to seize control, or a twisted psychopath living out the delusions of ‘Taxi.’ This is a man doing what he believes is right, a man who believes the President and the administration are criminals, and he deals with them as such.

Subtle color palettes and coordinated color keys? No. This DEMANDS a 5000 watt spotlight. Absolute realism. It’s not a dream or fantasy. It’s real. It’s LIVE, on CNN in High Definition Technicolor gore. I think a blend of realism and noir are what is going work well with the hard-boiled tone and Juan’s art, color wise. John Alton’s ‘Painting With Light’ is going to be my bible for this book.

*Ryp is becoming an industry powerhouse faster with each project on which he works. What do you find is appealing about his art compared to other past and present comic book artists?

MS - Juan’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous. He has an amazing eye for detail that never overpowers the storytelling; his figures and anatomy are superbly crafted, sets feel like you can walk into them, and his inking is just unbelievable.
Metal, wood, skin, cloth, even the grimy, stained paint on the walls all have their own feel and texture that makes you believe you could touch the page and feel each individual surface with your fingertips.

Few people can create art with this level of detail without turning the page into artistic gibberish.

*What will make BS a summer smash?

MS - I think what’s really going to set this apart from everything else is how firmly it’s rooted in the reality of our post 9/11 world. Other books may be set in the ‘real’ world, but only pay lip-service to the events happening around us.

They won't do anything regarding politics that might upset people. They don't write stories that criticize the current administration, its colossal blunders and outright lies; or how the constitution has been gutted like a fish for the transparent illusion of security. Politics in comics is a great 3,000 pound bull in a china shop that many ignore or refuse to acknowledge for fear of a tempest in a teacup breaking out.

Warren hasn't just grabbed this bull by its horns. He’s decapitated it, hung the gore splattered, blood-dripping head from your front porch and is leaning on the doorbell as smoke from the burning china shop billows down the street.

Black Summer is going to be one hell of a ride.

*Describe your experience with Avatar Press and Editor-in-Chief William Christensen so far?

MS - It’s been great. Three of the qualities I like about William are his honesty, his ability to challenge people who work for him, and his trust in their abilities.

I've heard horror stories from other colorists about some editors, from heavy handed control, interference, pettiness, and worse. William is always professional and courteous, eminently respectful, and willing to move mountains to be able work with everyone’s schedule.

I know of artists working for other companies who have lost work because of saying ‘No’ to one project. I've had to turn down some offers of work from William simply because my schedule wouldn't allow me to finish a said book by the deadline.

I'm far from being the fastest colorist in the world so I won't accept work unless I know damn well I'm going to meet all the deadlines. It’s one thing to shoot myself in the foot, but I have absolutely no business blowing someone else’s feet off by missing a deadline.

If I explain that I can't fit in an offer of work between now and the deadline, he’s ready with other work I can fit in, and always looks forward to seeing what I do with the work.

William really likes to challenge people. He doesn't want you to get comfortable in your role, or your work. I've gone from horror, to science fiction, fantasy, and worked on numerous artists and writers under William, and it’s never the same old same old. There’s always something different, even when it’s variant covers for one book it ranges from simple iconic sunset images to swirling masses bent on slaughter in medieval battles. Even with the same artist, he challenges you…. From the detailed style to simpler art nouveau covers that demand changes in rendering and coloring styles.

I'll finally be able to meet William at the SDCC this year, and I'm really looking forward to meeting him in person.

*What is appealing about Avatar Press as a comic book publisher?

MS - Avatar Press is willing to take innovative chances, and go in daring directions and try things other won't. Marvel Comics was almost brilliant at doing this during Bankruptcy Protection, but as soon as the cash started flowing…. It stopped dead cold.

While they did it because they had to, Avatar Press is doing this because they want to. It’s not a flash in the pan looking for a quick influx of readers and cash flow to keep going, or a marketing scheme tapping into the death of some character who, a week later, may not really even be dead. They’re building an audience, slowly, and expanding into new areas for stories historical fiction, political science fiction and more.

*How do you think Avatar Press’ role as an independent publisher affects the larger comic book industry?

MS - Innovation. It’s a buzz word that’s thrown about by many companies. The comics landscaped is littered with the corpses of comics companies that have tried beat the big two by playing their game. Some companies slipped into terminal comas, while others self-destructed in spectacular fashion.

To my mind, super hero stories have largely settled into the story equivalent of day-time soap operas. Covers scream “EVERYTHING CHANGES FOREVER”… and 6 months down the road, it’s business as usual, and exactly the same.
Death of a major character? It’s about as permanent as the morning dew - a characters’ corpse barely even has time to cool before it’s up and at it again like nothing ever happened. Great stories are revisioned into pointlessness. Nothing seems to have any lasting ramifications, there’s no growth, consequences or ramifications.

Not so with Avatar Press. Books like Black Summer, 303, Crecy concentrate on telling a single solid story, instead of being a transparent attempt to create a mindless ongoing cash cow that moos about the landscape with hopeless abandon.

The overall market is changing as the DM is slowly bleeding out sales to bookstores that are dramatically increasing the market for graphic novels and TPBs. Many companies are fighting it out over a tiny piece of the DM while still trying to figure out how to deal with the bookstores. In my opinion, these are two totally different audiences, and companies need to go after both with that in mind.

The audience buying these titles in bookstores aren’t looking for some small slice of an ongoing soap opera. They’re looking for something substantive to sit down with. Something they can read from front to back and get the entire story without all the backdrop, continuity problems and melodrama of an ongoing soap.

Avatar Press is going after both the DM, with monthlies, and after the bookstore market with collected trades and graphic novels. Avatar Press recently celebrated 10 years in the business. When they celebrate 20 years, you’re going to find a damn fine library of books that cover a full spectrum of stories that reach a broader audience than the incredibly narrow niche of super hero soap operas.

For additional information on Warren Ellis' BLACK SUMMER visit www.blacksummer.net.