With the latest crossover du jour from Marvel Comics at its’ midway point, now is the period where the company begins to promote their new launches for the last quarter of the year. Today (August 31), Comic Book Resources made an exclusive announcement regarding December’s “Starbrand & Nightmask”. As noted in their interview, it will be written by “Gargoyles” creator Greg Weisman and drawn by Dominike “Domo” Stanton (of “Archer” fame).
Both Starbrand and Nightmask are characters originally created for what was then Marvel’s new imprint, the “New Universe”, which ran from 1986-1989. Originally created by Jim Shooter and the late Archie Goodwin (respectively), the pair were recreated within the main “Marvel Universe” continuity during the long run of “Avengers” under writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Dustin Weaver. This new incarnation of the pair played a role in 2013’s crossover event “Infinity” (also written by Hickman) and are set to return to the mainstream world once “Secret Wars” wraps up. In this new series, Weisman describes it as “a sci fi buddy adventure” which also plays with “the juxtaposition of huge cosmic complications with really mundane life milestones”. Naturally, this is expressed in the duality of the two leads themselves. Nightmask/Adam is an artificial human created on Mars by one of the “gardeners” of the universe, and is naturally both powerful yet naive about the “real world” around him. Kevin Conner, on the other hand, was a typical college student before becoming the “Starbrand” and being bestowed cosmic level power – at the cost of his entire campus and those within it. The pair will be attending Marvel’s best known college, Empire State University, which is the school that Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Doom, Spider-Man and now Squirrel-Girl went to. Not only will Weisman seek to explore the lives of his two leads, but he also is devoted to giving them a supporting cast. Said cast will include some familiar figures, such as Sha Shan Nguyen (who has usually been attached to Spider-Man comics). “This is going to be a book with an extremely diverse cast of characters, which is part of the reason I wanted Nightmask to share billing with Starbrand,” Weisman added. The opening arc is also set to include cosmic beings as well as wrapping up any dangling plot threads from Hickman’s “Avengers” run. Also on display was some of Domo’s art for the series, which is full of “youthful energy”.
Greg Weisman brings a wealth of experience onto this book. He may forever be known (and rightly so) for being the creator of “Gargoyles” for Disney, which will celebrate its’ 21st anniversary this year. Arguably ahead of its’ time, yet part of a much cherished era of TV animation, the entire canonical series is available on DVD for fans new and old to enjoy. In addition, Weisman was the supervising producer of “Spectacular Spider-Man” and a co-producer on “Young Justice”, the first season of “Star Wars: Rebels”, and the second season of “W.I.T.C.H.” as well as possessor of too many writing credits in animation to list (from “Jem” to “Beware the Batman” and plenty of shows between). Before all of that, he was also an editor at DC Comics during their original “Crisis” era in the mid 1980’s, and co-wrote their revamp of “Captain Atom”. His first return to comics was for Slave Labor Graphics’ run of “Gargoyles” and “Bad Guys” comics, which have been out of print for six years. He’s lately returned to the “big two”, writing the monthly spin off comic to “Star Wars: Rebels”, titled “Star Wars: Kanan”, for Marvel. Domo Stanton, meanwhile, is not only known for “Archer”, but for other comic book work such as “The Big Con Job” for BOOM! Studios. The fact that Starbrand and Nightmask are not yet well known to mainstream audiences plays into the hands of a creative team willing to build them (and their cast) from the ground up – which is exactly what Weisman and Stanton aim to do. The pair will bring experience for both comic books and successful multimedia franchises into this series. From how this opening preview looks, fans will be in for quite a ride as 2015 comes to a close.